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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#4 Copy

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.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

This is a question I was wondering when you did Steelheart. When you were developing the story did you ever think of what kind of Epic you would be?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* Uh, no, I didn't really. My-- The Alcatraz books were kind of focused on dumb things I do. Steelheart I was really just kind of looking at comic book lore, and dealing with, you know, tropes from comic books.

Questioner

Thank you.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

TheHunter

But in that car, where you thought, "If I had super powers..."

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, that's true!

TheHunter

What were you going to do to that car?

Brandon Sanderson

I was gonna blow up the car.

TheHunter

So there's your answer.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, blow up the car, yeah.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Some statistics/fun facts on [Calamity]:

  • The Book Guide (my planning file) was started in late December, but that was mostly made of me grabbing the notes for this specific book out of the general outline file for the trilogy, and pasting them in here.
  • Chapter One was started January first.
  • Chapter Fifty was finished May 5th.
  • Includes the shortest prologue I've ever done, at 61 words.
  • I wrote 13,200 (somewhere around 12-13% of the book) words yesterday across around thirteen hours. (With a break to go watch Ultron in the middle.)
  • This series is unique in that I wrote the first chunk of it years ago, around 2008, but then didn't have time to return to the project until a few years back. Unlike many of my series, I didn't plan out the entire trilogy before the first book--I wrote the first book, sold it, then put together an outline for all three books.
General Reddit 2019 ()
#9 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.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#10 Copy

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.

General Reddit 2014 ()
#11 Copy

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].

YouTube Livestream 33 ()
#12 Copy

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.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
#15 Copy

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

Read.Sleep.Repeat interview ()
#16 Copy

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?

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#17 Copy

TwiLyghtSansSparkles

What are the extent of Snowfall's powers and territory?

Brandon Sanderson

I have notes on this, but if I come back to the Reckoners world in the future, I don't want to be locked into things I say here. Part of the point of mentioning Epics like this is to foreshadow for future books, but not leave myself too locked in, so I can construct the story I need to.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
#18 Copy

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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#19 Copy

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 ()
#20 Copy

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 ()
#21 Copy

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.

Legion Release Party ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

In Calamity, Calamity's part of a mysterious group or civilization, really weird motives, we don't find out much about them. Was that <pointed, in any way,> part of the plot from the start?

Brandon Sanderson

It was.

Questioner

Do you have a plan to explain that civilization?

Brandon Sanderson

I will someday  explain that. At the very least, if I just have to sit down and write an essay on it, to give the closure. Yes, I will. And I do apologize for that. Apocalypse Guard was going to delve into this, but then the book got cancelled. By me.

Miscellaneous 2015 ()
#24 Copy

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).

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

Is Calamity the last book in the series?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a plan to do a book about Mizzy. But before I do that, I am writing a book called The Apocalypse Guard, which takes place in the alternate dimension that Megan sees into in these books. So, you should enjoy those. They'll be kinda the same style, but different characters from the alternate dimension. They're a blast, I just finished the first book.

Firefight release party ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

Why did you choose the cities you chose for Steelheart and Firefight?

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted to choose cities that I was familiar with. Like cities I had driven in, cities I knew my way around in, and things like that. Which-- It was really just based on that concept, though I've always liked Chicago because as a kid going to Chicago-- that was the big city close to Nebraska. It was the one I knew and it was like the mid-western big city, if that makes any sense. So I always felt a kinship to that. That's why I picked Chicago. I also wanted one with a lake so I could fre-- turn the lake to steel.

Questioner

...Have you chosen one for Calamity?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I originally chose Montreal, and my publisher-- I actually said "We could do Montreal or Atlanta" and they like Atlanta better. So I decided to go ahead and go with Atlanta.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#27 Copy

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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#28 Copy

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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#30 Copy

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 ()
#31 Copy

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.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#33 Copy

Questioner

Would the weaknesses that you thought of for Firefight... Is that, did you think of that when you were writing Firefight, did those apply in Steelheart?

Brandon Sanderson

They should apply in Steelheart. The things that I thought of in Firefight should apply in Steelheart, the weaknesses.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#35 Copy

Dancingedge

Concerning the terminology for Epics, the definitions given for High Epics and a prime invincibility are effectively the same, meaning every High Epic should have one. However, in Steelheart David says that only a couple of the hundredths of High Epics in Newcago have one. Did David change his terminology between books or is there another reason. (I would also appreciate definitions for what differentiates a minor from a lesser Epic.)

Brandon Sanderson

Prime invincibility is the cream of the crop of High Epic, in David's estimation. The hardest of the hard to kill. However, other people define things differently. "High Epic" means "I have a power that, if you stand there and try to shoot me, it doesn't work." That's why in his definition, Regalia doesn't fit the bill--though many others would say her power of keeping herself hidden as she does would totally count. All a matter of semantics, but to him, there's a specific gradation.

Oathbringer release party ()
#36 Copy

Questioner

Do you plan to write any more books in the Steelheart universe?

Brandon Sanderson

...There's a big story here. So, the book that I started writing right after finishing Oathbringer in June was called The Apocalypse Guard. This is in the same universe as the Reckoners. And I wrote the whole book, and there were some things wrong with it, as happens sometimes with books. And so I thought, "Eh, I'll send it to my editor, and see what my editor at Random House thinks." She read it, she got back, she's like, "I like some things about it, but it's got these problems." I'm like, "Oh, those are the same problems I thought it had; that's not a good sign." So I got on and I brainstormed, and said "What do you think we should do?" She's like, "Well, maybe this or this." I spent, like, two weeks working on a really in-depth revision document. And I revised about 20% of the book following this document and it was worse. It didn't fix the problem. And so I'm like, "I need more time on this book. This book is not working. I'm sure I can fix it eventually." Like I told you, I stopped writing The Stormlight Archive in 2002. So, I pulled that book and set it aside. And I actually, I sent it to Dan Wells, actually, 'cause he's one of the best writers I know. And I'm like, "Dan! Something's broken. Can you tell me what's broken?" I'm waiting to see what Dan has to say on that, but for now, that's where Secret Project [Skyward] came from, 'cause I'm like, "Well, I don't feel good releasing Apocalypse Guard next year, I have to fix it first, it's just not good enough." So, I pulled out an outline for something else... and I said, "Well, I'm gonna write this right now, 'cause I feel like I can write this, and it's gonna work." So, I started writing this.

The answer is, yes, there will be more books, and there will even be, if I get around to it, a book about Mizzy as a protagonist, if I can find-- Like, I have to get The Apocalypse Guard working first.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#37 Copy

Questioner

So, you've mentioned-- you have an idea of how the Cosmere's going to go. The ending of the Cosmere, considering you have seven more Stormlight books to write and years to go, does the ending of the Cosmere hang over your head?

Brandon Sanderson

Does the ending of the Cosmere hang over my head 'cause I've got a ways to go-- Yeah, it's starting to loom a bit! You know, when I was in my twenties and thirties doing this, "Ah! I can write every story, I've got plenty of time!", but now that I'm in my forties I'm-- let's make sure we focus and keep going on this. So one of my goals has been to try to learn to write novellas so that the random ideas that pop in my head became novellas and not novels, because the way I work, I can't stay on one thing between books I find that it burns me out really fast if I don't have something new to work on, but if that new thing to work on can be a novella like one of the Legion books, or like Perfect State, or Snapshot or something like that and then I can jump back on the kind of mainline book I can reset myself quickly. And that why you see me practice that and things like that.

My goal is kind of closing things off faster than I open them. This is why Legion got finished this year, why Alcatraz will probably get finished next year. Those of you waiting for a Rithmatist sequel *sighs* eventually. I need to get those other two closed off first. For those of you waiting for Reckoners, I consider Reckoners to be done. If I eventually fix and release Apocalypse Guard, that might answer some of the questions you have about the end of that series. Elantris and Warbreaker are both part of the Cosmere arc, what I'll probably do is I'll write Stormlight 4 and 5 and the last Wax & Wayne book over the next few years-- five years, next five years probably. *laughter* And then I'll probably stop and do Mistborn Era 3, which is the 1980s Mistborn, and maybe some Elantris sequels. And then I'll come back and do Stormlight 6-10 which take place about 10 years in-world after Stormlight 5. Same characters, at least the ones that survive. *eruption of laughter* That might be all of them! No spoilers there. But Stormlight is ten books. The way Stormlight will go is Book 4 is Eshonai, Book 5 is Szeth, 6 is Lift, 7 is Renarin, 8 is Ash, 9 is Taln and 10 is Jasnah. That doesn't mean that the person survives, it means that it's a flashback sequence. *nervous laughter* Just keep that in mind. So if your sequel wasn't on that list then don't hold your breath.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#38 Copy

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!

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#39 Copy

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.

DragonCon 2019 ()
#42 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any leatherbound plans for the Reckoners series?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I plan to do Reckoners. What we haven't decided yet is if we'll just do three in one volume. That's what I kind of want to do. My team's like, "We don't know if people will like that as much." So we're just kind of asking around, the fans. You would prefer it in one volume, right? 'Cause, together, they're about this length, right?

Questioner

Maybe the Mitosis side story as well.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, we definitely would find a place for that.

FanX 2021 ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

Have you ever thought about making the Steelheart series a graphic novel?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, we thought about it for a while. And then what we eventually decided is that we wanted to focus our graphic novel efforts on things that hadn't been published yet. There is actually a mini graphic novel of Mitosis, the short story, but that's the only one. That was when we were experimenting with it. It's not impossible that someday we will.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#46 Copy

Questioner

Steelheart and The Rithmatist, are they a part of the Cosmere as well?

Brandon Sanderson

They are not, yup.

Questioner

Just someone in line said that Steelheart was Hoid's planet, but I thought that they were not part of it.

Brandon Sanderson

They are not part of it. Anything that mentions Earth is something that I didn't want to be in the Cosmere.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#47 Copy

Dancingedge

What exactly is needed to make a motivator? In Firefight they operated on Oblivion to build the bomb, yet people still trade with any amount of Epic cells. Does the amount simply relate to power or is there something else?

Brandon Sanderson

This is covered in detail in book three. I've been pretty sneaky about some of this setup, on purpose.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

All the people with powers fit into one category.

Brandon Sanderson

All the people with powers fit into one category? Yes.

Questioner

Was there a reason you chose to do that?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#49 Copy

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.