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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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For my old weblog material, visit

Mar 16, 2008

SciBarCamp day 2

A fantastic ending to a highly successful first camp. We plan more

The entire weekend went off with very few hitches--the worst being a bit of schedule crunch on Saturday, but nothing that actually stopped people from presenting.  I took a few more photos, but at this point there's a lot of other people who had much better cameras than my phone, and who were much better photographers; so I'll just point you to the Flickr page where many of the pix have been collected.

If you'd like more detail about what we discussed, you can drop by the SciBarCamp website and look at the program schedules.  We've encouraged people to blog about the event and to tag their entries with SciBarCamp, so you can track down a lot more about it at sites like technorati.

I'd like to thank everybody who had faith in us and came.  I'd also especially like to thank the other organizers, Jen Dodd, Michael Nielsen, Eva Amsen, Lee Smolin, and Jamie McQuay.  Jen and Michael were the instigators and they, Eva and Jamie did most of the work; I was just along for the ride, really.  Jen and Jamie in particular spent their own money to make it all happen, and deserve special mention for it.

We've talked about whether we're doing another SciBarCamp; there's no reason why not, it's a scheduling issue more than anything.  I hope the meme spreads, and that it becomes a regular in Toronto and beyond.

SciBarCamp day 1

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Just a blur. Here's some stuff that happened

I'll hopefully have a more detailed report about the conference later; suffice it to say that the first day was a roaring success.  Here's some moments:


Scibarcamp day sessions

The morning sessions, held in Hart House's music room.


Scibarcamp talk proposals

Proposals for talks, panels and discussions were posted upon these boards.


Scibarcamp solar car

This was a surprise--we all poured outside to check out BlueSky's high-speed two-seater solar car.


Scibarcamp robots

Meanwhile, the robots were roving with little or no supervision...


Scibarcamp foresight talk

While Melanie Swan and Darren Harnett (pictured), and Mark Tovey and I give an introduction to foresight studies and futurist techniques.

But there was much more, including participatory musical performances, discussions about the ethics of synthetic biology, the philosophy of the Chinese Room, brain imaging, consciousness studies, open source drug development, and a panel discussion with myself, Lee Smolin, and Robert J. Sawyer on the nature of time.

And that was just Day 1!

Mar 15, 2008

SciBarCamp: opening night success

100+ self-starters crammed in one room. Order ensues

Well, the SciBarCamp's gotten off to a smashing start.  Last night over 100 people showed up at the Debates room in Hart House and we kicked off the event with drinks, shmoozing, and the ad hoc creation of our program.


Scibarcamp intros

Above's a picture of the introductions period, with everybody saying who they are and what their interests are.


Scibarcamp scrum

The scrum.  Nobody was shy; it was a complete mix-up of enthusiastic and wildly diverse people.

I'll try to post the Saturday schedule later.  My favourite proposed event so far is the "Interactive Salt Lick Sculpture."  That should be interesting.

Mar 12, 2008

Several Earths-worth of air

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Cool graphic illustrates how much air Earth has; Virga, it seems, has more


Found on BoingBoing (and previously by them here):  a very interesting graphic that displays how much water and air there are on the surface of the Earth.  The ball of air appears to be about 2000 kilometers in diameter.  Now, in my novels Sun of Suns, Queen of Candesce and Pirate Sun, I posit an enclosed sphere of air more than twice that diameter.  I hadn't really thought it through, but this means that my world Virga has several Earths-worth of air in it, probably a dozen or more.  So, when I say that Virga is 5000 miles in diameter, that doesn't mean we're talking about a small world, because the entire volume of this sphere is living space, whereas on a planet only the surface is livable.  So the ecosystem of Virga is far, far bigger than that of the Earth, or even of the Earth and all the terrestrial planets combined (assuming they were terraformed) by a considerable multiplier.

When I set out to write Sun of Suns, I conservatively estimated about 120 artificial suns and attendant nations inside Virga.  I imagined that each nation might have a population in the low millions, but once again if you look at the volume lit by the suns instead of the area of the circle they light, it's probably safe to say that Virga could hold tens of billions of people without overcrowding.

And to think, Virga is a small world by the standards of what's possible.

Mar 06, 2008

SciBarCamp is full up

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Here's a brief un-program for the event

SciBarCampNext weekend's first SciBarCamp is now full, with well over 100 confirmed attendees.  The event's happening at Hart House, which is a magnificent location in the heart of Toronto (the University of Toronto takes up a square mile of the downtown core).

Fear not if you were hoping to come but were unable.  We want this event to be the first of a regular series.  Just make sure you follow the news at the SciBarCamp website, and sign up early!

SciBarCamp's deliberately vague schedule

The program for SciBarCamp will be decided in a collaborative way involving all participants on the opening night (Friday night).  This is when all the talks and discussions will be scheduled.

The start and finish times for each day have been decided, and are set out below.  The opening event on Friday night will be integral to the whole weekend, so please plan to attend on this night as well as on the rest of the weekend.

FRIDAY, March 14: 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Edit section

The program for the weekend will be decided.  Bring along your ideas and suggestions for talks or discussions you'd like to see happen.

SATURDAY, March 15, 9:00am to 5:00pm
Edit section

The first day of talks, discussions, performances, and demos.

SUNDAY, March 16, 9:00am to 5:00pm
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The second day of talks, discussions, performances, and demos.

Feb 29, 2008

Today is Hugo nomination deadline

Filed Under:

Run, don't walk, to

Last Chance to nominateWhat more's to be said?  Hugo nomination season was brief this year; it's highly likely as a result that you wield disproportionate power if you nominate and vote because nomination numbers are always very low.  Literally, every single nomination counts for this award, and books can get on the ballot with as few as 30 nominations.

Nomination for this award is perhaps the most concretely effective thing you can do to support the career of writers you like.  Of course I'm shamelessly cadging for Queen of Candesce here, but there's plenty of other award categories that would benefit from your opinion, such as best short story, best novella, dramatic screenplay etc. 

That said, if you're not already a member of Denvention, you're out of luck. I suspect this sort of draconian membership is part of the reason the nomination numbers are so low (doubtless there's a flame-ridden discussion thread about that around somewhere)--but hundreds of people who could nominate don't, and I'm sure many of them intend to but are caught with their pants down when the deadline passes. 

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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."