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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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Reviews & Reactions


On its first day in the stores, Sun of Suns was met with this review on  I like the part where they say:

Schroeder wants to restage the classic pulp tropes of sword battles among the starlanes, to revivify the Robert Louis Stevenson/Rafael Sabatini roots of the subgenre, and he does so with elan and brio, blending the exciting action with the speculations seamlessly. Hayden Griffin is a fine character to shoulder this tale, a man of intense drives, intelligence and contradictions. His growth is touching and believable, and the characters around him support his story splendidly.

Wow!  I'd been hoping for a good reaction, but this was ridiculous.  And they kept coming:

Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal all loved Sun of Suns. Kirkus in particular called this book "Outrageously brilliant and absolutely not to be missed."

Publishers Weekly said, "...Schroeder layers in scientific rationales for his air-filled, gravity-poor world with its spinning cylinder towns and miles-long icebergs but 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."

Library Journal said, "This series opener by the author of Lady of Mazes and Permanence provides an unusual setting a fullerene balloon in which humans dwell in wheel-shaped homes that create their own gravity but the characters remain unquestionably human. A promising beginning; for most libraries."

And here's the Kirkus Reviews review in full:

What if space had air in it? That's the-ostensibly-insane premise of Schroeder's latest wooden-hulled, middle-tech adventure (Lady of Mazes, 2005, etc.), the first in a projected series. How to fill space with air? Well, enclose a planet-sized volume in an impermeable barrier, call it Virga, then fill it with air, water, rocks, dirt, life forms and people. Make it habitable by creating min-suns (actually fusion reactors that shut down at night). The inhabitants will have to create their own "gravity" by building huge wheels from wood and rope (metals are scarce) and spinning them to generate centrifugal force. Fish and birds-the two are practically indistinguishable-fly or swim with ease. Out beyond the suns lies the cold darkness of winter. Much of this construct, indeed, is counterintuitive but ruthlessly logical. You want a story, too? Eight years earlier, Chaison Fanning, admiral of Slipstream nation's fleet, conquered Aerie, young Hayden Griffin's tiny, sunless nation. Now a skilled jet-bike rider, Griffin, having wormed his way into the good graces of Fanning's beautiful and ambitious wife, Venera, is poised to assassinate the admiral. But when spies uncover a plot by a totalitarian nation to invade Slipstream, Griffin finds himself assisting Fanning, who, he can't help noticing, is brave and honorable and may not even be guilty. Meanwhile, Griffin notices ship's armorer Aubri Mahallan; fascinating Aubri, he learns, comes from outside Virga, where a predatory and all but incomprehensible regime, Artificial Nature, reigns supreme. Still on the agenda: stunning naval battles, giant flying icebergs, zero-gee swordfights and a pirate's treasure that's at once much less and considerablymore than it seems. Outrageously brilliant and absolutely not to be missed.

I was very happy with that.

Accolades and Nominations

Sun of Suns makes the John W. Campbell Memorial Award shortlist

SoS was up against some heavy hitters for this award--notably Charlie Stross's Glasshouse, Peter Watts's Blindsight, and Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. In the end it was Titan

by Ben Bova that won the award.

Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading list for 2006

Here's their recommended science fiction from 2006 (complete list): 

Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nomination

Sun of Suns was one of six SF novels nominated for the 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. The Romantic Times is a review magazine, much like science fiction's Locus, but focusing on all titles of interest to women--not just romance fiction.
As they put it in announcing the nominations,

2006 was another great year for readers. So many fabulous books were published! We reviewed more than 250 books in each issue of RT BOOKreviews —more than 3,000 titles for the entire year. Our ace reviewers and editors have scoured 12 months’ worth of reviews to compile the best of the best for the annual Romantic Times BOOKreviews Career Achievement and Reviewers’ Choice Awards. For the Reviewers’ Choice nominees, our star team selected only those novels that deeply resonated with them.

 My fellow nominees for this award are Elizabeth Bear (for Carnival), Tobias Buckell (For Crystal Rain), Tom Piccirilli (for The Dead Letters), John Scalzi (for The Android's Dream, and Jo Walton (for Farthing).  As it turned out, Farthing won--a highly deserving choice.

This was great company to be in and I was quite flattered by the nomination.

Aurora Award Nomination

Shortly after the Romantic Times nominations came in, I found out that SoS was nominated for Canada's Aurora Award as well.  As with the other nominations, it didn't win (always the bridesmaid, never the bride); this year the honour went to Dave Duncan for Children of Chaos.

The Hugo... Ah, the Hugo

Well, a man can dream.  Sun of Suns was six votes short of being nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award for best novel.  Ouch!  (Vernor was a shoe-in for Rainbows End anyway, of course.)  Oh well, as they say, there's always next year.

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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.

Sheer Fun

Original Hardcover Edition

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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."