Tag Archive > Robin Sloan

Ajax Penumbra 1969

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Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan, book review“I should start at the beginning.”
“You should start with the basics.” The clerk settles back on his stool, crosses his arms. “What’s your name, friend?”
“Oh. Yes, of course. My name is Ajax Penumbra.”

For those of you who read Robin Sloan’s endearing debut novel Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, you will have read a wonderful story but also a story that left you with several burning questions. How did a narrow bookstore with such impossibly high shelves come about? How did Mr Penumbra come to run such an establishment? And indeed, how do you get a name like Ajax Penumbra? These questions must have been put to Sloan on a great many occasions, because now he has seen fit to release a short prequel: Ajax Penumbra 1969.


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Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

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Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore , Robin Sloan, book review“What do you seek in these shelves?”

When I first received a copy of Robin Sloan’s Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, I thought there had been a mistake. The title reminded me of the sort of book that I read when in primary school, albeit with an American slant to it. I sat down to read it with the return letter for the publisher already forming in my mind…and was soon hooked.

In the middle of recession-hit San Francisco, we meet Clay Jannon, a young and newly minted addition to the city’s unemployment figures. With only a few months’ work as a web designer on his CV and companies closing left, right and centre, he is struggling to find a new job and rapidly running out of money.


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