211 of 224 people found the following review helpful
A love letter to literature *and* technology,
This review is from: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel (Hardcover)There's so much in this slim volume that I'm not sure where to start. Here's the TLDR version: it's an utter delight, and you should buy it immediately.
Our hero is a graphic designer with some meager programming skills who is left jobless by the recession. He finds new work as a bookstore clerk, and soon discovers that the store is much more than it seems. His quest to uncover its secrets leads only to mysteries, eventually sending him not only across the country but (figuratively) back in time to when the technology to make books widely accessible first became available.
The "I love the smell of glue" crowd is represented, as are the "print is already dead" folks. Neither are wrong, because the book as object *and* the book as text are important in different ways. The vast power of the Internet is harnessed, often to great effect, but human handcraft is also vital.
That would be plenty, but there's so much more. For instance, consider the idea -- so casually tossed off -- that the world is simply filled with secret societies, the only hitch being that most of them don't realize that they're secret. Or ponder how the standard adventuring party from role-playing games, when the roles are translated into modern terms, actually is a fine combination of human resources for accomplishing a goal quickly. Or think on how movable-type presses were, in their day, the equivalent of a young Internet -- a new technology with limitless and thrilling potential to open vistas theretofore undreamed-of.
It's missing a few things, most notably combat and sex. I didn't miss them. I didn't even really notice their lack until I sat down to write this review. There's no need for faux excitement when there's so much genuine excitement. The book is so full of *story,* not to mention ideas, that the pages very nearly turn of their own accord.
Buy it. Read it. Rethink parts of your world.
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Initial post: Dec 29, 2012 1:11:06 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 9:52:52 AM PST
"It's missing a few things, most notably combat and sex. I didn't miss them."
That is perfect. Wonderfully stated. Too many forms of entertainment today have violence and sex as a matter of course - Mr. Penumbra's is a great example of story telling in which it's simply not necessary.
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