Orbit announced today that Little, Brown UK announced the audio version of Transition by Iain M. Banks will be available as a free podcast beginning on September 3, its publication date. Banks is best known for his series of science fiction novels set in the Culture universe, but he writes some science fiction novels not set in the Culture and this is one of them (he also writes mainsteam fictions as Iain Banks). I’ve read two of the Culture novels, The Player of Games and Use of Weapons, and absolutely loved them both. They were simultaneously intelligent and entertaining, and The Player of Games was one of my very favorite books I read last year. I really want to read some more of the Culture novels, and Against a Dark Background sounds intriguing, too.

This week over at Babel Clash, the new Borders Sci-Fi book blog, fantasy authors Joe Abercrombie (author of the First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold) and Brent Weeks (author of the Night Angel trilogy) have been virtual brawling. I almost missed this because my RSS feed for this blog had stopped working, but fortunately, I heard about it in time to catch it – it has been a most entertaining debate.

Speaking of Best Served Cold, that’s what I’m reading right now. It’s already out in some countries, and it will be out in the US on July 29 (although I’ve heard Amazon is already shipping it). Best Served Cold is a stand alone book set in the same world as the First Law trilogy. So far, it’s pretty good – although, like First Law, it’s not something I’d recommend to people who like characters with tendencies toward goodness and heroics and all that jazz.

I’m halfway through a review of Archangel by Sharon Shinn and hope to have that up in the next couple of days. It’s almost the weekend; I always have more brain power for writing reviews then.