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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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Karl Schroeder

Jun 02, 2018

YouTube talk on Deodands

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Recorded at the IoT Meetup in Waterloo, Ontario

I was recently invited out to the University of Waterloo to talk about an idea I've been working on for almost twenty years now.  This is the idea I've variously called actants or, more recently, deodands.  Deodands are an alternative vision of artificial intelligence, and of what AI can do for and with humanity.  I started talking about these ideas in my first novel, Ventus, and have carried through with various short stories over the years, including "Deodand" and "The Desire Lines."

A deodand is an artificial intelligence that thinks it is some specific natural system--and by natural system, I mean what you think I mean:  rivers, lakes, watersheds, forests, flocks of geese, packs of wolves.  The conceit is that these AIs are "rational actors" in the classic (though now discounted) economic sense:  they try to maximize their own advantage.  What this means is that these AIs try to protect and advance the interests of the systems that they think they are. 

You can watch the video here.  I'm a little embarrassed by my middle-aged pot-belly, and you'll find I use a lot of "ums" and "uhs," in the first few minutes of the talk.  I my defense it was 9:30 at night, and I'd driven two hours in pounding rain to get there after working a full day.  Still, it was lots of fun, and you can see the energy in the room was high even at that late hour.  Thanks to Ian Pilon, the meetup organizers and the University of Waterloo for inviting me out.  I had a great time!

The Million excerpt online

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You can read the opening of The Million over at the Verge

The Million is slated for publication on August 14, 2018.  If you're curious you can read an excerpt now at The Verge.  I'll be doing more as the publication date approaches, including blog posts, partial reveals of the world and ideas, etc.  The Million's a new "playground of the mind" for me, with infinite possibilities.  I've only been able to explore a few of them in this first novella, but I'm definitely eager to do more.

Apr 11, 2018

The Million reveal at Tor.com

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The Million will be published on August 14, 2018.

The MillionTor.com has officially unveiled its summer lineup for 2018, and The Million is now slated for release on August 14.  Here's a link to the announcement.  I'm looking forward to people's reactions to this one--I had particular fun imagining this world of outrageous wealth and power.  What a great setting for a story about betrayal, deception and disguises--and, of course, school!

Feb 10, 2018

My Boskone 55 Itinerary

Some fun topics this year, plus a reading and signing

Here's my Boskone schedule for 2018:

Technology and the Crisis of Conscience

Format: Panel

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 10:00 - 11:00, Marina 4 (Westin)

Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. Characters like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Masamune Shirow's Major demonstrate some consequences of the headlong pursuit of scientific breakthroughs. What are the real stakes in the playing-god game? Will we use technological advances for good or evil? What will guide us? And how does fiction help inform our ethical dilemmas?

Pete Hollmer, Karl Schroeder, JeffWarner (M), LJ Cohen, Cady Coleman

Colonialism and the New Space Race

Format: Panel

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 11:00 - 12:00, Burroughs (Westin)

European expansion into the American West and other "new frontiers" used to be portrayed as a great adventure — and a civilizing enterprise. For those being invaded, however, colonial expansion has been less pleasant. The Space Act of 2015 allows the commercialization of space by private entities. But if powerful technocrats like Elon Musk use tropes from Westerns to promote Mars exploration, will we venture into space with the same old colonialist attitudes? Or can we learn from history, and approach space exploration with new mindsets?

Allen M. Steele (M), Vandana Singh, Pete Hollmer, Karl Schroeder, William Hayashi

Modern Marvels

Format: Panel

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 15:00 - 16:00, Burroughs (Westin)

Our panelists consider their favorite gadgets, and list their Top 10 — including landmark examples from the past, as well as modern gadgets that are currently changing the future.

Priscilla Olson (M), Karl Schroeder, Geary Gravel, Daniel P. Dern, Carrie Cuinn

Reading by Karl Schroeder

Format: Reading

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 16:30 - 17:00, Griffin (Westin)

Karl Schroeder

Kaffeeklatsch: Karl Schroeder

Format: Kaffeeklatsch

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 17:00 - 18:00, Harbor I - Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

Karl Schroeder

The Future of Work

Format: Panel

18 Feb 2018, Sunday 11:00 - 12:00, Marina 2 (Westin)

How has innovation — changing technologies, new digital platforms, advanced AIs — altered the fundamental nature of work? While humans may always have a place in the labor hierarchy, just where will we find ourselves on the food chain? Is there room for everyone? Specifically, how will technology eliminate current jobs and enable new ones?

Mark L. Olson (M), Karl Schroeder, James Cambias, Jeff Hecht, B. Diane Martin

 

Hope to see you there!

 

Jan 31, 2018

The Million: Let's talk about money

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Actually, let's not. Because, let's face it, if you're one the Million you don't have your own money--you have your own economy.

If you're thinking about wealth in terms of money, you're just not thinking big enough.  This was one of the principles I decided to run with when I set out to write The Million.  I mean, this is a story about the literal inheritors of the Earth--the culmination of human civilization, distilled down to a population small enough to prevent the extinction of the species, and large enough to permit diversity, creativity and ambition to flourish.  One million people, who have inherited all human history, all human art, all our accomplishments, our homelands, cities, technology and, yes, money.The Million

Think of The Million as Downton Abbey without the servants.  In the future, after all, we assume robots and AI that serve us hand and foot.  You want an suborbital spaceplane?  How about a whole air force of them that can do aerobatics around you while you fly yours?  You want a yacht?  Why not a migratory island?

No amount of thinking big is big enough for understanding the ordinary lives of the Million. Just one teaser:  while you're drowsing in bed, not yet fully awake, an army of bots has fanned out across the land, looking for individual stands of ripened wild wheat.  By the time you're blinking at the cathedral ceiling of your bed-chamber, they've picked thousands of wheat seeds, judged them and selected the best, and have ground them into flour.  When you finally stagger downstairs, thinking about the temporary city your cousin built for last night's party, with its crowds of fake humans revelers, the smell of fresh baked bread entices you to the kitchen where you see the newly cut loaf... and decide to have something else instead.

The one thing you won't be doing, as a citizen of the Million, is going online.  Or watching television.  Why watch a recorded program--so gauche!--when you can summon a set of robot players to perform the thing on sets built just-in-time by your other army of carpenters?  Why play a first-person shooter on a console when you can have a city neighborhood built to play out a raid for real?  Or, when it comes to romance--well, the possibilities are endless.

So:  forget money.  Forget the whole concept of wealth, it no longer applies. 

What does still apply, even in this world, though, are jealousy, envy, pride, ambition, and deceit.

What's all the wealth in the world worth, after all, if you can't conspire against your neighbours...?

Jul 05, 2017

Me in 14C

I've got a story in this innovative online anthology/short story contest

Seat_14CThe XPrize Foundation has sponsored a new, visionary time-travel anthology that you can read online--and contribute to!  It's called Seat 14C, and you can enter your own story to join myself and a stellar cast of SF greats as we explore the world twenty years in the future.

My own story's called The Urge To Jump, and it's about adventurers doing a High Altitude High Opening parachute jump onto the back of a mile-wide aerostat (high altitude balloon) in the South Pacific.  For the bounty... and a chance to build themselves a new home.

Come join us on the flight, there's one seat left.

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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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    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