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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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Pirate Sun

Feb 22, 2011

Pirate Sun Arrives in Germany March 8, 2011

Segel der ZeitMy German editions of the Virga books have been spectacular, and the third in the series, Segel der Zeit, is no exception.  You can order it now from, since it'll be released in only a couple of weeks. These mass-market editions are gorgeous, and I can't wait to get my comp copies!







Nov 03, 2010

Pirate Sun paperback coming Nov. 9, 2010

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The long-awaited mass market version of Virga, Book 3 hits the stores next Tuesday

It's been a long wait, but well worth it when you look at the gorgeous cover art and design for this paperback edition of the most action-packed of the Virga books.  Pirate Sun completes the long journey home for Chaison Fanning, former admiral of the Slipstream navy, who's languished for the past year in a grim prison n Falcon Formation, Slipstream's neighbour and enemy state.  After a spectacular jailbreak (the jail literally breaks) he is guided to safety by a mysterious adventuress, Antaea Argyre, and must fight and think his way back to his Machiavellian wife, Venera, across a thousand miles of enemy airspace.

Pirate Sun paperbackPirate Sun doesn't answer all the questions that were raised in Sun of Suns, but it provides closure to the major story arc of the first three books. Each Virga book can stand on its own, but all are connected, and the first three make up a sort of a trilogy--but not one that demands you read the rest of the books.  The Virga novels are a new kind of interconnected series, more forgiving to the casual reader, yet forming an intricate whole.  I hope you can give it a try.


Jun 18, 2010

Coming July 6: Cities of the Air

The best introduction to Virga yet

Cities of the AirIn three weeks Cities of the Air hits the stands.  In some ways it's nothing new:  Cities is Tor Books' omnibus edition of the first two Virga books.  You might wonder why we're doing this when the paperback editions of these books are already available.  But with Pirate Sun coming out in trade paperback in the fall, if you haven't familiarized yourself with Virga yet, you can do it by just picking up Cities.  Together, Cities of the Air and Pirate Sun form the full story arc for the first part of the series.  If, after reading them, you've still got a taste for the weightless world I've constructed, The Sunless Countries is out now in hardcover, and Ashes of Candesce will be coming next year.

Aug 12, 2009

Always the bridesmaid, part 6

Nearly made it onto the Hugo ballot. Again

Just for archival purposes, I'm noting the nominations breakdown for the 2009 Hugo Awards went like this:

Top 10 Novel Nominations

Little Brother Cory Doctorow 129

Anathem Neal Stephenson 93

The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman 82

Saturn’s Children Charles Stross 74

Zoe’s Tale John Scalzi 54

Matter Iain M. Banks 49

Nation Terry Pratchett 46

An Autumn War Daniel Abraham 46

Implied Spaces Walter Jon Williams 45

Pirate Sun Karl Schroeder 41

Not too bad; although I'm nowhere near the top 5, the 5-to-ten nominees are all clustered within 40 to 50 nominations each.  Let's all start a chant now:  We're number 10!  We're number 10! 

Heck, that's pretty damned good, considering the wealth of talent that's out there these days.

What's actually more encouraging is that the two short stories and one novella I wrote last year (I also published an older story in 2008) all made respectable placements on the list.  Clearly, I must write more short works...

Feb 03, 2009

Six for Six in Locus Magazine

Pirate Sun made their recommended reading list for 2008.

It's February, and time to confirm once again that Locus Magazine really really likes me.  Pirate Sun is one of the twenty novels they recommend out of the hundreds published in 2008.

So, every one of my Tor novels has made this list--six in a row.  I guess this means that, as far as Locus is concerned, I'm one of the top twenty SF novelists working in English.  (I can hear the chant now:  "We're number 20!  We're number 20!)

This recommendation appears to have nothing to do with, and no influence on, sales; but I can't exactly complain, can I?  The list is chosen by a pretty heavy-hitting set of reviewers and editors, all of whom are experts in the field.  Collectively, they read pretty much everything that comes out every year.  So it's hugely flattering that they've given me this rare vote of confidence not just once, but with every book I've written.

Hmmm... maybe, then, I should write another novel.  What to call it?  Perhaps... Ashes of Candesce? ...


Nov 20, 2008

Pirate Sun audiobook has bonus material

Bought the hardcover? Then you're missing a little hint of what the next novel, The Sunless Countries, holds

In the spirit of the DVD phenomenon, we've created a little easter egg for buyers of the audiobook version of Pirate Sun.  There's additional material here that provides clues to the plot and characters in The Sunless Countries, which won't hit store shelves until next August.Pirate Sun

Extra paper costs; extra bytes don't.  There was some material at the end of Pirate Sun that wasn't absolutely necessary--"good to have" scenes that we ultimately decided slowed the ending of the paper edition.  Audiobooks have a different style of pace, though, and a little extra time costs us nothing.  It reallly is a lot like DVDs, where the "good to have" scenes not released in the theatrical version are included because, well, they can be.

A lot of people have assumed that I was writing a trilogy--and, in a sense, I have been.  Pirate Sun ends the main plotline begun in Sun of Suns, and in that sense completes the story.  There remained lots of dangling questions, though, as well as opportunities for setting and adventure that had to remain unexplored in the first three books.  Hence, The Sunless Countries.

Virga is a world of infinite possibility.  I'm currently writing a set of short stories set there, because there's just too much to say about the place.  I love to go there in my imagination, and I know a lot of other people do too.  The fun's not over yet.

So if you want a hint of what's to come, pick up the audiobook version of Pirate Sun and enjoy!

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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."