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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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public panels

Oct 19, 2009

Live on TVO tonight

Filed Under:

...Along with a bunch of people who are far more qualified than me to talk about space colonization

Very surprised to discover that I'm going to be on Steve Paiken's show The Agenda tonight, starting at 8p.m. Eastern time on TV Ontario.  Each of his shows has its own web page; this one is here.

I'll be doing a panel discussion with the likes of Chris Hadfield (Canadian astronaut) and Donna Shirley (who led the team that built the Sojourner); the subject will be space colonization.  Threat or Menace?  I'll be introducing a somewhat contrarian view, but I hope the conversation will rise above the usual "should we do it?" debate to something a bit more interesting.

This invitation had come weeks ago, but I didn't think I was going to be able to do it; things have opened up at the last minute, so here we go!  Wish me luck, and tune in if you get the chance.null


Jul 31, 2009

August 26 will be Karl Schroeder day

...over at the Science Fiction Message Board

Cory alerted me to an interesting upcoming event:  The Science Fiction Message Board is hosting Author August, a month of discussions about particular science fiction writers--one per day.  Apparently I'm Mister August 26th (no, there will be no centerfold, unless you make one up yourself).  

The introductory description of the event is here, and the threads themselves will, I gather, be unraveling from the Author Central forum.  

This is pretty cool, although I'd be an idiot if I expected to necessarily be flattered by what (if anything) gets said about me on the day.  The sensible thing for me, in fact, would probably be to steer clear of reading it altogether--but you may want to drop by. 

And, if you do, be kind. :-)

Jul 27, 2009

My O'Reilly talk is now online

14 minutes of me

I gave a keynote address on "the rewilding: a metaphor" at the O'Reilly Open Source 2009 convention last week.  It was recorded, and you can now watch it here:

The talk is notable for the number of times I go "um" and refer to my notes; that's mostly because I was called in at the very last minute, and was literally preparing the presentation on the plane.  I scrawled it on my iRex tablet, which you'll see me referring to as I talk. 

The key ideas--the central metaphor of "the rewilding" are part of a really big research program I'm in the middle of.  It's the capstone to all the ideas that went into two of my novels, Ventus and Lady of Mazes.  Those two books form a thematic whole, but their statement's not complete.  They need a final book, and The Rewilding will be that book--if I can pull it all together in my own mind.

O'Reilly was a bit of a testbed for that--to see if I could bring it all together into a fifteen minute talk that would make sense and be relevant.  You might think that's kind of like flying without an intellectual safety net, and it is; but life's too short, and as an SF writer, it's my job to point to new ideas, not necessarily to fully articulate them.

So try the talk, "um's" and all, and let me know what you thought.

Jul 19, 2009

My Worldcon 2009 schedule

Filed Under:

Here's the semi-final version. One thing's for sure: you'd be crazy not to visit Montreal in the summer

Well, I'm going to be very busy at Worldcon, but feel free to approach me at any time.  Here's my schedule, so you'll know at least some of the places and times you can find me:


When: Fri 12:00

Location:  Other

Title:  Karl Schroeder Signing

Duration:  0:30 hrs:min

Language:  English


When: Fri 15:30

Location:  P-511A

Title:  Oh Canada!

All Participants:  Karl Schroeder, Bob Boyczuk, Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula Pflug

 “America's aggressive attitude toward nature and the unknown…, translates readily into the mythology of conquering and domesticating the unknown that finds expression in much SF. The Canadian attitude seems to be that nature is simply too vast, too threatening, too powerful: man is nature's victim rather than the reverse. Survival, not conquest, is the issue.” (David Ketterer) Is this true, or is this consolatory rhetoric?

When: Fri 21:00

Location:  P-511A

Title:  Cecil Street Irregulars; A Canadian Writers' Group

All Participants:  Cory Doctorow, Douglas Smith, Karl Schroeder, Madeline Ashby, Michael Skeet, David Nickle, Jill Snider Lum, Sara Simmons

Moderator:  Madeline Ashby

Description:  The Cecil Street Irregulars writers’ workshop is not its official name; it does not meet irregularly, nor does it meet on or anywhere near Cecil Street. It is, however, one of the longest-lived of current writers groups. Collectively the current and former members have published numerous novels, short stories, plays and poems; all continue to insist (at least publicly) that they look forward to the regular experience of having their work sand-blasted by their fellows.


 When: Sat 12:30

Location:  P-522B

Title:  Building Realistic Worlds

All Participants:  Amy Thomson, Karin Lowachee, Karl Johanson, Karl Schroeder, Robert J. Sawyer


When: Sat 18:30

Location:  P-511BE

Title:  David Hartwell and Karl Schroeder: The Editor and the Writer, Long Form

All Participants:  David Hartwell, Karl Schroeder

Description:  Hartwell and Schroeder have worked together on several novels. They talk about the process, how an editor edits, how the writer works with the editor’s feedback.



When: Sun 9:00

Location:  P-518BC

Title:  The Uncanny Valley - AIs! They're Just Like Us!

All Participants:  Karl Schroeder, Tom Galloway, Kim Binsted, Rhodri James

Moderator:  Rhodri James

Description:  Are AI labs across the planet just making elaborate cartoons of ourselves rather than making something truly new? And what about AIs in science fiction?


When: Sun 11:00

Location:  P-521A

Title:  Karl Schroeder Kaffeeklatsch

All Participants:  Karl Schroeder

Description:  A chance to ask those burning questions.

Duration:  1:00 hrs:min


When: Sun 15:30

Location:  P-513B

Title:  SF and Economics

All Participants:  Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin, Hayden Trenholm, Karl Schroeder, S.C. Butler, Charles Stross

Description:  How does a writer incorporate events like the past 12 months into their future society? How does a writer extrapolate economic theory into far future societies?


When: Mon 10:00

Location:  P-513A

Title:  A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing

All Participants:  Amy Thomson, Carl Fink, Christopher Davis, Karl Schroeder

Description:  What happens when physicists try to write biological SF; or when a writer’s research goes badly wrong?



Jul 13, 2009

Back from Sci Foo

Nice campout at Google--with tyranosaurs

I spent the weekend with 200 other ubergeeks at the Googleplex, inventing then executing the agenda for the Sci Foo Camp 2009 un-conference.  My own talk was on "The Rewilding:  An Alternative to the Technological Singularity," and it was pretty well rececived by the tough crowd of intellectual heavyweights I pitched it to.

Other people who were there that weekend included Maureen McHugh (who has written some of my favourite SF and whom I finally go to mee!), and intellectuals/power brokers from diverse fields, such as George Dyson, Esther Dyson, Louise Leakey, Peter Diamandis, Elon Musk, Lee Smolin, George Smoot, Lawrence Lessig, etc.  There was an early rumour that Bjork was supposed to attend, but she never materialized, at least not in any recognizable form. 

Sessions included one on new data supporting an iminent mass extinction from global warming; spaceflight speculations by Musk and Diamandis; new findings in neurobiology and cognitive science, radical animal design, etc.  Way too much for me to be able to attend them all, of course; but I'm familiar with that problem from our SciBarCamp experiments in Toronto.  The Google campus was a good setting for the event, and they had built us a "holodeck" that ran Google Earth (and Mars) on a set of wraparound big-screen HD tvs.  The food at the campus is excellent, by the way--and yes, they do have a tyranosaur on their lawn.

 I met tonnes of people, and I'll catch up with you all individually rather than in this space.  ...I guess, in trying to summarize how weird and wonderful the weekend was, I'll just give one example:  there was a guy who'd brought a hand-held mirror that shows you your reflection unreversed.  (No, it's not a device, it's just a mirror.) 

May 15, 2009

...And now it can be told

I'll be writer in residence at the Merril Collection next spring

Merril Collection banner

The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculation is one of the most prestigious science fiction research collections in the world.  As part of the Toronto Public Library system, it's open to the public and is housed in a modern building in downtown Toronto (in between the University of Toronto campus and Chinatown).  I'm delighted to be able to say that I'll be Writer in Residence at the Merril between January and March of 2010.

This is a position of service to the public.  I'll be given time to work on my own material every day, but I'll also be making myself available to library visitors to discuss writing, review manuscripts, facilitate networking between prospective writers, and so on.

I'm very excited and honoured to be doing this, because twenty-three years ago, I arrived in Toronto by myself; didn't know anybody; and by chance heard about a local TPL branch called (then) the Spaced Out Library.  I showed up to discover that Judith Merril was currently writer in residence, and through her I was introduced to some of the best friends I've made in this lifetime.  The writer's workshop that Judy started at that time--I was there at the inaugural meeting--has been meeting once a week since 1987.  It's with great pride that I find myself coming full circle to become writer in residence at the very library that made my writing career possible.

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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)

     “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."