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General Reddit 2019 ()
#1 Copy

DreadPirateKaldona

I hold out misguided hope we may eventually get a sequel with [Obliteration]. u/mistborn are you listening :-) ?

Brandon Sanderson

Listening. I'm trying to find a way to do some more Reckoners, now that the Apocalypse Guard fell apart.

mraize7

Does that mean that Apocalypse Guard will not be done? The last news was that you would do it with Dan Wells!!

Brandon Sanderson

Dan did a pretty good revision, but at the end, he felt it was still missing something. We agreed that it might not be right to do now. Maybe someday I'll release it to fans, and see what they think the problem is.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

What powers does Mizzy have?

Brandon Sanderson

I’m not telling people that yet, mostly because I haven’t decided 100% how I want it to work yet. I know basically what I want to do, but I haven’t decided how I’m going to play it out. I’m not telling people until I get the book actually written.

Questioner

Does that mean there’s another book?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, if I write another book, it will be a Mizzy book.

Firefight Houston signing ()
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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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Dancingedge

Is gifting/power transference to normal people with Epics an all or nothing deal or could there be an Epic that can gift one ability but has another power he can't gift? And while on topic of quirks in Epic powers, how much do emotions play into them? We have some examples like Steelheart were strong emotions can cause the power to run amok, is there more of a guideline to this or just a quirk of some powers?

Brandon Sanderson

All powers can be gifted if any can. Gifting is a power that modifies other powers. Controlling the powers during times of great emotion is generally more difficult, but this has more to do with human nature than the powers.

Phantine

So Gifters can gift gifting?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I'm afraid. That's a separate power.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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Ben Puffer

For the Steelheart series, do you feel like the main protagonist is on the spectrum? Because when I read it I identify the most with him, and only realizing now that I am on the spectrum, I realize that he could be too.

Brandon Sanderson

He could be. Definitely has some aspects. I didn't intentionally write him that way, but I wrote him to a personality. He's definitely got some things going on there that there's a good argument. That's David Charleston of the Reckoners.

YouTube Livestream 33 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

It [Lux] starts during the events of Calamity, the third Reckoners novel, and goes past the events of the end of Calamity.

Steven Bohls

Ultimately, what we decided was to start it around middle of Calamity, and then have it go past the end of Calamity with kind of the promise that we'll see post-Calamity as the story progresses.

Brandon Sanderson

And if people really like this book, we have plans for how to kind of integrate it a little bit more into some of the characters. It was important to us that this one be standalone; that if you haven't read the first three, this one stands on its own, it introduces the premise again but it works on its own. And so you're not gonna see a ton. You'll see little easter egg connections that we're building toward; hopefully people really enjoy this and we'll do some more with this.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Dancingedge

While Epics already age slower can their powers protect them from aging completely, be it by simply negating it or for example returning them to a specific age, upon resurrection.

Brandon Sanderson

There are no known Epics who don't age at all.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

So, when you were coming up with superhero names, did you have to look them up to make sure somebody hadn't done it already?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I had to make sure that they weren't... impossible-to-use names that somebody hasn't done, I just had to make sure they weren't super popular. And some I was able to find that people hadn't done. But some, I'm like, "I have to use this name anyways." But, like, my first three names, like Nightwielder, people had used. I eventually found one that hadn't been used.

Questioner

Was that frustrating?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, it's kinda like the "Simpsons did it" thing. People complain that every plotline's been done by the Simpsons. Superhero powers have all been done, superhero names have all been done; but stories have all been told before. So, it's "What can you add to it?" that you ask yourself.

Questioner

So, of the ones that you came up with, how many would you say you looked up and were like "aaaah..."

Brandon Sanderson

I would say about half.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Mailliw73

How many Epics have "unique" powers like Firefight or Mitosis?

Brandon Sanderson

Less than 10% are both unique and useful.

Mailliw73

What about unique and useless? ;)

Brandon Sanderson

Happens fairly often.

Mailliw73

So, a power to, say, conjure Big Macs out of their pocket wouldn't be too crazy?

Brandon Sanderson

No. That's actually well within reason.

And actually quite powerful if you don't put a limit on concurrent mass created or speed of creation.

Voidus

What about an Epic whose only ability is to accurately tell the time?

Brandon Sanderson

Sure.

Mailliw73

Can an Epic be given powers that are permanently countered by their weakness? Ex: Being able to breathe underwater, but whose weakness is water?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to say no on this one, unless the weakness is something more specific. (I.E, you can breathe under water, but your weakness is water with food coloring in it.) The weakness can relate somehow to the powers, but not in a way that if every time you use the abilities, they're automatically negated.

winter_cloud

What are some of the more common powers, then?

Brandon Sanderson

I based this off of comic books, so I assumed classic comic book superhero powers--various forms of flight, invulnerability, control over various types of matter, energy blasts--are common enough to have "standard powersets" for research purposes. Basically, this means that people like David and the lorists can make references that readers with a familiarity with comics can understand.

King_of_the_Kobolds

Is there any chance we could see the lorist categorization system published someday? As a sort of Reckonerverse Ars Arcanum?

Brandon Sanderson

This is possible, but likely only if I come back to the world for more books beyond the original trilogy.

Voidus

How common would teleporting be?

Brandon Sanderson

Rare.

Mailliw73

Are powers such as being able to negate others' powers or being immune to Epic powers possible?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Dancingedge

Could Obliteration (or an Epic with similar powers), in theory, actively suppress his danger sense, so he doesn't teleport, even if someone would score a lethal hit on him? Also, do active Epic powers like throwing energy beams or flying drain stamina?

Brandon Sanderson

Obliteration hasn't learned to do this. Perhaps it's possible, but difficult. As for how draining the abilities are, it varies based on the Epic.

Read.Sleep.Repeat interview ()
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Octavia

With Steelheart, every superhero I've worshiped as a kid was pretty much blown to bits and replaced with the scariest bunch of "supers" I've ever seen. How did you come up with the idea to take superheroes (and even today's, not even close to epic level, villains) and make them so amazingly evil?

Brandon Sanderson

I was on book tour, driving a rental car up through West Virginia when someone aggressively cut me off in traffic. I got very annoyed at this person, which is not something I normally do. I'm usually pretty easygoing, but this time I thought to myself, "Well, random person, it's a good thing I don't have super powers—because if I did, I'd totally blow your car off the road." Then I thought: "That's horrifying that I would even think of doing that to a random stranger!"

Any time that I get horrified like that makes me realize that there's a story there somewhere. So I spent the rest of the drive thinking about what would really happen if I had super powers. Would I go out and be a hero, or would I just start doing whatever I wanted to? Would it be a good thing or a bad thing?

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Minor Projects

The Reckoners, Legion

These are both finished, and I don't foresee any future updates anytime soon. Do note, however, that the Reckoners board game has been shipping, and it turned out great. You should soon have a chance to buy copies if you missed the Kickstarter, and I suspect there will be expansions in the future.

Status: Completed

EuroCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

Also about The Reckoners, just out of curiosity, David's metaphors, so amazing, did you write them all? Was there a time when you had friends come over and say, "I have a crazy great metaphor, you have to use it for the book"?

Brandon Sanderson

For those who don't know, The Reckoners are told first person viewpoint from the viewpoint of a man named David, and though he tries hard, his metaphors and similes are awful. He says things like, "She was as perky as a sack full of caffeinated puppies." And the reason for this is, number one, the material itself is kind of dark. A world with no heroes could be a very, very dark place, so I knew I wanted a hero who was optimistic despite this, but David's main personality attribute is that he is a little too earnest. He tries a little too hard, and doesn't always think before he does something. So, I wanted a personality trait that quickly and easily reflected and indicated this to the reader, and the way that his metaphors don't quite work, but almost do, was the perfect method of conveying this. When he says things like, "You are a potato in a minefield," it doesn't make sense until he explains what it means. That, for instance, he was walking through a minefield, stepped on something he thought was going to kill him, and it turned out to be a potato instead. And then it's like, "Hey, free potato!" When we do this, it allows you to see that he is just speaking a little too fast, that his heart is right, and somewhere between his heart and his brain and his mouth, the wrong thing comes out. So, I guess what I'm saying is, the bad metaphors are actually a good metaphor for David's personality.

Calamity Austin signing ()
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Questioner

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?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Calamity release party ()
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Questioner

Are you gonna-- So you had the Reckoners series, right? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

Questioner

Are you gonna do another series, like, another trilogy after that? Kind of like what you did with Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, maybe. The next series will be related to the Reckoners, but not directly tied to it. I might come back to the Reckoners, but I'm not one 100% sure.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Dancingedge

What is Obliteration's usual M.O.? Does he destroy every town he goes to or does he usually just kill a couple people, melt a small neighborhood, maybe go and hold a sermon and then goes shopping?

Brandon Sanderson

He does not destroy every town. More in book 3.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Main Book Projects

The Reckoners

The last book of the trilogy is complete, revised, and turned in. It's coming out in February, and is—indeed—the ending.

I have not closed the door on doing more in the world, but it will not be for a while. If I do return, it will be like a Mistborn return, where the focus of the books shifts in some way and I create a new series. I like leaving endings as endings, even if the world and some of the characters do progress.

I'm extremely pleased with the last book. I look forward to having you all read it, and I am grateful to you all for supporting this series. There were voices that told me something outside the Cosmere would never sell as well as something inside—but this series is neck-and-neck in popularity with Stormlight and Mistborn. It's a relief, and very gratifying, to see that people are willing to follow me on different kinds of journeys.

Status: Completed!

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

So in Reckoners you mention that the three, like, most powerful Epics in North America, pretty much the ones you're afraid of, were Obliteration, Steelheart, and Night's Sorrow.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

Questioner

What about Night's Sorrow?

Brandon Sanderson

Night's Sorrow? Is still out there.

Questioner

But it's-- it-- will it ever be shown what Night's Sorrow can do?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah-- I mean, in-- the Pacific Northwest has suffered... uh, yeah--

Questioner

No, but when--is there gonna be a book that has what Night's Sorrow can do in it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there will be.

Questioner

Good.

Brandon Sanderson

*pause* Eh, uh... yeah.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Where did you get the idea for the Reckoners series?

Brandon Sanderson

Where did I get the idea for writing the Reckoners series? I almost got in a car wreck. I was driving to a book signing and I was late and somebody cut me off in traffic. And it was like-- I had to slam on the brakes and things like that and I thought-- At that moment I'm like "You, person in front of me, are so lucky I don't have superpowers, 'cause if I did I would blow your car up right now. BOOM" It's a great Michael Bay effect, like it explodes and I drive through the smoke. It was really awesome; I remember it. And then I was immediately horrified, right? I'm like "Here I write all these books about people protecting the world with their powers and what would I do if I had them? I'd be blowing up people because they inconvenience me." *laughter* And this is where the series came from, I thought about that the entire rest of the drive, which was about another hour. And I thought "What if-- What could we do if people just started manifesting superpowers and-- You couldn't throw them in prison, or if you did they'd just break out. You couldn't defeat them with the armies. What would the society do if there were legitimately super-powered individuals?" It's kind of the same tactic that Watchmen took, if you've ever read that, but it kind of goes the other direction with "They are all evil, what do we do?" That was the origin and I wrote a whole book series about it.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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King_of_the_Kobolds

In Steelheart you mention the Coven, a group of Epics that I've found immensely intriguing ever since hearing their name. Is there anything you can say about their group or one of their members?

Brandon Sanderson

A member of the Coven will appear in Calamity, and others will be referenced.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Why would you choose Chicago as a setting?

Brandon Sanderson

I grew up in Nebraska, Lincoln, and Chicago was the big city we would travel to. I liked that it was-- This is kind of going to sound weird but it was a big city full of mid-westerners. Like when I went to LA everyone talked and acted different, when I went to New York everyone talked and acted different, but in Chicago it-- they were kind of like a bunch of hokey mid-westerners had somehow built a big city? *laughter* If that makes any sense. So I have always had a fondness for Chicago. It's like the big city of farmers or whatnot. I don't know there's just something about it, the being on the lake and the profile of it and things like that. And I'm a Batman fan and Gotham is Chicago. Chicago was my go-to when I was going to destroy a city in our world; I picked Chicago.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

What happened with Abraham’s court martial?

Brandon Sanderson

So that is backstory that is a RAFO.  Why Abraham was there is not something he necessarily likes to talk about, not that he’s shy, but at the same time it’s not something he easily talks about.  And so I will not talk about it, I will let him, someday perhaps, talk about it.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Dancingedge

Why doesn't Nighwielder's weakness penetrate his blanket over Newcago when it does pierce the shadow tendrils he attacks David with? Could the reason be that his clouds act as some kind of "security blanket" if for example he got his weakness from being stranded in the dessert clouds like his would have protected him from the sun, which keeps the UV-rays of the sun from triggering his weakness, because they can't recreate the situation it originates from.

Brandon Sanderson

I've been dodgy about answering this one, as I thought I might get into it in Book Three, but as I work on it I don't know that I am. The answer is actually pretty simple--it's for the same reason that someone manifesting Regalia's weakness in Babilar doesn't make the waters suddenly retreat. Or that Steelheart's powers didn't leave pockets of open material around anybody who hadn't ever heard of him. (Which is where this exception started in my mind, as without it, the first book would never have worked.)

Basically, I had to make the rule that a large scale, general use of the powers had a kind of immunity to the weakness--one of diffusion. But the general spreading of the powers on the large scale were also far less precise. (For example, Nightwielder could cloud the sky with darkness, but not stop rain from falling.)

Otherwise, you could just find the pockets where the Epic's powers on the grand scale were not working, and easily figure out their weakness. Hence, engaging Nightwielder directly ruins his immediate powers, but on the grand scale the darkness remains in place over the city.

It's the only way I could make the powers work on the grand scale I wanted, in turning Newcago to Steel or sinking NYC.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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TwiLyghtSansSparkles

At the time of Steelheart, are there any regions (besides those mentioned in Firefight) that are uninhabitable?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Not many in the states, but nukes WERE used fighting the Epics. There are some irradiated areas around the world.

And, another poster just reminded me that people are doing a Role Play for the Reckoners, which is the source of these questions. So for that context, I might be able to dig up some more info for you on your questions.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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piporpaw

[The sunrise metaphor] is one of my favorite quotes. Did you spend much time rewriting it?

Brandon Sanderson

This one took a fair bit of time to craft.

Going into Calamity, one of the things I knew I wanted to show was that David could--on occasion--really NAIL a metaphor. That he wasn't completely hopeless; he just often spoke without thinking or finding the right setting.

Here, I needed the metaphor to be more than just silly--or even more than just "This is really sweet, once he explains it." It needed to work in a way one hadn't before. So I spent a great deal of time pivoting on this scene in my head, trying to determine the way to go.

Miscellaneous 2015 ()
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Argent

One thing I can't figure out - Newcago's name is obviously a short of New Chicago. So is there anything Babilar stands for? The "Babyl-" part is obviously from Babylon, but I can't think of anything for "-ar"... Babylon Restored > Babylo-R > Babylor > Babylar kind of makes sense, but it doesn't make me happy.

Peter Ahlstrom

Babyl-R (say the letter name).

General Reddit 2014 ()
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tatu_huma

Nightwielder's weakness is UV light. When David shines the UV flashlight on his shadows/mist, they disappear. So how does he block out the sun, since the sun is a giant UV light. Wouldn't the UV rays from the sun just destroy his shadows that he covers Chicago with.

Does that mean the shadow he uses to cover Newcago, is different from the shadows he uses to attack David. I think I remember the shadows he used to attack being dissolved by the UV light.

Peter Ahlstrom

Some of the Epics' powers have macroeffects and microeffects. What is effective against the micro may not be effective against the [macro].

#NookTalks Twitter Q&A with Barnes & Noble ()
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NOOK

Did you have the ending planned out for the Reckoners series when you started writing?

Brandon Sanderson

Then I build a series around the ideas and themes that worked in the first book.

I had the ending of the first book well in mind. Once I finished it, I sat down and plotted the next two books.

This is very common for me in a series. Writing the first book, making sure I have the characters and ideas down first.