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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

Mar 07, 2009

First review of The Sunless Countries

I'm not even done the book; how weird is that?

So I'm in my office going through the page proofs of The Sunless Countries, worrying that the pacing is off, and I decide to procrastinate by doing some ego-surfing--and what should I find but a review of TSC!  A favourable one!  And he doesn't even mention the pacing.

Schroeder evokes the slow, crushing drift into ideological nonsense in a distressingly compelling way, & puts Leal [Maspeth] in the heart of it; should she collaborate with the Eternists to try to salvage some representation of science & history (even if she has to teach it as heretical, along side accepted dogma) or should she make a meaningless stand?

Wow.  This is like getting a newspaper from next week.  It also suggests to me that the current practice of sending out Advanced Reading Copies this early needs to be reconsidered, because that practice is predicated on it taking reviewers months to get their reviews out.  I could literally tweak the book right now to solve some of the issues the reviewer, Mordecai, raises.  Luckily he hasn't found many.

Very timely and useful.

Weird, though.

Jan 27, 2009

The Sunless Countries

Coming August 4th, Book 4 of Virga

I'm excited to announce that my next book is ready and will be published this summer.  The Sunless Countries is the fourth book in the Virga trilogy (let me explain).  It continues and expands upon the story begun in Sun of Suns, but is sufficiently stand-alone that you can still view the first three books as a single unit.  --That is, there's an arc and a set of characters that begins and completes in books one to three; Sunless Countries branches off from there, but contains some familiar faces, for instance Hayden Griffin.The Sunless Countries

There's a couple of reasons why I'm doing the series this way.  Firstly, I hate having to buy every book in a series in order to keep up with the whole storyline.  That makes it all one big book, so why not just publish it in one volume?  Missing a book in such series is rather like missing an episode of Lost.

So The Sunless Countries is its own thing.  Doing things this way lets me approach each book afresh, and I think you'll find it shows.  Start with Sunless countries if you want; it's just as good an introduction to Virga as the previous novels. 

The other main factor in my deciding to do it this way is that... well, this world is just so damn rich!  When I wrote Sun of Suns I discovered that there was much more to this setting than I could possibly encompass with a single novel, or even a single plotline.  One element that I hadn't fleshed out to my satisfaction was the nature of the world outside Virga.  With The Sunless Countries, we're finally doing that.

Finally, I'm continuing my ongoing experiment of telling a slightly different kind of story with each of these books.  The Sunless Countries focuses on Leal Hieronyma Maspeth, a history tutor in the sunless nation of Abyss.  When the famous sunlighter--Hayden Griffin--comes to town, she's both attracted to him as a real hero, and repelled by his association with the local, corrupt government. 

Yet at the same time that Griffin arrives, so does something else--a great voice issuing from the darkness, crying words that no one in Abyss, or Virga, wants to hear...

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)

     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."