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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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Smallest exoplanet circles a brown dwarf

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Actually, brown dwarfs are apparently magenta in colour, but this still confirms my predictions in Permanence

My favourite planet-hunting site is Centauri Dreams.  From there comes a discussion of the smallest conventional planet yet discovered outside our solar system--a super-Earth or mini-Neptune only three times Earth's mass.  It's not in a conventional location, however:  this planet circles a brown dwarf, a "failed" star that doesn't shine.

What's even more amazing (to me) is that there's speculation that this planet could be habitable.  There's a couple of reasons for this:  its size could mean that it retains enough radioactives in its core to heat it; its atmosphere might retain enough hydrogen (which is a greenhouse gas) to keep the surface temperature above the freezing point of water.  Also, although it's three Earth masses, that doesn't necessarily translate to three gravities of weight; it depends on its radius (you'd weigh almost the same on Saturn as you do on Earth, despite the fact that Saturn masses 95 times more than the Earth).

I never considered super-earths when I was inventing livable planets for my novel Permanence.  In this case, two interesting possibilities would be an oceanic planet with a hydrogen atmosphere; or a mini-Neptune with a radius large enough that its local gravity is Earth-normal, and an atmosphere that, like Venus, hosts a layer where the air pressure and temperature are also Earth-normal.  Just for interest, you could also imagine that the brown dwarf's radiation field dissociates water molecules at the top of this atmosphere; the hydrogen escapes and the oxygen falls back (this happens on Europa, which is now thought to have a breathable [by fish] ocean).  Then, you could have an air-world with Earth-levels of gravity, air pressure, temperature, and oxygen content in the air.  The only downsides:  no ground to walk on and no sunlight--ever.  But that lets us imagine all sorts of air-pirate scenarios in gloomy, lightning-lit skies.

Isn't that just too cool?  And brown dwarfs are everywhere.  As I said in Permanence, with this discovery the number of potentially habitable planetary systems in the galaxy has multiplied, by as much as a factor of ten.  There could easily be one within a light year of Earth.

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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."