Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

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.

Personal tools

Technology really is legislation

Filed Under:

Australian high court judge says laws will be embedded in technology, not subject to it. He's wrong

I used the catch-phrase "technology is legislation" in my novel Lady of Mazes, to express the idea that technology does an end-run around law.  Now, an Australian judge is saying just this, and more:  that technological objects will increasingly encapsulate deliberately-crafted legal structures in their very design.  He says:

"We are moving to a point in the world where more and more law will be expressed in its effective way, not in terms of statutes solidly enacted by the parliament...but in the technology itself--code."

He's nearly right; except for having it backward, that is.  What he's describing has similarities to my idea of the tech locks, which are socially-imposed limits on technology expressed in the technology itself, not in laws that surround it.  Judge Kirby is focusing on computer code here, but the principle is actually more general than that;  in the future, his idea implies we may have a legal system that operates not according to what's allowed, but according to what's possible.  If criminal use of a particular technology is simply not possible, then that's the same as having a law against that use. 

I think most people would prefer to live in a world where things are possible if not allowed, rather than the nightmare scenario of a world where many things simply can't be done.

However, Kirby is wrong about one crucial thing.  Laws will not be expressed in their effective form through code; code does and will continue to effectively create law--without reference to the legal system.  Groups like the record companies and the RIAA are finding out this out now.  Their people are trying to design devices that by design can only be used legally.  Digital Rights Management (DRM) is an example of this kind of pixie-dust sprinkled on technologies that are inherently a-legal.  Kirby is wrong when he imagines that law can be embodied in code, because code is inherently elastic; it's more like water than iron, because it partakes in a basic fact of nature:  that our definitions of things aren't the things themselves. 

Computer code relies on this fact.  Its identifications are all contingent, all temporary, all local.  As Brian Cantwell Smith points out in On the Origin of Objects, types ("can this kind of variable contain a text string or only integers?") are impossible to hard-code into a computer.  And if you can't even dictate that something is always and only an integer, how can you enforce any kind of higher-level legal structure in code?

Technology is legislation, but it can't be controlled on the level that Kirby is talking about.  Any attempt to do so can only result in Orwellian, and unintentionally hilarious, results (again, the entire current state of the music industry is both).

Thanks to Walter Derzko over at SmartEconomy for bringing this one to my attention.

 

Document Actions
Log in


Forgot your password?
New user?
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.

 
Twitter

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter
    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