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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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Pirate Sun

Aug 28, 2008

In case you mis-typed

Filed Under:

No, I didn't write this one. But I'm sure "Gwen Westwood" would be thrilled if you bought her book

Pirate of the SunIt's uncanny, really, but the guy in this picture looks exactly like I imagined Chaison Fanning to look, and the woman looks precisely like Venera Fanning (it's that particular quality of vapid emptiness in the eyes...). 

Oh, and the hair.  I'm sure Venera would wear hers that way.

Go on and buy it!  You know you want to.

 

Aug 08, 2008

Another great Pirate Sun review

Filed Under:

"In the same league as the best SF ever has had to offer..."

Well, I guess I can finally relax.  I'd been worried about my choices in crafting the Virga series, because everybody seemed to have opinions about where the story should go next, and their ideas never seemed to jibe with my own.  "Hayden Griffin has to come back in book three!"  "The third book needs to go outside Virga and look at Artificial Nature!"  And on and on.  I had this terrible feeling as I was writing Pirate Sun that I was crafting a book that would please no one, and I let it go to Tor's production department with something of a feeling of dread.

Yet now, Ernest Lilley, over at SFRevu.com, has this to say:

In the Virga saga, Schroeder demonstrates that he is capable of rich characters, exciting action, compelling plot, and very solid science. ...It's 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.

 

Aug 07, 2008

Great review of Pirate Sun on Sci Fi UK

They say "planetary romance is alive and well"

Britain's Sci Fi UK website has a smashing review of Pirate Sun.  It's worth quoting at length:

This series by Schroeder succeeds remarkably on two distinct levels. Actually, three levels if you count the hybrid fusion of its two modes as a separate success itself.

On the one hand, the series exemplifies all the many wonders inherent in the Big Dumb Object-or "extremely alien environment"-mode of SF. ...Schroeder has conjured up a mind-croggling "steel beach" to add to the genre's rich roster of such places, worked out its mechanics and cultures with masterful ingenuity, and then figured out what kind of adventure such a place would best support...

But on top of this, he has found a way to legitimately recreate the melodramatic thrills found most prominently in the literature from what editor and critic David Pringle calls "the Age of the Storytellers." The exploits of Chaison and Venera, and the gleeful yet bloody-minded pellmell tone and pace of the telling, hark back to Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexander Dumas and, of course, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Aug 05, 2008

Pirate Sun is out!

The third Virga book brings back some old friends... and jousting cities

Sales seem brisk on Amazon, even though the official release date is tomorrow; and people are telling me that they've been seeing it in the stores and buying it already (thanks, Fred!).  There seems to be a gratifying level of interest out there, and early reviews have been highly favourable.

Pirate SunLet me warn you, though:  Pirate Sun is the most adrenalin-packed of the three Virga books.  I know the first two just tore along, with sword-fights, boarding parties, naval/aerial battles and lots of intrigue.  Pirate Sun ups the ante on all this stuff.  It's a cross between The Odyssey and The Three Musketeers, and starts with a prison-break unlike any you've ever heard of (I guarantee that!).  Along the way you'll encounter a Virgan flood (also unlike anything else you've seen) and a battle between two cities where they throw whole neighbourhoods while trying to encircle and absorb one another.  (A little hint about that:  the fantastic cover art by Stephan Martiniere is actually an accurate rendering of a scene from that part of the book.)

 I'm now in the middle of editing the fourth book, The Sunless Countries.  Don't despair:  Pirate Sun wraps up the major plotlines that were kicked off in Sun of Suns The Sunless Countries will expand the world of Virga in new directions, introduce some new characters, and answer some of the questions raised in the earlier books.  

Jul 27, 2008

In my hot little hands...

Is the first printed copy of Pirate Sun. Huzzah!

Oh, this is going to be fun. 

Jul 14, 2008

Read the Prologue to Pirate Sun

It's out in three weeks... here's a teaser

 “One thing I can guarantee,” said Venera Fanning. “There has never been a prison break quite like this one.”

 The barrel-shaped tugboat was so old that moss had spread continents over its hull, and tufts of grass jutted from its seams like hairs from an old man’s chin. The powerful drone of the vessel’s engines, as its small crew tested them, put a lie to any impression that it was feeble, however. In fact the bone-rattling noise of the test quickly drove Venera and her small group away from the drydock framework that enclosed the tug.

Venera turned away from it and squinted past the light of Slipstream's sun. The city of Rush spread across half the sky, its gaily bannered habitat cylinders turning majestically among wisps of cloud. It was mid-day and the air was full of airships, winged human forms, and here and there cavorting dolphins.

 One figure had detached itself from the orderly streams of flying people, and was approaching. Venera saw that it was a member of her private spy network, a nondescript young man dressed in flying leathers, his toeless shoes pushing down on the stirrups that drove the mechanical wings strapped to his back. He hove to and she admired the sheen of sweat on his shoulders as he saluted. “Here's the latest photos.” He proffered a thick envelope; Venera took it, forgetting about him instantly, and tore it open.

 Her fingers rose of their own accord to touch the scar on her jaw as she looked at what the pictures revealed: the planes and corners of a stone prison that hovered alone in cloudy skies. Not one building, but six or seven that had been lashed together over the decades, the blocky, boulder-like edifice hung half-wreathed in its own fog bank. The blocks, spheres and triangles of the Falcon New Prison were of various architectural styles and colors, literally thrown together and hybridized with clumsy wooden bridges and rope-and-chain lashings into one cancerous monster whose only common element was that all its windows were barred.

 With no gravity to flatten it, the composite prison was stable enough; storms were rare on the edge of civilization and there were no obstacles for the place to run into in its endless drift. The New Prison was a child of neglect, a forgotten mote on the fringe of the vast cloud of worker's dormitories, collective farms and planned cities that was Falcon Formation. Most of the cargo delivered here was on a one-way journey.

 Venera intended to make an unscheduled pick-up.

 continued...

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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