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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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coming soon

Jun 07, 2009

Publisher's Weekly loves METAtropolis

Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, John Scalzi and I reviewed

Here's what Publisher's Weekly has to say about the upcoming (August) print edition of our Hugo-nominated shared world project, METAtropolis:

Editor Scalzi (Zoe’s Tale) and four well known writers thoughtfully postulate the evolution of cities, transcending postapocalyptic clichés to envision genuinely new communities and relationships. Selfsustaining walled cities struggle with their responsibilities to dying suburbs in Scalzi’s “Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis”; goods are exchanged through multiple microtransactions in Tobias S. Buckell’s “Stochasti-City” and a reputation economy in Elizabeth Bear’s “The Red in the Sky Is Our Blood.” A lone man attempts to overthrow an early enclave in Jay Lake’s “In the Forests of the Night,” while Karl Schroeder’s “To Hie from Far Celenia” brilliantly combines steampunk, urban sociology and network theory as entire subcultures go “off the grid.” Each story shines on its own; as a group they reinforce one another, building a multifaceted view of a realistic and hopeful urban future. (Aug.

Edited by John Scalzi. Subterranean, $30 (264p) ISBN 978-1-59606-238-2 )


Jun 03, 2009

Monstrous Affections is ready for pre-order

David Nickle's short story collection is creepy and fun. You'll want it

Monstrous AffectionsIn the interest of full disclosure, let me say right off the bat that I've written an award-winning short story and a novel with David Nickle.  I consider him one of the finest horror writers around, and in combination we've crafted some pretty weird stuff; but by temperament David's always been a short fiction writer.  His best pieces are small, intricately-crafted, and often disturbing glimpses of humanity's dark side.  Now, he's finally collected some of them into a book you can buy.  The book is Monstrous Affections.

David's work is by turns horrific, touching, and wickedly funny--sometimes all at the same time.  (Consider a vampire-as-special-needs-kid story where the poor misunderstood vampire toddler is swarmed by righteous preschoolers and--well, you can imagine.)  David's got a blog you can check out, The Devil's Exercise Yard, which is lots of fun, and of course you can still find copies of the novel we wrote together, The Claus Effect, which is basically a James Bond thriller with Santa Claus as the super-villain.

Monstrous Affections is available now for pre-order from the Horror Mall (as warm and cuddly a website as you can imagine).  The book will be released on Halloween of 2009; but by ordering it now, you send a strong signal to the publisher and other interested parties that you're interested in David's work.  And, if you later forget that you've put in the order, you'll have a pleasant little surprise in your mailbox around Halloween (and it won't be a stick or somebody's left ear!  Although, who knows, you might get that too).

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.

May 05, 2009

SciBarCamp 2009, this weekend

Filed Under:

It came up real fast and with short notice, but it'll be great

SciBarCampAfter the success of the first SciBarCamp in Toronto, we're hosting another event here, this time in collaboration with Science Rendezvous.

SciBarCamp is a gathering of scientists, artists, and technologists for a day of talks and discussions.  The second SciBarCamp event will take place at Hart House at the University of Toronto on May 9th, 2009, with an opening reception on the evening of May 8th.  The goal is to create connections between science, entrepreneurs and local businesses, and arts and culture.

One of the topics we will be exploring this year is "Open Science", but we welcome any suggestions from participants. After all, in the tradition of BarCamps (see for more information), the program is decided by the participants at the beginning of the meeting, in the opening reception on May 8th.  SciBarCamp will require active participation; while not everybody will present or lead a discussion, everybody will be expected to contribute substantially - this will help make it a really creative event.

To get an impression of what to expect at SciBarCamp, read this review about last year's event, or look at the list of blog posts by attendees.

Attendance is free, but there is only space for around 100 people, so please register by sending an email to Eva Amsen ( with your name and contact details.  Please include a link to your blog or your organization's webpage that we can display with your name on the participants list.

Jan 27, 2009

The Sunless Countries

Coming August 4th, Book 4 of Virga

I'm excited to announce that my next book is ready and will be published this summer.  The Sunless Countries is the fourth book in the Virga trilogy (let me explain).  It continues and expands upon the story begun in Sun of Suns, but is sufficiently stand-alone that you can still view the first three books as a single unit.  --That is, there's an arc and a set of characters that begins and completes in books one to three; Sunless Countries branches off from there, but contains some familiar faces, for instance Hayden Griffin.The Sunless Countries

There's a couple of reasons why I'm doing the series this way.  Firstly, I hate having to buy every book in a series in order to keep up with the whole storyline.  That makes it all one big book, so why not just publish it in one volume?  Missing a book in such series is rather like missing an episode of Lost.

So The Sunless Countries is its own thing.  Doing things this way lets me approach each book afresh, and I think you'll find it shows.  Start with Sunless countries if you want; it's just as good an introduction to Virga as the previous novels. 

The other main factor in my deciding to do it this way is that... well, this world is just so damn rich!  When I wrote Sun of Suns I discovered that there was much more to this setting than I could possibly encompass with a single novel, or even a single plotline.  One element that I hadn't fleshed out to my satisfaction was the nature of the world outside Virga.  With The Sunless Countries, we're finally doing that.

Finally, I'm continuing my ongoing experiment of telling a slightly different kind of story with each of these books.  The Sunless Countries focuses on Leal Hieronyma Maspeth, a history tutor in the sunless nation of Abyss.  When the famous sunlighter--Hayden Griffin--comes to town, she's both attracted to him as a real hero, and repelled by his association with the local, corrupt government. 

Yet at the same time that Griffin arrives, so does something else--a great voice issuing from the darkness, crying words that no one in Abyss, or Virga, wants to hear...

Nov 05, 2008

Pre-order Queen of Candesce paperback now

It's coming at the end of December. Here's how to get it

Queen of Candesce is already available in hardcover and in audiobook format as well.  The paperback edition is on its way.

If you've been holding off buying QofC because it's only in hardcover, I heartily encourage you to give this edition a look.  While Pirate Sun has been selling like hotcakes and is getting a very good critical reception, Queen of Candesce is my personal favourite of the Virga books to date (is an author allowed to say stuff like this?  My editor may kill me).  Rollicking adventure aside, QofC is set in a unique environment even for Virga:  the inbred, decadent wheel-world of Spyre.  It also features Venera Fanning, who has been one of the most fun characters I've ever written about.  Not only that, I think it's the funniest book I've written.  It continues the saga of Virga, opening the world, characters, and situation out in new directions.  If you enjoyed Sun of Suns, you'll love Queen of Candesce.

And for all of you who complain that I don't promote my work enough:  so there!

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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."