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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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coming soon

Feb 06, 2012

The Sunless Countries paperback

Coming in May. Get the whole set!

Sunless Countries Trade editionYeah, it's about time. The Sunless Countries will be arriving in trade paperback edition on May 8 or thereabouts. This is another fine edition and looks great next to the Cities of the Air and Pirate Sun trades. When it's out you'll be able to buy all the Virga books except for Ashes of Candesce in this format. They're beautiful editions and I highly recommend going this route if you want to quickly get up to speed with the editions.

On the other hand, I'm hoping to set up an offer on this site of signed original hardcover editions of all my books... hopefully in the next week or so. So maybe you want to hold out for that hardcover original...

Oct 26, 2010

METAtropolis: Cascadia - The Star Trek Connection

Check out the narrators for our stories in the new SF audiobook

METAtropolis: CascadiaFinally.  We've been sitting on this piece of news for months now; it's a relief to be able to tell you that the new SF audiobook, METAtropolis: Cascadia (sequel to the Hugo-nominated METAtropolis) will be narrated entirely by Star Trek alumni!  I'm delighted to have Jonathon Frakes narrate my contribution, "Deodand."  I've been a fan of Frakes's vocal work ever since he played David Xanatos on the animated series Gargoyles.

Having these actors perform our stories adds an extra element of fun to an already playful and innovative project.  Here's the complete lineup, in order of appearance:

  • THE BULL DANCERS by Jay Lake
    Narrated By: Rene Auberjonois (“Odo”)
  • WATER TO WINE by Mary Robinette Kowal
    Narrated By: Kate Mulgrew (“Capt. Kathryn Janeway”)
  • BYWAYS by Tobias S. Buckell
    Narrated By: Wil Wheaton  (“Wesley Crusher”)
  • CONFESSOR by Elizabeth Bear
    Narrated By: Gates McFadden (“Dr. Beverly Crusher”)
  • DEODAND by Karl Schroeder
    Narrated By: Jonathan Frakes (“Cmdr. William Riker”)
    Narrated By: LeVar Burton (“Geordi La Forge”)


Oct 18, 2010

METAtropolis: Cascadia arrives November 16

Being the Canadian in the group, I've written my story about Vancouver

METAtropolis: CascadiaThe world gets stranger; and as it does, the people of Cascadia increasingly band together against the pressures and threats represented by the rest of the world.  In METAtropolis: Cascadia, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Scholes, and I have teamed up to bring you a kaleidoscopic view of the future Northwest. Nominally a sequel to our Hugo-Award nominated audiobook METAtropolis, this venture into the future of the Pacific Northwest is edited by Jay Lake.  

What's the connection between this volume and the previous one?  Well, here's a hint, from the official description of the project:

As the mid-20th Century approaches, the Pacific Northwest has been transformed -- politically, economically, and ecologically -- into the new reality of Cascadia. Conspiracies and secrets threaten the tenuous threads of society. The End of Days seems nearer than ever. And the legend of the mysterious Tygre Tygre looms large. 

These are the stories: 

  • THE BULL DANCERS by Jay Lake 
  • WATER TO WINE by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • BYWAYS by Tobias S. Buckell
  • CONFESSOR by Elizabeth Bear
  • DEODAND by Karl Schroeder


Don't expect a rigorously cross-referenced, totally consistent "shared world."  Ours is not a unified view of the future--in fact, there is no such thing as "the" future in the vision of the the world that we share.  Cascadiopolis is not a looking glass, but a shattered mirror, and a signpost that points, not to one future, but to many.

METAtropolis: Cascadia will be available in audiobook format starting November 16, 2010.

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.

Jul 31, 2009

August 26 will be Karl Schroeder day

...over at the Science Fiction Message Board

Cory alerted me to an interesting upcoming event:  The Science Fiction Message Board is hosting Author August, a month of discussions about particular science fiction writers--one per day.  Apparently I'm Mister August 26th (no, there will be no centerfold, unless you make one up yourself).  

The introductory description of the event is here, and the threads themselves will, I gather, be unraveling from the Author Central forum.  

This is pretty cool, although I'd be an idiot if I expected to necessarily be flattered by what (if anything) gets said about me on the day.  The sensible thing for me, in fact, would probably be to steer clear of reading it altogether--but you may want to drop by. 

And, if you do, be kind. :-)

Jul 30, 2009

And now... The Sunless Countries

A fourth Virga book? Where can we go after Pirate Sun?

What do you do when you've created an open-ended universe of unmatched richness and potential?  You keep exploring it!  I'm very far from exhausting the possibilities of my world Virga, and here's The Sunless Countries to prove it.  This novel is connected to the previous three in the series, but doesn't require that you've read them.  It introduces new characters in a new setting while retaining enough links to the other books for fans of those stories.  It really is all one grand epic tale, but I've tried to keep the action local in each book, and that's definitely the case here.The Sunless Countries

Meet Leal Hieronyma Maspeth.  She's a history tutor at the University of Sere, in the nation of Abyss.  Leal's a curious mixture of discipline and unbridled imagination:  she works hard to get ahead in her cut-throat academic world, but nonetheless dreams of being swept away by the dashing sun lighter, Hayden Griffin, who has recently come to Sere to build a new sun for some other country.

As events conspire, she will end up meeting Griffin, but nothing is like she imagined it would be.  In particular, she never dreamt that something ancient and terrible might awaken in the darkness beyond Sere's streetlights--perhaps a fabled worldwasp, come to wreack vengeance on humanity for some long-forgotten slight.  Nor could she have anticipated that, in Abyss's current anti-intellectual backlash, she would end up being the only person who even knows what a worldwasp is, much less how to deal with it...

The Sunless Countries will be appearing on bookshelves within the next few days.  I've just received my first copy (and, by the way, on the actual book, the bands of colour on the top and bottom aren't lime green like they are in the above picture; they're indigo/purple, to go with the overall design).  In a couple of days, you too can meet Leal, and the worldwasps...

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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."