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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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Read my newest novel, Lockstep, in Analog Magazine

A new vision of a possible future as exciting as any space-opera fantasy

My newest novel, Lockstep, is being serialized in Analog Science Fiction & Fact magazine. Pick up the latest issue or subscribe now (you can even do a digital subscription through Amazon) and read about Toby McGonigal, long-lost son of the first pioneering colonists on the trans-Plutonian world Sedna, as he returns from a 14,000 year absence to find that in his absence, his brother Peter and sister Evayne have been very, very naughty indeed...

Analog Lockstep issue 1In Lockstep I've reinvented Space Opera, and solved the greatest outstanding problem in Hard Science Fiction writing: how to have a Star Wars-type galactic empire of thousands of worlds and alien species, all available a short flight away, without violating any of the known laws of nature. 

Star Wars, Star Trek, all those stories of FTL civilizations that you used to devour... they're all great, except for one thing: they're impossible. Each and every one of them... but not this one. The Lockstep Empire of 70,000 worlds could be real, which means that for the very first time in science fiction, the kind of fantasy future we always dreamed of is no longer just a fantasy, but could be... an aspiration. 

Pick up Analog, read Lockstep and see for yourself. It's a new era--literally, a new future, and you can say you read about it here first.



Sun of Suns: the Graphic Novel

Virga Issue One Cover

Issue 1 of Sun of Suns is complete at over at, and Issue 2 is beginning! Head on over to view this stunning adaptation of my far-future steampunk pirate epic.

Where to Start With the Virga Series

With Ashes of Candesce on the shelves and the graphic novel version of Sun of Suns available, my crazy far-future steampunk Virga saga comes to an end. But assuming you're interested in these books, where should you start? Of course you can begin at the beginning, with Sun of Suns--and if you do, I recommend the graphic novel. But, here's the thing: I wrote these books to stand alone as much as possible. More importantly, although they do constitute one gigantic narrative, there are two parts to that story. The first three books can be read as one story;The Sunless Countries and Ashes of Candesce make up a second.

Add in the fact that Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce have been combined in a Trade omnibus edition entitled Cities of the Air, and you have the following buying strategy, which will give you maximum story with minimum threads left dangling:

Cities of the Air



Cities of the Air and Pirate Sun make up a complete trilogy, since Cities contains both Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce. Buy 'em both and you get a complete and rollicking far-future adventure.


Sunless and Ashes

The Sunless Countries and Ashes of Candescemake up a second full story arc, but also resolve the minor plot threads left unfinished in the first trilogy--and, yes, answer the major question of just what Artificial Nature is and why it threatens Virga.


So: two arcs, two books each. And, of course, you can also buy the audiobook editions, and upcoming, read the Sun of Suns graphic novel online!

Buy Individual Short Stories 

I haven't got a huge backlog of short stories, but I've been lucky enough to have many of my best collected in the book The Engine of Recall, which is still available. Not all my good stuff made it into that collection, however--mostly because my editor, Robert J. Sawyer, wanted to focus on my strictly science fictional output. That naturally excluded "The Toy Mill" for instance--but it also left other fantasy I've written, as well as works I consider SF, but Rob did not. 

I've started transforming some of these works (previously published, but not collected) into individual bite-sized ebooks. Initially, you can find them on, but I'll be making epub versions as well; it's just a matter of finding the time for that, as it's a little more hands-on than the Amazon conversion.

As of now, you can find three of my stories on

  • "The Hero" - A Virga short story. In fact, this story is an integral part of the Virga series, and contains revelations that fill in major gaps in the overall story. It recounts certain key events that occur between Pirate Sun and The Sunless Countries, but it can also stand on its own--in fact, it makes an excellent introduction to the Virga universe for anybody who's considering taking the plunge.
  • "Dawn" - My only vampire story to date. I call this my 'anti-Anne Rice' story; perhaps it's just the sort of vampire story that a writer with a pacifist Mennonite background would write. What's coolest (for me) is that this story came to me in one of the most cinematically visual dreams I've ever had. I can still picture it... so I had to write it.
  • "Book, Theatre, and Wheel" - Is this SF at all? Slipstream, maybe. Set during the Inquisition, this is a meditation on memory systems, isolation and the self-invention of new mythologies...  

I hope to make other stories available soon. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these three.

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The Virga Series

(Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce are combined in Cities of the Air)

Available in Trade paperback May 5, 2012:

The Engine of Recall - New eBook!

Read a sample story

Help support my writing
Lady of Mazes

“The most thought-provoking and interesting work of hard SF that I've read in the past year."
—Charles Stross

"With paradigm shifts one inside another like a set of Russian dolls, this splendid novel propagates into a demolition derby of Big Ideas. Required post-human reading.”
—Scott Westerfeld, author of The Risen Empire

“An astonishing saga. One helluva read!”
—Charles Harness

“Karl Schroeder has always had a knack for intelligent and provocative thought experiments disguised as space opera. Now he ups the ante with a fascinating riff on consensual [and conflicting] realities. Lady of Mazes contains more cool ideas than Ventus and Permanence combined.”
—Peter Watts