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Firefight Chicago signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

I really enjoy the systems of religion and the religious questions that you bring up and so I was wondering-- Well first whether in your worlds there is a relationship between the efficacy of religion and the efficacy of magic?

Brandon Sanderson

There is but the relationship is not a direct one-to-one parallel. In other words the beings that are worshiped have an influence over the magic. Whether they are actually God is disputed by various people. And there are people who worship things that are not the various beings the magic is-- Does that make sense?

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#3 Copy

Darudeboy

Still don't see why The Reckoners can't be a part of the Cosmere. Especially with all that why down in the last book. Sooooooo shard like

Brandon Sanderson

I'll dig into it eventually, but there are good reasons why the powers don't fit the magic of the cosmere.

It's important to me that I don't go stuffing things into the cosmere willy-nilly. The stories that fit should go there, and contribute to the lore of the cosmere. The ones that don't should be able to have their own lore and mechanics.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Are we ever going to get an official Cosmere timeline?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, we will eventually. We're really close to being able to release it, I'm not sure when we will. Um, the real trick is-- Like now that we're locking down White Sand, that's kind of like the last wild card because the novel version wasn't canon. So it's like where do we make sure this is, and stuff like that. So yeah we should be, once White Sand is out I think, everything we can lock down. The trick is, like if I release it there are certain-- like where is Sixth of the Dusk exactly? It's not something I want because that's got spoilers.

Questioner

..It is actually canon that Era Two [of Mistborn]takes place between the first half and the second half of [The Stormlight Archive]?

Brandon Sanderson

Well I haven't written the second half of Stormlight so that--

Questioner

But does it take place after the first half?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it takes place sometime after the first half, but it depends on how long I break and things like that, whether they overlap, maybe it takes place after 7, maybe it takes place after 5, maybe it takes place after-- Like we'll see when I get there how many years, because the timing on those is a little more tight.

Questioner

So they're more interweaved with those, those are closer to the same time period.

Brandon Sanderson

They are much closer to the same time period than other things, which is why I have to be dodgy on those ones, mostly just because they are on a similar timeline.

Firefight release party ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

It seems like-- So the cosmere stuff keeps the physics in there, with the Coinshots, and things like that, it doesn't ignore mass an inertia.

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

I love that! And I love that about Jim Butcher's books too. 'Cause they keep the physics. It seems like, with the young adult stuff, it's more based on intent...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the young adult stuff, I do not keep physics. In Steelheart, or in Alcatraz... or in Rithmatist. I don't even worry about it.

Questioner

They didn't know what the line did until they knew what it was supposed to do.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, intent is important in-- Remember the magic system for Rithmatist started as cosmere. And then I made the decision with it that I was not going to have it be in the cosmere. But the magic system started as a cosmere magic system...

*audio lost*

...you can do a lot when you can break laws of conservation of matter and energy, when you can cheat them by using the Spiritual Realm. But things that we really cheated on is redshifting and things like this on the time dilation in Mistborn. I don't know if you noticed that, but there should be redshift, there should be weird radiation things, there should be-- And so we had to work around a lot of those things. And we've got our workarounds in the back of our heads. But the other weird one is when Wax is flying, and he reduces his mass, I have to remember that he speeds up, when his mass goes down because of centripetal force.

A Memory of Light Birmingham Signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

In at least two of the books that I know of, a god is either dead or attacked in some form or fashion. Is there any reason for that?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, there is an ongoing theme there, and it's primarily because there is an overarching story behind the story. The books are all in the same universe. And there is a character that's the same in all of the books. In Way of Kings it's Wit. He's actually in all of them.

Calamity release party ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

What are the chances that one of Megan's alternate realities could secretly be the cosmere, but we'll never see it?

Brandon Sanderson

Heh... Um, I would like to keep these two separate. But if you believe in infinite variety then I suppose...

Questioner

If I believe it hard enough! Okay, alright. But they're-- But they're meant to be separate.

Brandon Sanderson

They are meant to be separate. I will do other things with that-- within-- kind of that idea of multiple dimensions and things like that.

Questioner

In the Reckoners? In that world?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

I'm a physical chemist and I'm reading your book [The Way of Kings] right now and at some point you have someone studying flamespren and what they saw, that's one of the fundamental tenets of quantum mechanics--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

So you got that from quantum mechanics?

Brandon Sanderson

I did get that from quantum mechanics.

Questioner

How did you come across that and decide to incorporate that into your epic fantasy?

Brandon Sanderson

Well The Way of Kings' magic systems are based on the fundamental forces. That was the original idea and the extrapolation from them. I'm fascinated by quantum mechanics and I have worked them into the way that-- Remember in my worlds, my books, the magics are a new branch of physics, in these worlds. And so they interact with our normal physics, it's not like they are ignoring them, so they obey the laws of thermodynamics, even when they appear to be breaking them, and they interact with quantum and all the stuff. It's just very natural that they are going to, to me if that makes sense? It would be weird if they didn't interact with them.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

Was the other god in Scadrial, Trell or whatnot, they're kind of mentioning him, does that imply there other really powerful beings out there outside of the Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

There are possibly really powerful beings, but… how should we say… *long pause* I mean, there are those who would call Hoid a very powerful being, who exist outside Shards, but if you're talking deific level things in the cosmere, they're all related to the Shards… Or demigod level.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#12 Copy

Valhalla (paraphrased)

Other than Vessels, how many beings have lived from before the Shattering until the time of The Way of Kings?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

More than you would think. Longevity is not hard to come by in the cosmere. That much longevity would be a little uncommon. But certain species are particularly long lived, and certain magic systems enable longevity.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#13 Copy

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Does a more Investiture-poor world make it so its magics are easier to use off-world? Because, you said that Scadrial is really Investiture-poor, and it can be used easily off-world, but Roshar is very Investiture-rich, and how can you get Stormlight off of Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah. Um, I would say that there is a correlation.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

There is a correlation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Mmhmm.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#14 Copy

DrogaKrolow

Sentient machines, artificial intelligence. Would they be able to use Investiture? Or not? How would that work?

Brandon Sanderson

So, define "use Investiture". Like, there's a lot of different ways to quote-unquote use Investiture.

DrogaKrolow

OK, I don't mean the medallions but like if I go and peek into the Spiritual Realm and I look at the machine, do I see Investiture inside it? The Connections to the Shards and so on?

Brandon Sanderson

Chances are good that you will. But I have to add a big asterisk to that, it's gonna depend on so many factors. But consciousness in the cosmere is directly tied to  Investiture. And creating a machine in many ways cosmerelogically is not that different from creating a child.

DrogaKrolow

Okay... Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I'll just leave it there.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

What was your decision not to make The Reckoners series part of the cosmere? Because, without giving away too many things, I can see a Shard affecting that world.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I made the decision based on two things. Number one, the fact that I don't want Earth to be in the cosmere. And so all the books that are referencing Earth, I don't put in the cosmere. Number two, the mythological source I was using as the--I can't give away spoilers--foundation for all of this, is a very "our-world" mythology, not a very "cosmere" mythology.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

Will we get more information like that about planets and stuff like that in the Ars.. *interrupted* ?

Brandon Sanderson

The Arcanum Unbound[ed] is... Yes, the cosmere collection. There will be little essays from Khriss on each of the planets. There will be stuff like that. You're going to have to wait until the science in-world approaches more of our science before I can get into some of the things you would want to know specifically. But, I mean, we are starting to get to an era where they can talk intelligently about these things. So yes, but it's-- Arcanum Unbound[ed] is kind of weird because I had to pick a date for her to be writing these essays, and the date that she wrote the essays is before some of the stories. For instance, Sixth of the Dusk, right? And so for that planet she's just like, "Hey, here's this place that something weird might be happening with. We don't know a lot about it, but it's got this one weird attribute that we're studying." The story hasn't happened yet. So you get a little bit of that. It's not all from the far future, when like Sixth of the Dusk is happening, because otherwise there would be way too many spoilers for what's coming in the future. So yes, there will be lots of cool little tidbits. The essays are meant for people who ask questions like that, and like this one, but I'm not answering everything.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#18 Copy

Blightsong [PENDING REVIEW]

Are foci a cosmere-wide phenomenon, or are they kinda just a construction of people? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Elaborate. 

Blightsong [PENDING REVIEW]

A lot of people think that every magic system has foci? Is that true? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. But, I think people are finding structure in-worlds that-- how should I say this. So, in some ways, some of these questions (this isn't just this one, but in general), you can ask something like "Do alien species fit into phylum and families and things like this." Well, yes, because we come up with the definitions. Right? So, a lot of these questions, like "Do they all have?" Well, yes, because human beings have come up with definitions to define these things and lump them together under definitions... There's a lot of things with the cosmere magic... is yes, because human beings have put that weight on it. It doesn't make it less true, but, at the same time it's not like, 1+1=2 is gonna exist whether or not humankind is there to define it, whether or not something fits into a genus or a species, whether these magic systems are related. Those are human constructions that are noticing real things. 

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#19 Copy

Kurkistan

So is that the same thing with Commands, are there like ideals that are Commands?

Brandon Sanderson

This is more of a-- For you to interface with the magic, you need to be able to comprehend it. And so forming a Command-- The same thing happens in Elantris, you know they don't accidentally draw runes, right? The intention is part of interfacing with the magic. So it's like your mind reaching into the Spiritual Realm and you have to like conceive something.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#21 Copy

Kurkistan

You've said that the the laws of physics in the cosmere are ours except where they're messed with by the Spiritual... But are the laws of physics actually in the Physical Realm all the time, or are they in the Spiritual Realm doing their stuff on a Spiritual level that's trickling down to the Physical as a matter of course?

Brandon Sanderson

The three are more closely aligned than-- *Breaks off to focus on the books he's signing, the speaking was distracting him*

Kurkistan

So you were saying that physics-- laws of physics-- that the Realms are a lot more closely bound and the laws of physics are not just tied to one of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Alloy of Law York signing ()
#22 Copy

callumke (paraphrased)

Can you tell me something about the cosmere that you haven't told anyone before?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There are inhabited planets in the cosmere that don't have any Shards there. There may be inhabited planets that only have a Splinter of a Shard. There are 10 core cosmere planets, which tell the overarching story of the cosmere.

callumke (paraphrased)

Are all the cosmere books so far set on these 10 core worlds?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. 

callumke (paraphrased)

Are there any of the 10 core worlds without a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

All 10 core worlds have significant Shardic influence.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#23 Copy

Xluxaeternax

Is the chronology through the whole cosmere fairly linear, or are there some Interstellar-relativity timey-wimey stuff at play?

Brandon Sanderson

Relativity is in play for sure, but I am not allowing time travel into the past in the cosmere. So while you might find places that move at slower/faster speeds, and while foreseeing future timelines is in play for sure, nobody will not be pulling serious time travel shenanigans.

The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
#25 Copy

The Book Smugglers

You create some of the most elaborate magic systems in fantasy today; these systems function as intrinsic parts of your worlds and characters. Typically, how do you address the different types of magic systems in your different books? Do you define these systems before you start writing the books, or do they evolve and develop as you go along?

Brandon Sanderson

The answer to that is yes! It's different for every book. With my Cosmere books—which are the shared universe of my epic fantasies—I need to be a little more rigorous. There are fundamental underlying principles that guide the magic systems, and so there's a larger developmental phase before I start writing the book. Then I stick more strictly to the rules I've given myself.

All the way back in 2007, I was writing one of my epic fantasies, and it just wasn't working. I needed a break to something creative, different, and distinctive. So I jumped ship, abandoning that epic fantasy, and wrote The Rithmatist instead, which had a lot less planning than one of my epic fantasies.

With something like The Rithmatist—which is outside the cosmere—I'm allowed a little more freedom, which is one of the reasons I like writing books like this, where I allow myself to develop it as I write. The magic was the first thing that got me excited about The Rithmatist, so I based the book around it.

The first thing I wrote was the scene—now late in chapter one—where Joel watches Fitch get defeated by Nalizar in the classroom. It started out on a chalkboard, but I eventually moved it to the floor because that made more sense. As I was writing these chapters, I developed the Rithmatic lines and let the story feed the magic and the magic feed the story in a way that some writers call "discovery written."

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#26 Copy

halo6819

What planet did humans originate on? Or did they originate on Scadrial when Preservation and Ruin got together?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans did not originate on Scadrial, because they were on Yolen, which is a planet before Adonalsium-- the story that takes place before Adonalsium was Shattered. They may have been on other planets, but they-- the very first ones you would care about are probably on Yolen.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#28 Copy

Chaos2651

In Mistborn, you say its planet is called Scadrial. In-universe, where (or when) did the name Scadrial come to be used to be describe the Mistborn planet? Did the Lord Ruler and his obligators use that as the name of the planet, or did it come later, post-Mistborn 3? Or is "Scadrial" just what you as an author use to refer to it?

Brandon Sanderson

It is "In Universe" so to speak, though the name itself isn't known to the people on-planet. The Lord Ruler was the only one who understood the exact nature of a planet, really, though some of the obligators and noble scholars had a general idea. Astronomy was one of the scientific areas where the Lord Ruler didn't mind people doing research, so long as it kept their interest away from chemistry or a science that could lead to advances in weaponry.

Scadrial would then have been the name that Ruin and Preservation understood for the planet, as well as certain other groups and individuals of a less directly divine nature.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#30 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there a center to the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There isn't a center in the cosmere.

*inaudible*

I keep calling it a dwarf galaxy but I think they decided it's a cluster, instead of a dwarf galaxy.

Overlord Jebus [PENDING REVIEW]

Even a dwarf galaxy is still really big.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, still too big. So we had to call it a cluster. Because we only wanted like what, we came up with 50 or 100 stars? So it's a cluster. Or a really dwarf galaxy.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#31 Copy

Questioner

In Secret History, Hoid says something to Kelsier about him destroying the Pits and destroying an entire mercantile system. Is he talking about literal inter-Realmic trade?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Interplanetary trade, yes.

Questioner

Follow-up: Is House Venture involved?

Brandon Sanderson

House Venture is not involved. People in House Venture might be.

Questioner

The guy who--

Brandon Sanderson

Here is a RAFO card for your follow-up. House Venture is-- Yes.

Footnote: The questioner was likely referring to Felt, a spy that worked for House Venture, who is a worldhopper.
Calamity Seattle signing ()
#37 Copy

Questioner

Is Calamity actually a worldhopper?

Brandon Sanderson

Calamity, I didn't write this as a part of the cosmere. The main distinction is I didn't want Earth to be in the cosmere, I want it to be distinct. Once I stick Earth in, the cosmology and things doesn't work. The cosmere is a dwarf cluster, and it's a dwarf galaxy, it's a cluster of stars. It's a specific place, and Earth's not part of it.

Skype Q&A ()
#38 Copy

Mestiv [PENDING REVIEW]

Cosmere is a dwarf galaxy. Does Investiture exist in other galaxies? Do those galaxies have their own Adonalsiums?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is beyond the scope... that's a RAFO, but not a RAFO I'm going to answer, that is a RAFO that we are concerned only with the cosmere.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#39 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How did you come up with Shardpools and travel between the worlds?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...So, what happened is (close as I can remember; it's been a long time now), close as I can remember, I wrote Elantris in, like, 1998 or 1999, and I, at that point, didn't really have the cosmere in place. I knew I wanted to do some sort of grand epic, I knew I wanted to do some sort of thing, but I just wrote that book-- Elantris is mostly a discovery-written book, rather than an outlined book. And I wrote this book, and that's when I started a lot of these ideas. I stepped away from it, and I started writing a book called Dragonsteel, which was Hoid's origin story. And then I kinda got into the dark age where I was trying to be George R.R. Martin for a while. And then when I came out of that, I wrote The Way of Kings [Prime]. And during those days, I was really looking for these tying agents. When I put the first Shardpool in, I had-- I'm just like "Here's a well of power. I don't know what this does." I was discovery-writing the book. By the time I sold Mistborn and Elantris, I sold those two in a deal in 2003, that's when I'm like, "All right, now I'm gonna do this for real." I've had all this trial run-- I'd written thirteen novels at this point, and I'd sold #6 and #14, Mistborn not being written yet... So, I sat down with Elantris, and I built out the cosmere, and I built out these things, like "Why do I have this pool of power? What am I gonna do with the pool of power in the next book? I want this to be a theme." And I started building out the cosmere from there. So, part of it was organic, part of it was by design.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#41 Copy

Lance Alvein

To get us started, Brandon, do you want to give everyone a quick idea of what the cosmere is?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* Okay. So, here's what's going on: When I first was trying to break in—this was over ten years ago now, like fifteen—someone told me that your first five books were generally unpublishable. That was fairly good advice; I found that for most people it's really just your first novel; your second novel tends to get really good. For me, I did end up writing five experimental books that I never published; Elantris was my sixth book. Another piece of advice I got while I was working on it, however, was: you don't want to start with a big epic, the reason for that being is that you want to give a chance for readers to read something, you know, a single volume, or maybe one or two books before—so they can see, so they can trust you to finish a story before you jump into a big epic. It actually seemed like pretty good advice to me; it also works very well with publishing because approaching editors and things like that, you want to be able to send them a book, and if they reject it, but say, "Hey, I'd like to see something else by you; this wasn't the right project for me, but I like your writing." You can't really send them book two of that series, right? Because, you know, they want to see something new, and so I sat down to write a sequence of three or four standalone epic fantasy novels that potentially could have sequels maybe, but the idea was to make them standalone. But, kind of in my heart, I've always loved the big epic. You don't grow up reading Robert Jordan and Tad Williams and Melanie Rawn and people like this, without saying, "I want to do that." And so, what I started doing was actually building a hidden epic behind the scenes with all of these books, the idea being that there were characters who were crossing between the worlds that would have a story that someday I would tell that wouldn't be directly important to the book itself, but would lay the groundwork and give foreshadowing to something very large coming.

And so I designed this thing—you know, I'm a worldbuilder—I designed this thing with a sequence of planets and a story behind the story, and people crossing between them. And so, when I wrote Elantris, I embedded all of this in there, and then my next books were in that sequence jumping around—some were before, some were after—and things like this, so there are these continuing characters. Well, years and years later, I decided I would finally start writing something big and epic; I was tired of not getting published; I was tired of all the advice people were giving me; I had written a couple of books that were not very good based on the advice that people had given me. I said, "I just want to write my big epic," and that's when I started Way of Kings, and wrote that. And I'm like "I'll the launch into the big epic, some of these things are going to be more important to the series" It was kind of me honestly giving figuratively the bird to all of publishing, saying, you know, "You've told me that my books are too long, that two hundred thousand words is too long; I'm gonna write one that's four hundred thousand," so, you know: "I don't care; it's gonna be big and awesome and it's the book for me." I spent eighteen months working on this book, and right after I finished it, I sold Elantris. It sat on an editor's desk for a year and a half. He finally picked it up and read it, and tried to get a hold of me the next day wanting to buy it.

And so, suddenly I sell Elantris which I had written like five years before, which had all these things embedded in it, and I sent that editor The Way of Kings, because you know he wanted to buy two books from me. He's like, "Alright, the standalone is great; what else do you have?" so I sent him Way of Kings, and he panicked. *laughter* He was like, "Ahhhhh, this is huge, and what are all these illustrations that you're talking about, and I don't know if we can-- can we break this into like four books?" And I'm like, "No no, it's gotta be one book." And he's like, "Ahhh...." But fortunately for him, I didn't feel the book was ready at that point, otherwise I might have forced him to publish it. I felt my skill wasn't up to the task of doing that since I'd practiced only doing standalones up to that point, and so I said, "I want to do a trilogy so I can practice the series format; I've got a pitch on this book called Mistborn that I want to write for you." And Mistborn was the first book that I ever wrote knowing it would get published. So when I sat down to write Mistborn, I had already sold Elantris, and Elantris was coming out, and it all of this stuff embedded in it, and I'm like, "Do I keep going with that or not? Do I just go all in?" And so I decided to go ahead and do it, and so Mistborn has all of this behind-the-scenes sort of story things built into it, and there's a character from Elantris—it's the beggar that Sarene meets near the end—who is also in Mistborn, who is the beggar that Kelsier talks to, that they wanted-- pretending to be blind, that he gets information from, and then this character keeps appearing in all of the books as kind of a little Easter egg that was not so Easter-eggery because the fans found it right away. *laughter*

And so the cosmere is my name for this big universe, which is actually, you know, just a play on "cosmos"—it's not the most original word—but it's something I had actually come up with when I was a teenager, so, it's one of those relics that's in there that if I were to do it now, I might name it something a little less obvious. I don't know; it does work, and it is a fun name, so that's there. The character's name is Hoid, and there are other characters moving between the planets, and so there is a buried, deeper story to all of my big fantasies. The thing that I want to tell people, though, is that you don't need to read them in order because these are just Easter eggs; there's not a story there that you can really piece together yet. I don't want people to feel they have to read Elantris before Mistborn, or they can't, you know-- If you read them all, at some point you will have some little extra tidbits of information, but there's not something there that's going on that's chronological that you need to know about right now, but that's in a nutshell what's going on there; there is an underlying theory of magic for all of the epic fantasies that they all follow. I love the concept in science of the unifying law, right? If you guys have studied physics, there's this belief that somewhere out there there's a unifying theory that will unite all of physics, and because right now, you know, the things that happen on the macro scale don't really match what happen on the quantum scale, and you kind of have to have two sets of equations, and people believe that someday we'll find that link that'll put them all together, and that's fascinating to me, science is, and so I have a unifying theory of magic for all of my worlds that people in-world on various planets are figuring out with regards to theirs, but if they had all of the pieces they could kind of put it all together.

Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
#42 Copy

Other Brandon

I don't know if I'm remembering this right but I thought I saw somewhere that you said that all your books (yours not WOT) are connected somehow. Is that right or am I going insane already?

Brandon Sanderson

All of my books share a single creation myth, a single cosmology. The connection of them—the greater world, the greater universe—they call the Cosmere. There is a character who has shown up in each of my epic fantasies, and it is the same person, not just a repeated name. Currently WARBREAKER, ELANTRIS, and the Mistborn trilogy do all share a common cosmology. My children's books are not part of the Cosmere.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#43 Copy

Jamester86

So something I've noticed in the fantasy genre that I love is that my 2 favorite authors (Sanderson and Rothfuss) don't use the traditional fantasy medieval setting (that I love) of castles, knights, feudalism etc. Now there are plenty of great authors that do (GRRMartin comes to mind as one that does it right), BUT the truth is, a good story eclipses all minor details like setting. An example I always give is that Patrick Rothfuss could write about brushing your teeth and it would make a fascinating read, and Sanderson would make an intriguing plot with amazing characterization throughout the dental hygiene experience. But I digress.

My question (If Brandon would be so kind as to show up, and if not, if anyone has any insight) is why; why doesn't the cosmere have any traditional medieval fantasy settings? Mistborn has keeps, but the society is not the traditional technology and setting of the medieval time period, nor do any of the other worlds given us.

Brandon Sanderson

There are both in-world reasons and writing reasons.

The writing reasons are obvious. I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy in a faux-medieval setting. I felt that some of these stories were really good, and enjoyed them--but at the same time, I felt the genre had been there and done that. In some ways, GRRM doing fantasy with the eye of a true medievalist provided a capstone to this era of fantasy.

When I sat down to write, didn't want to write what I was tired of reading. Dragonsteel (which never got published) was bronze age, White Sand was industrial, and Elantris was (kind of) Renaissance. (As you noticed, Mistborn is somewhere around 1820's. I modeled a lot of the society around the fascinating culture/industry of canals as shipping lanes that happened in England right before railroads took over.)

The other big reason, writing wise, is that I feel some of the magics that I enjoy dealing with in my settings need a certain near-industrial mindset to be interesting. The stories I want to tell are about people applying scientific principles to magic--and about the commodification and the economics of magic. Those are early-modern era stories.

The in-world reasoning I have is that on some of these planets, those eras existed--but the books are taking place when the stories of the worlds start smashing into one another. In addition, however, the Shards have an influence on this, because of things they saw happen on their own home planet.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
#46 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

Will Hoid's character arc, as well as the whole Adonalsium arc, get a satisfactory conclusion eventually?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It depends on what Brandon decides to do. We also might or might not get the rest of the story (pre-story). From a market standpoint it's not wise, simply because if the books require you to have read 32 other books before you read them it doesn't make sense to work on them. However, if the demand is high enough he MIGHT do them after all of the rest of the cosmere books.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#47 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a layout of the cosmere, like everything is happening written down or is it just up here?

Brandon Sanderson

It's written down. Some of it's up in the head, some of it's written down. Most of it is somewhere...

Questioner

Somewhere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah most of it's somewhere.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

Will we ever see an entire map of how the different planets are spaced out in the Physical--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah, the Cosmere collection will have a star chart of the cosmere.

Moderator

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Cosmere, if you will…

Brandon Sanderson

Now, you've got to remember that at the point that this comes out-- The collection's been interesting for a couple of reasons. For one reason, the collection's coming out before Sixth of the Dusk happens in the cosmere, right? And so Khriss gives an introduction to each world, so you'll find her introduction to First of the Sun to be a very interesting introduction that doesn't know things that you know because of that. In addition, the star chart is a star chart created by people who are not spacefaring, right? And so it is a star chart more along the lines of-- It may not be one hundred percent to scale and things like that, like they've been able to figure out a lot of things by using the Cognitive Realm, so they'd be like "alright, here's the relationship", but it will be a while before you get what feels like a Star Trek star chart. Your star chart you're gonna get in this is a fantasy star chart, which will give you the relative positions and things like that, but it's not gonna be like you can measure exactly, which we do have! But I'm not gonna give you yet. *audience laughs*

Moderator

Are you referring to Arcanum Unbound?

Brandon Sanderson

Arcanum Unbounded, yeah.