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West Jordan signing ()
#52 Copy

Zas

I’ve got a question kind of based off of the train fight. If you have a time bubble, and you were to make it while you are on the train, would the time bubble move with the train, or would it stay at the same spot relative to the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Time bubbles don’t move, so it would pull you out of it, then it would vanish.

Mi'chelle

If you were to pop up a time bubble and someone were to be stuck halfway in and halfway out, would they go splooch?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they would be in the time bubble. The time bubbles will move with the planet but not with the train.

Audience Member

Yeah, I always thought it was relative to the person creating the time bubble.

Brandon Sanderson

No, you’ll see Wayne create one, then he’ll walk up to the perimeter, but if he leaves it, it ruins the time bubble.

Zas

So is that because it’s linked up to the spiritual gravitational bond between the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, and you’re digging very deeply into stuff that I now can’t answer. Time bubbles have some weirdness to them that I don’t want to dig in too deeply, but yes.

Footnote: This has since been changed. If a time bubble is created on/in an object with a significant enough mass, such as a train, the bubble will adhere to and move with the object, and remain stationary relative to the point at which it was created on/in the object.
Firefight Chicago signing ()
#53 Copy

Kurkistan

Is there- have you come up with a Realmatic explanation for why light isn't affected by time bubbles besides handwavium "please don't burn people with microwaves"?

Brandon Sanderson

Peter's got one for us. 'Cause we were going to do redshift: like the actual original writing for it had redshifts; Peter's like "Dude, you will microwave everybody" I'm like "Oh man". So the handwavium of that: there is a real- there is an actual explanation, but it...

*they move to outside the store*

What's the middle of this question?

Kurkistan

Middle of the question was you were thinking about explaining the Realmatics behind light for time bubbles.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh right, right right right right. I can't because it spoils future books; like that's spoiler for Mistborn... 10?

Kurkistan/Argent

*laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

So... if you count the four Alloys, so really gotta stay away from stuff like that.

Kurkistan/Argent

That's fair/fine.

Holiday signing ()
#54 Copy

zas678's sister

If Wayne and Breeze, like if Wayne had a time bubble up and Breeze was inside Pushing on somebody's emotions what--

Brandon Sanderson

He could still make that work.

zas678's sister

Would it affect it?

Brandon Sanderson

Not really. It wouldn't dramatically affect it. You're going to have one of these sort-of effects-- Yeah, because what he is doing is on another Realm, it's not going to affect it.

zas678's sister

Is that the same with all of the *audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily. See what's going on is if you are affecting things on the Cognitive Realm--

zas678

It's kind of time-independent?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah? It's not as-- Really it's the Spiritual Realm that is completely time-independent, right? All time and space are irrelevant once you reach the Spiritual. You're kind of going to go over the top a little bit, it's going to work just fine. In fact you can probably-- So he could use that to make his metals last a little bit better, probably. So that is a hack of the magic systems that you could probably do.

Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
#57 Copy

Questioner

I've heard you say before that Mistborn was gonna be three trilogies?

Brandon Sanderson

It'll be three trilogies, yes.

Questioner

So the technology advances to faster-than-light?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The FTL is built into the magic systems, so there will be something where they figure out how to do that with the magic, and spaceships will be propelled using that.

Questioner

Expanding bubbles around the engines and around the ships?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll see. You will see.

Questioner

Someone on the site has a very convincing theory.

Brandon Sanderson

They're missing a very big important piece of the puzzle that you won't get for a few more books.

Boskone 54 ()
#58 Copy

Questioner

Let’s say that the fires of industry keep progressing in Middle Earth, and someone builds a spaceship, they get in it and go up. What do you think happens?

Brandon Sanderson

In Middle Earth? I think it is heavily implied by the time that happens that Middle Earth has changed to a place where there is no magic, so I think it works just fine.

Questioner

[Follow-up on if Middle Earth is in the same universe as the cosmere]

Brandon Sanderson

You’re not talking to a Tolkein scholar here.

[...]

Yes, the cosmere takes place in a place where there is another branch of physics that is investiture, and that is the big change.

Questioner

Do you ever run into problems with that, does it break physics?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah. If you look too deep in a fantasy book we are breaking the laws of thermodynamics and we are breaking causality. Those are the two big ones. And those are very important things to be… very dangerous things to be breaking. And you could probably write a fantasy novel that didn’t break those two things. Maybe? I don’t know. The way I avoid breaking laws of thermodynamics is by saying, we’ve got investiture that things can transfer into as well. We’ve got matter, energy, and investiture, I’ve added something to the tripod and therefore it looks like I’m just bending the laws of thermodynamics.

When you actually get down into the nitty-gritty, it starts to break down. It just has to. Causality is the big one. Once you have people teleporting and things like this, run the train experiment. I mean, you just have to say “It’s magic” at some point in a fantasy book. For most of them. I think you could do it, but in mine, with a  grand scale magic system I want to do, we just have to say, “at that point it’s magic.” And this is how I think a fantasy writer differs from a science fiction writer.

A SF writer takes today and extrapolates forward. I take what is interesting and extrapolate backward. Usually. For instance speed bubbles. “I want to have speed bubbles. This is how they work. Peter, tell me the physics.” And we work it out together. We work out physics and try to hit the big trouble points and build into the magic why certain things happen. But that doesn’t stop us from making speed bubbles where there is time passing differently without using mass or whatnot to create time dilation, and it causes all kinds of weird things to happen.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
#61 Copy

Necarion

One other speed bubble question. Is the speed of light the same inside and outside a speed bubble?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, yes. The speed of light is the same. Good question, you're trying to figure out the FTL.

Necarion

Also, it would eliminate the redshift if the speed of light…

Brandon Sanderson

If the speed of light were similar. That's one thing we considered, but it felt too unintuitive, plus it's just not how I imagined things working. So, no it is not, but that's a good question. It is something we considered.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#62 Copy

Alterodent

If a hermit were to take a whole lot of cadmium and go off and live by himself, how far within a lifetime, reasonably, could he get into the future by essentially time-capsuling himself? Assuming they live to be 70 or 75.

Brandon Sanderson

They could get pretty far.

Alterodent

What would the savantism do to them?

Brandon Sanderson

The savantism would probably allow them to get further… It’s completely reasonable… you can treat this like relativistic travel.

Chris King interview ()
#63 Copy

Chris King

This, I'm unsure of exactly what's being talked about because I have not been reading the forum: What happens when a Pulser is burning cadmium and in a speed bubble? She'd be burning her cadmium 20x faster than usual—so far as her bubble and those in it were concerned—and her slow bubble would extend far outside the area made "normal" by the effects of the speed bubble, so what happens with the extra energy?

Brandon Sanderson

Um… Send me that one in writing and let me run it through Peter who's my physicist.

Chris King

Okay, we'll do that.

Brandon Sanderson

And maybe run the math through Eric. He's probably asking that one.

Chris King

That was actually-- I think it was Windrunner on the forum. I might be wrong I think that’s who it was though.

Brandon Sanderson

He's supposed to ask me the hard Way of Kings questions, not the hard Mistborn questions.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#65 Copy

Questioner

Is there a simple explanation of why bullets and objects that go through the time bubble wall are refracted at such random...?

Brandon Sanderson

There's two reasons. One is the outside-of-the-books reason, one is the inside-of-the-books reason. Outside the books, it made time bubbles too powerful. Limitations, that whole idea about limitations. In-world, what's happening is, there is a transfer of power that's happening right there. Which is what keeps light from irradiating people when it passes through a bubble. So, there's a transfer of energy, there's actually a thermodynamic process happening when you pass out of the speed bubble. And energy is being lost. And that has to do with cosmere physics.

Boskone 54 ()
#66 Copy

Questioner

Going back to the technology issue, in some of your books, particularly the Mistborn books, you explain why technology hadn’t developed for thousands of years. [...] What’s happened to gunpowder and combustion? Why isn’t that there?

Brandon Sanderson

In Rithmatist the reason why we don’t use gunpowder and combustion is early on, people figured out how to wind springs into the aether, and if you can wind a spring into the aether you can get energy out of it. Basically the way we’ve got it working in the Rithmatist (I would have to dig out the exact notes, so be warned) but the way we have it working right now is if you wind a spring made the right way, you can wind it into the aetherial winds. And you can wind, and then twist it, and when you unwind it catches the aetherial winds and spins with it. So you can actually get more energy out than you put in if you wind it one direction, lock it, and then lock it into the aetherial winds and unwind it. It’s like hydropower, but it is unseen hydropower.

So my explanation is they learned how to do this, and because they had access to this easier source of energy, their experiments with gunpowder and combustion weren’t as…. You could still make gunpowder. You could go build a gun on the Rithmatist world, and it would work just fine. But since they’ve been focusing on this other line of technology and they can access this energy, everything’s gone that direction instead. And I kind of built on the idea of the difference engine and things like this. People were trying to make mechanical versions of computers and whatnot. And if they had found a way to get energy out of it, they might have gone this direction.

That said, I did not put the rigor into the science that I often do in the cosmere books. That comes in the revision stage when I give it to scientists and to my assistant Peter, who look at the actual science and raise some of the issues. So Rithmatist, I didn’t have to worry about that as much. In the cosmere I have to worry about things like redshift and breaking causality, and all of this stuff, and at least have in-world reasons why people don’t get irradiated by light when you speed up time, whereas in the Rithmatist I can say, “It’s a fun alternate history fantasy book. So we’ll just go with that and be internally consistent and not worry about the laws of thermodynamics quite as much.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#67 Copy

Steeldancer (paraphrased)

 According to General Relativity, there should be spatial distortion in speed bubbles. So, why does no one notice it?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There is spatial distortion in speed bubbles, that's why bullets are refracted when they enter a bubble. However, I played with it a bit, and ignore the redshift that should happen. The barrier of the bubble absorbs it, otherwise everyone would just be irradiated. 

SpoCon 2013 ()
#69 Copy

Shardlet (paraphrased)

A slider and a pulser are standing near each other and each put up a bubble. Neither is standing close enough to the other to be within the other's bubble, but they are near enough that their bubbles would overlap what effect would you have?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The bubbles would overlap and it would be like a Venn diagram (i.e., outside both bubbles-normal time, in sliders bubble-fast time, in pulser's bubble-slow time, in the overlap-normal time).