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Ajax Penumbra 1969

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August 1969 San Francisco. Ajax Penumbra seeks a book--the single surviving copy of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious volume that has brought and lost great fortune for anyone who has owned it. Late one night, after another day of dispiriting dead ends, he stumbles across a 24-hour bookstore, and the possibilities before him expand exponentially.


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August 1969 San Francisco. Ajax Penumbra seeks a book--the single surviving copy of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious volume that has brought and lost great fortune for anyone who has owned it. Late one night, after another day of dispiriting dead ends, he stumbles across a 24-hour bookstore, and the possibilities before him expand exponentially.

30 review for Ajax Penumbra 1969

  1. 5 out of 5

    karen

    this was fine. maybe if i had read it closer to when i read the book itself, i would have appreciated it more. it's cute, but i hadn't felt any real urgency to gain readerly access to brief origin story-episodes in the life of young penumbra, so this didn't answer any big burning questions or make me cry "thank goodness i know that now!" i would gladly read a full-length prequel or sequel, and maybe this was just testing the waters - putting out e-feelers to see if there would be interest in con this was fine. maybe if i had read it closer to when i read the book itself, i would have appreciated it more. it's cute, but i hadn't felt any real urgency to gain readerly access to brief origin story-episodes in the life of young penumbra, so this didn't answer any big burning questions or make me cry "thank goodness i know that now!" i would gladly read a full-length prequel or sequel, and maybe this was just testing the waters - putting out e-feelers to see if there would be interest in continuation stories involving penumbra, and i'm sure there would be, but it's just a little tease. fun, but just extra fun, not seminal fun. if you are a san francisco person, you will enjoy all the clever little references and jokes - some of which i caught, many of which i'm sure i missed, having never been invited to san francisco. write me a biggun, sloan, and then i will be more on board. biggun!! come to my blog!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy Holman

    I loved Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, so when I saw this I just had to have it! It tells some of the back story behind Mr. Penumbra and how he came to end up in San Francisco. The only bad thing about it is that it's far too short! I'm ready for a full-length addition to the story of Mo and his mysterious band of cipher-breakers!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I didn't know this was a thing. I received a second copy of the wonderful Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore as part if the Nervous Breakdown's Book Club and was a little disappointed until I found this slim little volume included as part of the selection. It turns out it was also signed by the author. I sat down this morning and read this little prequel in about an hour, and I was immediately drawn back into the world of Penumbra. It was a lot of fun and brought to mind how much fun I had reading I didn't know this was a thing. I received a second copy of the wonderful Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore as part if the Nervous Breakdown's Book Club and was a little disappointed until I found this slim little volume included as part of the selection. It turns out it was also signed by the author. I sat down this morning and read this little prequel in about an hour, and I was immediately drawn back into the world of Penumbra. It was a lot of fun and brought to mind how much fun I had reading the big book. It would be great to read more from Sloan involving this bookstore however if he moves on to something else, I'll gladly follow.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    It's funny how we decide what's important to us. I had resigned myself to the idea that maybe it would be okay if I don't meet my personal goal of reading 5 owned books each month (two physical, two ebook, plus one more of either category). Only to get about halfway through my work day and decide NO I MUST MEET THIS GOAL. And I'd forgotten I'd put this on my Kindle home screen for consideration and it's short, so here we are! As you can see by my rating, it worked out for me! It reminded me of why It's funny how we decide what's important to us. I had resigned myself to the idea that maybe it would be okay if I don't meet my personal goal of reading 5 owned books each month (two physical, two ebook, plus one more of either category). Only to get about halfway through my work day and decide NO I MUST MEET THIS GOAL. And I'd forgotten I'd put this on my Kindle home screen for consideration and it's short, so here we are! As you can see by my rating, it worked out for me! It reminded me of why I loved Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore so much. It even had the technology love in there! Anyway, a lovely, lovely way to accomplish my apparently super-important monthly goal. Owned ebook 3/2 for the month Overall owned book 5/5 for the month

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    This is a quick back story to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. It's a light, fun, and imaginative read. I'm glad to know more about how Ajax came to be Mr. Penumbra. Of course, I found Cortiva to be just as endearingly irritating as well. Once again, like I felt after reading the larger book, I am aching for a visit to the City now. (San Francisco for those in the know.) This is a quick back story to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. It's a light, fun, and imaginative read. I'm glad to know more about how Ajax came to be Mr. Penumbra. Of course, I found Cortiva to be just as endearingly irritating as well. Once again, like I felt after reading the larger book, I am aching for a visit to the City now. (San Francisco for those in the know.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Fun! Just what the doctor ordered and free on Hoopla with a perfect narrator.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    3 stars This is actually the prequel to Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. However when I read that book I was unaware of this book and that is because this book was not yet written. Therefore I did not rush to read this. Cute little diddy with a couple nice twists and turns. Nice little short story about a college student, Ajax Penumbra, invited to work for Galvanic College's library as an Apprentice Acquisition Officer. His first assignment is to find the book Techne Tycheon. An invaluable book w 3 stars This is actually the prequel to Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. However when I read that book I was unaware of this book and that is because this book was not yet written. Therefore I did not rush to read this. Cute little diddy with a couple nice twists and turns. Nice little short story about a college student, Ajax Penumbra, invited to work for Galvanic College's library as an Apprentice Acquisition Officer. His first assignment is to find the book Techne Tycheon. An invaluable book which has been lost. Lost, but recently tracked up to the year 1657 with the name William Gray as the only clues to the books whereabouts. Young Ajax tracks the book to San Francisco and ends up in Mohammad Al-Asmari's "24 hour Bookstore". There he finds out that William Gray is not the person that he expected him to be.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I quite enjoyed this rather small introduction to Ajax Penumbra. I am still undeniably in love with Robin Sloan’s writing style. His relationship with words is absolutely magical. And the love and appreciation for books… it creates such a special, and rather singular, atmosphere. I honestly wish there were more pages... I think Mr. Penumbra deserved more time and space. Then again, his name is Penumbra...

  9. 4 out of 5

    C.

    It is a blessing to acquaint books that we immediately love as all-time favourites. It was very special to experience this phenomenon recently, on August 22, 2016 in my adulthood. I sped through the “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” quest in one day. I waited three years to indulge in the prequel by the very talented Robin Sloan. The closing of the year 2019 was unfortunately, nearing the conclusion of my dear Mother’s life. It was a heart-wrenching time, with the need to be soothed by finally It is a blessing to acquaint books that we immediately love as all-time favourites. It was very special to experience this phenomenon recently, on August 22, 2016 in my adulthood. I sped through the “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” quest in one day. I waited three years to indulge in the prequel by the very talented Robin Sloan. The closing of the year 2019 was unfortunately, nearing the conclusion of my dear Mother’s life. It was a heart-wrenching time, with the need to be soothed by finally opening my “Ajax Penumbra 1969” hardcover. When I could relax with it; I was as transfixed and elated with this mysterious, non-crime mystery, as with the début adventure. I am a fan with a unique perspective on why these novels are exceptional. They make astute observations, that original archives and technological gadgets both have a place in recording and enriching our lives. On top of this, wonderful quests are built. Please look to me for questions or information. I am perplexed by those who did not appreciate these novels, or who had the contradictory idea that readers should begin with the modern story. Now that a prequel is available: certainly start the series here, with the first introduction to the hero! It does not divulge any details that should be new and exciting in the modern 2012 story. Robin surely did even more research, to achieve the scope of satisfying, shrewdly-woven threads herein. At university, Ajax befriends one of the first computer pupils. They are also unique for retrieving rare books; a fascinating juxtaposition. Tracking a book to San Francisco, Ajax meets his bookstore predecessor. He follows sparse leads with enormous results. That city’s bizarre ship-scuttling history, coincides with the 1969 building of their subway system. This is an unforgettable, wholly original, five-star mystery!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shorty

    I wish there was so much more to this book...!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kavita

    A prequel to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Ajax Penumbra 1969 explores the life of Mr. Penumbra of the 24 Hour Bookstore. Ajax Penumbra is offered a job in Galvanic College's library, where he is expected to hunt out old surviving books for their collection. His first assignment is to discover what happened to Techne Tycheon, a book of prophecy. His quest takes him to San Francisco, where he encounters the mysterious bookshop to which he would later devote his life, the redoubtable Marcus Co A prequel to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Ajax Penumbra 1969 explores the life of Mr. Penumbra of the 24 Hour Bookstore. Ajax Penumbra is offered a job in Galvanic College's library, where he is expected to hunt out old surviving books for their collection. His first assignment is to discover what happened to Techne Tycheon, a book of prophecy. His quest takes him to San Francisco, where he encounters the mysterious bookshop to which he would later devote his life, the redoubtable Marcus Corvina and Mohammed al-Asmari, who completely disappears in the latter book. The book was mildly interesting regarding Penumbra's journey to this bookshop. But it lacked the delightfulness of the characters and the small scenes of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Character development was minimal and there was no reason given as to why Penumbra would leave off a wonderful and rewarding career doing something he loved to throw in his lot with the bookshop. It was a fun and short read for those who loved the original book. But really, Sloan is capable of much better than this, imo. I'd recommend it only if you already loved Clay Jannon's adventures and want to find out more.

  12. 5 out of 5

    kristin

    It has been a long time since I read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, and I'd forgotten how much I love escaping into the world that Robin Sloan has created. It made me both want to re-read 24hr bookstore and wish that he would write a new book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I read it straight after the book and really enjoyed it. It was a bit hard to get into at the beginning but I really liked it and it’s definitely a great addition to the story!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    A lovely little glimpse into the awesome Ajax Penumbra's life and how he ends up in San Francisco. I could have had more of this, but it was just lovely all the same. And to have the same narrator for this as well - that was just icing on the cake.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    A fun little short that's perfect for fans of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chinook

    That was a fun novella. I’m sure it would have been better if I’d read the novel it’s related to first, but I didn’t manage my library holds very well and this came up first. Cute story about finding a book, with some hippies and early computer science thrown in.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    I really enjoyed Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore but this prequel was lacking. It's more of a short story than a full book so by the time I started getting into the storyline it ended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maya Gopalakrishnan

    Fast paced and interesting The small prequel to Mr Penumbra's 24 hour bookstore was fast paced and as usual had bits of the code and computers humming along in the background. Not sure if it can be read as a standalone book. The bicycle trip through the tunnel with Penumbra and Corvina racing to find the craft of fortune was fantastic but then this book was about the ability to entertain certain absurd ideas. There could've been more character development with something to show why Ajax choses to Fast paced and interesting The small prequel to Mr Penumbra's 24 hour bookstore was fast paced and as usual had bits of the code and computers humming along in the background. Not sure if it can be read as a standalone book. The bicycle trip through the tunnel with Penumbra and Corvina racing to find the craft of fortune was fantastic but then this book was about the ability to entertain certain absurd ideas. There could've been more character development with something to show why Ajax choses to become a bookstore clerk abandoning his exciting job as both fulfilled his love for old books and puzzles. Firmly for Penumbra fans.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Juliane Kunzendorf

    This shortstory is a lot nicer to read than the follow up "Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour book shop". I don't think it is amazing, but a fun adventure - kind of more plausible than the other one and the main character is an interesting, curious and persistent person. Robin Sloane should definitely stay within the boundaries of short stories.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    An interesting and quirky little story. A nice companion novella to Mr Penumbras 24 Hour Bookstore. Its great to see where Mr Penumbra came from and get a bit of insight into his and Corvinas characters. A nice read

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeimy

    I had missed Ajax Penumbra! This brief book tells us how young Ajax first encountered the quirky, quixotical bookstore this reader came to know and love.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    *2.5 stars* this was cute, but unfortunately not enough substance to really get into the groove of the late 60's/early 70's.

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Velo

    Although this mini-novel was pretty adventurous and surprising, compared to the first book, it's lacking in some areas but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless. It was very interesting to learn deeper about the history of the bookstore/book club and to get to know Mr. Penumbra and the other characters at a different time period. It was a bit difficult to imagine that Mr. Penumbra was once a boy and had his own adventures since I've gotten used to envisioning him as an old man but this prequel made t Although this mini-novel was pretty adventurous and surprising, compared to the first book, it's lacking in some areas but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless. It was very interesting to learn deeper about the history of the bookstore/book club and to get to know Mr. Penumbra and the other characters at a different time period. It was a bit difficult to imagine that Mr. Penumbra was once a boy and had his own adventures since I've gotten used to envisioning him as an old man but this prequel made that happen. It basically tells how Mr. Penumbra got involved with the bookstore.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    If you loved Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, you'll love this novella. Really great. This author has a writing style I'm very fond of. And I'm always a fan of books about books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    This book makes most sense if you've first read "Mr.Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. (quick fun read)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Syazwanie Winston Abdullah

    Love this book! Read it after The Bookstore, so it made sense. Felt like I was visiting an old friend. And how now I know how Mr. Penumbra came about to join the "fellowship"!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Shannon

    This is such a cute short story but of course I wish the author would write more!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Lynch

    So I did that thing where I read a book then wait too long to review it. I'm tempted to drop my rating for Robin Sloan's Ajax Penumbra 1969 because I honestly can't remember a thing that happened in it. Well, I remember what happens generally, but I could not tell you any specifics at all. At. All. So this novella (or long short story?) is a prequel to Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which I read earlier this year. In it, Ajax Penumbra searches for a rare book called the Techne Tycheon. So I did that thing where I read a book then wait too long to review it. I'm tempted to drop my rating for Robin Sloan's Ajax Penumbra 1969 because I honestly can't remember a thing that happened in it. Well, I remember what happens generally, but I could not tell you any specifics at all. At. All. So this novella (or long short story?) is a prequel to Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which I read earlier this year. In it, Ajax Penumbra searches for a rare book called the Techne Tycheon... and yeah. That's pretty much it. I do want to say that Robin Sloan is an author I'm keeping tabs on because I think he is quite brilliant and I'm excited to see what he puts out next. I had some nitpicks with both Sourdough and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, but both books are still pretty damn good. Ajax Penumbra 1969 is my least favorite of the 3 works Sloan has published. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't that good either. I remember feeling that this story was fine, but a bit pointless. Mr. Penumbra isn't a very interesting or dynamic character and I could have done without any backstory about him at all. Actually, I prefer to know less about the guy. He is one of those characters who should be left shadowed in mystery. I would discourage anyone from reading this before they read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I'm sticking with 9-Days-Ago-Lisa and rating Robin Sloan's Ajax Penumbra 1969 3 out of 5 stars even though I don't remember much from this one. Try this if you have read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and like: hippie vibes, books about books, and backstory

  29. 5 out of 5

    Myrthe

    I just finished Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, and read this immediately after. I think that's also exactly why this is 'only' a three-star read for me: it just doesn't compare up to the brilliance that was Mr. Penumbra. It was fun to dive further into the universe and to learn about Ajax's background story, and I think it would have been a four-star read if I didn't read it straight after the first one. Still recommend this though!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    A fun, essentially preface, to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.

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