Robin Sloan

Cover Reveal

We’re pleased to reveal the cover for Robin Sloan’s Sourdough, his follow-up to his bestselling debut novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Here it is, with some words from Robin Sloan’s intermittent but secret-filled newsletter.

I’m not even going to bother with a long, loopy preamble. Simply put: I am delighted to reveal the cover of Sourdough, coming in September from MCD!

opens in a new windowSourdough by Robin Sloan


That there above is by Rodrigo Corral, the best designer of book covers working today. I’m biased, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

The scintillating bâtard-beam is thanks to FSG’s Tyler Comrie. (I really could not be happier that animated covers have become a 21st-century book marketing requirement.)

Now you know it’s called Sourdough!

Now you know to expect ferment, and exuberance, and strangeness.

The process of naming this book was new to me! Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore had its title fixed from the start. This one went by different guises, draft to draft:

* The Suitcase Clone: a cool title! Unfortunately, it came to pass that the number of suitcase clones in this story is zero.

* The Starter: There’s a premonition of Sourdough there, but it was too opaque. Are we talking about sports? (We are not talking about sports.)

* Marrow Fair: the name of a key location in the story. It works on the page, but every time I said it aloud, people gave me a sort of politely puzzled look.

* Lois, Her Robot, and the Sourdough: roundly rejected. But there is a robot in this story! Many robots, in fact.

Finally, we arrived at

* Sourdough: which is perfect.

Anyway, what I really want to talk about in this message is the hermeneutics of fermentation as they relate to society’s multivalent demands on—


Look what just arrived.

Literally this afternoon.

opens in a new windowAdvance Copies

These are the first advance reader copies. It feels miraculous, as always, to hold them in my hand.

Even more miraculous, in this case, is the presence of. . .is that. . .could it be. . .?

opens in a new windowSourdough maps

Here’s the thing.

I love many kinds of books.

I love books with maps best of all.

These ARCs came overnight, just two of them. There are a bundle more on the way, and I’ll be offering several to you of the Double Dagger. They will be allocated, as usual, via an abstruse and vaguely occult system. Watch for another message soon-ish.

That’s the news: cover, title, map! But before I go, I want to add a note about my publisher.

MCD is the new imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux (the U.S. publisher of Penumbra) engineered to “create a space to publish work and experiment with publishing styles, forms, and genres that are at the edges of FSG’s traditions.”

FSG’s logo, as you might know, is a neat little trio of fish.

MCD’s logo is. . .an electric eel!

The very first MCD book is imminent: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer—longtime Double Daggerers know I’m a fan—coming at the end of April. This book, to echo Publishers Weekly, basically invents a new genre—a very MCD thing to do.

From the description:

In a ruined, nameless city of the future, Rachel makes her living as a scavenger. She finds a creature she names Borne entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic despotic bear that once prowled the corridors of a biotech firm […]

I don’t know about you but. . .I am in! I am way, way in.

I have to confess that I was somewhat unsettled when I first read Borne’s entire description, because it’s like. . .well. . .My novel features a mysterious and charismatic lump of life-slime, too. Is there a limited number of slots for such things in popular culture? Is this Antz and A Bug’s Life?? If it comes to that, I’m in trouble, because Jeff VanderMeer is really good at this. But I don’t think that’s how it works. In fact, it might work the opposite way exactly—and 2017 might yet be the Year of the Charismatic Lump.

Robin Sloan grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet.