Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Might contain spoilers.
I can’t help comparing it to Sourdough by the same author, since I read that a while ago and found it sublime and magical. This one isn’t of the same calibre, but it’s a very good novel in its own right. It’s very much ‘of the moment’ thanks to Google and its technology being one of the pillars of the story. The ending is quite a bit better than the rest—more like Sourdough, perhaps—and it’s impossible not to respond to the love of books that pervades the story. (I’ll admit it’s also sometimes very hard to concentrate on the words instead of admiring the beautiful typeface and its lovely small caps.)
Kat seems like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who’s only there to fulfill an author avatar’s desires, though how she responds to the failure of the OCR program does redeem both characters to some extent. Meanwhile, Neel having become rich and famous by creating a ‘boob physics simulator’ was quite the unnecessary detail to repeatedly emphasize.
Sadly, my copy lacks the glowing cover.
- I really need to read it again soon.↩