Week one: Penumbra

In this first week we’ll set up some minor techincal things, talk about the module, and see what we know and where we imagine we want to go. This module is based on collaboration, so it’s as well to start from that position! We’ll then spend the rest of thr session talking about Robin Sloan’s Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore:

  1. How would you describe Clay’s reading practices in the first few pages?
  2. There are a lot parallels with existing digital tools and digital resources and projects (you might need to look some of these up): e.g. distance reading; visualisation; crowdsourcing / mechanical turk; digital maps and geo-location services; book scanning, OCR and digitisation; 3D simulations and gaming; searching / indexing /archives /databases. Be prepared to share some examples you’ve found in the novel.
  3. ‘Hidden in plain sight.’ Examine the differences between these ways of reading patterns in this novel:
  • Small vs. large
  • Micro vs. macro
  • Close vs. distant
  • Invisible vs. visible
  1. Consider the apparent opposition between materially and textuality and/or virtuality. In the end, does the novel come down on one side?
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