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General Reddit 2016 () Copy
#3

Argent

The Rithmatist takes place on an alternative version of Earth. One where the United States are the United Isles, for example.

Ben McSweeney

Also that Earth is (I think) half the size of our own? Or possibly less? Brandon says it has a denser core to make up the difference.

Argent

Really? This is the first time I hear this, but it's pretty cool news. You know the man, find out specifics for us :P

Ben McSweeney

Brandon and I discussed it when we put together the map of the United Isles... there was some hand-wavery in terms of total numbers, but the scale on the map legend is more-or-less accurate. As you can see, that puts the Isles themselves at about 1500 miles (give or take a few hundred, I'm eyeballing it) from the cliffs of the western California Archipelago to the eastern shores of New Guernsey.

In comparison, the continental United States is about 3000 miles across from shore to shore. So, loosely speaking, it's a half-sized planet with a core of something denser than iron to make the mass mostly the same. Perhaps gold?

Aside from the map, which I'm not surprised if it was overlooked, we also get some clues in the travel times and distances described during Joel and Fitch's trip.

Argent

All of those clues would require me to pay attention and think about things, though - which is something I find difficult to do when my hand is racing to turn the pages :)

On the topic of distances and masses though, I was looking into possible easy solutions, but it actually looks like there is some serious sciencing that needs to happen for the numbers to work out. But eyeballing, if you shrink the radius of the planet in half, this drops the volume (including the core volume) by a factor of 8, which - assuming the same density, which is not a safe assumption because lower mass makes lower density more likely - means that the core has to be about 8 times more massive to maintain the same gravity. Which is a problem, because such element doesn't exist naturally, and is even less likely to fuse in a small planet. So. Heavy sciencing and/or handwavium :)

Ben McSweeney

Maybe a denser metal and a larger core? Our iron core is only about 10% of the planet's diameter, but I have no idea how a larger core would affect the physics of the planet.

Handwavium. Unobtanium. Impossibillium. :)

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 () Copy
#4

Questioner

I love that book [The Rithmatist], the world, I'm looking forward to those...

Brandon Sanderson

The sequel is going to be very fun, it's called "The Aztlanian", it's taking place in South America.

Questioner

Where in South America?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I've rebuilt South America so it's kind of weird. The Aztek empire, which is the main name the Northerners have for it, they call it something else. The problem is I shrunk the planet, so I had to smash South America and Central America a little bit into each other so the islands that they are is it South America? Central America? What is it?

Questioner

So is it Spanish-speaking? Or...

Brandon Sanderson

No, the Spaniards got fought off, they actually speak Nahautl.

Questioner

No Portuguese or Spanish? It's all...

Brandon Sanderson

There are a couple Portuguese/Spanish islands but-- They grabbed a few of them but the main empire speaks Nahuatl.

Steelheart Portland signing () Copy
#5

Kogiopsis

Are we going to see Native Americans in the Rithmatist series?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes you will. The Native Americans have mostly moved to South America, but there's a Native American main character in the second book.

Kogiopsis

Yes!

Brandon Sanderson

What happened is the– a lot of them got pushed into South America, where the Aztec Empire is alive and well and strong. And so their perspective on what's going on is very different from the perspective happening in Joel's school, so you will see a different perspective on things.

Kogiopsis

Excellent.

Brandon Sanderson

It was already dangerous though, what I'm doing, and I realize this, for those very reasons. Very sensitive issues. Like when I used the Mary Rowlandson account, which is kind of a controversial account as it is, I understood that I was potentially opening a can of worms.

swamp-spirit

But I mean, I really– I just want to say this, that I really appreciate as a reader that you go into diversity because I know it is a risk, and it means so much to readers to have you writing a different set of characters and people people can relate to.

Firefight Houston signing () Copy
#9

Questioner

I loved Firefight... what happens to Houston?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, what happened to Houston, yeah! *laughter* One of my favorite things is, like, destroying my favorite cities. I do this in my epic fantasy. If you've read The Rithmatist, I turned my hometown in Nebraska into the dark tower that all the evil comes out of. And Chicago, one of my favorite cities, has turned to steel. I just melted Houston. Because it's hot here, it kinda made sense to melt, but yeah. Sorry. *laughter* I apologize for melting you. But, y'know, you-- You probably got out. *laughter* You were smart enough to go "They're all evil. I'm going to go somewhere else." It was all those people from the political party you don't like that melted.