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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.

Personal tools

Sourcemap - a hint of political software to come

Filed Under:

It's still in beta, but it's what it'll evolve into that's so interesting

From comes an interesting posting about Sourcemap, an open tool for visualizing the supply chains that contribute to the products you buy.  It's a great idea:  name a product, and you can see where its pieces were sourced, who built what and where--in short, who's involved in making your life happen.

This is great, but it's the step after Sourcemap that really interests me:  when the app can fully trace the corporate ownership of the entities involved, as well as their publicly-available information things like campaign contributions.  Because the stuff you buy isn't just made by people and corporations; it's made by political movements and their supporters.  For good or ill, in the near-term future we're looking at being able to instantly, seamlessly, and completely boycott entire polities by simply filtering your buying options. Imagine an iPhone app where you aim the iPhone's camera at a product on the shelf in the store, and the iPhone tells you how in-line with your own political stripe (how green, or how Republican) the aggregate entity that built it is.  Instead of deciding which of sixteen varieties of spaghetti to buy based on the colour of the box or (God forbid) the price, you can do so based on whether the companies owners support progressive family planning programs in Africa.

The prospect is both terrifying and exhilarating.  Terrifying because products can no longer succeed or fail entirely on their own merits.  Politics will enter buying in a big way.  --Exhilarating because of the prospect of laying bare the world as it really is--a world where purchasing decisions have never been innocent, but we have previously never had the ability to follow through on that knowledge.

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I could never boycott everyone I disagreed with — I'd starve!

Posted by Tom Tobin at Sep 24, 2009 01:32 PM
My gut reaction is that this will never catch on.

As for me, I don't bother with boycotts since I'd end up starving — I don't think there's a company on Earth with practices, or an ideology, that I completely (or even largely) agree with. Just looking at grocery stores, I shop at Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, and the local chain supermarket, and don't completely like or hate any of them. I don't like that Wal-Mart tends to censor the media they carry (either by requiring "clean" variants of music, or simply not carrying something), or that Whole Foods is rather environmentally-crazed, or that the local chain supermarket is rather expensive because they use union labor. I do like that Wal-Mart is cheap as hell, that Whole Foods has excellent products I can't find elsewhere, and that the local chain supermarket is conveniently located and open 24 hours.

I just buy what works for me at the moment; just as I don't vote because it's a waste of time due to the statistical insignificance, I wouldn't bother with a boycott because it would be a waste of time *and* would leave me without anywhere to shop.
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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."