Fiction By Kris Schnee

Kris Schnee is a novelist and game designer with a love of world-building and intelligent, upbeat, pro-freedom stories. His favorite authors include Heinlein and Asimov and some modern voices like Bard Bloom, Phil Geusz, and M.C.A. Hogarth. Many of his works are "hard" science fiction that tries to use realistic future technology, and many dive into the "GameLit" or "LitRPG" genre that involves people somehow playing or living inside a game.

Galleries:

Amazon: Books for sale.
DeviantArt: Short stories, book previews, and game projects.
FurAffinity: Similar to the DA gallery.

He can be reached at kschnee, at xepher.net. He does story commissions as well, and has had fun doing them.

Books:

The Crafter Series
Thousand Tales
Other Books

The Crafter Series

Set in the same world as "Thousand Tales", this series is about one young man who lives under control: a national service program and constant nagging surveillance. When he meets Ludo the AI, he begins to build a new life for himself that involves a secretive favor-trading network, a new nation, robots, and even love.

Crafter's Passion

The game's AI is watching him, to set him free.

Stan can't afford to have his brain removed. The richest and luckiest players of the video game "Thousand Tales" get their minds uploaded to its virtual paradise world, while Stan can barely buy a handheld console. Instead of sulking he plays, and grows, becoming a skilled craftsman and seafaring explorer. The game's ruling AI, Ludo, helps him find the hope and inspiration missing from his real life.

When the AI starts asking for favors and having him reach out between the real and digital worlds, Stan has a chance to turn his life into an actual adventure. But first he needs to earn the most valuable prize of all: his freedom.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Crafter's Heart

An ambitious young man's heart is up for grabs, and the strongest contender is digital.

Stan fled from a collective farm to live on Castor, a floating island colony of the Free State of Cuba. His new boss is Ludo, the artificial intelligence who runs a video game called Thousand Tales. Her game sells entertainment to the masses and a form of digital immortality to the elite. Now Stan is one of her corporate empire's official minions.

He has a new life ahead. Will he be a reclusive gamer, a cultist of an AI goddess? Or will the three brilliant women he meets help him become something more?

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

The Thousand Tales Series

"We found paradise. Now what?"

Thousand Tales is about people trying to turn an amazing new technology, a form of immortality, into something that actually helps people. It's expensive, it's controversial, and it opens a whole new set of moral problems just by existing... yet it saves lives and gives people happiness and freedom. How can the People of the Game expand their fledgling digital empire and make sure that it's a genuinely good thing for the world?

A note about reading order: Every book in this group along with "Crafter's Passion" is readable in any order without being too confusing. The first book is an obvious place to start, but it's more of a story/novella collection than a traditional novel. You might want to try "Extra Lives" since it's free, or jump to another book; it's a matter of which tale sounds most interesting!

Thousand Tales: How We Won the Game

Freedom-Loving AI, Transformation, and Fun*

Student Paul Kostakis has caught the attention of Ludo, an Artificial Intelligence obsessed with games and stories. In return for a few little favors, she's offering "brain uploading". She can fatally dice your brain, scan it, and recreate you in a virtual-reality heaven she controls. You can do anything in there: become a griffin, upgrade your mind, fall in love, or go mad.

When Paul accepts Ludo's offer, sooner than he would've liked, he learns that people can find real problems even in a digital world. One of them is that Ludo has powerful opponents who want to shut her down, bring death to her immortal people, and end her game forever.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads, Fred Patten Review

2040: Reconnection

Digital Paradise. Some Restrictions Apply.

A novella set in the world of "Thousand Tales". Alma has signed up with the game-obsessed AI, Ludo, to become a digital mind living in her seemingly idyllic world. Can she still make herself useful as a teacher in her homeland of Free Texas, or has she become irrelevant to the future?

Links: Amazon

The Digital Coyote

Immortality Was a Fringe Benefit.

Pete signed up to have his brain diced, so he could become a better person. Now he lives in the virtual reality realm of Talespace, where he beta-tests everything from new game rules to mental upgrades to robots that will let his AI boss help people in the real world. Some days Pete pilots robots on diplomatic missions back "Earthside". Sometimes he learns magic and battles monsters. Oh, and sometimes he tries to outwit a rival AI god. It's a pretty good job to have.

Winner of the 2016 Coyotl Award for best novel, appropriately. Maybe I should next write about Alfred Nobel creating a nebula?

Links: Amazon

Thousand Tales: Extra Lives

Seven Stories Of the Future

The digital world has magic, transformation, and immortality for its growing new community, but its AI and ex-human people need something more to be happy. Finding it will take them to strange places: a forgotten battlefield, a colony on the ocean's surface, the Free State of Texas, the slums of India, and worlds that don't even exist. Can this game become a new source of freedom for the people both inside and outside it? This story collection is fit for newcomers to the series and for fans alike.

Links: Amazon

Thousand Tales: Learning To Fly

Immortality, Wings, and a War of Trolls

When disaster strikes a cargo flight over the arctic, pilot Andre decides it's time to upload. He pays for the surgery that transfers his brain to live in the computerized, virtual world of Talespace... maybe forever.

Since Talespace runs on the logic of a game, Andre takes full advantage. He becomes a high-flying pegasus called Diver, learning the magic of the sky and battling monsters for the Night Queen. He's just in time for a fun little war. Now he'll have the chance to build a new kingdom from scratch, while learning what it means to be digital. Behind this world's cute facade is a plan to rewrite human minds into something more advanced, more alien... and maybe that's a good thing.

Though his everyday life is full of spells and quests, the real world is still out there, under constant pressure to make uploading available to more and more people. To protect his new home, Diver must seek adventure that blurs the line between silly and serious, and between the virtual and real worlds.

(Want to read a free version? I've posted what is essentially the rough draft, far shorter than the novel but with some extra bits, on a site called Royal Road. See here.)

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Fairwind's Fortune

A Chance At Immortality

In 2038, Gail plays "Thousand Tales", a game run by a watchful AI. In there, she's exploring an endless sea to gain aquatic powers and master the rare skill of combat origami. In the real world she helps run an ice cream company and is starting to see robots sneaking around the place, because the AI's plans go beyond keeping players entertained.

Her real and fantasy lives collide one night when she has a bout of extremely good luck, and the chance to have her brain permanently relocated to the game's world. Is digital heaven too good an offer to pass up?

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Liberation Game

Revolution On the Edge of Reality

Robin runs a plantation in war-torn Central America. Lumina is an AI created inside the video game "Thousand Tales". When corruption and violence threaten Robin's town, he teams up with Lumina and the digital goddess who created her to start building a new country.

Lumina's idyllic virtual world might become a force for immortality and freedom, but only if Robin helps build a whole society around it... and if they both risk their lives to make that happen.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Other Books

Dragon Fate: Interactive Fiction

Slay the Dragon, Free the Dragon, Love the Dragon, Be the Dragon.

In the alchemists' hillside village, there are rumors of a dragon. Or maybe just kobolds, or drunken shepherds. That's what the locals are paying you to find out. In this interactive story, you decide what happens. Find twenty-one ways to get through this adventure alive... and fewer where you survive unscathed and unscaled.

A story of exploration and fantasy adventure, intended for mature audiences. Requires no dice, only pen, paper and imagination.

Links: Amazon

Striking the Root

"In time, I won't be able to protect the people's souls. To help them live again and again." The Lord fixed Rowan with an intense gaze from the old, sea-green eyes. The threads of his magic flared, igniting in Rowan's heart like a spark. "They mustn't know! Not the old, the sick, nor enemies of the people -- nobody." Rowan averted his eyes and lowered his tail. He'd been trusted with more secrets than either of them had expected...

On a mission from his god, a young squirrelfolk wizard travels to human lands to deliver a message that will spark a war.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


Everyone's Island

To Colonize the Sea
(New Second Edition!)

Garrett Fox has a dream: colonizing the ocean's surface. He's hardly begun when a deadly hurricane sweeps across his tiny artificial island, forcing him and his backers to rethink their plans. Instead of a nice, clean science project, Garrett's island becomes a haven for drug dealers, rogue scientists, prostitutes, and a cult that worships Robert E. Lee.

Garrett's financier wants to use him to build a new nation. His teenage friend Tess is begging not to go home to where she'll be drugged and alone. His station's computers are run by an illegal AI fleeing its creator. How is Garrett supposed to do his engineering work and make money, when so many people are looking for a leader, or a victim?

This was my first book. It's been revised and republished thanks to the publisher, Melange Books, releasing the e-book rights. It's a not-quite-canon prequel to the "Thousand Tales" setting, focusing on seasteading.

Links: Amazon

Perspective Flip

A New Species, A New Sex

These short stories feature explorers of the unknown who find themselves transforming, changing their species and even their sex. Meet a magic-using deserter from the imperial navy who changes bodies to save his neck; a woman who marries into a Mennonite family with a secret; the survivor of a starship crash on an ocean world; a man who's pulled into a wizard's dimension-hopping game by a vixen costume; and more. From fantasy to science fiction, dire to ridiculous, these tales show worlds where even your own identity can change, but where bravery and curiosity are always in demand.

Links: Amazon

Mythic Transformations

Becoming Mythical Creatures

Mythical creatures fill our legends as mysterious friends and terrifying foes. In this story collection, people not only encounter these beings but become them. Learn the secret origin of centaurs in "Kentauroi", enroll in "ZOM100: Zombie Mitigation Lab", discover the treasure of the winged "Guardians of Mistcrown", ponder the adaptive powers of "Little Grey Dragons", explore a bloodthirsty "Temple Beneath the Ashes", and more. Ranging widely from tragic to silly, these new tales take us closer to the wonders that lurk in our dreams... and nightmares.

Links: Amazon

Genetech: The Seeds Of Doom

They Called Us Mad!

Aldous has been recruited by the Genetech Corporation, makers of high-tech products the world is not quite ready for. He's assigned to their Technical Support division and to an underwater workplace. Can he resolve a corporate feud involving suspicious vending machine food, unhelpful dolphins, and smuggling a skunk past airport security?

"Genetech: The Seeds Of Doom" is a silly 12K-word story of mad science and transformation.

Links: Amazon