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Robin Sloan (born 1979) is an American novelist.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (2012)
- All page numbers are from the hardcover edition published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN 978-0-374-21491-3
- The buzz about Google these days is that it’s like America itself: still the biggest game in town, but inevitably and irrevocably on the decline. 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; for Google, it’s Facebook...But here’s the difference: staring down the inevitable, American pays defense contractors to build aircraft carriers. Google pays brilliant programmers to do whatever the hell they want.
- Chapter 11 “The Spider” (p. 82; ellipsis represents minor elision of description)
- “You know, old books are a big problem for us. 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.”...
“So where is it, right? Where’s the OK? Well, it’s in old books, for one thing...—and it’s also in people’s heads, a lot of traditional knowledge, that’s what we call TK. OK and TK.” He’s drawing little overlapping blobs, labeling them with acronyms. “Imagine if we could make all that OK/TK available all the time, to everyone. On the web, on your phone. No question would go unanswered ever again.”
- Chapter 11 “The Spider” (p. 86; ellipses represent minor elisions of description)
- He has the strangest expression on his face—the emotive equivalent of 404 page not found.
- Chapter 12 “The Founder’s Puzzle” (p. 96)
- “We believe that when this secret is finally unlocked, every member of the Unbroken Spine who ever lived...will live again.”
A Messiah, a first disciple, and a rapture. Check, check, and double-check. Penumbra is, right now, teetering right on the boundary between charmingly weird old guy and disturbingly weird old guy. Two things tip the scales toward charm: First, his wry smile, which is not the smile of the disturbed, and micromuscles don’t lie. Second, the look in Kat’s eyes. She’s enthralled. I guess people believe weirder things than this, right? Presidents and popes believe weirder things than this.
- Chapter 15 “The Strangest Clerk in Five Hundred Years” (p. 136)
- I feel a little whirl of dislocation—the trademark sensation of the world being more closely knit together than you expected.
- Chapter 16 “Codex Vitae” (p. 141)
- Thank you,Teobaldo
You are my greatest friend
This has been the key to everything
- Chapter 29 “The Pilgrim” (p. 277)
- There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care.
- Chapter 31 “Epilogue” (p. 288)
- Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in.
- Chapter 31 “Epilogue” (p. 288)
- After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this:
A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.
- Chapter 31 “Epilogue” (p. 288; closing words)