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Blox

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Cornell

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Making the transition from a Krevolin-style adaptation to a Cornellian visualization of Mr. Penumbra is perhaps the easiest when it comes to visibility, for obvious reasons. However, my adaptation will combine the strong visual of the bookshelf with a more abstract representation of Clay’s achievement. When I think of how far he’s come from the opening scene of the book, when Penumbra is encouraging him to climb higher and higher on the store ladder, I think of the ascending bookshelves as representing his growth and success.

Since he is the main character, my blox visuals will focus mainly on him and his journey, but I would like to incorporate motifs of the other minor characters, such as the BAM! t-shirt and the dolphin and anchor, into my blox as well. This is because Clay would not be able to succeed without the help of his friends. All of their contributions are necessary if he is to succeed in his quest.

 

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Adaptation

As far as relating the visuals of the novel to Krevolin’s guidelines for adaptation, I see the bookstore visualization as a symbol for the challenge Clay must overcome. Throughout the novel, he struggles with his confidence in his abilities, but his model of the bookstore his first strong attempt at problem solving. He creates the model entirely on his own, and his skills are what helps him meet Kat, the Googler, who helps him take the next step and get access to the book scanner.

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The bookstore model symbolizes Clay’s ability to overcome obstacles with the power of his mind. Instead of trying to solve the founder’s puzzle the old fashioned way, he applies his technical skills and creative thinking to solve a problem in a new, interesting, unconventional way, thereby leading us to the second act of the story.

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Experience

This novel has a great many images which are essential to the development of the story.  Probably the most important is Clay’s digital model of the bookstore, which helps him solve the mystery of the founder’s puzzle. Using his knowledge of computer programming, Clay creates an interactive model of the books in the store and the patterns in which the patrons check them out. He discovers that the order of the books reveals a pattern shaped like the face of Aldus Manutius, the founder of the Unbroken Spine. Once he solves the puzzle, he is able to delve much deeper into the mysteries of the bookstore.

This visual image was obviously so important to the story that the American cover artist decided to replicate it on the front of the book. If you pick up a copy of the American edition, the little yellow books glow in the dark, just like Clay’s model.

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In addition to the major image of the glowing shelves, lesser images such as Kat’s red t-shirt with “BAM!” written on it and Manutius’s dolphin and anchor symbol serve as leitmotifs which hold the story together. Overall, visuals are very important to this novel.

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