A Novel

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her--feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it. Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she's providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer's market, and a whole new world opens up. When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780374203108
Branch Call Number: SLOAN
Characteristics: 259 pages : map ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Recommended by: Sarah

ontherideau Aug 30, 2019

The storyline was the hook, the language was the anchor.
"The man's aspect and the alpaca's were approximately equivalent: wary, not unfriendly, but fundamentally alien." Books about robotics, bread making and alpacas are rare.

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JCLCharlesH Feb 22, 2021

This speculative fictional exploration of the modern world of food mixes the everyday magic of baking with more unexplainable mystical elements. With clear parallels to the technology that society is growing more reliant upon, Robin Sloan's exploration of the love of creating something with passion and intention offers another path forward for all of us.

Jul 05, 2020

An interesting read! It does make you want to try and bake some sourdough!

CircMary Apr 08, 2020

I’ve just mixed up my first sourdough starter. But what if sourdough could magically change your life? This fun and unusual tale from the author of ”Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hr. Bookstore” combines food and technology in the not-so-distant future. Your relationship with bread will never be the same!

Mar 02, 2020

Love the SF culture included in this book. We've got Silicon Valley meets Alice Waters. It's not traditional sci-fi, but it is imaginative. I like the positive message & how quickly the chapters go by. Highly recommend for reading while traveling.

CCPL_Carly Jan 20, 2020

The author's quirky second novel is as fulfilling and satisfying as a steamy, crusty loaf of sourdough, hot from the oven. Readers will find plenty of geeky humor and may enjoy the references to San Francisco culture.

AndreaG_KCMO Jan 06, 2020

I read this start to finish on a fourteen-hour plane ride when I should have been sleeping: that's how much I liked it. But I'm currently partial to quirky characters, not-quite-but-almost-realistic plot elements, faux technical jargon, and clever narration. Just a really fun yet unpredictable novel.

Dec 10, 2019

I really enjoyed this book.

FPL_AdamL Dec 09, 2019

Robin Sloan is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! His characters seem to always tap into something very deep about our shared experiences and his stories never fail to reveal something very true about how modern technology intertwines with our past.

Oct 24, 2019


ontherideau Aug 30, 2019

The storyline was the hook, the language was the anchor.
"The man's aspect and the alpaca's were approximately equivalent: wary, not unfriendly, but fundamentally alien." Books about robotics, bread making and alpacas are rare.

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Apr 19, 2019

"The power outlet looked like a little dude, but power outlets always look like little dudes."

(I put down the book and looked for myself ..... yeah, it does. I can see the wide open eyes and the '0' shaped mouth.)

Nov 25, 2017

The house was large and deeply lived in, all the shelves and surfaces stacked with boxes and books, framed pictures, old greeting cards set up like tent cities. If there was a spectrum of spaces defined at one end by my barren apartment, this marked the other extreme. Every single surface told a story. A long one. With digressions.

Nov 25, 2017

Here's a thing I believe about people my age: we are the children of Hogwarts, and more than anything, we just want to be sorted.

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