“[A] delightful first novel . . . smart, hip, and witty.”—Graham Joyce, The Washington Post "A slyly arch novel about technology and its discontents . . . [and] a hyper-charged adventure tale."—The New York Times "Splendid . . . Gloriously imaginative, an intelligent and literary adventure uniting up-to-the-second technology with ancient knowledge."—The Seattle Times "A charming fictive contemporary world that's a combination of the real, the virtual, and the imagined . . . How many novels are there in which a sixteenth-century printing font, Gerritzoon, assumes the power of a character (pun intended) . . . [in] events that mischievously spin out from San Francisco to New York, and from today to the fifteenth century? Let's just say, not many."—The Buffalo News “An irresistible page-turning novel.”—Newsweek “One of the most thoughtful and fun reading experiences you’re likely to have this year . . . extremely charismatic . . . deeply funny . . . there’s so much largehearted magic in this book . . . Sloan is remarkably gifted and has an obviously deep affection for both literature and technology.”—Michael Schaub, NPR Books “A jaunty, surprisingly old-fashioned fantasy about the places where old and new ways of accessing knowledge meet . . . [Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore] cleverly uses the technological age in the service of its fantasy . . . Sloan’s ultimate answer to the mystery of what keeps people solving Penumbra’s puzzle is worth turning pages to find out.”—Tess Taylor, San Francisco Chronicle “A winning literary adventure . . . Sloan grounds his jigsawlike plot with Big Ideas about the quest for permanence in the digital age.”—Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly “Fantastic . . . I loved diving into the world that Sloan created, both the high-tech fantasyland of Google and the ancient analog society. It’s packed full of geeky allusions and wonderful characters, and is a celebration of books, whether they’re made of dead trees or digits.”—Jonathan H. Liu, Wired, GeekDad “Robin Sloan cleverly combines the antiquated world of bibliophilia with the pulsating age of digital technology, finding curiosity and joy in both. He makes bits and bytes appear beautiful . . . The rebels’ journey to crack the code—grappling with an ancient cult, using secret passwords and hidden doorways—will excite anyone’s inner child. But this is no fantasy yarn. Mr. Sloan tethers his story to a weird reality, striking a comical balance between eccentric and normal . . . The pages swell with Mr. Sloan’s nerdy affection and youthful enthusiasm for both tangible books and new media. Clay’s chatty narration maintains the pace and Mr. Sloan injects dry wit and comedic timing suited to his geeky everyman . . . A clever and whimsical tale with a big heart.”—The Economist “Man, is this book fun—especially for any book nerd who isn’t in denial about living in the modern age. If you love physical books (the smell! The feel!) but wouldn’t give up your iPhone for any reason, if you like puzzles and geeky allusions and bookish cults and quests, then this book is for you. It also glows in the dark.”—Emily Temple, Flavorpill “What makes Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore so impressive is Sloan’s great gift for storytelling and his cast of brilliant, eccentric characters. Think of this novel as part Haruki Murakami, part Dan Brown and part Joseph Cornell: a surreal adventure, an existential detective story and a cabinet of wonders at which to marvel.”—Carmela Ciuraru, Newsday “Beguiling . . . The plot is as tight as nesting boxes, or whatever their digital equivalent . . . Sly and infectious.”—Karen R. Long, The Cleveland Plain Dealer “Sloan isn’t just exploring new ideas, but laying the groundwork for a new genre of literature. While the influence of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson is present, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is something all its own: a technocratic adventure where every riddle and puzzle is solved with very real gadgets, a humanizing reflection on technology that evokes the tone of a fairy tale, a brisk and brainy story imbued with such confidence that it will leave you with nothing but excitement about the things to come.”—Kevin Nguyen, Grantland “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a real tour de force, a beautiful fable that is given legs by the author’s bravado use of the real (Google is in there, for instance, the actual campus) to sell us on a shadow world of the unreal and the speculative. Robin Sloan comes across as so bighearted, so in love with the world—the ancient world, the contemporary world—so in love with love, in love with friendship, in love with the idea that our technical abilities can serve as conduits for beauty, that the reader is swept along by his enthusiasm. It’s a lot of fun—but it’s also a powerful reading experience with a wonderful undeniability.” —George Saunders, in Blip Magazine "Fun and funny and just plain enjoyable . . . Mr. Penumbras 24-Hour Bookstore celebrates both the old and the new in delightful ways. And it has the honor of being the first book of [the year] to make me cry, completely unexpectedly. Happy tears of that good-book-sucker-punch-to-the-place-in-the-heart-where-the-booklove-lives sort."—Erin Morgenstern
"A book about passion—for books, for history, for the future . . . There is nothing about Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore that I didn't love.'—Cory Doctorow “In a time when actual books are filling up tag-sale dollar boxes, along with VHS tapes and old beepers, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore reminds us that there is an intimate, adventurous joy in the palpable papery things called novels, and in the warm little secret societies we used to call ‘bookstores.’ Robin Sloan’s novel is delightfully funny, provocative, deft, and even thrilling. And for reasons more than just nostalgia, I could not stop turning these actual pages.”—John Hodgman “The love child of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a hugely enjoyable story of friendship, living, and the lure of the mysterious. It’s a good-hearted, optimistic book about the meeting of modern technology and medieval mystery, a tonal road map to a positive relationship between the old world and the new. It’s a book that gets it. Plus, you know: cryptographic cults, vertical bookshops, hot geeks, theft, and the pursuit of immortality. I loved it. And yes, I too would freeze my head.”—Nick Harkaway “Robin Sloan is a skilled architect, and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is an ingeniously designed space, full of mysteries and codes. A clever, entertaining story that also manages to be a thought-provoking meditation on progress, information and technology. Full of intelligence and humor.”—Charles Yu
Robin Sloan grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet.