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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 06, 2010

My SFCOntario schedule

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The convention happens November 19-21st. Here's what I'll be doing

Friday 7:00 PM - Gardenview

How to write a synopsis. A synopsis is an important part of the submission package you will use to sell your novel. But what is a synopsis and how is it developed and polished? Is there an ideal length? How much detail should it include?

Panelists discuss common problems and errors. (Erik Buchanan, Michael Martineck(M), Stephen B Pearl, Karl Schroeder)

Saturday 11:00 AM 


Saturday 1:00 PM - Ballroom A

The Decline of the Written Empire.  With e-books, 3000 channel television, web casts, and kindle, is the “book” on its way out? And how do you get an author’s signature on a IBook? (Alison Baird, Beverley Bambury(M), Ed Greenwood, Sandra Katsuri, Karl Schroeder)

 Saturday 8:00 PM - Courtyard

 Rewilding the Human Species. Rewilding is the process of returning species, habitats and landscapes to a natural state, as they would be without the intervention of humans, including the return of captive animals to the wild. But what about rewilding the human species? (Just me so far, though I may bring some others on board)

For more information about the convention, visit the SFCOntario website.

Jul 13, 2010

My Polaris schedule

This Friday to Sunday, I'll be at Polaris 24 in Richmond Hill. Here's how to find me

This weekend is the annual media-oriented con in Toronto, Polaris.  I'll be there, and you can catch me at panels, a reading, or a signing, at these times:

  • Where's My Rocket Car? Friday 09:00 PM 
  • Reading - Karl Schroeder Saturday 11:00 AM 
  • Trashing Other Planets Saturday 04:00 PM 
  • Avatar: The Theory of Pandora Saturday 05:00 PM 
  • Signing - Karl Schroeder Sunday 10:00 AM 
  • Bigger Guns Or Better Stories? Sunday 03:00 PM 

Hope to see you there!

Mar 22, 2010

My Ad Astra schedule

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April 9, 10, and 11 I can be found at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for this year's annual Toronto SF convention

Fri 9:00 PM:

Same Old Settings

What settings are overused and underused in SF, fantasy, and horror works? What would you like to see more of, and what have you seen enough of? If you are looking for more creative ideas for settings, where should you go? What works do you think have the most original settings?

 Rick Wilber, Karina Sumner-Smith, Gregory A. Wilson, Karl Schroeder, Derek Kunsken

Sat 6:00 PM:

 Putting the Science Into Science Fiction 

How can authors effectively use cutting-edge science in their SF works?

 Chris A. Jackson (m), Derek Kunsken, Peter Watts, Karl Schroeder,

 Sat 7:00 PM:

 Body and Person in SF

 How SF has treated the connection between the body and the personality, from completely disconnected to very integrated.

J. Keeping,  Peter Watts, Karl Schroeder

 Sun 10:00 AM:

Writing the Future

 How do you create a credible near future (up to 50 years from now)? What things are likely to change and what will stay the same? Technological and scientific changes aren’t the whole story. How do you incorporate probable or possible changes in the environment, economy and politics, culture and social mores into a believable future?

 Hayden Trenholm, Karl Schroeder, Rebecca Simkin

Sun 2:00 PM:

 Intersection Between SF and Contemporary Issues 

Does an average 14-year-old understand that The Forever War is really about Vietnam? Are such allusions wasted effort? Does a writer limit his or her shelf-life by tying work too closely to the present day?

Robert J. Sawyer,  Rick Wilber, Karl Schroeder, Ira Nayman, J.M. Frey

 Sun 3:00 PM:

 A.I. in SF

 A.I. is a staple in SF. This panel discusses the current reality and probable future of artificial intelligence research 

J. Keeping, Robert J. Sawyer, Karl Schroeder



Mar 01, 2010

Flavours of Penguicon

Filed Under:

A little sampler of what the convention's panels are like

I'll be author Guest of Honour at Penguicon, April 30 to May 2, 2010.  Penguicon is not a science fiction convention, though there's a lot of overlap among the attendees; it's an open source con, dedicated to all things linuxy and open.  I hope this year to have the chance to talk about some of the research I did last year into open source biotech.  Meanwhile, however, if you're wondering what the con is like, I've managed to dig up a couple of podcasts of panels I was on at the 2007 convention:

  • Cutting-edge SF author Karl Schroeder joins Ron Hale-Evans, author of Mind Performance Hacks, and Dr. Jonathon Sullivan MD PhD in neurology, to consider "The brain is a computer, the mind is software." That's been the ruling metaphor of cognitive science, neurology and AI studies for decades. The software of thought is supposed to operate much like that of a computer, going from discrete state to discrete state. However a new study from Cornell shows that our thoughts change continuously; the brain works "in shades of grey". And there are good reasons to think that the mind is not an artifact of the brain alone, but is extended into the environment as well.
  • Christine Peterson, Jason Ahlquist, Karl Schroeder, and Ron Hale-Evans discuss the term 'posthuman'. The term "posthuman" seems to indicate a lack of humans. This is not what is meant, but itâs really bad marketing, and scares people. Even transhumanism is not a very friendly term. Names are important; perhaps it needs a new name the same way Free Software came to be known as Open Source Software?

If you're curious about Penguicon, give these a try.  

Feb 16, 2010

Video of the Boskone Singularity panel

Courtesy of Michael Johnson

Here's the panel that Vernor Vinge, Charlie Stross, Aleister Reynolds, and I did at Boskone 47 on "The Technological Singularity:  an Assessment."  We critiqued the idea itself, its effect on science fiction writing, and its influence on our own works. You can watch it below; enjoy!


The Singularity: An Appraisal from Michael Johnson on Vimeo.

Feb 10, 2010

Digging into Boskone 47

Here's my schedule for this coming weekend in Boston -- provided I can find the city under the snow, that is

Friday  7pm        The Singularity: An Appraisal

Alastair Reynolds 
Karl Schroeder      
Charles Stross
Vernor Vinge    

Arguably the idea of the Singularity -- a period where change happens so quickly that life afterwards is incomprehensible to people who lived before it -- is one of the few entirely fresh ideas in SF in the last forty years.  Perhaps it is time for an appraisal. Has the idea of the Singularity been a good thing for SF, providing fresh ideas and stimulating great writing or has the notion that the comprehensibility of the future has a sharp (and near-term) limit diminished possibilities?  Has it been a good thing for *your* writing?  How about the Singularity in reality -- after twenty years does it look more or less plausible that it is lurking in our own real-world future?  Discuss the interplay between the idea of the Singularity in SF and actual scientific research.  Where are the really exotic ideas coming from?

  Friday  9pm        The Place of Prediction in SF and Reality

Charles Gannon          
Glenn Grant  
Matthew Jarpe
Andrew Zimmerman Jones
Karl Schroeder
Allen M. Steele    

     Hugo Gernsback thought the purpose of SF was to educate.  Others think the purpose of SF is to predict. What *is* the place of prediction in SF?  Does it have any place at all, or is the occasional good prediction an accidental side-effect of writing stories?  Can SF be about the future and *not* be making predictions?  And let's not limit ourselves to technology -- if anything, SF may have a more distinguished history of predicting social changes.  (Did the publication of 1984 actually help prevent that future?)  Can foresight help us face the future? Finally, is SF better or worse in predicting the future than professional futurologists?

  Saturday1pm        Revamping Asimov's 3 Laws - and why that might be a good/ethical thing

Jeffrey A. Carver
Michael F. Flynn
Paul Levinson
Karl Schroeder    

     Charles Stross' *Saturn's Children* showed how Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics applied to an AI was nothing less than slavery of a particularly vile sort, since the chains of that slavery are made intrinsic to the nature of the robots and can naver be shaken off.  Do you buy this argument?  If so, are there alternatives to the Three Laws which might be less bad?  (Remember that the Three Laws  were constructed to deal with the Frankenstein Problem of our creations rising against us.)  Is it even possible to imagine AIs existing where we neither their slaves nor their masters?

  Saturday2pm        Space is for Robots?

Jordin T. Kare
Geoffrey A. Landis      
Karl Schroeder
Allen M. Steele  

     Is it such a bad thing that we haven't sent people to Mars, when  those little rovers can do so much without risking a life? What's the right balance between machines and humans in space exploration and development?

  Saturday3pm        Literary Beer

Karl Schroeder    

  Sunday  2pm        Autographing


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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."