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Sunny and the Algorithms of Gloom: Chapter 2.1

by Spearmint


Sunny glanced at Elsie doubtfully. "Isn't that, well, your job? I don't think the other librarians would appreciate a stranger shelving books… What if I mess up?"

"Don't worry, the ones I have are pretty easy." Elsie patted the stack of books. "So, let's start with the reference manuals. First off, there are these things called Comparators that you can use if you want to compare objects by a specific attribute, or you can have a class implement Comparable, or…"

Sunny blinked as Elsie kept talking. She could recognize most of the words, but they were strung together in a way that made no sense. "W-wait! Information overload." Sunny winced. "I didn't get a thing you said. Could you slow down, please?"

Elsie looked at Sunny, and her expression softened. "Sorry, I guess classes and objects aren't the easiest to wrap your head around at first. When I learned about them in school, we spent a whole month practicing. And here I am, going on about Comparators and Comparables…" Elsie handed Sunny a stack of colorful books. "Okay, just shelve these by color."

Sunny breathed a sigh of relief. That was something she could do.

Soon enough, Sunny had finished organizing the reference manuals in Rainbow Row. Elsie handed her another stack of books and told her to organize them by author on a different shelf. The manual work helped her digest classes and objects until she at least felt like she was treading water on the surface, not drowning in all the information.

Finally, they had finished. Elsie dusted her hands off and grinned. "Well, now you're free to browse the library! I do hope you're able to find whatever you're looking for. Just remember to turn in that dark magic book to Mrs. Univac before you leave. She's the librarian at the front."

Sunny hesitated, then nodded and waved goodbye to Elsie. "Thank you!"

As Elsie got back to her other work, Sunny wandered back towards the main seating area, admiring the vibrant artwork on the ceiling. It had abstract punctuation art around the edges and dancing stacks of books. In the center was a large design that resembled a steaming cup of coffee.

"Oh! Sorry!" Sunny apologized to the person she'd bumped into. "I guess I shouldn't stare at the ceiling and walk, huh…"

The man nodded brusquely and hustled away with a beautiful silvery book under his arm.

Sunny focused on navigating back to Robert.

Three tables, ten patrons, and one almost-stumble later, Sunny found the robot still charging against the wall. She tapped him gently. "Robert, I don't think we'll find anything else useful here. Should we go?"

The robot hummed quietly, then groaned as he fully woke up. "I was enjoying my charge, but I suppose… Do you have the book secure?"

Sunny nodded. "For now. It's just that I, um, kind of told the librarians that I'd let them burn it before I left."

"You what?" Robert jolted upwards and out of the charging dock.

"See, I didn't want to destroy evidence either, but I didn't want to tell them that."

"The book is our only clue, is it not?"

"Yeah. So what do we–"

A door slammed open. Sunny whipped around.

"Attention!" A group of people dressed all in black were standing in the main entrance of the library. "This is a robbery. We are the No-Ledgers and we have come here to demand your knowledge."

The patrons of the library stared at them. Someone dropped a pencil and for a moment, the only sound was that of the pencil rolling under a desk.

"Huh? Say what?" Sunny whispered to Robert.

One person stepped to the front of the group and cleared his throat. "Did you not hear us? We're taking your knowledge, a.k.a., books. But money would be great too."

The librarian at the front desk finally recovered her wits and reached for a phone.

"Uh-uh. No calling the police." The guy puffed up his chest. "In case you didn't know, we, the No-Ledgers, are the ones responsible for stealing the error descriptions. And we can do worse!"

A couple of people in the room gasped.

"Wait…" Sunny narrowed her eyes. "So they're stealing the credit, huh? Or the blame, I suppose."

Robert shrugged. "More importantly, what could they possibly have to gain from stealing from the library? These books can be traced."

The robbers started circulating through the library and seizing books. One took the silver book from the man Sunny had bumped into earlier.

There was a scuffle in one corner of the room, but the person was quickly overpowered and the robbers continued shoving books and the occasional piece of jewelry into burlap sacks.

Sunny frowned. "As a hero, it's my duty to stop this. Do you think a loud confrontation or a sneak attack would be best?"

Robert shook his head. "You'd be outnumbered either way. And remember, use your brain!"

"Yes," Sunny muttered, "well, my brain is telling me to fight."

A robber stopped in front of the two and sneered. "Open your backpack."

Sunny clutched her backpack tighter. "No."

The robber tapped a black high-heel against the floor impatiently. "I'll give you three seconds. One… Two… Three!"

Despite the heels, the robber moved quickly enough to act like she was grabbing the backpack from the right, then switch directions as Sunny was shifting to shield the pack.

She gave it a solid thump and pushed it down out of Sunny's embrace like a basketball. "Ha!"

The robber rifled through the contents and pulled out the guide. "I'll be taking this." She dropped the backpack and started to move on.

"No!" Sunny launched herself at the robber and tried to wrestle the book out of her hands. They toppled to the floor, Sunny punching and clawing at the robber. "Don't you know… that…" she huffed, "stealing… is wrong!"

Immediately, a couple of the robber's allies rushed over and pulled Sunny off of her.

The first robber sat up, rubbing her head, still with Sunny's book firmly in hand. "Assault is wrong too. You're lucky we're not supposed to attack people, or you'd be much worse off." She huffed.

The others deposited Sunny on a chair and taped her arms to the sides, then continued making their rounds through the room. Sunny looked at Robert pleadingly and motioned to the tape, but Robert lifted his arm slabs and shrugged. No fingers. Right.

Sunny tried to wriggle out of her bonds, but by the time she had one arm free, the robbers had finished. They stood near the door and saluted. "Many thanks, and remember, we are the No-Ledgers!" Then they slammed the door open and disappeared. Literally.

One moment they were there, and the next, gone. Sunny hadn't seen them walking down the steps. She narrowed her eyes. Something wasn't right here, and she was going to figure out what it was.


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Sun Apr 30, 2023 11:06 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi mint! Lim here with a short review.

General Impressions

Ooh, a gang of criminals seemingly looking for fame (?) and with an honour code of some sort. I like the idea of them being at least one of the antagonists for this book – it feels like it suits the kind of story this is. There’s probably some kind of interesting motivation behind what they’re doing, and they can’t attack anyone, so things won’t get too grimy.

"Did you not hear us? We're taking your knowledge, a.k.a., books. But money would be great too."

^This line made me grin!
I also liked the touch of them trying to ‘steal the credit’ for taking the error descriptions, since that is something criminals or wannabe criminals do in real life. It makes me laugh that they thank the victims of their theft after they leave xD like they just got a present from them or something.

Plot

The man who was first carrying the silvery book seems suspicious. I feel like he might come and talk to Sunny since the book was taken from him. Or maybe Sunny and Robert will encounter him again somehow.
Robert brings up a good point about the books being traceable. I guess they don’t intend to sell them for money. They asked for knowledge *and* money and they seem to need the income from the extra jewelry they’re stealing from people. Maybe they’re going to burn the books? Or maybe they stole the library collections just to look for the one book that Sunny now has in her backpack? (If that’s the case, how did they know it would be there, hmm . . . )

Characters

Something I thought was interesting was how chilled out Elsie was about Sunny telling her she’s giving too much information all at once. After the fiery intro from last time, it feels like I’m seeing another side of Elsie.
I also like how unbothered Robert is about the whole robbery thing xD The scene where he indicates he can’t do anything about the tape was pretty funny.
The details of the No-Ledgers’ clothes (like the high heels) and their gestures help me imagine them a bit, even though there’s a whole group of them here which can make it hard to keep track of individual characters. I wonder if the ones that were described will become important enough to be named later, or if the No-Ledgers will just appear in a small part of the story.

Overall

I thought this part introduced an interesting plot point. It sure makes me curious about who the No-Ledgers are and what they want with all the books.

Keep writing!
-Lim




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Tue Mar 14, 2023 10:03 am
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well well well. Excitement and action. I was not expecting to see something like that break out for this. This book it seems is going to have those bad guys popping up a little bit faster and end up being a little bit more physical, and affect Sunny personally a little more. That's a very interesting change there.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Sunny glanced at Elsie doubtfully. "Isn't that, well, your job? I don't think the other librarians would appreciate a stranger shelving books… What if I mess up?"

"Don't worry, the ones I have are pretty easy." Elsie patted the stack of books. "So, let's start with the reference manuals. First off, there are these things called Comparators that you can use if you want to compare objects by a specific attribute, or you can have a class implement Comparable, or…"


Well that was quite the jump there. I wasn't expecting Sunny to come back with a protest like that, but the way that Elsie just fully brushed that aside and is jumping straight into technical works makes this even more surprising. Quite the start we have as a result for chapter two.

Sunny blinked as Elsie kept talking. She could recognize most of the words, but they were strung together in a way that made no sense. "W-wait! Information overload." Sunny winced. "I didn't get a thing you said. Could you slow down, please?"

Elsie looked at Sunny, and her expression softened. "Sorry, I guess classes and objects aren't the easiest to wrap your head around at first. When I learned about them in school, we spent a whole month practicing. And here I am, going on about Comparators and Comparables…" Elsie handed Sunny a stack of colorful books. "Okay, just shelve these by color."


Hmm at the very least it seems Elsie manages to remember to tone things back a little to poor Sunny. Now of course the question is will Sunny actually be taught about those concepts because it does seem like they could maybe be useful for Sunny to know at some point in time.

Sunny breathed a sigh of relief. That was something she could do.

Soon enough, Sunny had finished organizing the reference manuals in Rainbow Row. Elsie handed her another stack of books and told her to organize them by author on a different shelf. The manual work helped her digest classes and objects until she at least felt like she was treading water on the surface, not drowning in all the information.

Finally, they had finished. Elsie dusted her hands off and grinned. "Well, now you're free to browse the library! I do hope you're able to find whatever you're looking for. Just remember to turn in that dark magic book to Mrs. Univac before you leave. She's the librarian at the front."


Well that went pretty smoothly despite the slightly jittery start. The only concerning part about that is the fact that Sunny is not actually going to be able to leave this library with that book in hand, at least not going to be able to leave normally and without causing any kind of chaos.

Sunny hesitated, then nodded and waved goodbye to Elsie. "Thank you!"

As Elsie got back to her other work, Sunny wandered back towards the main seating area, admiring the vibrant artwork on the ceiling. It had abstract punctuation art around the edges and dancing stacks of books. In the center was a large design that resembled a steaming cup of coffee.

"Oh! Sorry!" Sunny apologized to the person she'd bumped into. "I guess I shouldn't stare at the ceiling and walk, huh…"

The man nodded brusquely and hustled away with a beautiful silvery book under his arm.


Okayy..that is a very interesting detail to slip in there about the book. Maybe I'm grasping too much at straws because we haven't had much in the way of clues yet but that feels like it shouldn't be in that much detail if we weren't meant to notice at least something from seeing that.

Sunny focused on navigating back to Robert.

Three tables, ten patrons, and one almost-stumble later, Sunny found the robot still charging against the wall. She tapped him gently. "Robert, I don't think we'll find anything else useful here. Should we go?"

The robot hummed quietly, then groaned as he fully woke up. "I was enjoying my charge, but I suppose… Do you have the book secure?"

Sunny nodded. "For now. It's just that I, um, kind of told the librarians that I'd let them burn it before I left."


Well it seems Sunny actually is planning on doing things as she was told to given the circumstances although I can't imagine Robert is going to exactly be on board with that. Maybe now that Robert is available to speak to the librarian we'll have some sort of exception made.

"You what?" Robert jolted upwards and out of the charging dock.

"See, I didn't want to destroy evidence either, but I didn't want to tell them that."

"The book is our only clue, is it not?"

"Yeah. So what do we–"

A door slammed open. Sunny whipped around.

"Attention!" A group of people dressed all in black were standing in the main entrance of the library. "This is a robbery. We are the No-Ledgers and we have come here to demand your knowledge."


Ooooh this is interesting. We didn't really see any sort of antagonistic groups at the start of the book at all in the previous one, so seeing some robbers storming is a very interesting detail there purely in terms of what effect you're going for here.

The patrons of the library stared at them. Someone dropped a pencil and for a moment, the only sound was that of the pencil rolling under a desk.

"Huh? Say what?" Sunny whispered to Robert.

One person stepped to the front of the group and cleared his throat. "Did you not hear us? We're taking your knowledge, a.k.a., books. But money would be great too."

The librarian at the front desk finally recovered her wits and reached for a phone.

"Uh-uh. No calling the police." The guy puffed up his chest. "In case you didn't know, we, the No-Ledgers, are the ones responsible for stealing the error descriptions. And we can do worse!"


Ohhh this is interesting. It looks like some sort of local group of...well we have no idea at the moment...have managed to take advantage of the error descriptions being restored to claim responsibility. I suppose Sunny wouldn't take too many stops to correct that here because I have a feeling these robbers are just going to be instrumental in getting that book out without being burned. However Sunny is also a hero so she can't just ignore the robbery.

A couple of people in the room gasped.

"Wait…" Sunny narrowed her eyes. "So they're stealing the credit, huh? Or the blame, I suppose."

Robert shrugged. "More importantly, what could they possibly have to gain from stealing from the library? These books can be traced."

The robbers started circulating through the library and seizing books. One took the silver book from the man Sunny had bumped into earlier.

There was a scuffle in one corner of the room, but the person was quickly overpowered and the robbers continued shoving books and the occasional piece of jewelry into burlap sacks.


Well things are proceeding surprisingly very true to have a robbery of this nature would go, only instead of money they're stealing books which as Robert has confirmed seem like they would be pretty easy to go ahead and recover even if the police are only called later.

Sunny frowned. "As a hero, it's my duty to stop this. Do you think a loud confrontation or a sneak attack would be best?"

Robert shook his head. "You'd be outnumbered either way. And remember, use your brain!"

"Yes," Sunny muttered, "well, my brain is telling me to fight."

A robber stopped in front of the two and sneered. "Open your backpack."

Sunny clutched her backpack tighter. "No."

The robber tapped a black high-heel against the floor impatiently. "I'll give you three seconds. One… Two… Three!"


Unfortunately given that this is the very start of this novel I have a feeling Sunny is not going to win this confrontation. Robert being pretty clear about Sunny's lack of a chance is adding onto that, not to mention I don't see exactly what Sunny can do with code in this particular moment given her instincts appear to be fight. Although oooh is this where the great bashing in the face with heavy book happens.

Despite the heels, the robber moved quickly enough to act like she was grabbing the backpack from the right, then switch directions as Sunny was shifting to shield the pack.

She gave it a solid thump and pushed it down out of Sunny's embrace like a basketball. "Ha!"

The robber rifled through the contents and pulled out the guide. "I'll be taking this." She dropped the backpack and started to move on.

"No!" Sunny launched herself at the robber and tried to wrestle the book out of her hands. They toppled to the floor, Sunny punching and clawing at the robber. "Don't you know… that…" she huffed, "stealing… is wrong!"

Immediately, a couple of the robber's allies rushed over and pulled Sunny off of her.


Well that became a proper little wrestle there very quickly although judging by Robert not being able to help out and the robbers having help I don't think Sunny is going to pull this off successfully. This is the part where that sword would've come in handy.

The first robber sat up, rubbing her head, still with Sunny's book firmly in hand. "Assault is wrong too. You're lucky we're not supposed to attack people, or you'd be much worse off." She huffed.

The others deposited Sunny on a chair and taped her arms to the sides, then continued making their rounds through the room. Sunny looked at Robert pleadingly and motioned to the tape, but Robert lifted his arm slabs and shrugged. No fingers. Right.

Sunny tried to wriggle out of her bonds, but by the time she had one arm free, the robbers had finished. They stood near the door and saluted. "Many thanks, and remember, we are the No-Ledgers!" Then they slammed the door open and disappeared. Literally.

One moment they were there, and the next, gone. Sunny hadn't seen them walking down the steps. She narrowed her eyes. Something wasn't right here, and she was going to figure out what it was.


Oooooooh a defeat. Well that wasn't the most unexpected even though of course we were always going to root for Sunny until the moment that Sunny was actually defeated there. This does up some nice stakes though. We must track these robbers down and find out what this is all about. That disappearing act (unlike probably that silver book) looks like its very much a clue about these robbers.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I think a very interesting way to start chapter two. We've got quite a bit of excitement and the motivation for Sunny is already climbing right up now because besides just solving this one mystery she now has to get that book back and solve the mystery of these robbers. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate





I sleep with reckless abandon!
— Link Neal