Schroeder, Karl 1962-
Schroeder, Karl 1962-
PERSONAL: Born September 4, 1962, in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada; married Janice Beitel, April, 2001; children: Paige.
CAREER: Writer and consultant. Taught continuing education courses in writing science fiction; George
Brown College, Toronto, Canada, continuing education program, writing teacher, 1992-94; World Science Fiction Convention Annual Writer’s Workshop, San Jose, CA, 2002.
MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America, SF Canada (founding member; vice president, 1994-95; president, 1996-97).
AWARDS, HONORS: Context short story winner, 1989, for “Live Wire” (retitled “The Cold Convergence”); Aurora Award (with David Nickle), 1993, for “The Toy Mill”; Aurora Award for Best Long Work, English (novel), 2003, for Permanence.
A Mourning Place (play), produced in North York, Canada, 1993.
(With Cory Doctorow) The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, Alpha Books (NewYork, NY), 2000.
NOVELS; SCIENCE FICTION
(With David Nickle) The Claus Effect, Tesseracts (Calgary, Canada), 1997.
Ventus, Tor (New York, NY), 2000.
Permanence, Tor (New York, NY), 2002.
Lady of Mazes, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.
Sun of Suns, Tor (New York, NY), 2006.
The Engine of Recall, Red Deer Press (Calgary, Canada), 2006.
Queen of Candesce, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.
Work represented in multiple Tesseracts anthologies. Contributor to periodicals, including Figment, On Spec, and Cosmic Visions.
SIDELIGHTS: Science fiction writer Karl Schroeder wrote his first novel, The Claus Effect, with David Nickle. It is an extension of their award-winning short story, “The Toy Mill,” about Emily, a girl who works for Santa. In the novel, Emily is an adult with the security department of a big box store, and the plot includes bad elves, the military, and satellite weaponry. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, which Schroeder cowrote with Cory Doctorow, introduces the genre, explains the ins and outs of sci-fi conventions, and advises readers about how to get published. Ernest Lilley reviewed the book for SFRevu online, calling it “a really good book. It is full of good advice, cute graphics, and an appreciation of science fiction.”
Lilley also reviewed Schroeder’s Ventus, a novel the critic called “a fast paced and engaging epic adventure from start to finish and an excellent example of Arthur Clarke’s rule that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The story is set on a remote colony planet that has been isolated by artificial intelligence, known as the Winds, which created an ideal environment for a human population but turned against settlers when they arrived, and ultimately refused to give up control. Every aspect of Ventus can be managed through imbedded technology, except for the humans who live in near-medieval conditions.
In reviewing the novel for SF Site online, Greg L. Johnson wrote that “the most clever idea is the glitch that prevents the Winds from operating as their designers intended. It is not only a technological puzzle, but also a philosophical one.” Johnson noted that the fact that most of the novel’s action occurs in a low-tech environment “plays to the book’s artistic strength, a cast of characters who, if not all that complex, each have a definite personality of their own.” The characters include young visionary Jordan Mason, cyborg Armiger, Desert Voice, and Calandria May, a freelance interstellar agent.
“Neatly illustrating Clarke’s aphorism,” wrote Voice of Youth Advocates reviewer Bill White, “the Winds manage the hierarchical orderings of molecules into objects and objects into processes; they are programmed to maintain the ecology of Ventus even in the face of human technology.” A Publishers Weekly contributor stated that Schroeder’s “first large-scale SF work…. should greatly expand his reputation.” Meanwhile, Analog Science Fiction and Fact contributor Tom Easton called Ventus “a grand adventure with satisfyingly meaty content.” Gerald Jonas, who reviewed Ventus in the New York Times Book Review, wrote that “the plotting is appropriately multifaceted, the characters surprisingly complex, the denouement—which may be termed post-Aristotelian—deeply satisfying.”
A Publishers Weekly writer called Schroeder’s Permanence “a complex, conceptually satisfying story of interstellar intrigue, cosmology, theology, and nanotechnology.” In a School Library Journal review, Christine C. Menefee described the story’s beginning as “reminiscent of classic Heinlein.” The protagonist is Rue Cassels, a young woman who flees an abusive brother and finds herself faced with a cycler: a slow-moving, unmanned shuttle that she may claim as her own if she is able to board and navigate it. Cyclers had been used to keep connected the Halo worlds, between the brighter stars, before the struggling worlds suffered from crumbling economies and decay. Rue’s mission is to use technology to reverse the trend, while others from the luminal worlds are intent on creating a powerful empire.
Lilley wrote that Schroeder “has created a terrific ensemble cast.… A manic-depressive cousin, a budding journalist, a resourceful female doctor, a member of the cycler cult, and a former cycler crewman. The characters are everything one needs to keep the story moving as the author unfolds greater themes and issues before us.” Booklist contributor Roberta Johnson called Permanence “the best kind of coming-of-age tale, one that seizes the imagination and the emotions.” Finally, a Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel a “thoughtful, well-informed, insightful work, with a sharp yet subtle political subcontext, catapulting Schroeder into SF’s front rank.”
Lady of Mazes takes place in the same future universe as Ventus and Permanence. This book is set on the world of Teven Coronal, where layers of virtual reality keep the citizens cloistered and protected from both the outside world and reality. When Livia Kodaly discovers a break between these layers, she is suddenly aware of the dissolution of her world, and she and her friend flee in an effort to find a safe haven. Carl Hays, writing for Booklist, remarked that Schroeder “bids fair to become a major genre voice.” A Kirkus Reviews contributor described the book as “bulging with complex ideas and extrapolations—often as difficult to follow as they are to describe.”
With Sun of Suns, Schroeder launches a new series, this one set on Virga, a miniature galaxy within the confines of a gigantic fullerene balloon that has a span of five thousand miles. The book follows the mapmaker, Gridde, as he attempts to keep his map of Virga—an ever changing world—accurate. The book delves into a number of scientific and philosophical ideas pertaining to the nature of life in the universe. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews called the book “outrageously brilliant and absolutely not to be missed.” Booklist reviewer Regina Schroeder dubbed it “the satisfying opening of a promising space opera.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June, 2001, Tom Easton, review of Ventus, p. 133.
Booklist, April 15, 2001, Ray Olson, review of Ventus, p. 1543; April 15, 2002, Roberta Johnson, review of Permanence, p. 1390; July, 2005, Carl Hays, review of Lady of Mazes, p. 1912; September 15, 2006, Regina Schroeder, review of Sun of Suns, p. 34.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of Permanence, p. 297; June 1, 2005, review of Lady of Mazes, p. 617; July 15, 2006, review of Sun of Suns, p. 706.
Library Journal, December, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Ventus, p. 196.
New York Times Book Review, April 29, 2001, Gerald Jonas, review of Ventus, p. 18; June 3, 2001, review of Ventus, p. 31.
Publishers Weekly, November 27, 2000, review of Ven-tus, p. 59; April 15, 2002, review of Permanence, p. 46.
School Library Journal, September, 2002, Christine C. Menefee, review of Permanence, p. 257.
Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 2001, Bill White, review of Ventus, pp. 268-269.
Karl Schroeder Home Page,http://www.kschroeder.com (December 9, 2002).
SciFi.com,http://www.scifi.com/ (July 25, 2002), Paul Di Filippo, review of Permanence.
SFRevu,http://www.sfrevu.com/ (December 9, 2002), Ernest Lilley, reviews of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, Ventus, and Permanence.
SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (July 25, 2002), Greg L.Johnson, review of Ventus.