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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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Queen of Candesce

Apr 20, 2011

Cover art for Ashes of Candesce

...I'm stunned

Ashes of CandesceTor has unveiled the cover art for my next Virga novel, Ashes of Candesce, and this time, Stephan Martiniere has outdone himself.  I've always been delighted with his covers--as a matter of fact, not two hours ago I was in a framing store arranging to have the Lady of Mazes cover piece framed--but THIS!  This is by far the most gorgeous cover he's done for one of my books.  But what makes it such a personal and emotionally moving experience for me is that, as with his image for Queen of Candesce, this is a particular, specific scene from the book that he's represented here--and he's captured my vision perfectly.  I got all choked up when I saw it; and then I danced around in delight for ten minutes.

And who exactly is that, standing at the top of the stairs?  And where is she?  You've met her before, and very recently, in the series.  The light that floods the scene is not that of Candesce, the sun of suns, nor is it the light of any sun we've yet seen in these books--but the sun that's casting that light is very important to one of our main characters. --And that's all I'll say about it for now.

I could not be happier.  Thank you, Stephan, for this stellar piece of art, and thanks, Tor, for believing in this series.

Sep 23, 2010

Queen of Candesce is out in Germany

Säule der Welten is its Deutsche title

Saule der WeltenThe second book of my Virga series, Queen of Candesce, has hit the bookshelves in Germany.  The publisher is Heyne, and once again, it's translated by the inestimable Irene Holicki.  Pirate Sun will be available as well, in 2011.

Jun 18, 2010

Coming July 6: Cities of the Air

The best introduction to Virga yet

Cities of the AirIn three weeks Cities of the Air hits the stands.  In some ways it's nothing new:  Cities is Tor Books' omnibus edition of the first two Virga books.  You might wonder why we're doing this when the paperback editions of these books are already available.  But with Pirate Sun coming out in trade paperback in the fall, if you haven't familiarized yourself with Virga yet, you can do it by just picking up Cities.  Together, Cities of the Air and Pirate Sun form the full story arc for the first part of the series.  If, after reading them, you've still got a taste for the weightless world I've constructed, The Sunless Countries is out now in hardcover, and Ashes of Candesce will be coming next year.

Dec 30, 2009

Virga: Cities of the Air

It's available now for pre-order, and will be published July 6, 2010

Tor Books has been very happy with my Virga books, so much so that they've decided to release a new, omnibus edition of the first two.  Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce will appear together in one volume, entitled Virga:  Cities of the Air.  This book will hit the stores on July 6, 2010, but you can pre-order it now from Amazon.

Yes, there is in fact already an omnibus edition of these books--it's Virga 1.2, from the Science Fiction Book Club (advertised in the right-hand sidebar of this page, with cover art by Dave Seeley).  That edition is only available to book club members, though; the new omnibus will be from Tor and will be in bookstores everywhere (and, presumably, in ebook form too).  We hope to have further omnibus editions to round out the series.

Feb 10, 2009

VIRGA omnibus edition now available

...If you're a member of the Science Fiction Book Club, that is

The Books of VirgaThe SFBC has made the first two volumes of the Virga saga, Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce, available together in an omnibus edition (link to Canadian site; the US site is here but doesn't have a direct link to the VIRGA page).  The SFBC is a venerable and highly respected institution in science fiction and fantasy publishing; they previously made my first novel, Ventus, available.  

The price for members of this edition is $15.99, but if you join you can have it for $0.20.

By the way, one of one my favourite features of this edition is the wonderfully over-the-top cover by Dave Seeley.  Dave and I tossed many ideas back and forth, and he consulted with me at each stage of the process.  That is indeed the vitriolic Venera Fanning, riding bike-back with Hayden Griffin in the skies of Slipstream. 

Dec 29, 2008

Arrival of the Queen

I've got copies of the paperback edition of Queen of Candesce in my hands at last, and tomorrow you can too!  It's quite a gorgeous edition, showing off Stephan Martiniere's artwork to best advantage. It's due to hit the shelves on the 30th, but you can probably find it already.

It helps to have read Sun of Suns before diving into this book--but it's not essential.  I wrote QofC as much as a standalone as I could, so even if you haven't tried any of the Virga books yet, you can certainly start with this one.

A great new year's gift to me, to have it show up today.

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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."