Inventing Media & Author Robin Sloan

Mar 25, 2014

01_Making_10Think of the formats we love:  books, 2-hour movies, serial TV dramas, blogs…the list goes on and on. All of these formats had to be invented. But how does that happen? How do new formats get started? And, how might a person participate in the process of “media invention”? To find out…join us. (Pasadena Public Library)

This year, Pasadena’s choice for One City, One Story is Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Sloan will be at Pasadena’s Idealab this Friday, March 28th for an evening revolving around media invention.

Sloan’s official bio says that he “splits his time between San Francisco and the internet.”

Sloan states, “When not writing, I dork around with technology” ( For over a decade, he has worked at Poynter, Current TV, and Twitter, “and at all those places, my job had something to do with figuring out the future of media.”

Here are more of his thoughts via

I often talk about the notion of a “media inventor”… so what do I mean by that?

I think a media inventor is someone primarily interested in content (words, pictures, ideas) who also experiments with new formats, new tools, and new technology. The paperback pioneer Allen Lane was a media inventor. Early bloggers were media inventors. The indie video game scene is full of media inventors.

Basically, media inventors aren’t satisfied with the suite of formats available to them by default. Novel, novella, or short story; album, EP, or single; RPG, RTS, or FPS — media inventors don’t like those options.

Media inventors feel compelled to make the content and the container.

An example might — might? — be Fish, an essay wrapped up in an app.

Anyway, if any of this sounds familiar, I invite you to use the label, too. And more generally, I’m on a mission to bring back the word inventor with all its connotations: protean lightning-crackle and occasional crackpotitude alike.

“Inventing Media”
Friday, March 28th, 6 p.m.
Idealab, 130 W. Union St., Pasadena 91103
Free event for all ages

Note:  Photo (top right) source: (fascinating to read and fun to watch; make sure to watch Wrecking Crew video).

Wrecking Crew Orchestra

Wrecking Crew Orchestra


Jan Sanders, Pasadena Public Library Director, will join author Robin Sloan in discussing his experiences while writing Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. A question and answer period will follow.

“Conversation with Robin Sloan”
Thursday, March 27th, 7 p.m.
All Saints, 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena 91101
For details, visit the Facebook event page




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