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DragonCon 2016 ()
#2 Copy


You've mentioned in the last couple of afterwords that you get interesting results when you mix types of Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson



Twinborn and Surgebinders on Roshar. Can you mix a form of magic with a source of Investiture? Can say Vasher use Stormlight in place of Breaths or would that require tampering via Hemalurgy or something like that?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of them require tampering. Some of them are a little bit easier than others. It depends on really what you mean. For instance, white sand can be charged in the presence of any Investiture right? It's just-- But that's not really using the magic, it's just charging it with other Investiture. But, you know, it would be very easy, for instance, if you can get yourself Invested-- Like, for instance, it'd be very easy to use Breaths to fuel Windrunning right? Because the oath and the bond and things like that are going to make it pretty easy. However fueling Allomancy with something else is going to be a lot harder. So it really depends on the magic. It's the sort of thing that there will be lots of science in the books dedicated to making happen in the future and you will find some of the processes these work easier than other ones.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#3 Copy


How significant will the White Sand be to the cosmere? Any hints on the Shard that resides there?

Brandon Sanderson

Moderately. (Its magic has some cool ramifications for off world use, and several characters factor prominently into the Cosmere.)


Is there more than one magic system in white sand?

Brandon Sanderson

Only one in the current outline.


Does the one magic have more than one variation? Because I got the impression that there was something going on on the Darkside? Though I guess the Sky Colors (I think that's what they're called, I read the draft you send out early 2014 so my recollection is a little fuzzy) don't have to be related to magic. Or you could have written them out if they were...

Brandon Sanderson

In intended the colors on Darkside to be more a matter of the ecology than the magic--though, on that planet, magic and ecology are very closely tied together. (Well, I guess most of the magics are.)

General Reddit 2015 ()
#5 Copy


Who would win in a fight between a Full Shardbearer and a Space Marine?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know 40k well enough to say. But you will see Shardbearers in space some day.


...that's amazing. You've got high sci-fi fantasy coming? That'll be amazing.

Uh... Now I've got this image of Kaladin in modified shardplate(hell, can shardplate just serve as a spacesuit?) floating about in space and Syl appearing with a little bubble helmet.

Brandon Sanderson

The cosmere (the shared universe of my epic fantasy books) is interconnected, and eventually there will be space travel between them. Those books are quite a ways down the road, though.


I've known a long time of your cosmere! But I figured you'd take a "stargate" approach eventually -y'know, magical gates?

But actual Space travel?

I can imagine the various magical systems lending themselves well to that kind of stuff! I mean, gravity fabrials for artificial gravity, using some sort of cross-world steel pushing fabrial/biomechanical steel pushing device for a gauss rifle..

I mean, the last one is if you make this like space ship battles.

Windrunners and Skybreakers could just function as fighters themselves!

here's a question: how are cross world magics gonna work? Let's say a space freighter powered by fabrials enters Scadrial space. What happens to those fabrials?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the magics are unaffected by being taken off world, though still subject to their own inherent flaws. Stormlight seeps out. Sand loses its glow. Metal can only be used by one with the right genetic code. Note that the magic from Sel is different, and is location dependent for reasons I don't think fandom has quite teased out.


Isn't Sel the original planet where Adonalsium happened?

Brandon Sanderson

Yolen is the original.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#6 Copy


I'm a new teacher; my students are really quick to jump on me when I make mistakes. I was wondering if there's any inconsistencies or characters or any of the aspects of the magic systems you made that you could go back--

Brandon Sanderson

Absolutely. Every book. Every book, there are things that I would want to change. And it ranges-- there's a huge gamut of different things.

For instance, in the White Sand books, my first book that I wrote, that we eventually turned into graphic novels. I had a really cool magic system that was about manipulating sand with your mind, and things like this. And then I added in a weird thing where you could transform sand into water for no good reason whatsoever. It doesn't match the rest of the magic system. Because I wanted to write myself out of a hole. And as a newer writer, I did that a lot more. It ended up kind of getting canonized, and when we went back, I didn't fix it that fast, and so it ended up in the first graphic novel, and I'm like, "We need to fix this." So, the third graphic novel-- we've given ourselves enough wiggle room, fortunately, that I can be like, "And that's not what people thought it was." Because I want it to be more consistent. So you get that third graphic novel, and you're like, "Wow, they can't do this anymore?" No one ever did it onscreen, so they were just wrong. 'Cause that totally just does not belong in that magic system.

The Mistborn books, the original trilogy, I worked very hard to make sure I had an interesting, tough, but also compelling female protagonist. But then I defaulted to guys for the rest of the crew. And this is-- If you want to write a story about that, doing it intentionally, that's a different conversation entirely. But when you just kind of do it accidentally, like, I did, I look back and I'm like, "Mmm, I didn't really want to do that". But I did anyway, because of just the way that every story I'd seen I was defaulting to (like Ocean's Eleven, and things like this), where my models were, and I didn't take enough time to think about it, where I think it would have actually been a better story if I would have thought a little bit more about that. Like, there are things like that all across the board.

I did get into a little-- trouble's the wrong term. But in Words of Radiance, I reverted it-- from the paperback, when it came out, I reverted to a previous version that I had written for part of the ending. And that caused all kinds of confusion among the fans, what is canon? And so I'm like, "Oh, I can't do that anymore." But I had gone back and forth on how a part of the ending was to play out. A pretty small element, but a part of the ending. And I had settled on one. And then immediately, as soon as we pushed print, felt that it was the wrong one. But you just gotta go with it.

I don't know. I don't think there's a strict answer on how much you can change, and how much you can't. Grandpa Tolkien went back and changed The Hobbit so it would match Lord of the Rings. And I think I'm glad he did. Even if I would have been annoyed if I'd had the first version that doesn't have the connection. When I read it, it had the connection, and it was so much cooler. I don't know if I have answers on that. But every book, there is something I would want to change.