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Downloads

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.

Personal tools

public speaking

Sep 10, 2019

Upcoming Appearances

Here's where you can find me through September, 2019.

Jan 28, 2019

Interviewed by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

In advance of my keynote in Austria on April 2, I was asked about the future of journalism

I'll be in Vienna in early April, speaking at the European Digital Media Awards ceremony. To get a sense of the flavour of the upcoming talk, I was interviewed by journalist Chris Sutcliffe.  You can read the interview here.

An excerpt:

“It’s funny: I’ve included augmented reality in my stories for 20 years now. As it finally becomes a viable technology, I find myself doubting it more and more. At first it seemed natural and convenient that we should want to explode the images and interfaces currently inside our screens out onto the physical world. But that may be a terrible idea for a number of reasons...


Jan 24, 2019

Boskone 2019!

I'll be attending this Boston convention again this year, Feb. 15-17, and reading from my new novel, Stealing Worlds

Boskone is held at the Boston Weston Waterfront, close to all the best action in downtown Boston.  I'm flying in Thursday night so I'll be available to chat, sign and read from Friday afternoon onwards. 

Here's my final schedule. What's on here matches closes my current obsessions, and a lot of these topics are front and center in Stealing Worlds.  So expect me to be vocal, opinionated, and engaged!

The Most Alien Aliens

 

15 Feb 2019, Friday 16:00 - 16:50, Burroughs (Westin)

 

How can you design a really GOOD alien? How can writers/artists imbue their creations with a genuine sense of otherness? What do our depictions of aliens tell us about ourselves?

 

James Cambias, Dr. Stephen P. Kelner Jr. (Ascent Leadership Networks) (M), Jeffrey A. Carver, Laurence Raphael Brothers (Freelance), Karl Schroeder

 

Near-Future SF

 

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 12:00 - 12:50, Harbor II (Westin)

 

1984 was published in 1949. 2001: A Space Odyssey was published in 1968. Neither was predictive ... at least for the year they were putatively about. Should science fiction set in the near future try to be prophetic? Can it avoid becoming dated? Does it always have to be dystopic? There’s a lot of it out there these days, but what makes a near-future story successful?

 

Fran Wilde, Michael Swanwick, Karl Schroeder, Paul Di Filippo (M), Brett James

 

Economics in SF/F Worlds

 

Format: Panel

 

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 14:00 - 14:50, Burroughs (Westin)

 

Whether you deal in coin, platinum, electronic credits, or chickens, all societies rest upon an agreed-upon economic foundation. However, fantastic fiction rarely features a reference to any body that establishes and monitors a financial system. How important is it to see a working (or failing) economy in an SF/F world? Can you realistically have a cashless society (Star Trek) or a civilization run by orcs (LOTR)? What are the economic drivers that keep these worlds turning? Fellowships that cross multiple borders to throw away precious metal objects so rarely pay well. How do our heroes and villains survive without visible incomes of any kind?

 

MR Richardson (Room 10 Publishing) (M), Fonda Lee, Karl Schroeder , Steve Miller (Liaden Universe), Mr. Walter H. Hunt (Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts)

 

Reading by Karl Schroeder

 

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 15:00 - 15:25, Griffin (Westin)

 

Autographing: James Cambias, Daniel M. Kimmel, Bracken MacLeod, Karl Schroeder

 

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 16:00 - 16:50, Galleria - Autographing (Westin)

 

Kaffeeklatsch: Karl Schroeder

 

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 17:00 - 17:50, Galleria - Kaffeeklatsch 1 (Westin)

 

If Only It Were Real

 

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 20:00 - 20:50, Griffin (Westin)

 

What science fiction concept, other than space travel, would you most like to see realized? Flying cars? Matter replicators? Time travel? Why? What would be the impact on civilization of this wish fulfillment? Flying cars crashing into buildings, replicators putting manufacturers out of business, time travelers running wild, oh my!

 

Alan Brown (M), Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Mary Anne Mohanraj (Speculative Literature Foundation), Karl Schroeder

 

The Limits of Automation

 

17 Feb 2019, Sunday 10:00 - 10:50, Burroughs (Westin)

 

When, how, why, what? Following up on last year's "The Future of Work" ... How far can we reasonably project that automation of jobs will advance in the real world in the next 10 years? Why? What limits to automation are presently visible? What plausible limits have we not yet encountered? What about the longer term? What jobs can we reasonably expect will be completely automatable in years to come? We'll focus on technical aspects, not so much on societal acceptance, and not at all on societal impact.

 

Mark Olson (M), Jeff Hecht, Karl Schroeder, Laurence Raphael Brothers (Freelance), Brianna Wu

 

When Robots Take Over (Our Jobs)

 

17 Feb 2019, Sunday 11:00 - 11:50, Burroughs (Westin)

 

Twentieth-century history shows that automation can increase productivity and stimulate new employment. More recent developments, however, haven't always been so productive or stimulating (e.g., grocery store self-checkouts). Are we nearing a point of no return — when technological advances chiefly function to replace human labor? What happens to society once work gets scarce, and stays that way? And what might the transition to that brave new (jobless) world entail?

 

Mark Olson (M), Karl Schroeder, B. Diane Martin, John P. Murphy, Brianna Wu

 

 

Jun 02, 2018

YouTube talk on Deodands

Filed Under:

Recorded at the IoT Meetup in Waterloo, Ontario

I was recently invited out to the University of Waterloo to talk about an idea I've been working on for almost twenty years now.  This is the idea I've variously called actants or, more recently, deodands.  Deodands are an alternative vision of artificial intelligence, and of what AI can do for and with humanity.  I started talking about these ideas in my first novel, Ventus, and have carried through with various short stories over the years, including "Deodand" and "The Desire Lines."

A deodand is an artificial intelligence that thinks it is some specific natural system--and by natural system, I mean what you think I mean:  rivers, lakes, watersheds, forests, flocks of geese, packs of wolves.  The conceit is that these AIs are "rational actors" in the classic (though now discounted) economic sense:  they try to maximize their own advantage.  What this means is that these AIs try to protect and advance the interests of the systems that they think they are. 

You can watch the video here.  I'm a little embarrassed by my middle-aged pot-belly, and you'll find I use a lot of "ums" and "uhs," in the first few minutes of the talk.  I my defense it was 9:30 at night, and I'd driven two hours in pounding rain to get there after working a full day.  Still, it was lots of fun, and you can see the energy in the room was high even at that late hour.  Thanks to Ian Pilon, the meetup organizers and the University of Waterloo for inviting me out.  I had a great time!

Sep 01, 2015

LA Keynote on Sept. 30

I'll be talking fiction as futurism

Wednesday, Sept. 30, I'll be speaking at the Foresight & Trends conference in Los Angeles.  My topic?  The same subject on which I wrote my Master's thesis:  the use of fictional narratives in foresight studies.  This time, though, I'll be getting recursive by reciting several possible "plotlines" that exemplify different aspects of the method. The full agenda description for my talk is:

Plotlines: Using Stories to Analyze the Future

Acclaimed science fiction writer and futurist Karl Schroeder will describe the plotlines of three possible novels. Each of the stories captures the complex essence of one emerging megatrend. Together, they reduce what might be a long, tedious analysis of demographics and drivers to something vital and easily memorable. The stories are, “Decapitation,” about blockchain technology and how Distributed Autonomous Corporations put a company’s CEO, CFO, and upper management out of work; “The Lady (almost) Vanishes,” about how emerging tech is making it impossible for people to disappear; and in “The Garbage Miners,” how a strike by workers who convert trash into feedstock for 3d printers nearly shuts down the country.

So, the talk serves a double purpose--to describe the technique, and to show it in action.  I hope you can be there!

Apr 08, 2015

Duration of Things: a showing at Trinity Square Video

Isabell Spengler, film artist from Germany, and I will be discussing time and perception at Trinity Square Video April 8, 2015. You're welcome to join us

My interests in time and in what is "really real" meet this week in an exhibit and discussion at Trinity Square Video in downtown Toronto.  I'll be talking duration and solidity with German filmmaker Isabell Spengler, whose exhibition Two Days at the Falls will be showcased at the galllery.  This should be a mind-bending excursion to the edges of what we know, and I'm really looking forward to it--so come join us, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 376.  We're right at Spadina so the easiest access by TTC is the Spadina Streetcar; there are numerous Green-P and Blue-P parking garages in the neighbourhood as well.  For more information about the event and the gallery's ambitious science-fiction oriented programme, check out the press release.

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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."
    --SFRevu.com


    "...A rollicking good read... fun, bookish, and full of insane air battles"
    --io9.com


    "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."
    --Locus