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From Robin Sloan, writer of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, the tale of Mr. Penumbra's first journey to San Francisco - and of ways he acquired entangled with the city's most original always-open enterprise....
It is August 1969. The summer season of affection is a fading reminiscence. The streets of San Francisco pulse to the sounds of Led Zeppelin and Marvin Gaye. And of jackhammers: A futuristic pyramid of a skyscraper is emerging a couple of blocks from urban lighting book shop and an remarkable subway tunnel is being outfitted less than the bay. in the meantime, south of town, orchards are quick giving approach to a brand-new outfitted on silicon.
But younger Ajax Penumbra has no longer arrived in San Francisco trying to find loose love or a glimpse of the technological destiny. he's looking a ebook: the one surviving reproduction of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious quantity that has introduced and misplaced nice fortune for somebody who has owned it. The final list of the publication locates it within the San Francisco of greater than a century prior, and on that scant little bit of facts, Penumbra's college has dispatched him west to procure it for his or her library. After a couple of weeks of rigorous searching, Penumbra feels no toward his objective than whilst he all started. yet past due one evening, after one other day of dispiriting lifeless ends, he stumbles throughout a 24-hour bookshop, and the probabilities prior to him extend exponentially....
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Extra resources for Ajax Penumbra 1969
Prior to him, numerous steps again from the table, stands a tender girl in a eco-friendly corduroys. “Can I—ah. ” Penumbra units his publication apart. “Can I assist you? ” the girl appears comparing him. Penumbra isn't really certain how lengthy she has been status there. She is clutching an enormous dark-bound ebook just about her chest. “You’re new,” she says ultimately. “I am now not actually—ah. ” He offers in. “Yes. i guess i'm new. ” “I can get back later. ” “No, no. i will be able to assist you. ” She takes fast steps ahead, drops the ebook onto the table with a heavy whump, then retreats steps again. “I’m performed with that one. ” Penumbra suggestions the publication up, seems to be on the backbone. it really is one of many volumes from the tall cabinets. “Of course,” he says. “So. How, er—was it? ” She is silent a second, and he thinks she will be approximately to escape out front door, yet then her cool countenance cracks a bit, as though she can’t particularly include herself, and in a hurry, she says: “It was once lovely attention-grabbing. now not as difficult as i presumed it might be, from the best way he noted it. Mo, I suggest. It was once only a homophonic substitution cipher. ” She pauses. “Maybe I shouldn’t have advised you that. ” Penumbra has no thought what she is conversing approximately. Or what he's alleged to do now. An uncomfortable silence spreads among them. “Anyway,” she says ultimately. “The subsequent one within the series is … wait. ” She digs in her pocket, pulls out a wrinkled piece of paper. it really is coated on each side with letters scratched out and rewritten, blanks erased and stuffed in, like a video game of Hangman long gone incorrect. She reads throughout and down, mouthing the letters. Then she refolds the paper, stuffs it again into her pocket, and pronounces: “Kingslake. ” “Kingslake,” Penumbra repeats. He reveals the rectangular ledger that Corvina consulted on his first visit—the catalog. The entries are handwritten; many are annotated, and a few are crossed out. He unearths KAEL, KANE (SEE additionally: CAIN), KEANE, KIM, KING, after which, KINGSLAKE. The catalog specifies coordinates. “Three … twenty-three,” Penumbra reads. “Three twenty-three. Wait the following, please. ” He pads again towards the tall cabinets, the place he reveals numbered brass plaques set low, at nearly Al-Asmari-level. He follows them all the way down to III and rolls the ladder into position, fumbling with the locking brace on the backside. Then he climbs. It seems that shelf XXIII is especially faraway from the floor. The Galvanic library has no ladders; there, they retain the books, sensibly, on many separate flooring. Penumbra grips the rungs tightly and takes sluggish, cautious steps—past V, earlier X, earlier XV and XX. At this peak, he can see the ceiling—can be certain that there's, actually, a ceiling, not only an infinity of darkish shelving. He counsel his head again to get a greater glance. there's a picture up there, a mural that covers the full zone, having a look similar to a Renaissance fresco. Piece by way of piece, he assembles the scene: climbers in cloaks on a steep rocky path. darkish clouds above them, and lightning that runs like a crack throughout the paint. Their expressions express extensive eyes and gritted the teeth, yet their hands are outstretched, they usually clasp palms.