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Attention, British readers!

Apocalypse Codex UK cover

If you're in the UK, you've probably been grinding your teeth over the two-week delay in publication of "The Apocalypse Codex".

The folks at Orbit have been listening. And while they can't get the paper edition into the shops any faster, they have brought forward the publication date of the ebook edition to the 9th of July!

You can pre-order the Kindle edition here and it will be delivered to your device tomorrow.

Waterstones are still showing a publication date of July 19th for the ebook, but I suspect if you pre-order it here it'll show up tomorrow.

(This announcement was going to be a Monday morning surprise for you all, but as Amazon have plastered the revised publication date all over the book's web page, there doesn't seem to be any point maintaining the embargo. Happy reading!)

PS: If you have links to other UK ebook stores, feel free to add them in the comments. And if someone from Australia or NZ could let me know if the release date has propagated through to, I'd be grateful.



You may want to check out as a good ebook price comparison site. Needless to say I'll be ordering very quickly tomorrow :)


Here in Ireland they have you using the US Kindle store, so the date was always July 9th for me. Pre-ordered last week. I just finished listening to the audio book I had on my phone and also finished the Banks I was reading in preparation for Apocalypse Day. I'm ready and I can't wait!


From New Zealand, it now shows 9 July, instead of the far far future date it did previously.


My iBooks preorder now shows 9th of July as well.


There is no We don't want that (and neither do they, given the book depository) as where would we get decent priced books from? :)

Logged in as in Australia on though this appears as buyable as a preorder for $11.93.

The Apocalypse Codex (The Laundry Files) [Kindle Edition] Charles Stross (Author) Print List Price: $25.95 Kindle Price: $11.93 includes applicable taxes & free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet You Save: $14.02 (54%) Sold by: Hachette Book Group This price was set by the publisher

Length: 415 pages (Contains Real Page Numbers) Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Formats Amazon Price New from Used from Kindle Edition -- $11.93 -- Hardcover $15.60 $13.90 $13.90


Unfortunately there isn't an so we're stuck with the vanilla .com which currently has the kindle version listed as "not currently available".

The site is also telling me that (since I'm a filthy convict and all that) I may not procure it from there, but should go to the .com site. Phooey.

Guess it's back to the waiting game. :)


Google Books UK has the right preorder date too, just ordered there...


FWIW, I just preordered it with an Australian address Amazon account through, and it says it'll deliver on July 9.

9: redirects to But Australians buy Kindle editions from Just checked - the release date for us has been brought forward. Hooray - more reading material. This one is going straight to the top of the list.


If you enter, it redirects you to

Which shows the July 9 date for Kindle versions. And then apparently tells you you're not allowed to buy them from there.

(Has anyone mentioned the words "false" and "advertising" to the nice people in Amazon manglement with regards to all of this? I swear, this is at least half the reason why I don't bother with trying to buy commercial ebooks online.

The other half of the reason, of course, is that I'm currently broker than a very broke thing, and can't afford them.)


As usual the UK cover is so much more tasteful than the US cover. I've noticed this over the years with quite a wide variety of books within SF. It's interesting, do the US publishers think less of their readership?


It's marketing.

The purpose of a book cover is not to accurately represent the contents; it's to cause a customer in a shop who is unfamiliar with the author/produce to handle the merchandise, because customers who handle the merchandise are more likely to buy it. That's all.

The US retail environment is louder and brassier than the British retail environment; cultural differences and an intense advertising arms race and higher expectations (the UK retail sector didn't really pull out of WW2-era austerity for decades) combine to demand that everything is LOUDER, including cover artwork. There's also a trend running towards low-saturation colour ranges and abstract art in the UK book marketing sector (after the extremes of the Chris Foss era in the 1970s/early 80s), while the USA is still mostly stuck in the representational phase of the cycle. (Although this is changing; see, for example, the cover of "The Rapture of the Nerds" when it comes out in September.)


Good to hear! I can confirm that has updated the release date, too - just cancelled my paperback order and pre-ordered the Kindle version.


And I'd just bought Slaughterhouse-Five to tide me over in between finishing Glasshouse and this arriving. Argh, indecision! Sorry Charlie, but you're going to need to take a place behind Kurt for a bit!


Preordering an ebook?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the point of preordering a product the fact that there might be limited stocks or that you might want to have preferential delivery?

With neither limited stocks nor problems in delivery, I don't quite see the point.


All it means is that it shows up on your e-reader within minutes of the release dateline arriving. So when you wake up that morning it'll be waiting for you.


Hmmm... I wonder how many sales Orbit lost because of non-US folk jumping through the necessary hoops to get the Ace version from the US Kindle store (I broke a few days ago when I needed a good read :-)

Ah well. They'll still get the trade out of me.


I don't know, but I do know that as of last Friday Orbit had a for-the-UK in-my-experience unprecedented number of preorders for the ebook.


It's sitting there waiting to be delivered as soon as the e-reader wakes up. Kindles go to sleep automatically.


Pre-ordering also makes it easy for people like me. I saw the book advertised, went to my favourite eBook supplier and pre-ordered. I don't have to go back and check again after the release date.

You might argue that the release date is now a pointless fiction (particularly as a friend that got the hardback of a different book got it from Amazon on Saturday but the eBook is not available until Wednesday, the official release date) but it's still there and in some ways it makes the fiction more real - much easier to not distribute a file until the right date after all.


I prefer paperbacks. Not because they are cheaper (but that's not a disadvantage, obviously), but because I read mostly while traveling, and lugging around expensive hardcovers is horrible. Paperbacks are just perfect.


I prefer mass-market paperbacks for similar reasons. I can shove a MMPB into a pocket, which is tricky at best for a large hardback. Reading while moving around is much easier, as you note. There's also the storage question - most of my bookshelves are sized for MMPBs.


I generally prefer hardbacks, so have a hardback copy on the way from US Amazon, apparently being borne by a team of snails. However I consider myself very lucky because I was able to cadge a copy of the UK paperback, which I've reviewed.

I agree that the UK cover is nicer, but I do wish they'd do a hardback - maybe even a special run for which those of us with more money than sense could pay even more?


Just bought and downloaded Kindle edition from (i.e.Spain) at 19.42 CET Sunday.


Marvellous stuff. Although still three hours late for me to read in the bath this evening... Sigh;-)


I bought an Ace hbk copy from Mike at Transreal. Finished it yesterday. Good read, though a bit surprised at the possibility that Charlie had been a Peter O'Donnell fan.


Does selling something early work if you don't tell people early enough to hear about it? I guess if it's a digital product and you'll still need to clear out the physical ones.

28: delivered the pre-ordered hardcover edition yesterday.

However, on page 283 it should read "its mouth" instead of "it's mouth" - that was the only downside to an otherwise very enjoyable day of reading.


That and the reference to the book on Schiller's bookshelf. I assume that The worm turns should read as The Worm Turns.



NZer here, the pre order I have now lists 9th July as the delivery date, so it looks like it has propagated fine.


Yes, well, I bought a big heavy hardback copy from Powell's, because I wanted to be able to talk about it with others on this website now. I'd like a MMPB copy for later, too.


Fab. Can't wait to have this delivered to my kindle app.


So the release date for Australian pre-orderers on has changed to July 9 as others have noted, but today is July 9th here in Australia and yet no sign of TAC!

Oh Amazon, with your computers and cloud thingies out the kazoo, is it really too hard for you to cater for the timezone differences of your Australian and NZ customers?


Got the book, read it cover to cover, loved it. Arrived 11PM US/Central (midnight Eastern), has been impacting productivity (and breakfast with the Mrs.) ever since. Thank you!


Checked 9:13am Monday in Australia and it's available on iBooks for AUD$11.99


It arrived just after midnight UK time on 9th July as promised via iBooks.


While your account may be linked to an Australian credit card address, you, sneaky human, may be sitting somewhere other than Australia! Therefore you get it at the same actual time as everyone else. BTW, was it midnight UK time, or midnight US time, or some other time that it dropped?


At 2 am in France, now available at 5,49 euro TTC vs 15,23 for the US edition


Curiously, if I follow the link provided by OGH in "buy my books" for the US English kindle version I get a landing page with the US cover art and a pub date of July 3rd but a note saying "not currently available". If I search for "The Apocalypse Codex" and click on the kindle link that comes up (with US cover art thumbnail) it takes me to a page where I can buy the book, but it has the UK cover art and a pub date of July 9th?!?

Glad I can get it, but thought I'd mention the weird link on the "buy my books" listings. It had me stumped for a while. Would hate to see sales slip through the cracks.


10.16AM in Eastern Australia, and is still in pre-order mode. Sigh...


Here in .au, Fishpond have advised that the paper book will be sent to me by 24 July...can't wait!!


I picked up the hardcover at Barnes & Noble (US) this weekend. Hardcovers have gotten a bit pricey these days, but I still prefer them to 1's and 0's...


It turned up on my Kindlw about 00:17:43 if the email from Amazon was anything to go by!


My Kindle copy has "shipped" in Australia.


Gotta 'love' Amazon - searching it I can only find kindle edition for 17.24$, but pressing 'other editions' button changes the price to 7.01$. Arbitary price changes make me nuts.


Incidentally What is the reason (is there one?) for the cut-off date of 1933 in the Sunshine Camp? Something to do with neutrinoes, or was it just convenient? LURVE the thinly-disguised portraits of Cameron & Ken Clarke in the early-morning breakfast meeting!

Also, the description of the HR course @ Sunningdale (or wherever) was absolutely spot on - this is still true in the City, I'm afaid ... certainly for women: Black Suit ... Lawyer Blue Suit ... Civil Servant & no real dress sense in either.


Exactly my experience this morning. What a great way to start the week.


I suspect that the ultra secret Amazon Hypersonic Cargo Drone has crashed and burned along with our Hardback copies of "The Apocalypse Codex"

Super villain Jeff Bezos isn't having much luck just lately ...

" Amazon CEO Bezos' Rocket Fails During Test ",2817,2392411,00.asp

We will just have to be patient and await the fall back plan transport by cargo capsule towed by Dolphins.


Have been wary of the still-developing eBook world -- have been waiting for things to settle so I can avoid vendor lock-in and the like.

Have been very keen to read this, so decided to try it as an experiment and see how things go and acquired it via Google Play. (Offers ePub download, I already have an Android phone, etc.)

.. only to discover that the ePub files they ship are DRM encumbered with something Adobe-related. argh! (And only appear to be a download pointer, anyway?)


Copyright 2011 by Simon Mordon? That's from the kindle sample I just downloaded from, btw.


Ooh, sounds like someone screwed up the metadata ...!


David: if it's Adobe Digital Editions you probably want to google for DRMTools and brush up on your command line python skillz. Ahem. You didn't hear me suggest that, okay? (The most recent release I'm aware of is 3.0 and yes, it can unlock Adobe DE files if you have the ID of the device they were encrypted for, i.e. if you're the legit purchaser.)


The sample over at Google Play has the same issue. Since I'm Australian, it's the Hachette ebook that I'm seeing this in.


I'm a big fan of e-books and all of my current library that is available in that format is mirrored that way. However I'm also a big fan of buying books in the format that delivers the most benefit to the author concerned, given that I want them to keep producing new works for me to enjoy, so I will buy a hardback from somewhere other than $BIGRIVER store to hopefully ensure that result.


Some paranoiagenic prep for the novel, probably old-hat to the British readers here.

The Laundry universe is fictional...but maybe I won't allow two cameras in the same room of my house to be hooked up to the Web anyway.


Really enjoying reading my ACE hardback copy apart from the jolts caused by such wonders as "LOCHHAAT DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING UNTIL WE GET BACH TO THE". I genuinely need a magnifying glass to distinquish A from R and H from K in that typeface.

Good book though, CHAALES :)


One reason I strip the DRM on my desktop (besides having Calibre available to do it seamlessly) is to minimize the number of devices associated with my Adobe account. I've heard plenty of plausible stories about how unhelpful Adobe are once you use 'too many' devices.


...the trailer in the extras is the first few pages of the first Metrozone book. Worth reading, IMHO.

Anyway, just finished the ebook, and like all the best books, it seemed to finish too soon, and left me wanting more :)

The debate with myself is whether, sorry where to get the paperback to keep its siblings company... (Mike probably, it's just harder to shop at Transreal now that I don't live ten minutes walk away)


I'm also a big fan of buying books in the format that delivers the most benefit to the author concerned, given that I want them to keep producing new works for me to enjoy, so I will buy a hardback from somewhere other than $BIGRIVER store to hopefully ensure that result.

I bought my new Stross doorstop at Powell's, which is an interesting combination of local bookstore and gigantic bookosaurus. Of course, if you happen to be in the neighborhood of Transreal...


Well, further to my previous worries, iTunes did deliver on the 9th, although only when I looked. As I mentioned before, it's listed (at least in UK iTunes store) as requiring iOS 4.3.3, but I have downloaded it and am happily reading it on my iOS 4.2.1 device. Since all the other SF novels I've checked also claim to require iOS 4.3.3 now, it's a complete gamble to buy from them if you have an older device. I guess I'll move to Amazon like everyone else. Bye, Apple!


Aargh, double post. Please feel free to remove one.


Hi Charlie,

Thanks for the pointers -- I had managed to find my way there already. :-)

The INEPT tooling I found simply fishes around your local system for the decryption key, takes the supplied ciphertext and reproduces the epub file in clear -- so it's effectively a very simple DRM-enabled reader with an export option.

While it's a shame that you need to run everything through the Adobe DE software first to acquire the key and actual payload, I keep a Windows machine installation around for gaming purposes, so that wasn't /too/ onerous -- though my machine's specific hardware particulars are presumably now stored in a DRM server somewhere..

(Thanks to someone rolling it into a Calibre plugin, it didn't even require python-based command-line foo; the only fiddly part was realising that the .epub file Google give you doesn't contain the book itself, but is merely a pointer that you have to dereference in DE first..)


I pre-ordered it a while back & was delighted to receive an email from amazon yesterday saying it had now been sent to my kindle.

I had forgotten the release date so didn't realise that it had been brought forward. But well done to Orbit for that.

Dare one hope that, with the recent announcements from Tor, the publishers are starting to get behind ebooks at last?


Dare one hope that, with the recent announcements from Tor, the publishers are starting to get behind ebooks at last?

You're out of touch: they've been running around with their hair on fire over ebooks for 2-3 years now. And that's the big ones; the smaller publishers jumped in with both feet 4-6 years ago.

The trouble is, momentum. Books often stay in print for many years, and backlist titles may be impossible to turn into ebooks without (a) renegotiating a pre-ebook-era book contract to get permission to do so, and (b) re-typesetting the whole thing from scratch (due to bit rot of file formats, and other archival issues: nobody in 2000 expected someone in 2012 to suddenly need those Quark 3 for MacOS 7.5 files to be read into InDesign 5.5 and turned into an as-yet-not-invented bastardized offshoot of SGML for sale over a medium that barely existed.

Many of those files, if they even still exist, are on 3.5" floppy disks (or zip disks -- remember them?) that have fallen down the back of a filing cabinet in the archives basement.


My copy of the UK Kindle edition was available in the early hours of Monday morning. I'd had it on pre-order since mid-May and was pleasantly surprised to see the publication date brought forward.

Enjoyed the book, but I thought it was Pinky and Brains rather than Pinky and the Brain as on page 94.


Thanks Charlie. However, I'm not out of touch, re what-you-said: I knew that but "momentum" is critical to me as I rarely buy dead-tree these days for space reaons. I have noticed, to say the least, that anything more than about 5 years old is a lottery to find in any ebook format and if more than 10 years, unless really popular forget it.

Many of my favourite authors (even americans) are still struggling with the whole shift to digital and often the ebook versions seem to reach a german translation before opublication in a UK version.

I'm currently reading "Sacred Hunger" (1992 Booker winner) on paper, not available online, rior to reading the sequel in "e". Have also not long finished The Handmaid's Tale on paper as it was also not available online.

Also reading maps, diagrams, etc. on ANY ereader is not recommended, and I read a lot of non-fiction. As for photographs, least said . . .

Anyway, I really am looking forward to reading this latest inyour own ouvre.


I think I still have a working (electro-mechanically speaking) Zip drive. I'm fairly certain I don't have software for it though.


The cost of getting an old book into ebook form is higher than you might think. A lot of authors with back-lists are getting their work online; in many cases the authors don't have electronic copies any more, never mind the publishers (who have reverted the rights, the books being officially out-of-print before it's worth the author's time to turn them into an ebook and put them back on sale).

Walter Jon Williams had such a hard time of it he ended up asking for his fans to find warez copies of his books -- scanned and OCR'd and proofed by fans -- as they were generally higher quality than anything he could scan from his archival manuscripts. Then he had the happy fun task of correcting all the errors himself ...


I pIcked this up for a read on my holiday to San Diego and am having a hard time putting it down. I'm two thirds of the way thru and I must say Charlie has really outdone himself with this one. Fun, gripping and intensely strange, in all the right ways.

Buy it now.

Thanks Charlie


At a guess, about a week's work if you have the tools and know how to use them.


To be fair: I worked in Publishing Systems for a publisher from 1993 to 2000 (granted, professional, not trade) and in 2000 we were typesetting the books using SGML and (depending on area) either a commercial typesetting-derived program that functionally could be considered as a distant relative of TeX (it was derived from actual typesetting codes and didn't depend in the same way on macros, but its capability was necessarily similar) or Scribe (don't ask why: legacy issues) to generate Postscript. Backups were made from Sun boxen onto tape and/or CD-ROM. The same SGML was used to generate electronic copies for CD-ROM and online versions.

So the ancestors of today's mechanisms were around, even if not in trade publishing, and it would have been possible to make a good guess regarding both future uses for some form of electronic distribution and a relatively flexible markup format. Trade publishers may not have been doing it, but it's not that they couldn't have done so.


Ah, no. Actually proofreading a book properly is a mind-numbing job. Professional typesetters I've spoken to estimate that they can do a professional job on around 50 pages per day, and having done more of it than I care to admit, I believe them. So we're actually talking about 8 full days work just for a proofreading pass. That's leaving aside the issues of updating markup lost by the OCR process (itallics/roman face, headings, etc), correcting any errata reported by helpful readers from earlier editions, and so on. Then there's front matter to be arranged, ISBNs to be procured, and a cover to be commissioned -- you can't just recycle some other publisher's cover: the artist will be very annoyed and may well sue you.

All told, I'd estimate 2-3 weeks' work per book, assuming you have a good working relationship with an artist/cover designer. And yes, ebooks need cover design -- more so than paper books, in fact, because they need eye-catching imagery that works even when scaled down to a thumbnail on an Amazon search listing.


I got Fiona and her daughter Sara to do the cover for my latest. In retrospect I should have scaled it up a bit more, but it suffices for now. Can I post a URL to it here?


Just picked up a copy from the bricks-n-mortar Barnes and Noble across from my workplace undiscounted, so Charlie will (hopefully) be getting full benefit from that channel.


As I mentioned before, it's listed (at least in UK iTunes store) as requiring iOS 4.3.3, but I have downloaded it and am happily reading it on my iOS 4.2.1 device. That's because the version upgrade isn't needed to read the file. It's just for the wards to protect you against the Great Old Ones afterwards, that's all.


I have a USB Zip Drive, and I maybe ought to see what happens now I have Windows 7. I didn't use the Zip disks for long term storage, more as an intermediate for CD-ROM.

(The official word from Microsoft is that the USB Zip Drives are compatible...)


I'm in Australia. I preordered through Amazon a while back and it arrived on my kindle yesterday. woot!


One question, if I may, Charlie. I notice that Transreal is no longer offering the signed hardcovers - the service has been "suspended with immediate effect". Do you know why, and are you in a position to comment? (in particular, on whether said service will resume, and if so, when?)

If you can't comment, that's fine; I'm not looking to hold your feet to the fire on this, I'm just curious.


Pinky and the Brain is the great Warner cartoon.


Just finished it. Fantastic book. The denouement is maybe not quite as brain-frying as the Fuller memorandum's ironic Bondian role reversal and Lockey probably should have been sketched out more as a character. But it was a really satisfying read, and I loved the new characters. I hope we get more of Pete in the next few books too.

Great stuff, thank you


UK paperback edition received this morning from Amazon (posted second class on Saturday - pleasantly surprised it's here already).


Paperback received from Amazon today.


Read it cover to cover (paperback) and loved it. Keep up the good work!


Received today (delayed slightly, due to not being at work). Finished today - in the last 5 minutes. Fantastic .

The last 2 lines haves set me slavering for the next instalment already .

Is it 2014 yet ?

A slight thought - with e-readers becoming more popular (and I guess I'm going to have to succumb to one at some point - once its definitely at a point of transferable and non-revocable media as standard).

There might be some possibilities with some fun with the code names - for example being able to access cross referenced information from prior books or if something not fully explained displaying a graphic with a suitably relevant pentacle ( or until it becomes clear later in the story). Yes it is more work, but might be some thing to chew on in the next couple of years - maybe it will be something that will just pan out as the technology matures...

Anyway thanks for a fantastic read - will wait a couple of months to read again to pick up on the jokes and references ( reread TFM last week to bring me up to speed again and spotted the Zulu reference after the 4th time) .


The WoW reference. /cheer



Really enjoyed it... the terminal brain frying didn't kick in immediately but on a time delay. Could it be that all in the Laundry-verse isn't as we've been told, even beyond the obvious revelation?

Towards the end, major warning lights started to flash regarding the status of the Benthic Treaty and a certain influence on the human genome in the Western Isles and connections with the interior layout (especially seating) in a certain Pyramid. Drawing probably erroneous conclusions from the fact that at least once the common term for a major mythos species wasn't given capitals...


The plot point that got me wondering was that the unseen awfulness from the previous book came up again in this novel. Just a 'small world' coincidence? Is it likely to be a continuing threat (to Bob, not in general; we know the latter, over sufficiently large amounts of time).

And what is it, specifically? Just another instance of the class #AaaghhOhFuckOhFuckRunAway? Angleton's embarrassing brother in law? Does it matter?


"Could it be that all in the Laundry-verse isn't as we've been told, even beyond the obvious revelation?"

Haven't read it yet, so I don't know what the obvious revelation is. However, I'd be surprised if everything in the Laundry-verse WAS as we've been told.

Two possibilities which I don't expect Charlie to use: 1) Farther along, we learn that humans are the most evil creatures in the universes; they were imprisoned on the third planet of an undistinguished star. (First use that I know of by Michael Shaara in "All the Way Back. Version I like best is Colin Kapp's The Transfinite Man.) 2) The mirror version: We're feaed and despised because we're too good and kind and pure. Keith Laumer approached this in A Plague of Demons (if I'm correctly recalling which book goes with which title); but I don't think anyone's used it straight.


Or that CNG is just the start of something worse? A succession of migrations driven by something even the Nameless Horrors fear (similar to the waves of migrations driven west into Europe)?


The Sleeper in the Pyramid seems to be positioned to be at/take advantage of the onset of CNG so it may not be surprising the multiple cults/agencies are seeking to take advantage of the supposed benefits of being at or near the front of the queue of faithful servants. Perhaps there's some sort of geometry between Earth and the location of the Sleeper's planet that makes it a particularly easy place to gate to, seeing as how the Baron was able to access it to set up the fence, and WHITE ELEPHANTS (still?) fly oversight missions, and several cults have the address.

Suspect that the Sleeper and what it serves are merely at the leading edge of the forthcoming feast of CNG.


Charlie, just writing to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Bob's latest adventures, and I've only just twigged. Is Bob really named after R. E. Howard?


The answer (having had the same thought some years ago), is no.

Bob is Robert (Bob) Oliver Francis Howard. Wikipedia is your friend.


That's the extract at the end I think - Equations of Life? Interesting book, released last year as a trilogy, the others the next 3 months or so .



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on July 8, 2012 11:25 AM.

Why ebooks are not like paper books was the previous entry in this blog.

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