Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour-Bookstore by Robin Sloan tells the story of 20-something Clay, recently laid off from his job as a web desginer. Fresh out of college and with only one (failed) work experience on his resume, Clay is getting desperate to find a job when he stumbles upon Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. His ability to climb the ladders that stretch up all three floors of the impossibly tall, impossibly narrow bookstore land him the night shift job. There are three simple rules at his job. 1) Clay must arrive at 10 p.m. He must leave at 6 a.m. He cannot be late, and he cannot leave early. 2) Clay is not allowed to read the books that live on the shelves that stretch up to the ceiling. 3) He must keep a detailed, descriptive account of every customer who walks through the door – normal things like date and time and stranger things like the way they walked and what mood they seem to be in.
Clay is certain there’s something else going on at the bookstore, and as he and his friends get drawn in to the mystery, we visit Google Headquarters, a reading room below the subway in NYC, and the greatest independent bookstore ever put to print.
Redshirts by John Scalzi takes the trope of Star Trek "redshirts" and turns it on its head. The trope began with the original series - Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the command wore Blue and Yellow uniforms. When they would go away on missions, the person who died or was grievously injured was always wearing the only other primary color available – red. So “redshirt” became a codeword for someone who was going to die. This hysterically funny science fiction novel takes the idea of expendable redshirts and turns it on its head. The tagline is “They Were Expendable – Until They Started Comparing Notes.”