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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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Retro Replays: Can we ATOMIZE the ARCTIC?

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First in a series of recycled blog posts from years past

All my old posts are archived, but they're not exactly easy to hunt through.  There's some stuff in there that I'm really fond of, though; so I'm going to periodically re-present these gems as part of my Retro Replays series.  Starting with one of the best:

 

Ah, the naive influences of my youth...

 

When I was a kid my dad had several boxes of old Mechanix Illustrated and Popular Mechanics magazines, dating back to the 1940s and 1950s. So, almost before I could read, I was eagerly looking over the illustrations of articles like the following:

Like many of the articles, "Flying Saucers for Everybody (Mechanix Illustrated, March, 1957) was written by a Mr. Frank Tinsley, who as it turns out was a frequent and enthusiastic contributor of SF to magazines such as Amazing Stories. I believe he was also an illustrator who did some work on the Tom Swift books. One Mechanix Illustrated article that I fondly remember was the (partly prescient, partly off-base) article "Fortress on a Skyhook" (MI, April, 1949). Part of the illustration is reproduced below:

The article claimed that the U.S. Defense Department was seriously considering space-based nuclear-missile platforms. Tinsley included detailed sketches of a method for what we would now call heavy-lift launching of prefab space station components. Of course, the rockets in question had that perfect, curved V2 profile to them. Just the thing to set a kid's imagination going.

The funny thing about these articles is that they came to me out of what was, for a young boy, an unimaginably distant past. They were visions of the future that hadn't happened--that had already become overgrown, and now lay steeped in dust in basement boxes. I suppose knowing this gave me a somewhat jaundiced view of technological development, which the Apollo project briefly succeeded in wiping away.

Most of Tinsley's ideas were vaguely workable; some were positively Utopian. Not all of the articles I grew up with were believable, though. Some were nightmarish, and some, like the one I'll leave you with below, were ludicrous and painful at the same time, even to us in the unenlightened sixties.

This article was entitled "Can we ATOMIZE the ARCTIC?" Tinsley didn't write this one; it was penned by a Wallace W. Ashley and Elmer V. Swan. According to them, Professor Julian Huxley had proposed the idea of using nuclear bombs to melt the polar ice caps. This would moderate our northern climate, eliminating pesky cold snaps and opening up shipping across the top of the world.

My scans below don't do justice to the two-page spread that begins the article. On the left we see a full-page illo of nukes shattering the ice caps. As your eye pans right across the page, the sky becomes filled with a radiant glow (presumably the permanent background radiation that will keep the arctic comfortably warm for its new inhabitants) while basking under it is a new urban Center of Commerce.

Left-page panel: nuking the whales, er, icebergs.

 

Right page partial-panel: the radioactive sky.

Of course, this was published in May, 1946 (in Mechanix Illustrated, natch). Hiroshima and Nagasaki had just happened when the article was commissioned; let's hope the authors and editors hoped to inspire a more peaceful use of nuclear power than that which they had just witnessed.

To me though, this and the other articles formed an indelible early lesson: that the future goes obsolete faster than just about anything.

P.S.:  If you like this sort of thing, you should visit the A.C. Radebaugh site, The Future We Were Promised, which is absolutely wonderful.

P.P.S:

  As a bonus, here's another image from the "Fortress on a Skyhook" article, for your viewing pleasure:

 


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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