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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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Karl Schroeder

Feb 06, 2008

. . .And speaking of being singled out

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Pirate Sun will be August, 2008's SciFi Essential book

Once again the SciFi channel is gracing me with a special honour:  Pirate Sun will be August, 2008's SciFi Essentials title. 

The SciFi Essentials home page describes the programme like this:

Each month we select a new book as a SCI FI Essential. That means it deserves to be counted among the finest works of the genre.

My novel Lady of Mazes was also a SciFi Essential, back in 2005. 

This month, by the way, the Essentials book is Paul Melko's Singularity's Ring, which is just fantastic.  This is a first novel that reads like the work of an accomplished master. Melko's a superhot talent, and I hope the Essentials seal of approval gives this book the attention it deserves. 

Okay, THIS is bragging

Filed Under:

Locus has listed every one of my books in the top two-dozen for its publication year; so why am I still struggling to establish myself?

I just received the February edition of Locus magazine, and lo and behold Queen of Candesce has made their Recommended Reading list for 2007.  It's one of 28, as usual--a little over two dozen science fiction books that this industry mag recommends, out of approximately 250 published last year.

Of course this is great--but here's the thing:  every one of my novels has made this list.

My books regularly make various top-ten lists, but this list is important because it's some of the genre's chief reviewers and critics weighing in.  I believe, since we're up to five in a row, that I can sense a trend here.  And you'd think it would be a good sign--but nothing in publishing is easy to interpret.  I still feel like the best-kept secret in SF; I mean, if I'm so shit-hot, why is it that not a single one of my books has gone into a second printing?  If every one of my novels since the year 2000 has hit the top-ten recommendation lists, why do I still get invited to participate in convention panels for new and first-time authors?  Why am I not on the top-ten sales lists?

It could be I have a face only a reviewer could love.  --And mind you, I'm not complaining because, after all, I am being regularly published.  My fantasies of being a science fiction writer are getting indulged by the real world. 

Maybe, in the end, that's as good as it needs to get. 

. . .Naaaaaaw.  I still want that bestseller.

Feb 04, 2008

I'm writing short stories again

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Toby Buckell and I have just sold one; another comes out next month

Kickass space opera master Toby Buckell and I just blitzed a story ("Mitigation") and sold it to Pyr's next anthology, Fast Forward 2.  It's a gonzo, post-cyberpunk romp through an open arctic ocean about twenty years hence.Solaris New SF 2

Also, my short story "Book, Theatre, and Wheel", will appear in the Solaris Book of New SF #2, which will be on sale in March!  (Actually, you can order it now; it'll be in the stores in March.)

These are both going to be fantastic anthologies, featuring some of the finest of the current generation of SF writers (and, for some reason, me).  They're also triumphal examples of the new generation of SF publishing houses--neither big presses nor small houses, but something in between:  medium-sized publishers, an animal that was never able to survive in the wild before.  Both Pyr and Solaris are surviving--and thriving!--which signals a new era of choice and flexibility for both readers and authors.  All in all, a very good time for science fiction.





Feb 03, 2008

My Boskone Schedule

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What I'll be up to in Boston next weekend

These are preliminary items; I'm likely to have some stuff added for Sunday as well.  Also, readings, signings, and Kaffeeklatsches are not yet scheduled so you can expect some action there too.


  •  Frida         6pm  Applied SF: Using SF in the Real World
    Karl Schroeder   
    When he's not writing science fiction, Karl Schroeder is a consulting futurist for government and industry.  Sounds like a perfect job? Hear all about it!
  •   Satur        10am  Building a Great Battle     
    James D. Macdonald, Tamora Pierce, Karl Schroeder  
    Whether it takes place in the expanse of space, an open field, or a  dark street, what brings a great battle to life on the page? How must a writer manage pace and description so the reader gets a sense of the action?
  •  Satur         12 noon       The Appeal of the Lawless Elite       
    Alexander Jablokov 
    Beth Meacham  
    Patrick Nielsen Hayden
    Paul Park 
    Karl Schroeder        
    Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden has said, "Much of the genre works by    appealing to our wish that the world s extra-legal violence be under the control of the kind of smart people we admire. The Second  Foundation and the X-Men -- and, for that matter, the Scooby Gang    and the Laundry -- are all, to some extent, basically the Ku Klux Klan, except that the extrajudicial violence they carry out is  (we re assured) merited and just." Discuss.
  • Satur         2pm          Who'd'a Thunk It? Unexpected Uses of Technology       Tobias Buckell       
    Chad Orzel       
    Karl Schroeder
    Charles Stross   Numerous technologies wind up getting used for quite different    purposes than their originators expected. Consider dynamite, bubble wrap, speed trap radar, screensavers, the Internet's massive if not main use as a conduit for pornography, and laser pointer cat toys.  What other example suggest themselves? Does this phenomenon make  basic research more desirable, or less? Is it ever discussed in SF?  Consider some of the great SFnal inventions (the hyperdrive, AIs, cyperspace, anti-gravity, boosterspice, positronic robots, personal force fields). Can you extrapolate some unexpected uses for them?
  • Sunday sometime (not fixed yet):  Space War: How Would It Really Be Waged -- and Why? 
    (Pretty much what it says: Say we have a Galactic Empire or a hostile Mars or whatever.  Take a realistic look at space warfare.)
  • Also Sunday  Global Warming: The Realities
    (The idea is not to debate whether or not it's real - of course it is --  but to take a scientific look at some of the more inflated claims and at some of the possible solutions.)



Welcome Poesy!

Filed Under:

There's a new Doctorow to contend with


Cory's announced the birth of his daughter, fittingly enough, on boingboing.  Apparently mother and child are doing fine.  No word on the state of the father.

Janice and I send our best wishes to you, man.  You're gonna have a blast!

Feb 02, 2008

Second Life success

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Had a great time in Second Life, and met a bunch of very nice people

The interview with Mitch Wagner went very well.  I took the photo below as the amphitheatre was filling up; there were lots of people there and Mitch and I had no trouble finding things to talk about for an hour.  Mitch was particularly interested in my foresight activities, so we talked about how that works, and about the upcoming "scibarcamp" I'm helping organize here in Toronto.

second life interview

I was hugely impressed by how helpful and polite people were.  No griefers in this crowd!  A lot of people hung around after the formal interview; I apologize for not finding the chat window in time (I'm new to the Second Life interface) so I'm afraid I missed a lot of questions.  But nobody got impatient with me. 

I'm impressed; and I'll be back.

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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."