Karl Schroeder

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Karl Schroeder
Born (1962-09-04) September 4, 1962 (age 56)
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
OccupationAuthor, technology consultant
GenreScience fiction
Notable worksVentus, Permanence

Karl Schroeder (born September 4, 1962) is a Canadian science fiction author. His novels present far-future speculations on topics such as nanotechnology, terraforming, augmented reality, and interstellar travel, and are deeply philosophical.


Schroeder was born into the Mennonite community in Brandon, Manitoba. He moved to Toronto, where he now lives with his wife and daughter, in 1986. After publishing a dozen short stories, Schroeder published his first novel, Ventus, in 2000. A prequel to Ventus, Lady of Mazes, was published in 2005. He has published seven more novels and is co-author (with Cory Doctorow) of the self-help book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction. Schroeder currently writes, consults in the area of futures studies.[1]


In October, 2011, Karl Schroeder was awarded a Master of Design degree in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Relationship to the 'Speculative Realist' School of Philosophy[edit]

Two of Schroeder's novels, Ventus and Lady of Mazes, explore themes that have recently become central to the self-identified speculative realism movement in philosophy. Although speculative realism was not labeled as a movement until 2007,[2] both Ventus (2000) and Lady of Mazes (2005) ask questions that are very similar to those posed by speculative realists such as Jane Bennett, Ian Bogost, Graham Harman, Quentin Meillassoux, and Timothy Morton. Speculative realism places ontology at the center of philosophical inquiry, and Ventus and Lady of Mazes both interrogate ontology, inventing new forms of relationship both between subjects and objects, and between objects in the absence of subjects. A primary example of this form of invention is the idea of thalience explored in Ventus.[citation needed]

Thalience is a concept invented by Schroeder to explore a realm of entities that are not quite subjects, but not entirely objects either. As presented in the novel, the concept sometimes refers to a form of inquiry, specifically an attempt to determine whether non-human sentient systems are truly independent minds, or whether they are merely "parrots" that give back to human researchers what the researchers expect to hear.[citation needed] The novel says that the word was deliberately chosen as an allusion to "silent Thalia", the muse of Nature. However, Ventus also more consistently refers to thalience as a state of being.[citation needed] Entities are considered "thalient" if they succeed in developing their own categories for understanding the world.[3]


  • 1982. Pierian Spring Best Story award for The Great Worm.
  • 1989. Context '89 fiction contest winner for The Cold Convergence.
  • 1993. Prix Aurora Award for Best Short Work in English for The Toy Mill.
  • 2001. New York Times Notable book for Ventus.
  • 2003. Prix Aurora Award for best Canadian SF novel for Permanence.
  • 2012. Audie Award for best Original Work for MetaTropolis: Cascadia, a shared-world audiobook anthology in which Schroeder's contribution was the short story Deodand.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Claus Effect (with David Nickle). (Tesseract Books, 1997) ISBN 978-1-895836-35-6
  • Ventus (Tor Books, 2000.) ISBN 978-0-312-87197-0
  • Permanence (Tor Books, 2002.) ISBN 0-7653-0371-X
  • Lady of Mazes (Tor Books, 2005.) ISBN 978-0-7653-5078-7
  • Crisis in Zefra (Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts, National Defence Canada; 2005.) ISBN 978-0-662-40643-3
  • Lockstep (Tor Books, 2014.) ISBN 978-0-7653-3726-9
The Virga series


  1. ^ Karl Schroeder official website, accessed September, 2008.
  2. ^ http://crln.acrl.org/content/71/6/305.full
  3. ^ Thalience and the Semantic Web Archived 2011-10-04 at the Wayback Machine, January 16, 2003, accessed October, 2012.

External links[edit]