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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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Leaping ahead

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New developments in nuclear fusion, zero-point energy, and the Fermi paradox

Keeping up with the pace of scientific discovery is getting harder and harder; either we really are approaching the Singularity, or I'm just getting old.  In any case, I would fall woefully behind if it weren't for two excellent websites:  Centauri dreams by Paul Gilster, and Brian Wang's Next Big Future.  Both sites are firehoses of content, even more so (for my interests) than, say, slashdot.  This week in particular they've presented a smorgasbord of cool ideas.  

First, Paul talks about a recent paper studying the Drake equation (which attempts to deduce how many civilizations there are in the galaxy).  People have speculated about this for decades; what the authors of this paper do is show using statistical analysis that even if the galaxy contains hundreds of communicating civilizations (CC's) they may never be able to find one another. 

This could explain some things.

Next Big Future posts lots of really interesting pieces on technology; I have a particular interest in one endeavour, Robert Bussard's polywell fusion reactor.  This week NBF has a great summary of where the US navy's stealth program to develop such a reactor is at.  The science is encouraging; the levels of funding are not.  Luckily Barack Obama's new technology czar seems to be aware of the work, so maybe things there will take off. 

Even more intriguing are recent attempts to harness zero-point energy.  I'd been playing with designs for a zero-point generator in my head for quite some time, and the patents talked about in this article are, physically, close to what I'd imagined.  The mechanism by which it operates is very different, though. 

A working zero-point generator would be more than revolutionary, partly because these devices could be made arbitrarily small.  They could do far more than transform our civilization:  I was thinking last night that you could build them into the mitochondria of a cell, making such pesky activities as eating and breathing unnecessary for maintaining positive energy flow. Even more than nanotechnology, this kind of zero-point energy makes anything possible.

Except... there's a problem here which is similar to the Fermi paradox.  Life has evolved ways to play nanotechnological and quantum-mechanical tricks many times--chlorophyl's mode of action is a great example, as it depends on quantum-mechanical tricks to shift energy with maximum efficiency.  So, if the tiny Casimir-effect devices being talked about now are possible, why didn't life stumble across the design sometime in the past 3.5 billion years?  As with alien civilizations, one can validly ask, if they can exist, where are they?

Bookmark Centauri Dreams and Next Big Future.  If the world is going to change overnight, they'll give you the heads-up the evening before.

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Dear Karl: Here's Why I Hate You

Posted by at Feb 06, 2009 06:21 PM
1) You damn Canadians are so pleasant, rational, smart, funny, intelligent and reasonbale that one cannot do anything but admire your way of thinking and wish that one could only act, write, sing, dance and be half as good as you.

2) Your writing already hurts my brain enough as it is. And when I say hurts, I mean not that it's bad but that the amount of ideas in them words causes me to have spontaneous nosebleeds as numerous quantum worlds are opened up rendering me a stunned Bowman to your all seeing all knowingh Monolith.

3) Your posts on science do nothing but further rip open these nosebleed universes and cause me great concern as to how I will remember to buy milk when I am trying to comprehened the vastness of what you have written.

4) You post the links to these two amazing sites that are yes, FIREHOSES of knowledge that I must not only drink from, but stand under, run to and engorge myself until near death with their output.

This is why I hate you and why I must ask you to not change a thing so I can continue to learn from and loathe you.


Chang, the Ugly United States of American.

Me brain hurts

Posted by Karl Schroeder at Feb 07, 2009 09:11 AM
Why thank you. I think.

I kid! I kid!

Posted by at Feb 08, 2009 02:39 PM
No seriously, thank you. I've been raiding both of these blogs and they're amazing. Firehoses for sure. Thanks!
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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)

     β€œAn 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. ”
    β€”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."