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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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For my old weblog material, visit www.kschroeder.com/archive

Jul 23, 2014

Sun of Suns comic Vol. 1 available now!

The first episodes of the graphic novel version of SoS have been collected in a single volume. You can buy it now!

Sun of Suns Vol 1Run on over to Blind Ferret and you can pick up the print edition of Sun of Suns, Vol. 1.  This volume collects the first episodes of the story.  You'll meet all the main characters here:  Hayden Griffin, our sullen hero; Lady Venera Fanning, mad princess and spymaster; Martor the ship's go-fer, and even the pirate Dentius and his men.  

The script for this excellent adaptation is by Jeff Moss, the ink's by Guy Allen, and color by Michael Birkhofer.  

This was an amazing project and I had great fun working with such talented artists to bring my visions of Virga to life.  I hope you enjoy the result.

May 09, 2014

Crisis in Urlia published

My latest "scenario fiction" for the Canadian military is out

Crisis in UrliaBack in 2005, the Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts of National Defense Canada (that is to say, the army) hired me to write a short novel, which they named Crisis in Zefra, about future peacekeeping and the evolution of the military in the 21st century.  Zefra did very well; you can learn more about it elsewhere on my site.  In 2010, they commissioned a second project.

Crisis in Urlia is now published. You can read it online for free or download the PDF.  Where Zefra concentrated on military evolution on the squad level, Urlia is about command-and-control, and includes a vision of a crowdsourced military that some might find downright shocking, as well as side forays into online nations and religions, post-agricultural food supplies, and 3d printed buildings. 

These works view the future through a particular lens (that of the military) but include as broad (practically epic, in fact) synopsis as I could craft of all the changes facing humanity and our environment over the next thirty years or so.  In terms of the rigour that went into them, they're probably my best science fiction.

Apr 07, 2014

Two day writing workshop at the Power Plant

Filed Under:

The intersection of installation art and fiction

On Saturday, May 3 and Sunday May 4, 2014, I will be hosting a workshop called Feedback Loops, on the mutual influence of art and speculative fiction, at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery here in Toronto.  Using the works on view as starting points for narrative development, participants will learn the mechanics of writing and refining a speculative short story, resulting in an original piece of fiction that may be published in the gallery's online journal Switch On.

The workshop is being co-hosted by the Power Plant, the International Festival of Authors, and the Humber School for Writers.  If you're interested in attending, please contact the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416-973-4000.

Mar 21, 2014

Lockstep: it's book launch time!

Saturday, March 29 at 3, at Bakka Books here in Toronto

Lockstep Cover 1Fresh out of a dentist's appointment, I will be launching Lockstep at Bakka-Phoenix Books on Saturday, March 29 at 3:00.  There'll be entertainment (me), copies of Lockstep to be signed and book-related ideas to be explained, and other novels to be bought (hint:  we'll be breaking into the vault to offer some out-of-print hardcover editions of novels like Ventus and Permanence).  

If you're really lucky you'll get to hear me do a reading with my mouth still frozen from the dentist.  Major fun!

You can get to or contact Bakka-Phoenix here:

84 Harbord St., Toronto, Ontario  M5S 1G5

Ph:  416-963-9993  

email:  info@bakkaphoenixbooks.com

web:  www.bakkaphoenixbooks.com

Mar 18, 2014

Lockstep in New York Review of Science Fiction

Filed Under:

Derek Künsken gets it

I'm finding that the more a reviewer knows classic space opera (the 20th century version) the more they "get" Lockstep.  Young Adult reviewers have been particularly kind, but now Derek Künsken, writing in The New York Review of Science Fiction, has explicitly compared Lockstep to its predecessors, and to what's often called the "new space opera."  In the article (which you can find here, mind that it's $2.99 to buy the issue) he takes as a challenge my own assertion that with this book I've reinvented space opera, and sets out to see whether I'm right.  To do this he compared the novel to its classic forerunners as well as recent works by Banks, Greenland, McCauley, McDonald, Reynolds and Stross.  He starts by admitting that 

Schroeder has preserved the interesting bits of the space opera setting, the light-year-spanning civilization, without jettisoning respect for known physics. This is an impressive addition to the canon.

His analysis is a fascinating read and a good reminder to those of us who've lost track over the years, of where this beloved branch of science fiction came from and what it's evolved into.  In doing so, he highlights one of the issues that led me to write the novel:  the pessimism of much of the current genre.  There's no sense of innocence in science fiction these days. Now, I'm a firm believer that SF needs to shed its technophilic naivete; the time has passed when we could write starry-eyed tales about how science will cure all our ills.  The hero of my long-running short story cycle, Gennady Malianov, is a pathologically shy Ukrainian arms inspector who, in tale after tale, ends up cleaning up the messes left by exactly that kind of naivete.  So, I'm right there.

However, not only is there space for a mature optimism in SF, I believe it's absolutely essential.  Anyone who has kids has to be an optimist, and we who are to bequeath a transformed world to our descendants are equally obligated, as a society, to work toward a positive future.  That doesn't preclude being grimly aware of the mess we're in and the messes we could still create, as Gennady well knows.  But it means we can still dare, and dream big, and care about the world we're for good or ill bringing into being.  Space opera is a primary myth-form for that civilizational task.

As Künsken puts it,

Schroeder does not undermine, as Letson and Wolfe noted for writers of new space opera, the optimism present in the classic space opera form—quite the opposite. Lockstep is a novel overflowing with the optimism of a simpler time, fully embracing in its tone the adolescent yearning for the adventure, grand gestures, and romance of the classic space opera. Lockstep asserts thematically that it is possible to go back, to recover that innocence of an earlier age.

 

So, in the end, does he think I've "reinvented" space opera?  Actually, no.  Instead, 

 

He created conditions under which the charm and wonder of classic space opera could live again. This is an equally valuable feat.

Good enough.  I'm happy now.

Feb 20, 2014

Mathematics in Science Fiction - this weekend

I'll be one of the speakers at the Fields Institute's panel discussion

How does math influence science fiction?  In my case, I'm functionally inumerate and yet have created hard-SF universes that others have written scientific papers about.  How does that work?  This Saturday myself, Suzanne Church and Tony Pi will be talking about the intersection point of math and imagination--and perhaps, about the idea that there's no real difference between the two.

See you there!

Fields Institute Event

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The Virga Series

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



Available in Trade paperback May 5, 2012:


 
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    Lady of Mazes

    “The most thought-provoking and interesting work of hard SF that I've read in the past year."
    —Charles Stross

    "With paradigm shifts one inside another like a set of Russian dolls, this splendid novel propagates into a demolition derby of Big Ideas. Required post-human reading.”
    —Scott Westerfeld, author of The Risen Empire

    “An astonishing saga. One helluva read!”
    —Charles Harness

    “Karl Schroeder has always had a knack for intelligent and provocative thought experiments disguised as space opera. Now he ups the ante with a fascinating riff on consensual [and conflicting] realities. Lady of Mazes contains more cool ideas than Ventus and Permanence combined.”
    —Peter Watts