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Legion Release Party ()
#51 Copy

Questioner

In the Cosmere, as space becomes more developed...*inaudible* outer space.

Brandon Sanderson

It's an interesting question that I've had to ponder. Would the space race happen more slowly because there's an alternative, or would it happen more quickly because you know other planets are inhabited. I'm not going to answer what I came up with, because it's a plot point in the books. So I'll give you a RAFO card, but that's the question to ask yourself.

Questioner

That wasn't my question! My question was, in the Cognitive Realm, with the gap between planets...

Brandon Sanderson

Oh! Will the gap between planets get larger as more people travel in between it. So, barring things like space stations, there's going to be so few minds in between, that I don't expect space to become larger because of that.

I don't expect it to be a factor, except--barring--there will be possibilities of certain regions popping up.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#53 Copy

Questioner

How do states of matter affect how things look in the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms?

Brandon Sanderson

So, generally, how people perceive something is very important to the reflection in the Cognitive Realm, and so the physical state of matter is going to be involved in that, but generally, it flows the other direction from the Spiritual Realm.

Questioner

Do the forms of Investiture that we've seen, Stormlight, metals, Shardpools, do the fact that those happen in general the same types of states of matter, all physical, solid, is kinda going to be like metal for Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that is generally the way it will be.

MisCon 2018 ()
#55 Copy

Questioner

On Sel, in the dialogue from Khriss, the Arcanum Unbounded, she mentions that the Cognitive Realm is especially dangerous because Devotion and Dominion were killed there. Why is it dangerous? Are there bad spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Well it's called the Expanse of the Densities in Roshar for a very good reason.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#56 Copy

Commicommand

Does emotional Allomancy work on animals?

Brandon Sanderson

Emotional Allomancy requires a certain level of sapience.

Phantine

So dolphins, oragutans, mistwraiths and parrots might work?

Brandon Sanderson

I was intentionally vague. :)

A_Shadow

Huh, so that would mean that divine Breath (or just regular Breath?) works in a completely different underlying mechanism than emotional Allomancy in providing that calming effect for animals and children. I had previously thought it was just an overlap in abilities.

Brandon Sanderson

There is an overlap. But it involves playing with Spiritwebs and/or the Cognitive Realm.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#57 Copy

Evilkill78

While rereading HoA I decided to do a bit of research on an informant. But I also found another interesting tidbit on Theoryland.

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=727#35

This WoB. It implies TenSoon is eventually going to be able to reconnect with Vin, or at least, someone with Hemalurgic spikes is going to be able to communicate with someone that's departed to "The Beyond" (or the Spiritual Realm)...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, this looks like one where I was tired from answering a lot of questions, and was thinking about Kelsier--I was really excited to write Secret History back then. I realize that it wouldn't make sense for Kelsier to want to talk to TenSoon, but you'd be surprised the things that you say sometimes when you're trying to write in someone's book, keep yourself from giving too many spoilers, but also answer questions. You can go on auto-pilot sometimes for a minute or two, answering questions that my brain THINKS someone asks, when it's not one they actually asked. Or mashing together two questions, and having a kind of crossed-wires brain moment. You can see me do this on Reddit sometimes too, if you look back through my history. I often catch it and edit to explain myself, but not always This was during the era when I was heavily laying foreshadowing to fans for Kelsier's return, so it wouldn't feel like a cheat when I eventually got to Secret History. So I was looking for opportunities to talk about people with spikes communicating with the Cognitive Realm. I can't remember. There's also a possibility that I was still contemplating Vin staying, which she could have done, as someone who'd carried one of the powers. Either way, I made the call that even bringing Kelsier back was dangerous for undermining consequences, and having Vin hang around would be counter to her character arc and the arc of the stories. So Vin and TenSoon won't be talking any time soon. Sorry to shut down conversation on this one, and sorry to lead you on.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#58 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Shadesmar- you can WALK to the other planets. It’s a pretty far ways away (at least days, if not more), but you can go to Shadesmar, walk in the directions where it says "The Realm of the Vapors" and it runs into Scadrial (which is confirmed). In Shadesmar all of that empty space doesn't really have any human interaction, so it doesn't really have an aspect in the cognitive realm, so all of that place gets shortened immensely. Whenever a planet has enough thinking life on it that's it's considering it a planet, it drops into Shadesmar.

Eventually, he’ll come out with a Shadesmar map of the Cosmere, and a Starmap as well.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#62 Copy

Blightsong

Does magic happen on Sel because areas have  a stronger cognitive presence, like, more sentient life in that area.

 

Brandon Sanderson

Uhhh, no, good question, good question. That is not the answer. I am going to give it in the Cosmere collection if people don't guess it by then. So I'm going to leave off, I could tell you right now but, I can't remember if anyone has guessed it or not.

Questioner

Is it related to tectonics?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's all kinda going in the wrong direction. I haven't really given you the clues to figure it out, I don't think. Once I say it, it will make a lot of sense.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#64 Copy

Questioner

If you had a huge block of metal, a single block of metal that's big enough to build a city on, would that just show up as a single bead?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how people think of it. The perception of the people in the Physical Realm has a big effect on how things appear. And also the effect of how people see it on that side shapes it over time as well. And often times-- We'll leave it at that. It gets a little complicated.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#65 Copy

ROSHtafARian

There's been enough speculation that an Elantrian world hopper appears in Way of Kings and that an Elantrian world hopper wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law to make it likely that by the time of both books, at least some Elantrians can world hop. So my question is, at the time of Way of Kings, does Sel have the most cosmere-awareness out of any of your Shardworlds (including ones we have not seen yet), or is there another Shardworld that's more aware of the greater cosmere at this time?

Brandon Sanderson

Sel is very cosmere aware at this point, but getting to and through Shadesmar (that's not the local term, by the way) is very difficult on Sel. That stunted them for a long while. They're still fairly far ahead.

Calamity Denver signing ()
#67 Copy

Dirigible's sister

Is the Cognitive Realm flat or spherical?

Brandon Sanderson

The Cognitive Realm is this weird thing, where it's flat, but it's distorted.

Dirigible's sister

Yeah, 'cause I was going to say, if you make a globe flat...

Brandon Sanderson

You can walk from one planet to the next. So it's got really weird...the spatial reasoning doesn't work the same way.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#69 Copy

Questioner

Is it possible for spren to move from one planet to another?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible for them to get to other planets. They are tied to certain realms… A lot of them reside in the cognitive realm and are pulled into the physical by their bonds--

Questioner

Would they bring the same magics?

Brandon Sanderson

That you will have to wait and see.

Minicon 2015 ()
#72 Copy

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

Is there a separate "Shadesmar" for each planet or is it one big place that are all connected with different regions for each planet?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's one big place with different sections.

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

So since its one big place, could spren travel to a different section that correlates with a different planet, such as the cognitive segment for Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They could go there, but they wouldn't usually...

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

Is that because Honor's influence is only on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*Brandon gave sort of a noncommittal half nod, but looked doubtful himself. Maybe best to interpret this last answer as a RAFO rather than reading into it too much.*

Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
#73 Copy

Audrin

If an Awakener imbued Stick with Biochromatic Breath, would it say something other than I am a stick? Would it matter if it was passively stored or given a Command?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to stay away from questions like this, as the mechanics of Shadesmar is one of those things I'm planning to roll out slowly over the next few books. Ask me again sometime around Stormlight six.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#75 Copy

XS-Terrain

Is there anything that we don't know about the Expanses right now that you'd be willing to tell us?

Brandon Sanderson

I think I've told you about all of them. Is there one I haven't told you about yet?

XS-Terrain

Um, I don't know, I've checked the words of Brandon before I wrote these questions. I think we know that um one of them is... Scadrial, and one of them is Warbreaker--

Brandon Sanderson

So Densities is Sel. We put that one on, right, Expanse of the Densities? So, if we didn't you now know, Densities is Sel.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#77 Copy

zotsandcrambles

Mr.T has his emotional intelligence inversely attached to his logical intelligence. in the physical realm, this means that on his emotional days, he is functionally a blithering idiot. The physical realm is more logic oriented, so that makes sense.

However, would this inverted intelligence express itself DIFFERENTLY perhaps in the cognitive or spiritual realm? In the world of forms, emotion, and identity, could weepy/drooly Mr.T express some unique insight inside of Shadesmaar?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a theory with merit.

Oathbringer release party ()
#79 Copy

Mason Wheeler

So, because the world is flat in Shadesmar, if there's a place where you can't cross, so if a Radiant was on a ship, they'd have trouble getting across, because their spren would be stuck behind that line of discontinuity. Is the Origin of Storms located on that line?

Brandon Sanderson

No, good question.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#82 Copy

ZuperzubS

In Words of Radiance, when the sailors were being killed, Jasnah/Shallan sees the flames representing the minds of the sailors vanishing in Shadesmar, but the sailors don't appear in the cognitive realm. In contrast, in Secret History, we see that all sapient entities do transition to the Cognitive Realm before going to the Beyond. Is there something strange here? Or am I just overthinking this?

Brandon Sanderson

You're not overthinking it--but it's also not as strange as you might think. The one seeing the spirits on Scadrial was in a different state than Jasnah/Shallan.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#85 Copy

Questioner

Are spren able to visit other planets than Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

So, spren are, because of the nature of their Investiture, connected too strongly to the planet to normally get off. That doesn't mean it couldn't happen, but I will just say, normally no.

Questioner

So the Cognitive Realm, or whatever that sort of like-- is that different on other planets?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It looks different on each planet, partially based on perception.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#86 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

It seems like a movie adaptation would have just constant spren everywhere?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's why I made it so that not every use of the emotion causes them-so it wouldn't get too crazy even when I'm writing them.  And what's happening is the spren exist on the Cognitive plane, on Shadesmar, so they have to be attracted, they have to be nearby enough to flock to you, so it depends on how common the spren is.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
#88 Copy

Herald (paraphrased)

Is it possible to reliably deduce what a Shardworld's Cognitive realm will look like if we knew a lot about its Physical realm? For example, mists in Scadrial, spheres in Roshar etc.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, but it works in odd ways. So it may not work in the logical way that you think.

Herald (paraphrased)

Why spheres on Roshar? Something related to the highstorms makes more sense, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes there is a reason for them being spheres. RAFO

Vericon 2011 ()
#93 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Inside Puck's copy of Elantris Brandon wrote "Do not go to Shadesmar on this world (really, I'm not kidding)" on the title page, then said "You guys can chew on that for a little while."

Footnote: Brandon has confirmed that the reason for this is that the Dor, the Splintered remains of Devotion and Dominion, are located in the Cognitive Realm, which makes the region dangerous to traverse.
Brandon has since asked that people not ask for cosmere hints. He would prefer people to come with specific questions in mind.
Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#95 Copy

Questioner

In Shadesmar, the solid and liquid phases are inverted. So, in the Spiritual Realm, is it something to do with solid and gas phases, or is it not the same at all?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not quite where you're going, but I like the way you're thinking.

Questioner

So then what's the reason that they can't travel to the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

The Spiritual Realm is not a place.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#96 Copy

drabgod

Without necessarily naming the particular Shardworld, could you describe what the Cognitive Realm looks like in a Shardworld other than Roshar? Again, you don't have to say which one in particular, and it could even be a Shardworld we haven't seen before.

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... There is a place where it's an empty wasteland of near-nothingness.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#97 Copy

Questioner

I want to know how Hoid travels between worlds. Or, if you're not going to tell me right now, will we ever find out?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has travelled between the worlds by getting in one Shardpool in Shadesmar and coming out a different one. *pause* Okay? So that is one method he has used to travel between the worlds. The worlds are connected through Shadesmar. Um, things that people don't think about as much reflect very minorly in Shadesmar, so when you-- all the-- most of the space between planets is cut out, and there's some weird, twisted geography going on there. So that's basically how he does it, Cognitive Realm.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#98 Copy

Darkness (paraphrased)

What does antiseptic look like in the Cognitive and would it frighten away any rotspren or grinders there?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Mmm… no it would look like a bead unfortunately. You could manifest it, like how you see Kelsier doing with stuff but really… no. Maybe if you got some antiseptic in [into the Cognitive Realm], the rotspren might recognize it but just the soul of it, no.

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#99 Copy

Argent (paraphrased)

Do the Spiritual and Physical Realms have names, like Shadesmar is the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Kind of, but not really. Shadesmar is just a rough translation of "Cognitive Realm" in the language of whoever first found out about it. Other people, planets, and worlds wouldn't call it Shadesmar - they would call it whatever their words for "Cognitive Realm" are. This applies to the Physical and Spiritual as well.