by Robin Sloan When Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was released, the New York Times ran a nice profile of me and the book, and to fit the book's themes, the reporter, Jenny Schuessler, decided we should meet not in a conference room, not in a coffee shop, but in a secret library. We convened on a rainy morning at the Grolier Club, a society of bibliophiles in New York City, where—in addition to chatting about Penumbra—we got a chance to see something special. There, spread out on a dark heavy table, waiting in a pool of lamplight, was a collection of "Aldines"—books made by a guy named Aldus Manutius circa 1500, back at the very dawn of printing. Manutius features prominently in Penumbra's plot. He also features prominently in the history of civilization, because his shop produced the first printed editions of the classics: Aristotle, Homer, Virgil, all those guys. I'd read plenty about Manutius, and I'd seen pictures of his books online. But I'd never seen one in person, and what I saw at the Grolier Club surprised me.
It may seem foolish to start a literary journal at a time when fewer people are reading books, and doomsayers fill column inches with "death of literature" jeremiads. But Andy Hunter and Scott Lindenbaum have developed a new approach that seems to work: find great short fiction and get it to the people wherever they are. They're also producing a number of more experimental approaches to narrative and technology that… well, we'll let Andy tell you himself. -Ryan Chapman Chapman: Give us a brief overview of Electric Literature and how you distribute the work to readers. Andy Hunter: Electric Literature was created as an optimistic response to the fear many were feeling in the face of a changing medium: what the obsolescence of the printed word meant, specifically, for literary writing.