This is the way the world ends, not in fire but in Gridfire.
By most human standards the woman was tall, slim and well muscled. Her hair was short and straight and dark and her skin was the colour of pale agate. There was nobody of her specific kind within several thousand light years of where she sat, though if there had been they might have said that she was somewhere between being a young woman and one at the very start of middle age. They would, however, have thought she looked somewhat short and bulky.
He likes the word "agate" a lot, I've found. That aside, this is going to be among the first books I buy in 2008.
EDIT (after reading the extract): Hahahahaha, and best part is, it's out in February!
*dances around the living room*