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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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The Sunless Countries

May 07, 2012

The Sunless Countries ppbk released tomorrow

It's a beautiful edition

The mass market paperback edition of The Sunless Countries will be released tomorrow, May 8, 2012. This book starts a new storyline, but brings in some old friends and definitely begins tying up the loose ends (and there are many) from the previous three books.  

Feb 06, 2012

The Sunless Countries paperback

Coming in May. Get the whole set!

Sunless Countries Trade editionYeah, it's about time. The Sunless Countries will be arriving in trade paperback edition on May 8 or thereabouts. This is another fine edition and looks great next to the Cities of the Air and Pirate Sun trades. When it's out you'll be able to buy all the Virga books except for Ashes of Candesce in this format. They're beautiful editions and I highly recommend going this route if you want to quickly get up to speed with the editions.

On the other hand, I'm hoping to set up an offer on this site of signed original hardcover editions of all my books... hopefully in the next week or so. So maybe you want to hold out for that hardcover original...

Sep 08, 2010

Always the bridesmaid, part 7

As always, I NEARLY made the Hugo ballot this year.

What does it mean for a writer to consistently be in the top 10-to-12 nominees for Science Fiction's top (English) award--i.e., with every novel?  Damn little, in terms of sales or public recognition, I'd say.  Nonetheless, I present with some bemusement and not a little world-weariness, my standing in this year's Hugo nominations.  (First number is the number of actual nominations each title received.)

Voting ballot:

142 The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (20.3%)
105 The City & The City, China Mieville (15%)
100 WWW: Wake, Robert J. Sawyer (14.3%)
77 Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (11%)
62 Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson (8.9%)
62 Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente (8.9%)

The nearly-made-its:
53 Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (7.6%)
49 This Is Not a Game, Walter Jon Williams (7%)
49 Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett (7%)
45 Galileo's Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson (6.4%)
42 Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (6%)
40 Makers, Cory Doctorow (5.7%)
40 The Sunless Countries, Karl Schroeder (5.7%) <-- Grrr. Argh.

Damn.  But, hey--at least I know that there's some people out there who really like my stuff. And look on the bright side: I only need to drum up a couple dozen more fanatical readers with Ashes of Candesce.  Looking at the numbers, I guess that means I'll have to make it at least 55%  better than The Sunless Countries.  And don't worry--I'm working hard on that.


Jun 30, 2010

Sunless Countries shortlisted for the Sunburst Award

Canada's juried SF/Fantasy award has some strong contenders this year - plus me

Sunburst AwardThe short list for the 2010 Sunburst Award has been announced, and once again I'm on it!  Here's what they have to say about The Sunless Countries:

Immediately captivating, this is equal parts great world-building and strong characterization. Wonderfully original settings and visual detail light up this richly imagined world. Leal, her friends and her enemies are vividly drawn and sympathetic. Particularly impressive is Schroeder's ability to make this, the fourth book in the Virga series, as accessible to readers as the first.

The complete list of shortlisted works:

  • Charles de Lint, The Mystery of Grace (Tor, ISBN: 0765317567)
  • A.M. Dellamonica, Indigo Springs (Tor, ISBN: 0765319470)
  • Cory Doctorow, Makers (Tor, ISBN: 0765312794)
  • Karl Schroeder, The Sunless Countries (Tor, ISBN: 0765320762)
  • Robert Charles Wilson, Julian Comstock (Tor, ISBN: 0765319713)

The short-listed works in the young adult category for the 2010 Sunburst Award are:

  • Megan Crewe, Give Up the Ghost (Henry Holt, ISBN: 0805089306)
  • Maureen Garvie, Amy By Any Other Name (Key Porter, ISBN: 1554701422)
  • Hiromi Goto, Half World (Penguin, ISBN: 0670069655)
  • Lesley Livingston, Wondrous Strange (HarperTeen, ISBN: 0061575372)
  • Arthur Slade, The Hunchback Assignment (HarperCollins, ISBN: 1554683548)
Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors!

(Best thing about this award?  It comes with a medal.)


Feb 02, 2010

Sunless Countries makes Locus Magazine annual reading list

Filed Under:

It's an honour, as always

I meet a lot of people who have been away from science fiction for a few years--or even a few decades--and wonder where to start reading it again.  One of the best ways to get reacquainted with the best in the field is to check out Locus Magazine's annual reading list.  Locus is a multi-award winning SF/F industry magazine that carries all the latest scuttlebutt, reviews, etc.  Their readers are some of the most savvy and well-rounded in the business, so when they pool their resources to compile a list of recommended titles, you know it'll be good.

Which, of course, makes the fact that every one of my novels has made this list truly puzzling.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you--especially since The Sunless Countries has made this year's list!

Dec 30, 2009

Excellent review of The Sunless Countries

Russ Allbery provides another well-balanced assessment of my work

Russ Allbery has reviewed most of my novels on his site, and he's always provided an extremely good litmus test of how well I'm doing.  (Except of course for his giddy and utterly approving review of Lady of Mazes, which if not entirely objective was at least a great piece of ego-boo for me.)  As well as praising the strengths, he finds the weaknesses in my work with unerring precision and for this reason I always await his reviews with great anticipation.

What he has to say about The Sunless Countries is extremely positive, and his criticisms are fair.  I can learn from a reviewer like this:

 The Eternists are a bit over the top, though. Schroeder paints the politicians as manipulative, self-serving slime, and since the protagonist is an academic, the conflict follows stock fault lines and seems pat and cliched. He makes it work within the book, but the obvious analogies outside the book are too easy and a bit distracting.

Yeah, okay.  I'll try to do better.  On the other hand, this is his overall assessment:

The Virga series still falls a bit short of Schroeder's other work for me, but this is the most intellectually interesting entry. He moves away from steampunk set pieces and into more analysis of the nature of government and the perils and alliances of high technology. It's one of the better books in the series, although it still trails Queen of Candesce.

Fair enough, and thanks once again for a well-measured review.

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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."