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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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The Engine of Recall

The well-received collection of my short science fiction, from Red Deer Press

I'm not a prolific short story writer.  When I was 14 I started writing my first novel, and for me, short fiction has always been a sideline.  One of the consequences of this is that I tend to lavish way too much attention on short pieces when I do work on them--totally out of proportion to the $200 or so that a short piece will fetch in today's market.

Still, short fiction's been good to me.  On the strength of one short story sale, I was able to muscle my way into the founding meeting of SF Canada (our national SF and fantasy writer's association).  That story was "Pools of Air", which in Winter 2008 is being taught with some of my other stories at York University here in Toronto.

"The stories in The Engine of Recall are powerful, thought-provoking dispatches from a visionary imagination."
--Quill & Quire

Anyway in 2004 Robert J. Sawyer asked me if I had anything suitable for his new line, Robert J. Sawyer Books, which had started coming out of Red Deer Press in Alberta.  I pitched a short story collection, not expecting much to come of it--but Rob was highly interested.  As it turned out, his instincts were right; the collection has done very well for me.

Rob asked me to gather together only my hard science fiction, and initially I balked, because that would exclude two of my favourite stories:  the Aurora Award winning "The Toy Mill", which I wrote with David Nickle; and "Dawn" which, though one of my few forays into fantasy, is also one of my most emotional and, I think, effective works.  Rob applied the thumbscrews, however, and so the collection became strictly hard SF.  To seal this pedigree, he managed somehow to convince Stephen Baxter to write the introduction!

Short story collections don't get reviewed much, but this one got national attention in Quill & Quire, Canada's largest review magazine.  They liked it a lot.  So did SF Site.  Reader response has also been enthusiastic--"Alexander's Road", which I wrote specially for the collection and was my first short piece in years, was nominated for the 2006 Aurora Award.  Availability of the collection in the United States has generated sales all out of proportion to my expectations.

The Editions

I was given an unusual amount of input (for publishing) into the design of the book.  Red Deer asked me to propose cover art, and I suggested something that would fall in line with the overall theme of the 'outsider'--of isolation and grand perspective--that I'd imbued into many of the stories.  The hardcover edition looks exactly as I was hoping it would.The Engine of Recall

I thought that was it--taking to heart the usual publishing wisdom that short story collections don't do that well. In particular, Canadian publishing expectations are usually low:  sales of 10,000 domestically are enough to put you in bestseller territory.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that the hardcover had sold well enough that Red Deer had decided to do a trade paperback version.

For this edition, Red Deer commissioned Jean-Pierre Normand to do the artwork, and he provided a number of striking images for me to consider.  It was hard to decide which one to go with; in the end we chose one that represented the central action of the title story.

Test-Drive it

The Engine of Recall ppbkYou can check the collection out by reading the first story.  "Hopscotch", one of my earliest stories, was nominated for an Aurora Award, and I think it still holds up pretty well.  It's been optioned for film and would make a perfect art-house movie.  You can read it online (in PDF format).

I've recently begun writing short fiction again, with stories like "Book, Theatre, and Wheel" and "Mitigation".  The success of The Engine of Recall was definitely a factor in getting me off by duff to do it. 


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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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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)

 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."

"...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."