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Orem Signing ()
#3 Copy

JoyBlu

On the back of The Way of Kings, it says "I long for the days before the Last Desolation." Who's I?

Brandon Sanderson

That is one of the Sleepless. You have not...

JoyBlu

And it ends in "One of them will destroy us." Okay. And I have it we don't know who the Sleepless is yet?

Brandon Sanderson

You know who the Sleepless... You don't know which one. It is not the one that you have met officially. I mean, you've met a couple of Sleepless, but it is not the one that Lift hung out with. He's a little odd, even for a Sleepless.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner 1

So the Sleepless kind of have me wondering about what sentience is in the cosmere. Like how would a Sleepless manifest on the Cognitive Realm--

Brandon Sanderson

That's a good question, you'll-- that I'll RAFO. But they are a single consciousness, but they would argue that all your cells are independent of you. So they are cells that can move around. They're really fun... they started in a non-cosmere book when I was 22. Obviously a bit inspired by Fire Upon the Deep, one of my favorite science fiction books. And I read that book and I'm like, "Group consciousnesses are cool!" what if you had a species that was made up of-- Not like one of these Ender's Game y'know, one, but each swarm was an individual and they could breed and evolve their own things to do different stuff. So each of these little bits, these hordelings is what I call them-- Imight change because we've got cremling now. But each of these little bits is bred for a specific purpose, "Feed the swarm" and stuff like that. So they've got all kinds of cool stuff going on.

Questioner 1

Are they Slivers?

Brandon Sanderson

...Oh Silvers. Not quite like Slivers but yeah. Slivers are a little more that whole Ender's Game thing, right? A little more-- And this is actually an individual that's not a hivemind. These are-- This is an individual, single consciouness, and the cells are-- they've got a step between cell and body. We kind of do too, like mitochondria are kind of "What are these? Are these things we ingested somehow and got working for us?" It's all very cool.

Questioner 2

So is it like Malazan Book of the Fallen, like the D'ivers?

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh, there's little--

Questioner 2

Okay, a little?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Footnote: In MBOTF, D'ivers are shapeshifters that transform into multiple creatures, for example, a human that transforms into seven jackals.
Skyward Chicago signing ()
#7 Copy

ILuvHats

I have a question about the Sleepless. So you have confirmed that distance does matter. Is there a limit or a factor affecting how many hordelings they control?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

ILuvHats

Can you elaborate?

Brandon Sanderson

No, but there is an upper limit on both mass and number.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

Are all Hordelings Cremlings and vise versa?

Brandon Sanderson

Cremling is a synonym in Roshar for both, insect and small crustation, right? And so you would see one and you would see that's a little crayfish. Cremling is not an exact term if that makes sense. It's like bug. The word "bug" people can use to mean a lot of different things.[...] So, yes, they look like Cremlings, because they've been bred to look like Cremlings, so they will not be noticed on Roshar, but there are Hordelings that do not look like Cremlings. But they would still be called a Cremling by the people on Roshar. The occasional people (?) used the word insect, 'cause that word does exist on Roshar. Usually make refers to like little flying bugs that you only find in the very far west of Roshar near the mountains, but yeah.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

Regarding Dysian Aimians. The cremlings that make them up are spread about in a large area--

Brandon Sanderson

They can lose touch if the distance is too far. They can lose contact with the mind of the whole thing.

Questioner

Would their Cognitive aspect be affected by that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it would be. I'll just leave it there, but yes.

Skyward release party ()
#12 Copy

Stormlightning

Is there a limit to hordeling size? Like what the size of one is?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Stormlightning

Should I be worried about whitespines being a hordeling?

Brandon Sanderson

They are not a hordeling.

Stormlightning

So what's the size limit?

Brandon Sanderson

Fist-sized is about how big they get.

Stormlightning

And how many can you have? For one.

Brandon Sanderson

Lots. More than you have seen on screen.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#16 Copy

Hoiditthroughthegrapevine

If a Dysian Aimian had the Elsecaller honorblade, could just a single hordeling transition to the Cognitive Realm? 'Cause I think I've heard that a person couldn't just transition a single part of their body.

Brandon Sanderson

They could transition a single hordeling, but as it works right now, they would probably lose contact with the host and would become broken-off and no longer part of the hive. It's not truly a hive. But it would be like of your finger got cut off and sent to-- something like that. It would start acting independently.

Hoiditthroughthegrapevine

So would you have to have the preponderance of the Dysian Aimian transition to the Cognitive Realm? And the ones that stayed in the Physical Realm would be cut off?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It would be bad for half-and-half to go. Let's say that, one thing that they would love to be able to do is to have a little more versatility there. Let's just say that.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#19 Copy

Stormlightning

Would the Ghostbloods try to recruit [a Sleepless]?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, the Ghostbloods would not trust a Sleepless.

Stormlightning

They wouldn't? So they wouldn't even try to get one?

Brandon Sanderson

They would not. They would expect a Sleepless to take over their organization or try to. And try to stay far away from the Sleepless.

Stormlightning

What about the Seventeenth Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

There are members of the Seventeenth Shard who would be interested in recruiting one of the Sleepless. Generally they represent a wildcard faction that a lot of other people are wary of.

Stormlightning

I guess Khriss and them just know about them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The Sleepless are cosmere-aware.

Stormlightning

Are they worldhoppers?

Brandon Sanderson

There are Sleepless on many planets. They have mostly settled on Roshar for various reasons.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#22 Copy

Iceblade44

So White Sand [than Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Kriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flipin immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dialation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.

Faera

Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of cognitive shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.

Shagomir

Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.

Shagomir

As a Bloodmaker ages what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#25 Copy

Stormlightning

How hard would it be for a Sleepless to imitate the larkin powers in one of their hordelings?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, they would take generations and generations of purposeful attempts at mutating that out.

Stormlightning

Could they theoretically do it?

Brandon Sanderson

They could theoretically do it.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

The Epilogue of Words of Radiance.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Hoid makes particular note of a cremling.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Dysian?

Brandon Sanderson

Hehehehe. You're starting to learn! You're starting to learn.

Questioner

That epilogue just got so much--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he was speaking to one of the Sleepless there. He has spotted them and they--

Questioner

So, he knows.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, he knows!

Questioner

Because he makes a comment about having “no intelligent audience.”

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, yes. *laughter* Of course he doesn’t have an intelligent audience!

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

Could you spike a Hordeling?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Spike means getting something out, Spike means get(ting?) something in? I think that both is viable. I think you can, yeah.

Questioner

If you would spike something in, would the whole Aimian get maybe an Allomantic ability?

Brandon Sanderson

Mostly, this would probably change the Hordeling. And they may lose contact to it. It could fiddle with the connection to the point that they can no longer link. That's gonna be my answer right now, that spiking a Hordeling would separate it from the group mind.