If you've been hoping Charles Stross would return to the diverse territories of his Laundry series, Saturn's Children or Halting State, then you'll be excited by his next few novels.

The award-winning author just signed a deal with Orbit UK to put out his next three novels, which cover the territory of Lovecraftian horror, space-opera and near-future crime. (He already signed a deal with Ace to put out these books in the U.S. back in December, but we missed the announcement back then.) Says Orbit Commissioning Editor Bella Pagan:

I couldn't be more delighted by this acquisition. I've been a fan of Charles Stross' work for years. I love his wit and his playful familiarity with an almost-tangible future and it's hugely exciting to know that we can look forward to publishing three new books.


So what are these books, and what are they about? Stross explained a while back on his blog:

The Apocalypse Codex is the fourth book in his Laundry Files series, and here's what it's about:

Bob has been promoted to junior management and sent to ride herd on a couple of contractors. "I feel like an eight year old who's been handed a laser pointer and a jar of catnip and told to amuse the kitties in the Siberian Tiger enclosure at the zoo," he complains. But then he discovers a big game hunter is stalking his kitties ...


As for the other two:

"Neptune's Brood" is set in the universe of "Saturn's Children", about 5000 years later on. It's going to be a - I make no apologies - mundane SF space opera. And Freya does not appear in it. I haven't perpetrated space opera in something close to five years; this is my excuse to scratch the itch and indulge in a guilty pleasure again. As we seem to be living through the golden age of exoplanetography, I expect any detailed plans I draw up between now and 2012 to change before I start writing ...

"The Lambda Functionary" is the third book in the thematic trilogy of near-future novels that start with "Halting State" and "Rule 34". And that's all I'm going to tell you about it just now, in case something makes it obsolete before I start writing (as transpired with "Rule 34" - Bernie Madoff stole my original caper plot). NB: "Halting State" examined games, reality, and augmented reality. "Rule 34" is about crime and business models. The plan for "The Lambda Functionary" is to take a look at the future of politics and diplomacy. And if you wonder why I've been thinking about utopias recently, this is the answer.