Unexpected Questions with Karl Schroeder

Karl Schroeder is an award-winning Canadian science fiction writer, author of twelve novels and many short works. His most recent novel is Stealing Worlds, about one woman’s odyssey through a near-future of pervasive AI and blockchain-driven social revolution. Among his other accomplishments, he and Cory Doctorow wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, and he also helped pioneer long-form design fiction with his short novels Crisis in Zefra and Crisis in Urlia, both commissioned by the Canadian Army. Karl lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and daughter.

If you were transported into one of your books as a character, what kind of character would you be and what kind of adventures would you have?

I’d love to travel to my world of Virga, a 5000 mile-diameter balloon floating in deep space, full of air, balls of water, and floating asteroidal rocks. People light parts of this weightless world with nuclear fusion suns, and build spinning wheel towns with wood from trees that grow in the freefall environment. I think I’d want to be an itinerant gravity seller, riding my wingless jet engine with its saddle and handlebars, and towing a rope that I can use to spin up farmers’ wicker house-balls to give them a few hours of gravity for a nominal fee. It would be a good way to travel and meet people.

 

If you were stranded on a deserted planet with only one book to read, but it turned out to be one of your own, how would you feel?

Terrible, unless I had a pen and some paper to start revising.

 

If you could travel to any alternate universe where a different version of yourself exists, what do you think your other self would be like?

Tall, lantern-jawed, and irresistibly charismatic. Also, darkly handsome. And enigmatic, you can’t beat enigmatic.

 

If you could have any fictional pet as a companion, what would it be and why?

It would be Eet, the cat-like alien from Andre Norton’s books The Zero Stone and Uncharted Stars—my two favourite juvenile space operas. The reason? Eet’s telepathic, smarter than her human companion, and knows how to get results. Never underestimate a cat.

If you were to write a book about a group of superheroes with completely useless powers, what would their powers be?

Here’s the team:

  • Twitch: can cause people to fidget
  • Index: Has perfect recall for all ISBN numbers, card catalog entries, and website addresses, but only up to five years ago
  • The Taylor: causes clothes to fit
  • Magnificent Man: he’s simply magnificent
  • The Deal: can sense the lowest price within a two-kilometer radius

 

If you had to choose one of your books to be turned into a cheesy made-for-TV movie, which one would it be and who would you want to play the lead roles?

I’d have The Million made into a musical cross between Downton Abbey and The Hunger Games, with Justin Bieber as Gavin Penn and Grimes as Elana Devries.

Karl’s latest novel is Stealing Worlds, which you can find at https://www.kschroeder.com/my-books/stealing-worlds.  He’s also starting a Substack, so if you’re interested visit it at https://kschroeder.substack.com/

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