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PDF - Mr. Penumbra's Hour Bookstore. A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love. Read Mr. Penumbra's Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan for free with a 30 day free trial. Read unlimited* books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and. Lost in the shadows of the shelves, I almost fall off the ladder. I am exactly halfway up. The floor of the bookstore is far below me, the surface of a planet I've left.

Mr Penumbras 24 Hour Bookstore Pdf

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And that is how I find myself on this ladder, up on the third floor, minus the floor, of Mr. Penumbra's Hour Bookstore. The book I've been sent up to retrieve is. This books (Mr. Penumbra s Hour Bookstore [PDF]) Made by Robin Sloan About Books Paperback. Pub Date Pages: The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of hislife as a San Francisco web-design drone, and serendipity,sheer curiosity and the ability to climb a.

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore. The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on.

Stay home tonight. Keep reading. I play up a different angle: So she really is a genius. Also, one of her teeth is chipped in a cute way. Old data. This is my primary filter for new friends girl- and otherwise and the highest compliment I can pay. Then it burns out in a week. Wait—is that weird? I could buy it on Amazon.

Could Amazon ship it fast enough? Kat is still waiting for me to answer. Can I afford this introduction? In pure marketing terms, this was a failure: I did not sell any books, expensive or otherwise. In return, I have received a single ad impression—a single, perfect ad impression— delivered exactly twenty-three minutes ago. I email Kat and ask her if she wants to get lunch tomorrow, which is a Saturday. I might sometimes be faint of heart, but I do believe in striking while the iron is hot.

I am really into the kind of girl you can impress with a prototype. The idea is to animate through the borrowed books over time instead of just seeing them all at once. First, I transcribe more names, titles, and times from the logbook into my laptop. Then I start hacking. Programming is not all the same.

Normal written languages have different rhythms and idioms, right? Well, so do programming languages. The language called C is all harsh imperatives, almost raw computer-speak. The language called Lisp is like one long, looping sentence, full of subclauses, so long in fact that you usually forget what it was even about in the first place. The language called Erlang is just like it sounds: But Ruby, my language of choice since NewBagel, was invented by a cheerful Japanese programmer, and it reads like friendly, accessible poetry.

Billy Collins by way of Bill Gates. You make it do things for you. And this, I think, is where Ruby shines: But instead of following the recipe step-by-step and hoping for the best, you can actually take ingredients in and out of the pot whenever you want.

You can add salt, taste it, shake your head, and pull the salt back out. You can take a perfectly crisp crust, isolate it, and then add whatever you want to the inside. Immediately I notice something strange: On my screen, Tyndall will borrow a book from the top of aisle two. Then, in another month, Lapin will ask for one from the same shelf. Five weeks later, Imbert will follow—exactly the same shelf—but meanwhile, Tyndall has already returned and gotten something new from the bottom of aisle one.

The bell tinkles. He hoists his current book a monstrous red-bound volume and pushes it across the desk. I quickly scrub through the visualization to find his place in the pattern. Imbert presents his card—6MXH2I—and takes his book.

The bell tinkles, and I am alone again. And then I write, for the benefit of some future clerk, and perhaps also to prove to myself that this is real: Strange things are afoot at Mr. Singularity Singles. Computers get smarter than people, so we let them run the show. Or maybe they let themselves … Kat nods.

The male-to-female ratio is really good, or really bad. I met a guy who programmed bots for a hedge fund. We dated for a while. He was really into rock-climbing. He had nice shoulders. The Gourmet Grotto is its food court, probably the best in the world: Hey, just like the Singularity, right? Kat frowns. This is going to sound strange, especially because we just met.

So why does that have to end? We could accomplish so much if we just had more time. You know? This is an interesting girl. I glance down at her T-shirt. You know, I think she owns a bunch that are identical. Have you ever played Maximum Happy Imagination? To start, imagine the future. The good future. No nuclear bombs. Party on Mars. You can go anywhere.

What comes after that? What could possibly come after that? Imagination runs out. But it makes sense, right? We probably just imagine things based on what we already know, and we run out of analogies in the thirty-first century.

Will people live in buildings? Will they wear clothes? My imagination is almost physically straining.

PDF - Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Fingers of thought are raking the space behind the cushions, looking for loose ideas, finding nothing. Did you know that the concept of privacy is, like, totally recent? And so is the idea of romance, of course. Comfortable territory. They say Shakespeare invented the internal monologue.

I mean, look around. How do I know that? Does my brain have an app for that? Her cheeks are flushed and she looks great with all her blood right there at the surface of her skin. You know: Kat probably could have cooked it up in fifteen minutes. We watch the colored lights curl around one another. I rewind it, and we watch again. I mean, you might just be projecting. Like the face on Mars. This only covers a few months, right?

And it would take forever to type it into the computer. We have a machine for this. You have to bring it to Google. If I am successful, I might learn something interesting about this place and its purpose. More important: I might impress Kat. The logbook is part of the store. Hey, Mr. Penumbra, I want to go over my sketch of Tyndall in watercolors? Yeah, right. That feels risky.

He unwinds the thin gray scarf around his neck and makes an odd circuit around the front of the store, rapping his knuckles on the front desk, casting his eyes across the short shelves and then up to the Waybacklist. He makes a quiet sigh. Something is up. It makes me realize how new I am to this place—what a fleeting addition. He was my mentor and, for many years, my employer. Mohammad Al-Asmari. I always thought his name looked better on the glass.

I still do. Some good, some bad. It has a bit to do with our funding … and I have been lazy. In the early days, I read more. I sought out new books. He raises an eyebrow.

(PDF) Robin Sloan - Mr Penumbras 24 Hour Bookstore | CUC -

There are plenty of people who, you know—people who still like the smell of books. But in a friendly way, like maybe he wants to share it. As it happens, I do have my Kindle. I pull it out of my messenger bag. Penumbra holds it aloft and frowns.

I reach up and pinch the corner and it comes to life. He sucks in a sharp breath, and the pale gray rectangle reflects in his bright blue eyes. Does this machine ever run out of electricity? But I am no fool. It is a slender advantage. Penumbra, if we just got some more popular books, people would love this place. I will think on it, my boy. Immediately he formulates a plan. I was counting on this. Just bring me reference images. The covers, the spine. You said this is, like, from the archives, right?

People want things to be real. Every angle. Bright, even light. Do you know what I mean when I say bright, even light? Maybe a few shadows will be okay. She picked it out of the trash at her office. Rock-climbing, risotto-cooking PR professional Ashley Adams is contributing to the construction of Matropolis. Mat nods. Kat invites me to a house party. We are chatting in Gmail. Yes, too bad. Although, wait: Kat, you believe that we humans will one day outgrow these bodies and exist in a sort of dimensionless digital sublime, right?

This is what I mean: She goes for it. Get it? Because no one will be able to see me below the waist—okay, yes, you get it. Kat comes online at She appears on my screen, wearing her red BAM! T-shirt as always. No one else is dressed up. Gleaming glass-faced cupboards; an industrial stove; a stick- figure xkcd comic on the refrigerator.

My view blurs into dark pixelated streaks, then re-forms itself into a sprawling space with a wide TV and long low couches. There are movie posters in neat narrow frames: People are sitting in a circle—half on the couches, half on the carpet—playing a game.

My view swivels and I am looking at a round- faced girl with dark curls and chunky black glasses. Here, test it. Dark Curls leans in close—eek, really close—and squints. Are you real? It would be easy to do: But no: She brings me over to the living room and we play the game in the circle. The roles are assigned with playing cards, and Kat holds mine up to the camera for me. I laugh, too, and pour myself another beer. Every few minutes I glance up at the door and a dagger of fear dances across my heart, but the buffer of adrenaline and alcohol eases the prick.

There are never any customers. Trevor is reeling out a long story about a trip to Antarctica who goes to Antarctica? It looks almost gravitational, but maybe her laptop is just sitting at an angle.

No, come on. However, I do not know if Trevor is drunk, or— The bell tinkles. My gaze snaps up. She has a peacock feather stuck into her hat.

I try to focus my eyeballs independently, one on the laptop and one on Lapin. Lapin has a voice that sounds like an old tape stretched out of shape, always wavering and changing pitch. Then she slides a book out of her purse. I mute the laptop.

I try again with a different set of phonetic assumptions. Nope, nothing. Kat is moving silently on the screen, waving to someone. I have the book wrapped up, and Lapin has her card out—6YTP5T—but then she glides over to one of the short shelves up front, the ones with the normal books.

Oh, no. Long seconds pass.

Then it takes her approximately three days to find her checkbook. She presses the check flat and signs it slowly: Rosemary Lapin. Why am I punishing this old woman for my own weird ways? Something softens inside of me.

My mask melts and I give her a smile—a real one. They poke out at the top: The door tinkles, and she and her peacock feather are gone.

The customers say that sometimes. They say: Festina lente. I lunge back down toward the screen. When I unmute the speaker, Kat and Trevor are still chatting happily. Kat is laughing. There is so much bubbly laughter coming out of my laptop speakers. Trevor is apparently the cleverest, most interesting man in the whole city of San Francisco.

Neither of them is on camera, so I assume she is touching his arm. All at once I feel stupid, and I am sure this whole thing has been a terrible idea. This exercise in telepresence, on the other hand, does not have a point, and everyone is probably laughing at me and making faces at the laptop just off-camera.

My face is burning. Can they tell? Am I turning a strange shade of red on the screen? Exhaustion floods into my brain. What a mistake. The curve of the P is beautiful. My breath fogs the glass. Be normal, I tell myself.

Just go back and be normal. I slide back into place behind the desk. Kat is alone. It looks like a cabin on an ocean liner. Then she falls asleep. I am alone in the bookstore, looking across the city at her sleeping form, lit only by the gray light of her laptop. In time it, too, falls asleep, and the screen goes dark.

I mean, why put it on the shelf all the time? Sounds like a recipe for back strain if you ask me. With luck, this choice will catch on and cast a new shadow of normalcy in which I can crouch and hide. They walk to the bakery and buy a loaf of bread every day—perfectly normal—until one day they buy a loaf of uranium instead. I see her apartment unmediated by screens. We play video games. We make out. One night we try to cook dinner on her industrial stove, but halfway through we judge the steaming sludge of kale a failure, so instead she pulls a neat plastic tub out of the refrigerator, full of spicy couscous salad.

She shakes her head. I bring food home most days. Most of her friends work at Google. Most of her conversations revolve around Google. Now I am learning that most of her calories come from Google. Also, lots of funny hats.

I want to see the princess in her castle. My ticket to Google is logbook VII. Then he brings a pair of vintage golf cleats down from his attic aerie; I squeeze my feet into them and march back and forth across the leather for two hours. In the living room late at night, Mat works on his miniature city while I sit on the couch with my laptop, googling widely, reading detailed book-making tutorials out loud.

We learn about binding. We track down vellum wholesalers. We find dusky ivory cloth and thick black thread. We buy a book block on eBay.

Not like the computer guys, you know? They just do the same thing every time. For us, every project is different. New tools, new materials. I had forty-eight hours to become a bonsai master. If we could keep Mat going for a thousand years, he could probably build us a whole new world.

See, it has pointier serifs. Nowhere else is the bucks-to-bytes ratio so severe. An e- book costs about ten dollars, right? For the record, you download more data than that every time you look at Facebook. With an e-book, you can see what you paid for: So of course people try to pirate fonts. I am not one of those people. I took a typography course in school and for our final project, everyone had to design their own typeface.

I had grand aspirations for mine—it was called Telemach— but there were just too many letters to draw. It ended up capitals-only, suitable for shouty posters and stone tablets. So trust me, I know how much sweat goes into those shapes. Typographers are designers; designers are my people; I am committed to supporting them.

But now FontShop. So of course I will try to pirate this font. A connection zigzags through my brain. There are fonts, too—illegal letters of every shape and size. I page through the listings: Metro and Gotham and Soho, all free for the taking. Myriad and Minion and Mrs Eaves. And there, too, is Gerritszoon Display. I feel a pang of remorse as I download it, but really just a tiny pang. Gerritszoon is an old font, its eponymous creator long dead.

What does he care how his typeface is used, and by whom? It sits silently embossing on the kitchen table for three days and three nights, and when Mat releases the clamp, the cover is perfect. Night falls. Tonight I will make the switch. If fidgets were Wikipedia edits, I would have completely revamped the entry on guilt by now, and translated it into five new languages. The thinnest tendrils of dawn are creeping in from the east. People in New York are softly starting to tweet.

The real logbook VII is stuffed into my messenger bag but way too big for it, so it bulges out and looks, to my eye, like the most ludicrously incriminating thing in the world. The fake logbook is standing with its stepsiblings. First I panicked. Then I ventured deep into the Waybacklist, scooped dust off the shelves there, and sprinkled it in front of the fake logbook until the depth and grade of the dust matched perfectly.

I have a dozen explanations with branching subplots if Penumbra spots the difference. But I have to admit: My touch-up dust is ILM-caliber. Too fast. Crouch there.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Nothing too expensive. Perhaps you can recommend a make and model? I feel sick. It is past time. Penumbra see you later. Have a good day. Who cares about the whereabouts of an old logbook from an obscure used bookstore for sixteen measly hours? All of this, just to impress a girl.

I follow the pale arrow down a curving sidewalk flanked by eucalyptus trees and bike racks. Around the bend, I see wide lawns and low buildings and, between the trees, flashes of branding: Both are superpowers with unmatched resources, but both are faced with fast-growing rivals, and both will eventually be eclipsed.

For America, that rival is China. This is all from tech-gossip blogs, so take it with a grain of salt. They also say a startup called MonkeyMoney is going to be huge next year. Google pays brilliant programmers to do whatever the hell they want. Kat meets me at a blue security checkpoint, requests and receives a visitor badge with my name and affiliation printed in red, and leads me into her domain. We cut through a broad parking lot, the blacktop baking in the sun.

There are no cars here; instead, the lot is packed full of white shipping containers set up on short stilts. A semi truck is arriving at the far end of the lot, roaring and hissing. We build them in Vietnam, then ship them wherever. They all hook up automatically, no matter where they are.

Wide walkways curve through the main campus. The front is open, tarp pulled up above the entryways, and short lines of Googlers poke out onto the lawn. Kat pauses, squinting. It is indeed, my ambiguously European friend. I make small talk: Something clicks. It has vitamins, some natural stimulants. Now I am up to eleven bananas every day. Body hacking!

Wait, did the couscous salad have stimulants? Across the grass, the Googlers all wear snug jeans and bright T-shirts. So I just let it pass, and I remind myself that she brought me here.

This is the trump card in these situations: Yes, everyone else is smart, everyone else is cool, everyone else is healthy and attractive—but she brought you. You have to wear that like a pin, like a badge.

I look down and realize my visitor badge actually says that— NAME: Kat Potente —so I peel it off and stick it a little higher up on my shirt. The food is, as promised, fantastic. I get two scoops of lentil salad and a thick pink stripe of fish, seven sturdy green lines of asparagus, and a single chocolate- chip cookie that has been optimized for crispiness.

Little slices of light dance across the table, which has a paper covering marked out with a pale blue grid. At Google, they eat lunch on graph paper. Did everybody here go to Stanford? Do they just give you a job at Google when you graduate? When Raj speaks, he seems suddenly ten years older. His voice is clipped and direct: I point at my badge and concede that I work at the opposite of Google.

Then his brain slots into a groove: Old knowledge in general. We call it OK. Old knowledge, OK. Did you know that ninety-five percent of the internet was only created in the last five years? But we know that when it comes to all human knowledge, the ratio is just the opposite—in fact, OK accounts for most things that most people know, and have ever known. OK and TK. On the web, on your phone. No question would go unanswered ever again. He makes a single dot off to the side of the blobs and smooshes the marker down, making the black ink bleed.

But I think I know this one. The PM runs the company. They approve new projects, assign engineers, allocate resources. Your name gets drawn and you serve on the PM for twelve months. Anybody could be chosen. Raj, Finn, me.

I realize: But people take it really seriously. Thirty thousand people work here, there are sixty-four on the PM. You do the math. People say they might expand it again.

Yeah, Raj is a little too intense for Middle America. Maybe you could. We peek down. Every few seconds the bubbles freeze and the lines snap straight, like the hair sticking up on the back of your neck. Then the screen flashes solid red. One of the engineers mutters a quiet curse and leans in to her laptop.

Kat shrugs. Probably something internal. Most of the stuff we do is internal. Harsh floodlights glare down on an operating table ringed with long, many- jointed metal arms. The air stings like bleach. The table is also surrounded by books: I spy Dashiell Hammett. A tall Googler named Jad runs the book scanner. He has a perfectly triangular nose over a fuzzy brown beard. He looks like a Greek philosopher. And you…? Then he darkens: For putting you guys out of business.

But … I do sell books. I am the manager of a Google ad campaign designed to reach potential book buyers. Somehow it snuck up on me: I am a bookseller. The ads make so much money, it kinda takes care of everything. Even if we made, like, five … million … dollars? For the record: It gives us freedom. We can think long-term. We can invest in stuff like this. Her eyes are wide and glinting in the light.

I dig the logbook out of my bag and hand it over. He runs long fingers across the embossing on the cover. No spines broken here. Then he places the frame on the table and locks it down with four clicky brackets. Finally, he gives it a test wiggle; the frame and its passenger are secure. The logbook is strapped in like a test pilot, or a crash-test dummy.

Jad scoots us back away from the scanner. The floodlights start strobing, turning everything in the chamber into a stop-motion movie. The arms stroke the pages, caress them, smooth them down. This thing loves books. At each flash of the lights, two giant cameras set above the table swivel and snap images in tandem.

I sidle up next to Jad, where I can see the pages of the logbook stacking up on his monitors. The two cameras are like two eyes, so the images are in 3-D, and I watch his computer lift the words right up off the pale gray pages.

It looks like an exorcism. I walk back over to Kat. It really is. I feel a pang of pity for the logbook, its secrets all plucked out in minutes by this whirlwind of light and metal. Books used to be pretty high-tech, back in the day. Not anymore. But Kat has a plan. Yes, we are definitely impatient. Google, Facebook, the NSA.

I love the sound of it. Kat Potente, you and I will have a son, and we will name him Hadoop, and he will be a great warrior, a king! She stretches forward, her palms planted on the desk.

I love it—the feeling. I can smell everything sharply all of a sudden; her hair, shampooed recently, is up against my face.

Her earlobes stick out a little, round and pink, and her back is strong from the Google climbing wall. I trace my thumbs down her shoulder blades, across the bumps of her bra straps. She moves again, rocking. I push up her T-shirt and the letters, squished, reflect in the laptop screen: She slides away from me, hops off the bed, and climbs back onto her black desk chair.

Perched there on her toes, her spine curving down into the screen, she looks like a gargoyle. A beautiful naked- girl-shaped gargoyle. She turns to me, flushed, her hair dark and wild. The real logbook is safely on its shelf. The fake logbook is tucked into my bag. Everything has gone exactly according to plan. I pull the scanned data out of the Big Box; it takes less than a minute over bootynet. All the little tales anyone has ever scratched into that logbook stream back into my laptop, perfectly processed.

Now, computer, it is time for you to do my bidding. This sort of thing never works perfectly at first. I pipe the raw text into the visualization and it looks like Jackson Pollock got his hands on my prototype. There are splotches of data everywhere, blobs of pink and green and yellow, all harsh arcade-game hues. The first thing I do is change the palette. Earth tones, please. I only want to see who borrowed what. These, though, are customers from years ago. Every customer leaves a trail, a drunken zigzag through the shelves.

The shortest constellation, rendered in red clay, makes a tiny Z, just four data points. The longest, in dark moss, curves around the whole width of the store in a long jagged oval. I give the 3-D bookstore a push with the trackpad and set it spinning on its axes.

I stand up to stretch my legs. On the other side of the desk, I pick up one of the Dashiell Hammetts, untouched by anyone since I noticed them that first day in the store. I mean, seriously: I should start looking for a different job. This place will drive me nuts.

When I come back to the desk, the bookstore is still spinning, whirling like a carousel … and something strange is happening. Once every rotation, the dark moss constellation snaps into focus. I smack my hand on the trackpad, slow the model to a halt, and bring it back around. The dark moss constellation makes a clear picture.

The other constellations fit, too. None of them are as complete as the dark moss, but they follow the curve of a chin, the slope of an eye.

They make a face. That describes a lot of jobs, I realize, but this is potentially a special kind of magick-with-a-k weirdness. His face goes slack, and then he says, quietly: Look at him!

Right there on the screen! I realize now, with Penumbra leaning in close, that I have made the common mistake of assuming that all old people look the same. Or the Brito inversion? Borrowed it. He pauses. Are we talking about a police report? Grand theft codex? Penumbra, is there a problem? You cheated—would that be fair to say? And as a result, you have no idea what you have accomplished.

That would be fair to say. When I look back up at Penumbra, his gaze has softened. He vexes novices for years. And yet you revealed him in—what? A single month? His eyes flash again. He looks rattled and exhilarated; actually, he looks a little crazy. Go home, my boy. Whether you understand it or not, you have done something important today. I gather up my laptop and my messenger bag and I slip out the front door.

The bell makes just the barest tinkle. I glance back through the tall windows, and, behind the curving golden type, Penumbra has disappeared. It looks all wrong. The store is always open, always awake, like a little lighthouse on this seedy stretch of Broadway.

But now the lamps are doused and there is a tidy square of paper stuck to the inside of the front door. For a moment I am furious, full of selfish rage. What the hell?

When will it open again? This is a pretty irresponsible thing for an employer to do. But then I get worried. What if it got Penumbra so worked up that he suffered a tiny heart attack? Or a massive heart attack?

A flood of shame washes through my blood and mixes with the anger and they swirl together into a heavy soup that makes me feel sick. I walk to the liquor store on the corner to get some chips. Should I go home and come back tomorrow? Should I look Penumbra up in the phone book and try to call him? Scratch that. I duck behind a trash can why did I just duck behind a trash can?

Then she glances furtively up and down the street, and when the pale oval of her face swivels this way, I see a look of tight-drawn fear. She turns and glides back the way she came. I drop my Fritos in the trash can and follow her. The nozzle head of Coit Tower rises on the hill high above us, a spindly gray cutout against the deeper darkness of the sky. Midway along a narrow street that curves up around the contour of the hill, Lapin disappears. I sprint to the spot where she last stood and there I find a skinny stone staircase set into the hillside, running like an alleyway between the houses, cutting steeply upward under a scrim of branches.

Lapin is somehow already halfway up. So I cough and grunt and lean into the hill and follow her up. The only light comes from tiny windows set high in the houses on either side; it spills out into the branches above, heavy with dark plums. In another moment a flock of wild parrots, roused from their perches, comes barnstorming down the tree-lined tube into the open night air.

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