Not long now until the UK publication date of Iain M Banks' brand new Culture novel, Surface Detail, on October 7th 2010 (US readers will have to wait just a little longer, until October 28th).
Here's how it all begins:
"This one might be trouble."
She heard one of them say this, only ten or so metres away in the darkness. Even over her fear, the sheer naked terror of being hunted, she felt a shiver of excitement, of something like triumph, when she realised they were talking about her. Yes, she thought, she would be trouble, she already was trouble. And they were worried too; the hunters experienced their own fears during the chase. Well, at least one of them did. The man who'd spoken was Jasken; Veppers' principal bodyguard and chief of security. Jasken. Of course; who else?
You may have noticed that www.iain-banks.net has been offline for the past few days. That's because we've been re-decorating and have given the place a bit of a brush-up and dusting-down, courtesy of the fine folks at Kino Creative, who've I'm sure you'll agree have done a marvellous job.
The site is back in action now, as you'll have noticed if you're reading this article on the Latest News page. On the other hand, if you're reading on RSS, do click on over to the website, take a quick look around, maybe let us know what you think of the new look.
The recently-heralded server transfer and CMS upgrade is about to happen, so please do not be alarmed if the Iain [M] Banks website disappears from your screens for a short while. The Iain Banks Forum should not be affected by the changes.
Update, 13.01.09 The transfer is now complete and normal service appears to have been restored.
This new forum replaces the old installation which has been largely defunct and closed to new members for quite some time. Former and brand new members alike are most welcome to sign up for an account and join the conversation. Your frienfly, neighbourhood Forum Admin, along with moderators 'edash' and 'rac', will be on hand to help new members settle in and will be happy to answer any queries you might have.
Just a quick note to let folks know that we'll be moving the site to a new hosting platform over the next few days. This will involve a domain-name transfer as well, so there may be some down-time as a result. Normal service will be resumed as soon as humanly possible.
[If anyone happens to have the address of a friendly Mind who could make this happen in a nano-second or two, please do let us know via the usual channels.]
Update 17.11.08: Looks like this will be happening some time early next week now, folks. Normal service will continue for a short while yet...
Slightly shorter lead-time this time around, folks: we'd like you to send in your questions to us no later than Friday October 3rd, please - so that gives you just over two weeks to think of something devastatingly interesting to put to Iain.
We do still have a few potential candidates on file from the first two rounds, so please don't feel the need to repeat yourself if you've already submitted a question that hasn't quite made the cut yet. On the other hand, if you'd like to try a new angle, or follow-up on something that was mentioned in the first two Q&A sessions, then that's always worth a try.
Same procedure as before, folks: send your best question (just the one per correspondent, please), by email, to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line 'Iain [M] Banks Q&A Suggestion'.
We're hoping to post the answers sometime during the week commencing October 6th, Iain's schedule allowing, of course...