Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


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.

Personal tools

public panels

Oct 16, 2012

The Future of Science Fiction

I'll be on a panel on this subject Nov. 7

My editor, David Hartwell, and Elizabeth Bear and I will be talking about the future of SF at the annual New York Library Association conference, which is being held in Saratoga Springs, NY. This is pretty timely as there's a fair amount of buzz on the subject lately, mostly touched off by Paul Kincaid's review of several Year's Best story collections; I've put in my two cents about that already. 

So I've talked about rolling up our sleeves and reinjecting energy into the genre; but what does that look like? Well, for starters, it looks like Hieroglyph, which I'm part of. The Hieroglyph project is looking for new symbols of a viable future. If you imagine all our existing glyphs--the rocket ship, the robot, the flying car--as crusted and plastered over with decades of associations and past interpretations, then it seems really hard to see the excitement that once lay under all that cruft. (The quintessential example for me is Star Trek, where the first series was about the adventure of space exploration, and the subsequent series deteriorated into sentimental tales about managerial team-building in a variety of idealized office buildings called Enterprise, Deep Space Nine etc. Where's the excitement in that?) So what can we create now that has the same mythic dimension to it, the same instantly recognizable impact, as the finned rocket ship, or the metal man? Hieroglyph is about consciously crafting such new mythic symbols.

As an ironic counterpoint to that, one of my long-term projects has been to show how, without invoking any new science or technology, we can still invent entirely new science fictional settings, places so gobsmackingly cool that any number of novels and stories could be set there without exhausting them. (I'm talking of course about Virga, and my forthcoming Lockstep.) The idea here is that we are so far from exhausting the wonder in what we already have that it's hardly even necessary to invoke new tech or science to create fantastical and unheard-of visions. I've proven this with the worlds of Permanence and Sun of Suns; I'm about to do it again with Lockstep. There's nothing wrong with a new hieroglyph, but what we already have is amazing enough, if we get off our fat asses and use our imaginations a bit.

Partly, though, the future of SF has to do with reinventing the future itself. After getting a degree in foresight and practicing futurism for a few years now, I can see how the vision of the future of SF really has diverged from the projections made by professional futurists.  Science fiction's future is no longer our future. But it could be.

So this is what we'll be talking about on the 7th in Saratoga Springs. And it's also what I'll be twittering about for the next while--and, most importantly, my next stories and novel are going to explore some new directions. Look to this space, and those. It's coming.

Nov 23, 2011

Thank you all!

I had a great time at SFContario, and was honoured to be the Canvention guest

The second SFContario was a roaring success according to everybody I've talked to--and I had a great time too. Of course it was an honour to be the GOH this year, and I tried to meet and talk to everybody I could. The panels were fun, but most important for me was the opportunity to connect up with people I don't get to see too often.

There are lots of people to thank, from the con committee to the diligent volunteers. My primary contacts were Alex von Thorn and Diane Lacey, who made sure I was provided for and my weekend organized.  

It was good connecting up again with the Hartwells, the Swanwicks, John Scalzi, and many other American friends who braved the November weather to come up. 

I think the high point of the convention, for me, was being interviewed by Lawrence M. Schoen on Saturday morning--not for the ego-boo, but because I've known Lawrence for a few years and our conversations are always wide-ranging and surprising. This one was no exception, and it was a delight from start to finish.

I hosted the English-language Aurora Awards this year, which was also a stellar honour. I don't feel I completely lived up to the responsibility because I accidentally sent my dress clothes home with my wife Saturday night and only discovered the gaff just prior to the ceremony--so I had to host it in a T-shirt and jeans. My apologies to everyone, particularly the Aurora committee, for looking like a slob at such an important event. 

The ceremony itself was packed, however, and the atmosphere was actually quite electric. I've never seen such an enthusiastic and engaged crowd at an Aurora ceremony; it was the audience and participants that brought the event back to the peak of significance it deserved. I thank you all.

I wish the convention all success next year, and the same for all my fellow writers and the winners and nominated Aurora alumni. You deserve your days in the sun.

Oct 17, 2011

My tentative SFCOntario schedule

I'll be Canvention Guest of Honour this year. Here's what's up

This is a very preliminary schedule and may be subject to change, amendment, eliding, obfuscation or eructation at any time. In particular, I may add spontaneous interpretive dance sessions in any empty slot I find. 

Opening Ceremonies – Fri. 7 PM, Ballroom BC

Canvention Guest of Honour interview – Sat. 11 AM, Ballroom BC (Laurence Schoen as interviewer.)

Linguistics for Fiction  – Sat. 3 PM, Solarium
From Tolkien to Game of Thrones writers and moviemakers have paid attention to the development of created languages.  What goes into creating an authentic language? How do biology and psychology help determine language? This panel will introduce you to the study of languages on Earth and to what may determine the development of language on an alien world. (Matthew Johnson(M), Alex Pantaleev, Lawrence Schoen, Karl Schroeder)

Kaffeeklatsch – Sat. 4:00 PM, Room 207

Sun of Suns Graphic Novel Sneak Peek – Sat. 6 PM, Parkview

Aurora Award Banquet – Sun. 11 PM Shade Restaurant 

Aurora Award Ceremony – Sun. 12 PM. I'll be MC'ing.

Cyberpunk: Is It Dead? Did It Ever Really Exist?- Sun. 2 PM Ballroom
Bruce Sterling once said that if you claim to be writing cyberpunk, you aren’t. Others who have been linked to the cyberpunk movement have disavowed any knowledge of its actions. What is this literary movement in science fiction, and why do writers seem to either run towards or away from the label? (Kathryn Allan, Simon McNeil, Ira Nayman(M), Karl Schroeder, Allan Weiss)

Closing Ceremonies – Sun. 3 PM, Ballroom BC

Sep 07, 2011

Speaking at Applied Brilliance

From October 12 to 14 I'll be helping tank thinks in Wyoming. It's gonna be fun

I've been invited to talk about some of the ideas I mentioned on Charlie's blog last month.  This is what comes of emerging from your cave after working in isolation for a couple of years; but it's all good.  Applied Brilliance describes itself this way:

Applied Brilliance is one of the most original and influential thought-leadership events, designed to raise the level of creativity, innovation and applied intelligence for creatives, educators, the intellectually curious, and marketing and design professionals.

What caught my eye about this particular conference was that the rest of the speakers they'd lined up are all working in areas tangential or similar to what I'm doing.  I guess that's why they contacted me.  Anyway, my talk will be on "Enchanted Materialism" and the New Politics of Nature (for those of you keeping up with the philosophical Joneses, yes, that's a dual allusion to Jane Bennett and Bruno Latour).  My subject will be private conversations with the climate, natural systems as political actors, and new political tools in the post-social media world.

Realizing that all of this sounds cool but horribly vague, I think I need to post a reading list here sometime. I'll get on that.  Meanwhile, I'm really looking forward to the conference, mostly because I'm anticipating some really great conversations and meeting new and interesting people there.

Jan 31, 2011

My preliminary Boskone schedule

Filed Under:
  • Friday  6pm        Writing Graphic Novels
  • Friday  9pm        Against a Bright Background -- Building a Vivid  World
  • Saturday11am       Imagining the Near Future
  • Saturday4pm        What Is Time Travel Good For?
  • Sunday  10am       Nanotech or Nevertech?

Boskone 48 will be held at the Boston Westin Waterfront hotel, February 18-20, 2011.  Guest of honour will be Charles Stross, with special guest Charlaine Harris. I love this convention, and have been going for a few years now.  

This is going to be my opportunity to talk about what it's been like to go for a Masters degree in Strategic Foresight and Innovation--essentially, futurism.  I've also got some graphic novel material to show off.  So if you're in the Boston area on that weekend, come on down!


Nov 19, 2010

At SFCOntario this weekend!

Filed Under:

Toronto's newest convention should be a hoot! Come on down.

Fri. 7 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)

Fri. 9 PM – Ballroom BC       Aurora Pin Ceremony

Sat. 11 AM – Room 207      Kaffeeklatsh

Sat. 1 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 Kasturi, Karl Schroeder)

Sat. 8 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?(Karl Schroeder)


Log in

Forgot your password?
New user?
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.


Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter
    Mailing List

    Stay informed about new book and story releases, public appearances, readings etc.

    * indicates required
    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."