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Downloads

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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The Sunless Countries

What do you do when you've created an open-ended universe of unmatched richness and potential?  You keep exploring it!  I'm very far from exhausting the possibilities of my world Virga, and here's The Sunless Countries to prove it.  This novel is connected to the previous three in the series, but doesn't require that you've read them.  It introduces new characters in a new setting while retaining enough links to the other books for fans of those stories.  It really is all one grand epic tale, but I've tried to keep the action local in each book, and that's definitely the case here.The Sunless Countries

Meet Leal Hieronyma Maspeth.  She's a history tutor at the University of Sere, in the nation of Abyss.  Leal's a curious mixture of discipline and unbridled imagination:  she works hard to get ahead in her cut-throat academic world, but nonetheless dreams of being swept away by the dashing sun lighter, Hayden Griffin, who has recently come to Sere to build a new sun for some other country.

As events conspire, she will end up meeting Griffin, but nothing is like she imagined it would be.  In particular, she never dreamt that something ancient and terrible might awaken in the darkness beyond Sere's streetlights--perhaps a fabled worldwasp, come to wreack vengeance on humanity for some long-forgotten slight.  Nor could she have anticipated that, in Abyss's current anti-intellectual backlash, she would end up being the only person who even knows what a worldwasp is, much less how to deal with it...

Reviews and Reactions

Publisher's weekly had this to say about The Sunless Countries:

The inventive and solidly enjoyable fourth novel set in the bubble world of Virga (after 2008's Pirate Sun) takes place far from the artificial suns that light the central regions. As entire towns fall victim to a mysterious threat, perhaps from "outside," a religious movement begins insisting that the world is eternal, not created. The Eternists confiscate books, censor the news and force through a referendum subjecting science to popular vote, while sun lighter Hayden Griffin, familiar from previous books, teams up with local historian Leal to investigate the attacks. They find an expedition killed by rain, meet up with groups officially deemed "mythical" and fend off political threats and outside forces that aren't what they seem. Schroeder paints his unique world with deft touches while keeping the story moving briskly. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


io9 weighed in with a balanced and thorough review that concluded this way:

The Sunless Countries is a rollicking good read. It's fun, bookish, and full of insane air battles that take place in a world without land. And the political thought experiments are as good as Schroeder's overarching scientific thought experiment about what it would be like to live in a world where you can have what amounts to a space battle using Newtonian physics.

SFSite said, "Virga, and now the universe that surrounds it, are realms ripe with ideas and adventure, and should continue to make repeated visits worthwhile for both the author and his readers."

Listen to the Audiobook Version

The Sunless Countries is available in audiobook format too; just head over to itunes and you can download it straight into your phone; or visit audible.com for a version you can load into mp3 players, Android phones etc.

 

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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.

 
Available Now

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."
--SFRevu.com


"...A rollicking good read... fun, bookish, and full of insane air battles"
--io9.com


"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."
--Locus