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The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Wayne shows up

Another aspect of the Mistborn books is the humor. I plan the humor in each of my novels specifically. In Warbreaker, the humor is all about wordplay and lofty back-and-forths. In the Alcatraz books, it's about being audacious, whimsical, and . . . well, a little insane. In The Way of Kings, it's more character-specific, certain characters engaging in different types of humor to fit the scene.

The Mistborn books have always employed a type of humor I'll call grim banter. Friends who know each other making jokes back and forth amid sometimes terrible situations. There's usually an edge to the banter, much how Kelsier would speak in the original trilogy. I wanted to maintain that feel, and so for this series to work, it needed to be founded on at least two characters who knew one another well and who were comfortable with insulting one another in the name of levity.

It was actually hard not to get to Wayne sooner in the book—even though this is only chapter two, he's a big part of the heart and soul of this story. I wanted to get him in quickly, as quickly as possible. This was the right place, I'm confident—he'd have distracted from Lessie in the prologue.

I'm pleased with how he turned out, by the way. He's vibrant enough as a person, with a good soul and a lot of quirks, that he quite often steals the show. That was a balance I had to work on in the book to make sure he didn't steal it too much. (Or, at least, too often.)

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

What’s the hardest power you've created to find a balance for?

Brandon Sanderson

Hardest power to create a balance for? I'd say first is Wheel of Time, but I didn't create that... Hardest to balance… They've all been fairly easy so far. My guess is that it will end up being Stormlight just because I am doing so many books in that world, and I'm not resetting characters as much as I am in Mistborn, that I'm going to have to be careful about power creep... That's an excellent question.

Holiday signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner 1

I just notice that in the newer Mistborns that some of the older Mistborns, on the metals, aren't there a couple metals that are missing?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There are. They didn't quite understand the-- all things, just like we don't understand all science, and as the series progresses you will see that table become even more intricate as it becomes more and more scientific.

Questioner 2

So this series is a step modernized? I've only read the original.

Brandon Sanderson

This one is a step modernized, still all the magic and stuff, but it's kind of mixing gunslinging and Allomancy. There's going to be another series that's going to be 1980's level technology where you'll really see things start to modernize, and then there's a science fiction series. Eventually.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Two

Wax Ties a Cravat

In the original draft, I conceived this scene specifically because of how strong a contrast it would provide to jumping around in the mists in the previous scene. This has always been a theme of the Mistborn books, and I hoped that some familiarity in that regard would provide a connecting tie between this book and the previous trilogy.

Mistborn was about balance—balancing the life of a thief (and then assassin) in Vin's case with the life of a noblewoman. I wanted Wax to be dealing with some of the same concepts, but from another direction. Instead of a young person discovering high society, Wax is returning to it after abandoning it. But, as Vin never truly abandoned her street-thief roots, Wax never abandoned his gentleman's ways.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#5 Copy

admiralorbiter

Last I heard you planned one more Mistborn series set in a sorta sci-fi setting in the future. However, I've heard from a couple people that you might be writing a fourth trilogy? I'm curious if that is true and what setting that would take place in?

Brandon Sanderson

The fourth trilogy is the SF one. The Wax and Wayne books are confusing people. 1: Classic epic fantasy.

2: Wax and Wayne western eara.

3: 1980's Spy Thriller

4: Space Opera.

It's possible I'll slot something between Spy Thriller and Space Opera. I've started to think I should officially name Wax and Wayne "Era 1.5" to end this confusion.

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#6 Copy

squirenonny

Was there any particular reason that you are looking at doing Mistborn in the 40's?

Brandon Sanderson

Just because I want to see-- It's where I feel excited by a story and if I go all the way to the 80's, which I’m going to do eventually, we lose the Age of Exploration, my last shots at it. I think in the 40's we could still have a shot at Age of Exploration even though it's well past that, you know what I mean? The last remnants of my chance of doing that, I think. The exploration hits late here, but by the 80's they're launching satellites, right? The world is known. So if I want to do one more thing before then I could do-- The thing about the Mistborn world is that it is mostly uninhabited.  It's like an Earth-sized planet where most of the continents have no people. That’s really exciting from a storytelling aspect.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#8 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.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

With The Bands of Mourning, now that we understand flight with potassium, or whatever alkali metal that actually was... So is that part of where we’re starting with the Faster Than Light travel? Something along those lines with potassium and maybe like--

Brandon

I’m not going to tell you, but this is the bridge into the next Era, which the Era beyond will be FTL, but this sort of stuff needed to happen first.

Questioner

Right, right exactly and the good stuff and the technology trying to get them up to speed and plus with Kelsier going to that other realm and the glimpse of Sel and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, yep, there will be so much fun stuff in the next series.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Five

"There's always another secret." That's the unwritten law of this series, by the way. Keep that in mind as you read not only this book, but books two and three. Also, keep in mind that I take no end of delight from doing what people don't expect. (But only in cases, however, where such unexpected events make perfect sense, once they happen.)

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#12 Copy

Question

So, because we have Worldhoppers like Hoid, Khriss, and Nazh, and I think that I've heard that era 4 will be more science fiction.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, era 4 is science fiction.

Question

So, will we ever have a chance to see characters from one world in the cosmere go to another world in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

So, there's a couple of things that I need to explain to you guys in this one. First is that Mistborn, I pitched to my editor, way at the beginning, as a series where a fantasy world slowly became a science fiction world. So we would pass through a modern era, where things are like our world, and then we pass on to a science fiction era, because I'd never seen that done before. I'd never seen someone take epic fantasy and then build from the events in the epic fantasy, like religions and philosophies, and then tell another story set in a more modern and contemporary world. And then in the science fiction one, the magic will become the means by which space travel is possible. So we're in the middle of that. Wax and Wayne is an interim, I'm calling it era 2. There's an era 3 which is 1980s, cold war, spy thriller Mistborn. Then there is an era four, which is science fiction, unless I slip in a cyberpunk, near-future science fiction, which I might do. So there might be five, we'll see. I've warned people of that. The last Mistborn series, whichever era it ends up being, is the last thing of the cosmere chronologically. So, it's a long ways off. All the other series have to finish before I can do that.

The other thing that people have to understand is that all of these worlds are connected in something we call the cosmere. It is mostly, right now, just easter eggs. It's important to me that people don't go, "I can't read Mistborn until I've read Elantris," or whatever. No, each series is about that series. There's easter eggs connecting them but you don't need to know it. It's just fun to find out; you can find it all out after the fact.

Are we going to see people traveling between the planets? Yes, you will see space travel between the planets. You have seen it already. One of the stories in the anthology comes from that era, but it's on a planet that doesn't yet have space travel. Sixth of the Dusk takes place chronologically near-end of the cosmere sequence. So yes, you have seen it, and you will see more of it. In Sixth of the Dusk, there are ones they call the Ones Above who have visited and these are people from a planet that you have seen, I won't tell you who, who are visiting.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

Are you still planning on doing Mistborn in Space, because that would be awesome.

Brandon Sanderson

Am I still planning on doing Mistborn in Space. Yes I am… Mistborn was originally pitched to my editor-- I pitched it as a trilogy of trilogies--I've obviously gone off track on that on that--but I was going to do an epic fantasy, a 1980's level kind of contemporary, and science fiction all in the same world. Alloy of Law, I really fell in love with that time period for some things I was doing and I was like "I'm going to write FOUR BOOKS HERE" So there's now 13 planned. Who knows if I'll add more and things like that.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

So I know the last Alloy of Law was a standalone book, not part of the next trilogy. Is this book [Shadows of Self] the start of the next trilogy?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. This is not the start of the actual, official next-- Like-- So, I'm calling these books all Era 2, I moved the next books to Era 3, but this is the start of a trilogy about Wax and Wayne.

Questioner

Is that why they're kind of shorter?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Well they're kind of shorter because I wanted something to balance Stormlight that was-- So like Stormlight you have to keep track of all these characters and they have this continuing storyline that is so deep that it's-- you kind of have to re-read each in the series each time. I did not want you to have track that in another series, any of my other series. That's why both Steelheart and Mistborn now you will see the self-contained stories, where certain things-- it's a trilogy, but it's keep track of one, or two, characters, not keep track of an entire thing. And then there's an arc and done, an arc and done, an arc and done. That is intentional. So, you might see Stormlight stories more that length when I go back to... Scadrial for longer stories.

Questioner

So there's still going to be another trilogy that's more modern and then a sci-fi one?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes there's still going to be a modern trilogy and a sci-fi trilogy.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#17 Copy

CrystalShadow

So is Harmony as excited for the space Mistborn as we are?

Brandon Sanderson

It will have four trilogies now. (Though part of me thinks I might need another interim cyberpunkish one between 1980's and full Space Opera.) Right now, though, I have four eras planned.

As for your original question, Harmony is excited, but also worried, perhaps in equal measure.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#18 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Series Wrap-Up

First Trilogy

Well, that's my first trilogy. I think I improved quite a bit as I wrote these books, and hopefully this ending will satisfy my readers. The inevitable question is going to be "Will there be more Mistborn books?" The answer is "Probably." However, know a few things.

First off, the next series—if I do it—will not include Vin or Elend. They're dead. That's just the way it is. Sorry.

Sazed might make an appearance. He is God, after all. TenSoon is still around. (Sazed stuck the spikes back into him and the other kandra.) Marsh may or may not make an appearance. (I haven't decided if he will survive or not.)

Spook, Ham, and Breeze probably won't make an appearance, though, as I would plan to write the next series some five hundred years after the events in this trilogy. (Remember, TenSoon—as a kandra—is immortal. Marsh is also functionally immortal, as he's both a Feruchemist and an Allomancer, and can combine the powers to reverse his aging. Assuming he has enough atium left from that batch he stole to keep it up for a while, and assuming he managed to grab some cover before the world ended.)

However, this won't be for some time. I've got other projects I want to do, not the least of which is Warbreaker and (probably) its sequel. After that, I want to try a longer series, maybe a five- or six-book one. [Editor's note: Brandon was referring to the Dragonsteel series, which he's now put off in favor of the Stormlight Archive, book one of which, The Way of Kings, comes out on August 31, 2010.]

We shall see.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#19 Copy

Phantine

Stormlight has a lot of parallelism with Mistborn, but with protagonists who are now on the other side of the slave revolt. In particular, there's a very strong through line going from Kelsier to Miles to Moash, with characters attempting to overthrown a corrupt system being treated differently by the narrative in each case.

How much of this inversion is intentional? I know Warbreaker had a lot of deliberate parallels to Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

This is pretty intentional. I like to approach things from different sides, and I knew Stormlight was about the establishment, while Mistborn about the revolutionary. I like to try to show both sides of things like this, when I can.

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

Sensitivemuse

Are you going to write more about the Mistborn? There's still those mysterious metals, and it's a brand new world out there now so many possibilities you could do with that!

Brandon Sanderson

I will, someday, write a follow-up trilogy to Mistborn. It will be set several hundred years after the events of the first trilogy, after technology has caught up to where it should be. Essentially, these will be urban fantasy stories set in the same world. Guns, cars, skyscrapers—and Allomancers.

That's still pretty far off, though. The other metals are being revealed on the poster I'm releasing of the Allomantic table. Should be for sale on my website sometime soon, though someone here can probably link to the image I posted of it, which has the other metals explained. (I can't remember where exactly that link is right now.)

Hero of the new trilogy would be a nicrosil Misting.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#21 Copy

Argent

You mention... No you didn't mention Arthur Clarke. The guy with the "Any sufficiently advanced technology is distinguishable from magic" ...In, at least, one of the Mistborn trilogies you are probably going to have to deal with the distinction between magic and technology. So can you talk a little about how you are going to address that?

Brandon Sanderson

So yeah, addressing the-- This is a really good question, thank you. So Clarke's Law says that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Right? And this is kind of a science fiction truism that we use in writing. It's a really cool concept when you think about it. But he asks "Well we're pushing the Mistborn trilogy more and more towards science fiction--"

For those who don't know, I pitched the Mistborn trilogy to my editor, long ago--this was 2003 when I pitched it to him-- I pitched it as a trilogy of trilogies. An epic fantasy trilogy that then after the epic fantasy trilogy we would jump hundreds of years and do an urban fantasy trilogy in a more modern setting, where all of the events of the epic fantasy trilogy became the foundation of religion and superstition and even culture to a modern society. What if our heritage were something like The Lord of the Rings? And then I was going to write a science fiction trilogy where... magic became the means by which space travel is possible. So there is, built-in to Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy, FTL-capability. *audience mutters* *nervously* It's not there yet don't worry. *laughter*

Argent

Somebody found the rabbit-hole.

Brandon Sanderson

That's all RAFO's. I'm not answering any of that.

So I did Alloy-era, by the way, as a stop-gap between the epic fantasy and the modern because I wanted something smaller-- The modern trilogy is going to be very thick books, and I wanted something to balance Stormlight while I was doing the first five Stormlight...

So he's asking how I'm going to deal with this whole collision... between science and magic. So there's a-- I don't know if corollary is the right term. Probably not, but there's a version of Clarke's Law which you inverse. And you say "Any sufficiently understood magic is indistinguishable from science". In the cosmere the magic is science. What I would call-- say is science fantasy because we've added to the Laws of Thermodynamics. We have this other thing called Investiture, which is what powers all the magic. Which is the souls of the things they call gods, their substance. And you can change matter or energy into Investiture and back. And so we've got a third circle in the old Laws of Thermodynamics and so because of that it's science fantasy. I would still call this fantasy because science fiction is where they go "We're going to take the Laws of Thermodynamics and try to explain what we can do using them" I'm like "No, we're just going to add to them, right?" But yeah that's where we're going. There will be a collision of that but it's really going to be-- To them it's indistinguishable, once you get far enough along, that it really is science.