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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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Sep 27, 2008

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Aug 25, 2008

Coming in December

Queen of Candesce will be out in paperback in time for New Year's. Here's what the cover looks like

Queen of Candesce mass market cover artThis is my all-time favourite cover for my books, just barely edging out another Martiniere cover, the one for Lady of Mazes.  What's so cool about this image is that it's a faithful rendering of the last scene of Chapter 1, but it manages to look like it's some sort of abstract fantasy.  In fact, everything in this scene is possible (if not plausible) physically, part of the "Newtoninan SF" principle I've been using in these 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 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.


Jul 02, 2008

What he said

Yes, I'm part of the "Sekret Projekt" John Scalzi just revealed. It's going to blow your mind

Way over at the Whatever, John has made an announcement about a really fun project he dragged me into a couple months back.  It's true:  John, and Elizabeth Bear, and Jay Lake, and Tobias Buckell and I have been working together for several months to present you with a new near-future vision, one that's decidedly urban but calls into question what a city really is... and what the boundaries of sovereignty are in a future where some of the world's cities will have greater populations than the countries they are in. 

So, if the cyberpunks were all about corporate control, sticky technologies and software, we're all about sustainable communities, parallel economies and remapping reality with your GPS and your sleeping bag. It's the city alive, the city as beast and brother and increasingly, self-aware actor in the global political arena.

Or, as Shriekback sang in their song "Hymn to Local Gods" (a reference sure to date me as one of the old guys):

In the canals and the wastelands
Up in the spires, under the flyovers
Still you can see, with the right eyes,
The shining presence of the local gods
Stand in the silence you can hear them whisper
Hearing their laughter echo in the steel and stone

So leave a fire in the window
Pour the wine under the underpass
Let's all go down to the river
We'll go swimming with the local gods...

Jun 18, 2008

My story "The Hero" will be in Eclipse 2

...And yes, it's a Virga story

I'm actually engaged in writing several stories set in my world of Virga (the setting for Sun of Suns, Queen of Candesce, and the forthcoming Pirate Sun).  "The Hero" is the first--thanks to Jonathon Strahan for choosing it for Eclipse 2!

I'm in pretty amazing company with this anthology; here's the lineup:

The Hero, Karl Schroeder
Turing’s Apples, Stephen Baxter
Invisible Empire of Ascending Light, Ken Scholes
Michael Laurits is: Drowning, Paul Cornell
Elevator, Nancy Kress
The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm, Daryl Gregory
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, David Moles
The Rabbi’s Hobby, Peter S. Beagle
The Seventh Expression of the Robot General, Jeffrey Ford
Skin Deep, Richard Parks
Ex Cathedra, Tony Daniel
Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose, Terry Dowling
We Haven’t Got There Yet, Harry Turtledove
Fury, Alastair Reynolds

I won't say anything about what "The Hero" is about, except to say that it does have to do with one of the major plotlines running through the first three Virga books; and it doesn't have any of the characters from those books in it.

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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."