Can you tell us anything about Night's Sorrow?
Almost nobody has ever seen Night's Sorrow.
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He enjoys coming up with Epic weaknesses more than Epic powers.
So did you come up with the weakness of the Epics being from fears out of Steelheart book or did you already think of that ahead when you wrote Steelheart?
I had that. In fact there’s a deleted scene where I dug into the nightmares in the first book, and it didn’t end up getting into it. Plus it was a little too--
--foreshadowy, yeah. But it was from the beginning. I always kind of thought the fears being your weakness would be a really cool way to approach superheroes.
I've noticed that there are a lot of different categories of Epics. Did you think about any categories that you didn't put into the books?
Did I think about any categories of Epics that I didn't put into the books? Yes, I did. You know, as a comic book nerd I have lots of categories of superheroes that, as I saw them in my head, and this is kind of like my-- reaching back to my teenage years, looking at "Oh, these kind of share a similar power type" and things like that. That's what you are getting from these books, kind of my nerdy stuff. There are categories that I didn't deal with. I tried to theme a lot of powers either toward matter transformation, matter manipulation, or alternate universe stuff. Just that kind of has some things. And so, I am actually doing a series, takes place in the same universe, different characters, that takes place-- all of the powers and that will be alternate dimension things, it's gonna be really cool.
Did David get Steelheart's absolutely correct, or was it just close enough to allow him to destroy Steelheart?
It was absolutely correct. This is something David and Reckoners will actually discuss in Firefight. The second book will reveal much more about the Epics' weaknesses, and you will find out that there is actually a pattern to them, even though everyone thinks it's random.
Are weaknesses somehow related to things, events, or phenomena the Epics feared, or hated, or disliked before they turned Epic?
RAFO, second book. This is the exact question people - and David - are asking in the second book. Good question though.
Do all Epics' weaknesses come from things in their past?
How many people... What percentage of the population roughly turned into Epics, and is that number in any way significant?
It is not significant, and it is very rare. Like your average-- Like a big city, after collecting them for such a long time will have, like, maybe 300 Epics. Against a population of probably 2 or 3 hundred thousand. But that's after-- Remember the Epics have survived and the average people have taken heavy casualties. But the number is not significant.
If an Epic gives her powers to someone, is that person then vulnerable to their weakness?
Much much less so, but still vulnerable. Um... But it is-- it is... yeah, it is weakened.
How do you come up with the ideas for the powers and the names of the Epics?
The names are actually really hard because comic book heroes, there are so many names they've already used. And so I have to a lot of searching and thinking and it's usually my fifth choice. Lots of looking in the thesaurus for "Alright was a word that is like this one that has been used way too often". The powers I'm look for usually something cool that somebody has done in a movie or a book or a comic book that I don't think they extrapolated far enough. I'm like "No that's not how it would really work. This is how I think it would really work." and kind of taking my own spin on it.
If using their abilities slowly drives them mad, how can good Epics rise up to help?
That is kind of the point of the novel isn't it?
There's a bunch of us on 17th Shard doing a role playing game set in the Reckoners universe, and we were wondering if there are any powerful Epics on the west coast that we should know about.
Night's Whisper is a super powerful Epic on the west coast, and Obliteration could definitely be there for Oregon's destruction.
Which one of your Epics did you find the most fun?
Most fun? Larcener was really fun to write, because of his personality, but probably Regalia. I would go with Regalia.
Do you have any plans to write a series of short stories about, like, very minor Epics?
It is possible, since I did Mitosis, that I would do something like that again, but I can’t promise. The next series will take place in one of the parallel dimensions that Megan saw.
Can an Epic’s weakness change?
Can an Epic's weakness change? So far they have not.
For Epics: if you had an Epic that was around their weakness all the time would that make them more like an other person so that they could be gifted other Epic powers?
You can already be gifted other powers if you're an Epic... no, it interferes, you can't. You can already... Maybe, maybe.
What if an Epic in the [Reckoners] universe feared losing a loved one? Or feared becoming evil?
Both would be intriguing starts to a weakness. You could get rid of their powers, for example, but threatening a loved one.
I think they'd lock said love one away in total isolation then murder anyone else who knew about them b/c of corrupt power.
Yup. Fun times!
Do all Epics go on Rendings?
It depends on how strong they are.
At the end of Firefight when it says that if you overcome your fears that the corruption kind of ceases to exist. Does that mean an Epic's weakness is resolved also?
That is a question for the sequel.
So would that imply that maybe David has a power but he doesn't know it because he overcame the water fear?
That's entirely possible... You're asking good questions.
What inspired the Epics?
I got cut off in traffic and thought, "you're so lucky I don't have superpowers because I would totally blow up your car!" And then I started to think about how I couldn't be trusted with superpowers and what the world would be like if no one with superpowers could be trusted.
What's the approximate ratio of Epics to "normals?" Is that number increasing, decreasing, or staying roughly the same?
The ratio of Epics to normal folks is about 1 in 10,000. Brandon then clarified, without prompting, that was pre-Calamity population and the ratio is much higher now because so many normal people died. He then gave an example of Newcago, which has about 1000 Epics in a population of 250,000, so in that particular case the ratio is 1:250.
For The Reckoners series, it's my understanding that the Epics appear after they've had some sort of life threatening experience to gain their powers is that correct?
No, not always.
That's what I thought after Firefight.
What powers would David have gotten if he would have become an Epic
That's a read and find out.
Megan's weakness was fire, she overcame it. David's weakens was water, I feel he overcame it when shooting at the window. So my conspiracy theory is that he didn't have to take power from Calamity because he overcame his weakness or he was never experiencing the negative aspects of being an Epic *audio obscured*
You are getting warmer... You're theorizing is wise and you'll just have to see where it goes. But yeah you are definitely getting warmer.
How did you come up with the weird weaknesses for Epics in Steelheart?
How did I come up with the weird weaknesses for Epics in Steelheart? Honestly? Ooh. This is rule zero. I'm like, one of the things going on with Steelheart is, number one it has to fit the structure of the magic system, which you find out in book two, why people have the weaknesses they do, but number two, I'm like, I need to be coming up with some way to keep this a little more light-hearted because it really is about a bunch of people running around assassinating other people, so I didn't want to let that get tooooo dark, if that makes sense. I'm not really a grimdark writer, so I wanted to come up with some things that added-- just kind of played into the fact that superheroes, at their core, are kind of ridiculous, right. I mean, the whole genre, I love it but it's a little ridiculous and so part of this is just buying into all of that. Some of them it's just because I thought it was cool.
All the people with powers fit into one category.
All the people with powers fit into one category? Yes.
Was there a reason you chose to do that?
Was there a reason I chose to do that? Well, I'm not sure if I can answer that... So I assume you're asking-- The original premise for Steelheart was that everyone who has superpowers is evil.
And that is just the original premise so that is not a spoiler. In my-- The reason I came up with the series is I wanted to tell a story about a world where Superman was not there to save you, or what not. Where it was "what if people started gaining these powers and did terrible things with them". When I was touring for the first book I told people the story of how I came up with that, I imagined-- when someone cut me off in traffic I imagined blowing their car up and feeling very satisfied and like "Yeah" and then feeling really guilty because I'm like "Is that really what I'd do with superpowers? Oh... Well I better write a book about it." *laughter* It's what authors do, anything that makes us think, or makes us have strong emotion, we're like "Well that's going in a book". And so it was an intentional choice, it was the whole premise and concept for me. And then the question became did the powers corrupt, or did only evil people get them, or what's going on. And that is one of the primary questions going on in the first book. They've mostly kind of drilled down to an answer by the second book.
So [Edmund] is Conflux, and you say the Epics are supposed to turn evil. How come [Edmund] hasn't turned evil yet?
Well they think it is because Edmund is a Gifter and isn't using his powers directly. That's their philosophy on it. Whether that is true or not remains yet to be seen.
Was Calamity and its appearance in Steelheart just kind of an ad hoc? We know that it showed up about a year before the Epics started showing up, so people naturally assume one was the cause and one was the effect, but was that really the case and are both of them just the effects of something else?
Good question! I will say that this is something I've done before, so my fans will kind of expect it. I am aware of this expectation too, and I am careful about repeating myself.
Would you mind answering these? What defines a high Epic? How does Tia's tier system work?
A high epic is one where you have to negate their powers somehow to kill them.
At the end of Steelheart, when they're fighting Nightwielder. His weakness was supposedly UV rays and he had Newcago in perpetual darkness. Except the sun produces UV rays.
Yeah when I was building the magic system for this one of the things I realized is large-scale applications of Epic powers could not be subject to their weaknesses otherwise their weakness would become easily manifest. You can see this when Steelheart turns the city to steel, if his fear was manifest far from him every person who-- I'm not going to tell you what his weakness is in case you read the book, it's the big secret-- but anyone who manifested his weakness would have a pocket around them. It would take you about ten minutes to find out what his weakness was. And every large-scale application of power that I was imagining had that big same problem. So what I decided, if it's not immediate to you, if it's not you seeing it and being right there-- That it's your actual-- Something about you that causes the weakness that causes it then it was not going to be manifest. Does that make sense? And in the third book, because enough people asked about this I had David go into a little explanation, he's very technical. But really the reason for coming up with this rule in the first place was because I thought "There's no way you can have this work the way I want to unless there is a loophole there. Unless there's an exception here." So the reason is he's distant from it, large-scale applications it doesn't happen.