A little Sunday reading: “Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store,” one of several wonderful short stories by San Francisco writer Robin Sloan. It’s sort of like magical realism for techies:

Back at Supply and Demand. The air is crack­ling with wi-​​fi; Kat and I are hav­ing the only spo­ken con­ver­sa­tion in the entire place.

She’s wear­ing the same red-​​and-​​yellow “BAM!” t-​​shirt as yes­ter­day, which means a) she slept in it, b) she owns sev­eral iden­ti­cal t-​​shirts, or c) she’s a car­toon character–all of which are appeal­ing alternatives.

I don’t want to come out and con­fess that I work at the offi­cial book store of the da Vinci Code, but I do want her mega-​​brain applied to this prob­lem. So I just play the visualization.

“You made this last night?” she says. “Impressive.”

We watch the lights curl around each other. We watch again. And again.

Read the rest online or buy it on the kindle.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    March 21, 2010

    Thanks for the link – that was engrossing.

  2. #2 Martin
    March 21, 2010

    Thanks for posting this. I love books and stories about books, and this one’s a keeper.

  3. #3 MacBean
    March 21, 2010

    You can also listen to an audio version of it here:

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