I was excited to see that Robin Sloan was writing a new novel. I enjoyed Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore and Ajax Penumbra 1969. I put Soudough on hold at the library and when it arrived I opened it right away and was consumed by it immediately. I read it morning and night and the middle of the night and during breaks from work.
Let me just say now, before I forget, Robin Sloan is one of the best writers I have read. His stories (he’s only written two novels, a novella and a prequel to one novel) are charming, but not cloying. He writes humorously at times — but not overtly so. I guess you’d say he has a “dry” sense of humor, which — to me — is the best kind.
Sourdough is about Lois, a young programmer who moves to San Francisco to work for an automation company as a coder of software for robotic arms. One evening she orders take out and her life changes dramatically.
I think my life might be changing dramatically because of this book. While I am not a coder, I do work long hours in front of my computer. On Thursday I made pizza dough for our out-of-town guests. I alternated between working at my computer and making the dough, letting it rest (time for work), kneading the dough, letting it rest (more work). It was such a productive day on both counts that I want to do that again — except with bread instead of pizza dough.
I have some questions for Mr. Sloan though:
In Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore Google is named. However, even though Google is probably used in Sourdough, Sloan calls it “the expedient search engine.” He also calls other obvious Internet entities “the expedient [insert their purpose]” and I wonder why.
Okay maybe that is the only question I have for Mr. Sloan.