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I've made my first novel, Ventus, available as a free download, as well as excerpts from two of the Virga books.  I am looking forward to putting up a number of short stories in the near future.

Complete novel:  Ventus


To celebrate the August, 2007 publication of Queen of Candesce, I decided to re-release my first novel as an eBook. You can download it from this page. Ventus was first published by Tor Books in 2000, and and you can still buy it; to everyone who would just like to sample my work, I hope you enjoy this version.

I've released this book under a Creative Commons license, which means you can read it and distribute it freely, but not make derivative works or sell it.

Book Excerpts:  Sun of Suns and Pirate Sun

I've made large tracts of these two Virga books available.  If you want to find out what the Virga universe is all about, you can check it out here:

Major Foresight Project:  Crisis in Zefra

In spring 2005, the Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts of National Defense Canada (that is to say, the army) hired me to write a dramatized future military scenario.  The book-length work, Crisis in Zefra, was set in a mythical African city-state, about 20 years in the future, and concerned a group of Canadian peacekeepers who are trying to ready the city for its first democratic vote while fighting an insurgency.  The project ran to 27,000 words and was published by the army as a bound paperback book.

If you'd like to read Crisis in Zefra, you can download it in PDF form.

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Age of Embodiment

A guide to my short-lived blog about cognitive science and science fiction

Around the time that Lady of Mazes came out, I found myself bursting with ideas of a particular sort, and lacking a place to put them.  I built myself a new weblog and called it Age of Embodiment.  (You'll find links to some of the more interesting articles at the bottom of this page.)

This weblog was an attempt to sketch the shape of an entirely new kind of culture--one that isn't plagued by the neuroses and contradictions of the 20th century. Maybe it's because I'm a science fiction writer that I can even imagine attempting such a thing; the fact is, I see signs of change everywhere, and within numerous disciplines people are talking about how their local worldview is evolving into something new. The problem is that, today, everybody's a specialist--who these days keeps abreast of current thinking in not just in their own area of expertise, but also in cultural criticism, fine art, computer science, theoretical physics, linguistics, neurophysiology, cognitive science, biophysics, narratology, philosophy, psychology and pop culture? And if nobody has the time or energy to follow everybody else's discipline as well as their own, who would notice if a change were to start sweeping through all of them?

Being an SF writer, I actually try to keep abreast of all the above areas; not as an expert, but as a hunter-gatherer for interesting ideas. And everywhere I look, I see the clash of cultures that characterized the twentieth century, coming to a close.

In June of 2003 I gave a short talk at the annual conference of the American Library Association. The title of the talk was "Traitor to Both Sides", and it started like this:

Science Fiction is disreputable. Despite whatever debates we may have about how to define SF, or about what its influence on history or culture may be, this is one thing we all agree on. SF is not considered Literature in literary circles. It’s too much concerned with the physical world--the objective as opposed to the subjective.

Strangely, SF is equally disreputable within the scientific community, because it is, after all, an art form and not an attempt to represent reality “as it is”. I’ve had many a specialist kvetch at me about how SF distorts the facts; we need look no further than Star Trek to see examples of egregious invention of elements and physical phenomena that are ridiculous if not simply impossible.

Being disreputable has its advantages. It allows you to take an outsider's view of matters that would otherwise be too close to be noticeable. In the case of SF, it also means that, since you can't ruin your reputation any more than you already have by choosing to write this stuff, you feel comfortable rooting through any sort of intellectual backwater, side-stream or (sometimes) stagnant pool, for material. As an SF writer, you become the ultimate auto-didact.

Someone who's a traitor to both science and academic intelligentsia is in a unique position to look down on the smoking ruins of a century of warfare between the two sides and discern a pattern to it all. The two-culture war is far from an abstract hobby; it gets fought every day inside the head of anyone who's ever tried to reconcile reason and faith, or scientific discoveries about human nature and evolution versus their own feelings about human dignity. Its struggles directly affect issues such as abortion, crime and punishment, human rights etc. But looking down at the battlefield right now, the observant outsider can see one thing: the war is ending. I don’t think most people on either side realize it yet. But the terms of the cease-fire have been drawn up; the armies are retreating--and the rhetoric and propaganda on both sides looks more and more like face-saving, rather than passionate rallying.

Hence this blog. A laser-like analysis of any one field doesn't reveal the shape of the coming changes. You have to step waaay back and look at everything. And that's what I'm going to try to do, for the next little while, in this blog.

Yeah, Age of Embodiment was a temporary project. But it lasted long enough to get a lot of people involved, commenting on my more provocative posts; and long enough for me to touch on all the issues I wanted to talk about.

Here's some of the more interesting posts, including the sometimes fractious replies:

Cognitive Science

Embodied Mind

New Politics

Physics and Reality


Technology as Legislation

Two Culture War

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About Me

I'm a member of the Association of Professional Futurists with my own consultancy, and am also currently Chair of the Canadian node of the Millennium Project, a private/public foresight consultancy active in 50 nations. As well, I am an award-winning author with ten published novels translated into as many languages. I write, give talks, and conduct workshops on numerous topics related to the future, including:

  • Future of government
  • Bitcoin and digital currencies
  • The workplace in 2030
  • The Internet of Things
  • Augmented cognition

For a complete bio, go here. To contact me, email karl at kschroeder dot com

Example: The Future of Governance

I use Science Fiction to communicate the results of actual futures studies. Some of my recent research relates to how we'll govern ourselves in the future. I've worked with a few clients on this and published some results.

Here are two examples--and you can read the first for free:

The Canadian army commissioned me to write Crisis in Urlia, a fictionalized study of the future of military command-and-control. You can download a PDF of the book here:

Crisis in Urlia

For the "optimistic Science Fiction" anthology Hieroglyph, I wrote "Degrees of Freedom," set in Haida Gwaii. "Degrees of Freedom" is about an attempt to develop new governing systems by Canadian First Nations people.

I'm continuing to research this exciting area and would be happy to share my findings.

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Coming on June 18, 2019

"Science fiction at its best."

--Kim Stanley Robinson

A Young Adult Scifi Saga

"Lean and hugely engaging ... and highly recommended."

--Open Letters Monthly, an Arts and Literature Review

Sheer Fun: The Virga Series

(Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce are combined in Cities of the Air)

 “An adventure-filled tale of sword fights and naval battles... the real fun of this coming-of-age tale includes a pirate treasure hunt and grand scale naval invasions set in the cold, far reaches of space. ”
Kirkus Reviews (listed in top 10 SF novels for 2006)

"With Queen of Candesce, [Schroeder] has achieved a clockwork balance of deftly paced adventure and humour, set against an intriguing and unique vision of humanity's far future.
--The Globe and Mail

"[Pirate Sun] is fun in the same league as the best SF ever has had to offer, fully as exciting and full of cool science as work from the golden age of SF, but with characterization and plot layering equal to the scrutiny of critical appraisers."

"...A rollicking good read... fun, bookish, and full of insane air battles"

"A grand flying-pirate-ship-chases-and-escapes-and-meetings-with-monsters adventure, and it ends not with a debate or a seminar but with a gigantic zero-gee battle around Candesce, a climactic unmasking and showdown, just desserts, and other satisfying stuff."