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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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Saving the world is going to require a lot of work. Here's a few places to start

I've been reading Global Risks 2011, the sixth edition of the World Economic Forum's Risk Response Network report. It reviews the various major issues that face the world--and there's a lot of them. Most interestingly, though, it also mentions, almost in passing, what some of the solutions might be. Many of them are things that are not being done, but that could be done, and could in fact be the basis of entire careers, business models, or academic careers.  So for instance, take the following:

  • For the potential problem of global governance failures, they say that "A counterbalance would be a well-informed and well-mobilized global public opinion sharing norms and values of global citizenship, but this is not yet fully developed." Okay, I sense a truly massive business opportunity here. CNN and Al Jazeera were just the beginning; what if we treated all news as local? We've been edging this way for decades, but we can automate things now we couldn't have imagined just a few years ago. So, I want an interactive map of the world that shows all of today's reported murders as red dots; and a weddings overlay as well; and... well, everything. I want to know what's going on. News reports themselves should just be the last level of drill-down in the process.
  • For resource security, the WEF advocates something they call sustainable consumption. Becoming an expert in this or getting in on the ground floor of this new business movement could make the next generation of billionaires. There's many opportunities here, eg., garbage design, which should have its own degree programs.
  • The WEF views potential retrenchment from globalization as a risk. I understand this position, but see my last post on the perils of interconnectedness; there's a space here in the early 21st century for building local resilience for food, water, energy, and other resources. Call it a new kind of insurance--not a step towards a "new medievalism" but part of a general strategy of keeping our civilization robust. DARPA's recent announcement that they want to put 1000 3d printers in U.S. schools points in this direction. Globalization is a strong trend, naturally; but the counter-trend is also strong and should be encouraged.

There's a lot of worry and hang-wringing today about the financial system and jobs. The fact is, though, that certain aspects of the future are very, very clear. Water will be an issue throughout the U.S. midwest. Some new measure of prosperity other than GDP will become the norm by which nations are compared. Economic growth, in the traditional sense, will have to slow, but something much more interesting could replace it. These things are crises only if you are desperately trying to hang on to old ways of doing this. For those willing to try something new, they're gigantic opportunities.

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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)


     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."
    --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