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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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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.) 

Jul 06, 2009

Catching up 2: off to the Googleplex

Filed Under:

I'll be attending Science Foo Camp 2009 this weekend. Should be fun

It's all set.  I'll be flying out to San Francisco on Thursday to attend the latest in Google and O'Reilly's annual un-conferences.  Science Foo Camp is an invitation-only event held for three years in a row now, in which participants evolve the theme and content of the conference on the spot.  Spontaneous talks are given, side-discussions calve off from the main conference, and it's generally just a big 'ole idea free-for-all.

I have more ideas than I can possibly use for talks and symposia, but I'm sure I'll happily get sucked into other people's worlds.  Very much looking forward to it.

Yes, this is an activity remarkably similar to the last two SciBarCamps I've helped organize and have attended here in Toronto; that's because SciBarCamp was deliberately modeled on Science Foo Camp.  So I'll be going into the event with some notion of the flavour and results; but it's also going to be on an entirely different scale, and I'm ready to be surprised.

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.

Mar 23, 2008

Swancon days 2 & 3

Many photos taken--getting them off the camera is proving difficult

So I finally got to meet Sean Williams; he and I were on a couple of panels yesterday and today with Ken MacLeod, Robin Pen and Jonathon Strahan, talking about space opera (go figure!).  Sean and I went for lunch together today (which is tomorrow for you reading this in North America) at a very nice Indian restaurant on the corner, and talked shop happily until my panel at 2:00 when I did a very interesting panel on "Painting the Future Green" with Zara Baxter, Margaret Dunlop, and Tiki, whose last name I didn't catch, a media analyst from the east coast.

I'd be uploading loads of photos to add to this post, except that my laptop has decided not to recognize SD cards, so I have to find a workaround to get them off my camera.

While we're waiting on that little technical glitch, here's a couple of previously uploaded shots:  the entrance to King's Park, in downtown Perth, and a glorious sunrise taken in the countryside northeast of Geraldton.


Kings Park entrance


Australian sunrise

Meanwhile, back in Canada, there's been heavy blogging activity around SciBarCamp.  The buzz is building that we might do another, and people who were mildly interested before are now keenly curious.  This was exactly the outcome we were hoping for.

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

Filed Under:

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.

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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."