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on 7 October 2016
I loved this book and heard echoes of "Shadows of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zaphon and was not surprised to see others felt the same. I would love to get my hands on the Google E-reader mentioned LOL.
A good read, very absorbing, I would not be at all surprised to see it made into an animated film the likes of "Despicable Me"
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on 19 March 2017
Lovely prequel to Mr Penumbra's 24 hour book store. Only complaint is that it's too short!
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on 11 October 2017
Enjoyed the story, as a prequel, but would have enjoyed more if had been longer!
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on 10 June 2014
I enjoyed reading about the beginning of Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore, it was a interesting read and at great addition to the first book.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 13 March 2015
O.K. You finished Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel and you loved it or admired it or were impressed by it or just got a kick out of it. It was, in any event, so well written that you immediately checked to see if there was anything else out there by Robin Sloane. There was Annabel Scheme, which was well enough reviewed but not anything like "Penumbra". And then a nice short Kindle Single popped up just when you were resigned to waiting for Mr. Sloane's next novel. Oh, boy. The Kindle single is still on the Amazon site, but now you also have this hardback version published as a 24-Hour Bookstore prequel.

Well, I found this short story very satisfying. Ajax Penumbra is a fine character and it is a pleasure to have him drawn from the novel's shadows and set right on center stage. This version of San Francisco is as moody, vital and strange as the later version that serves as the novel's backdrop. The writing is a bit less flashy, but its calm restraint and attention to delicate detail is welcome. If anything, it may benefit from not having to carry the burden of a novel's full scale plot, with its loose ends and sometimes strained resolutions.

So, a very nice stand alone if you want to sample Mr. Sloan and a very satisfying companion to "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore". I could get to like this Kindle Single phenomenon.
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on 6 July 2015
Ajax Penumbra 1969 is the prequel to Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, it can be read alone with no problems, but I think those who have read the sequel first would probably get more out of it.

I must admit I actually think I prefered this one to the sequel. It certainly was quicker to get going, but then it was a short story- so I suppose there wasn’t much time for ‘faffing’.

It was interesting to see how Penumbra started, and his job sounded like a great job! I found his adventure more interesting than the adventure in the sequel too, although I would have liked to see more of his early days in the bookstore.

I came out of it liking Penumbra as a character much more too. He had interested me before, but we didn’t really get to know him.

I would like to know if they really did sink ships in San Francisco and build on top of them.
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on 30 December 2013
I came to this short book whilst looking for more work by Robin Sloan
after reading Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore. I thoroughly enjoyed
this work, my only complaint was that it was not a full length prequel as
it was addictive and enjoyable as the main book.

I am now looking forward for more work by Robin Sloan.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 July 2014
This slim volume is really, I think, a little treat for those who read and loved Sloan's "Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore". Basically it tells us how Penumbra found the Bookstore when he came to San Francisco (...cue That Song...) in 1969.

It seems that there other tenacious literary collectors, besides the Unbroken Spine, and Penumbra used to work for one of them. His quest for a particular book leads him to the Store where his life will change...

Like the main volume, this book touches on the (much more nascent) digital economy, with Penumbra seeking help from a colleague who's in at the start with the Internet, on the value of books, on encryption. But it's really much briefer, barely a morsel of the longer book. One to read if you'd like to know more about Mr P and his friends (and later enemies), but that's about all, really.
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on 3 April 2014
I have been meaning to read Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, but was a bit wary of buying it. When I saw this quite cheap I decided to try it. I will be buying the sequel as soon as I finish this review. This book tells how a young Ajax Penumbra, employed as a Junior Aquisitions Assistant at his college library is sent to find a book that has not been seen for over a hundred years. He traces its history to San Francisco. How he comes to the 24 hour bookshop and discovers the possible (or impossible) whereabouts of the book, makes an interesting story.
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on 9 January 2014
I loved the 24 Hour Bookstore so was pleased to find this short story to give me some backstory on Penumbra. It's a quick read but covers adventure, the history of modern computing and some philosophy in its short pages!
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