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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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Aug 04, 2008

Pirate Sun is out!

The third Virga book brings back some old friends... and jousting cities

Sales seem brisk on Amazon, even though the official release date is tomorrow; and people are telling me that they've been seeing it in the stores and buying it already (thanks, Fred!).  There seems to be a gratifying level of interest out there, and early reviews have been highly favourable.

Pirate SunLet me warn you, though:  Pirate Sun is the most adrenalin-packed of the three Virga books.  I know the first two just tore along, with sword-fights, boarding parties, naval/aerial battles and lots of intrigue.  Pirate Sun ups the ante on all this stuff.  It's a cross between The Odyssey and The Three Musketeers, and starts with a prison-break unlike any you've ever heard of (I guarantee that!).  Along the way you'll encounter a Virgan flood (also unlike anything else you've seen) and a battle between two cities where they throw whole neighbourhoods while trying to encircle and absorb one another.  (A little hint about that:  the fantastic cover art by Stephan Martiniere is actually an accurate rendering of a scene from that part of the book.)

 I'm now in the middle of editing the fourth book, The Sunless Countries.  Don't despair:  Pirate Sun wraps up the major plotlines that were kicked off in Sun of Suns The Sunless Countries will expand the world of Virga in new directions, introduce some new characters, and answer some of the questions raised in the earlier books.  

Jul 27, 2008

In my hot little hands...

Is the first printed copy of Pirate Sun. Huzzah!

Oh, this is going to be fun. 

Jul 21, 2008 is live!

Filed Under:

After all that buildup, the reality doesn't disappoint. This is the definitive publisher's site

It's got short stories and (for a while) free ebooks.  It's got some of the best fantasy/scifi art you can find.  It's got John Scalzi...

The website is now live.  

This place is going to become a major hub, and it's not going to take long.  With the kind of talent they've got blogging over there--and with the kind of talent they've got writing original short fiction--this site is gonna be flypaper for every SF and Fantasy fan out there.  And deservedly so:  Tor has lavished a tonne of care and ingenuity on this portal, and more importantly they've invited the readers to come in and play too. isn't some arms-length advertising exercise, it's a social networking site for fans of cyberculture.  Go check it out.

And while you're there, check out the jaw-dropping list of free novels and art you can download for a limited time.

Jul 18, 2008

Sun of Suns audiobook is out

The complete, unabridged text is available for download from, and soon on iTunes

You can listen to the complete text of the novel, read by Joyce Irvine.  This is the first of three rapid-fire releases coming from MacMillan audio--the next two books in the series, Queen of Candesce and Pirate Sun, should be made available within the next few weeks.

To get it, bounce on over to the page at  And enjoy!

Jul 14, 2008

Read the Prologue to Pirate Sun

It's out in three weeks... here's a teaser

 “One thing I can guarantee,” said Venera Fanning. “There has never been a prison break quite like this one.”

 The barrel-shaped tugboat was so old that moss had spread continents over its hull, and tufts of grass jutted from its seams like hairs from an old man’s chin. The powerful drone of the vessel’s engines, as its small crew tested them, put a lie to any impression that it was feeble, however. In fact the bone-rattling noise of the test quickly drove Venera and her small group away from the drydock framework that enclosed the tug.

Venera turned away from it and squinted past the light of Slipstream's sun. The city of Rush spread across half the sky, its gaily bannered habitat cylinders turning majestically among wisps of cloud. It was mid-day and the air was full of airships, winged human forms, and here and there cavorting dolphins.

 One figure had detached itself from the orderly streams of flying people, and was approaching. Venera saw that it was a member of her private spy network, a nondescript young man dressed in flying leathers, his toeless shoes pushing down on the stirrups that drove the mechanical wings strapped to his back. He hove to and she admired the sheen of sweat on his shoulders as he saluted. “Here's the latest photos.” He proffered a thick envelope; Venera took it, forgetting about him instantly, and tore it open.

 Her fingers rose of their own accord to touch the scar on her jaw as she looked at what the pictures revealed: the planes and corners of a stone prison that hovered alone in cloudy skies. Not one building, but six or seven that had been lashed together over the decades, the blocky, boulder-like edifice hung half-wreathed in its own fog bank. The blocks, spheres and triangles of the Falcon New Prison were of various architectural styles and colors, literally thrown together and hybridized with clumsy wooden bridges and rope-and-chain lashings into one cancerous monster whose only common element was that all its windows were barred.

 With no gravity to flatten it, the composite prison was stable enough; storms were rare on the edge of civilization and there were no obstacles for the place to run into in its endless drift. The New Prison was a child of neglect, a forgotten mote on the fringe of the vast cloud of worker's dormitories, collective farms and planned cities that was Falcon Formation. Most of the cargo delivered here was on a one-way journey.

 Venera intended to make an unscheduled pick-up.


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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."