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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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Karl Schroeder

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 30, 2018

The Million: Let's talk about money

Filed Under:

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.

Jan 12, 2017

Back to Boskone

Filed Under:

Boston in February. Yet I keep coming back...

Once again I'll be attending Boskone, which in 2017 is happening from February 17 to the 19th.  I'll be around from Friday to Sunday, but my main programming is concentrated on the last two days.  

The following schedule is subject to change, but it should give you an idea of where I'll be and when:

Immersive Technology

Saturday 13:00 - 14:00, Marina 3 (Westin)

The first computers took up rooms and had languages invented so we could “talk” to them. We now can control mobile phones through hand gestures. Will the next phase be a direct human-computer connection? Will virtual or augmented reality become common in our daily lives? Might we lose ourselves within our technology?

Great Cities of SF/F/H

Saturday 15:00 - 16:00, Marina 3 (Westin)

On Mercury, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Terminator moves on giant tracks to stay ahead of dawn. Fran Wilde’s unnamed urb spears its towers of living bone far above the clouds. China Mieville’s Armada is basically a big bunch of pirate houseboats. What’s your favorite skiffy metropolis? By 2045, 6 billion people may live in cities here on Earth. What will that be like?

Autographing: Linda Addison, Ken Altabef, David McDonald, Karl Schroeder

Saturday 16:00 - 17:00, Galleria-Autographing (Westin)

Reading by Karl Schroeder

Sunday 10:30 - 11:00, Reading - Griffin (Westin)

Kaffeeklatsch: Karl Schroeder

Sunday 11:00 - 12:00, Harbor I-Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)



New story in "Chasing Shadows"

Filed Under:

Look for "Eminence" in David Brin's new anthology of stories and essays about the Transparent Society

A new year, a new publication.  I've been flying under the radar lately, with nothing of note published in 2016; in part this was due to the passing of my editor, David Hartwell, and some ensuing career chaos.  Partly, though, it's just been luck:  I've been writing and selling stories--even finished a new novella recently--but events have conspired to push back publication dates for multiple projects.  Some of those projects are on hold, others--tied up in sinister government appropriations mazes--are in doubt entirely.  

After Lockstep I started a blitz of stories about next-generation government and economics.  I followed through on that promise, writing and selling multiple pieces over the past year or so.  None of them have appeared--until this week.

Chasing ShadowsDavid Brin has been bravely fighting a battle for greater governmental and societal transparency for many years now.  He's now assembled a roster of heavy-hitters in the fabulous new anthology Chasing Shadows.  My story, "Eminence," is about First Nations seccessionists, potlatch cryptocurrencies, fully homomorphic encryption, and other parts of the computational plumbing that will either set us all free over the next few decades, or consign us to a hell of state surveillance far worse than Orwell's darkest nightmares.  I choose to be optimistic, but I suspect the battle will be a close one.  The more we all know about what's at stake and the strange adventures we may all undergo on the way to one of those fates, the better.  Hence this story.

I hope you enjoy "Eminence," and I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

Aug 05, 2016

Worldcon : Final Schedule

This is the definitive one

Here's my final (-ish) schedule.  Things can always change on the day-of, but you should note that I've got a few events on Friday, so make a particular note of that; if you want to see me, Friday's a good day.  Here's the full schedule, including times and locations:

Reading: Karl Schroeder

Friday 10:00 - 11:00, 2203 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)

Karl Schroeder

An Idiot's Guide Revisited, circa 2000

Friday 13:00 - 14:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)

It's circa 2000 and authors Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder just published The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction. Fast-forward 16 years later, and the world of publishing has evolved, but how much has it really changed? Cory and Karl take a look back and discuss what they got right, what they got wrong, and how things have changed over the years.

Karl Schroeder, Cory Doctorow, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Literary Beer : Lawrence M. Schoen, Karl Schroeder

Friday 16:00 - 17:00, Literary Beer Space (Kansas City Convention Center)

Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen, Karl Schroeder.  [Yay, Lawrence!  You should sign up to talk to him, he's a fascinating guy and vastly entertaining.  I can only promise to show up, myself.]

Futurism vs. SF

Friday 18:00 - 19:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Science Fiction explores the future.  Futurism explores the future and tries to relate it to the real world.  What causes someone to be a Futurist rather than a science fiction author?  Where are the overlaps and the differences between the two practices?

S.B. Divya (M), Karl Schroeder, Andrea Phillips, David Brin

"Ellie's Last Line". Scriptwriting and Narrative for Videogames

Saturday 11:00 - 12:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Some of today's most popular video games are based upon narrative storytelling, but that's only part of conveying the tale implicit in a videogame. What does it take to develop a game script? Participants discuss the ins and outs of building a quality gaming script.

Seth Dickinson, Karl Schroeder (M), Carol Wolf, Brianna Spacekat Wu

Societal Aspects of Technology

Saturday 13:00 - 14:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)

If your cellphone died would you be late for work? When your power goes out, would you dispair for entertainment? In a world where people are digitally dependent, what will happen when energy fails us? Downton Abbey dramatized the advent of home electricity, the telephone and the radio. How did those advances change social lives? Instead of bringing us together, have phones increase our isolation? We discuss how technology changes the way people communicate and relate in society. 

Mike Shepherd Moscoe, Andrea Phillips, Edward M. Lerner (M), Karl Schroeder, David Brin

The Future of Government

Saturday 17:00 - 18:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)

The world has seen many different forms of government over the centuries. What might governments be like in the next 10, 50, or 200 years, and how will changing technologies and world conditions (e.g. climate change) affect those forms? Are there forms of government that have been proposed that have never existed in the real world, but might?


Cat Greenberg (M), Matthew Johnson, Dr Jamie Metzl, Karl Schroeder, Ada Palmer

Autographing: David Boop, Ellen Datlow, Richard Hescox, Jack McDevitt, Karl Schroeder

Sunday 10:00 - 11:00, Autographing Space (Kansas City Convention Center)

David Boop, Ellen Datlow, Richard Hescox, Jack McDevitt, Karl Schroeder

Is Mining the Asteroids Feasible?

Sunday 11:00 - 12:00, 2204 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Once the province of science fictiion, asteroid mining is moving into the realm of venture capital, with startup efforts from here to Luxembourg. A number of approaches exist, none of them downselected by experience... yet. Does it make more sense to bring raw material back or process it in situ? What might the near term, mid term and far term of asteroid mining look like? 


Karl Schroeder, Dr. Jordin Kare, Courtney Schafer, Les Johnson (M), Jennifer Brozek

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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."