Robin Sloan: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Thursday October 4, 2012
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

To celebrate the publication of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan is took over the Center for Fiction for 24 hours. He and a crew of writers, artists, a DJ, and other assorted brainiacs will investigate/celebrate the intersection of books, media, and technology. All of the goings-on were broadcast online leading up to the launch party for Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore on October 4 at 7:00 p.m. This event was cosponsored by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Electric Literature.


Robin Sloan grew up near Detroit and now splits his time between San Francisco and the internet. He graduated from Michigan State with a degree in economics and, from 2002 to 2012, worked at Poynter, Current TV, and Twitter. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is his first novel. You can learn more at and follow along at @robinsloan.


Wednesday, October 3rd
10:00pm: Max Fenton
Max Fenton, an evangelist and impresario standing at the intersection of books and the internet, talked to Robin about that intersection, and about the challenges of starting new projects in a busy, distracted world.
Thursday, October 4th
12:00am: Geoff Manaugh & Nicola Twilley
Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley are writers who focus on the uses and misuses of architecture and geography. They talked to Robin about libraries -- and not just the kind that hold books -- as well as their latest project called VENUE.

—The long dark night of the soul—

08:00am: Andrew Fitzgerald
Andrew Fitzgerald is a writer who also happens to work at Twitter, helping other writers and media makers of all kinds use the platform effectively. He and Robin talked about their experiences writing together in San Francisco, and about how Twitter can change a writer's life in 2012.

08:30am: Craig Mod (Tokyo)
Craig Mod is a publisher and writer who thinks deeply about the future of books. He's also in Tokyo, and this morning (his night), he gave Robin a virtual tour of a bustling Tokyo bookstore.

09:00am: Steven Johnson
Steven Johnson is the author of eight books, many of them about ideas and innovation. He and Robin talked about books as vessels for ideas, and how they fare against other formats in 2012.

10:00am: David Rees
David Rees is a cartoonist, writer, and humorist. He and Robin talked about the pleasures of physical work -- say, artisanal pencil sharpening (David's latest project) -- vs. the pleasures of digital work -- say, David's hugely popular comic series GET YOUR WAR ON.

11:00am: Jenna Wortham
Jenna Wortham is a reporter at the New York Times focused on technology, business, and internet culture. She and Robin talked about the native languages of the internet -- the patois and idiom of platforms like Tumblr, Twitter, and more. Jenna also discussed her zine Girl Crush.

12:00pm: Daniel Reetz (LA) & Alexis Madrigal (SF)
Daniel Reetz is a scientist and the inventor of a groundbreaking DIY book scanner. Alexis Madrigal is an editor at The Atlantic. Together with Robin, they talked about the potential and perils of book scanning.

01:00pm: Kasia Cieplak Mayr von Baldegg
Kasia Cieplak Mayr von Baldegg is an editor at The Atlantic, but not of words: she curates video for the magazine's website. She talked to Robin about what it's like to have that kind of job -- and how you get it. In addition, Kasia and Robin are both huge fans of San Francisco, so they talked about that city and how it's influenced their work.

02:00pm: Jace Clayton
Jace Clayton, also known as DJ /rupture, is a world-renowned writer and musician, currently working in the Writers' Studio right here at The Center for Fiction. He and Robin talked about the relationship between tools and creativity. Robin also reported the experience of using Jace's Sufi Plugins software the night prior!

03:00pm: Hilary Mason
Hilary Mason is chief scientist at Bitly and a popular speaker on the subject of data visualization and big data. She explained what both of those things mean, and then chatted with Robin about the belief that technology, put to work wisely, can effectively give us superpowers.

04:00pm: Tim Carmody
Tim Carmody is a writer and editor at The Verge, and a blogger with Robin at Snarkmarket. He and Robin talked about books as technology, and the future of reading on platforms like laptops and tablets.

05:00pm: Jason Kottke
Jason Kottke is a long-time blogger -- one of the very first -- who's build up a huge online audience over the course of more than a decade. He talked to Robin about the experience of maintaining something on the web for that long, and explained how he values -- or perhaps doesn't -- the record of all that work.

07:00pm: Party!