By Robin Sloan
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 received entangled with the city’s most original always-open enterprise…
It is August 1969. The summer time 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 place and an unheard of subway tunnel is being outfitted below the bay. in the meantime, south of the town, orchards are speedy giving approach to a brand-new equipped on silicon.
But younger Ajax Penumbra has no longer arrived in San Francisco searching for loose love or a glimpse of the technological destiny. he's looking a book—the unmarried surviving reproduction of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious quantity that has introduced and misplaced nice fortune for a person who has owned it. The final checklist of the publication locates it within the San Francisco of greater than a century previous, and on that scant little bit of facts, Penumbra’s collage has dispatched him west to obtain it for his or her library. After a couple of weeks of rigorous looking, Penumbra feels no towards his objective than while he all started. yet overdue one evening, after one other day of dispiriting useless ends, he stumbles throughout a 24-hour bookshop, and the chances sooner than him extend exponentially.
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Not so fast," Stymy said. "I'm on probation; I have to follow every rule exactly or I'll get my flight feathers pulled. " The bird perused the paper. "You were delivered in the year 1093. " He did a double take. " "I was five years old when delivered," Surprise said. "That's why I was named as I was: Grundy and Rapunzel had almost given up waiting for me in five years, and then suddenly there I was, late but whole. " "I'm not sure of that," the stork said. "According to the rule, age is counted from the moment of delivery forward.
A fluorescent bulb flashed over the office stork's head, the kind that denoted a quirky but effective notion. "I will do better than that. " "All we need is the information," Che said. "I can't tell you," Stymy said. " "Because the fissure closed up and there is no longer a direct route there. " "Good enough," Stifle Stork said. "Go away with them. " "They will doubtless get there," Stifle said. " "I'm not sure about this," Surprise said.
The next tree bore full-grown men and women in scanty costumes that showed too much of their bodies. They hung in pairs of male and female, but were not paying attention to their immediate companions. They were constantly turning in place and eying others of the opposite gender. In fact they were flirting, exchanging secretive smiles and glimpses of flesh. It seemed they preferred any partners but their own. Surprise was disgusted. Where did these folk think they were, Mundania? Xanth wasn't like this.