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Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

On Roshar, we're very aware of... there's humans and non-human species. Is that a unique phenomenon to Roshar? Or do we see that on other worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

You do see that on other worlds. Dragonsteel has one, so Yolen has one. Of course, Scadrial has them, but they started as human, so it doesn't quite count. Everyone on Scadrial started as human, but now there's been some divergent things. Meddling. Other planets do have things like that, but most of the cosmere is human. Based... coming from the origins on Yolen. But there is at least one planet where there's no humans. And I'm not talking about Braize.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
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halo6819

What planet did humans originate on? Or did they originate on Scadrial when Preservation and Ruin got together?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans did not originate on Scadrial, because they were on Yolen, which is a planet before Adonalsium-- the story that takes place before Adonalsium was Shattered. They may have been on other planets, but they-- the very first ones you would care about are probably on Yolen.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Jamester86

So something I've noticed in the fantasy genre that I love is that my 2 favorite authors (Sanderson and Rothfuss) don't use the traditional fantasy medieval setting (that I love) of castles, knights, feudalism etc. Now there are plenty of great authors that do (GRRMartin comes to mind as one that does it right), BUT the truth is, a good story eclipses all minor details like setting. An example I always give is that Patrick Rothfuss could write about brushing your teeth and it would make a fascinating read, and Sanderson would make an intriguing plot with amazing characterization throughout the dental hygiene experience. But I digress.

My question (If Brandon would be so kind as to show up, and if not, if anyone has any insight) is why; why doesn't the cosmere have any traditional medieval fantasy settings? Mistborn has keeps, but the society is not the traditional technology and setting of the medieval time period, nor do any of the other worlds given us.

Brandon Sanderson

There are both in-world reasons and writing reasons.

The writing reasons are obvious. I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy in a faux-medieval setting. I felt that some of these stories were really good, and enjoyed them--but at the same time, I felt the genre had been there and done that. In some ways, GRRM doing fantasy with the eye of a true medievalist provided a capstone to this era of fantasy.

When I sat down to write, didn't want to write what I was tired of reading. Dragonsteel (which never got published) was bronze age, White Sand was industrial, and Elantris was (kind of) Renaissance. (As you noticed, Mistborn is somewhere around 1820's. I modeled a lot of the society around the fascinating culture/industry of canals as shipping lanes that happened in England right before railroads took over.)

The other big reason, writing wise, is that I feel some of the magics that I enjoy dealing with in my settings need a certain near-industrial mindset to be interesting. The stories I want to tell are about people applying scientific principles to magic--and about the commodification and the economics of magic. Those are early-modern era stories.

The in-world reasoning I have is that on some of these planets, those eras existed--but the books are taking place when the stories of the worlds start smashing into one another. In addition, however, the Shards have an influence on this, because of things they saw happen on their own home planet.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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DeliberateConfusion

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.

Pariah_The_Pariah

...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.

Pariah_The_Pariah

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.

Pariah_The_Pariah

Isn't Sel the original planet where Adonalsium happened?

Brandon Sanderson

Yolen is the original.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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havoc_mayhem

You've once said that there were three sentient species on Yolen: Human, Dragon and [Sho Del]. We've seen a lot of 'people' on the different planets that were either descended from or intentionally based on humans. Frost is known to be a dragon.

Are any of the non-human species we've seen descended from or based on either Dragons or [Sho Del]?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! :)

havoc_mayhem

What colour is Frost's blood? What color is a [Sho Del]'s blood?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, more because I'm not ready to canonize Dragonsteel facts yet, as opposed because it will be a huge revelation.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With the Shards and them kind of splitting pre-Adonalsium, was it really Shattered on Yolen or is there a different place?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, it gets a little sticky for various reasons, but you can assume that that's a yes, that what it appears to be is correct. The story would take place on Yolen but it gets messy, because there's some weirdness about the planet.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

Is Vax present (lurking) in any of the star systems explained in Arcanum Unbounded? Personally I think there will be more star systems that would be discovered in the future and Vax might be part of them. Comment?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO for Vax. Yes, there might be more stars. The picture on the cover is the sight observed from one particular place.

Herald (paraphrased)

Silverlight?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO. Let's just say that there are more planetary systems present in the existing star chart itself that you don't know yet.

Herald (paraphrased)

Is Yolen present in the dragon constellation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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A_Dunyain

This is just a stab based on perceived hints, but is Yolen the most "Earth-like" planet in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial is, actually. Sel isn't too far off either. Yolen has some strangeness to it. Two competing ecologies, and some strange geography. But I have wavered on how to convey all of this, so none of it is set in stone yet.

Oathbringer release party ()
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TheFulgid [PENDING REVIEW]

...I know that a lot of [Dragonsteel] is not canon anymore? How much of it, like, percentage-wise, I don't need specifics. 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I would say that all... I consider almost all the worldbuilding to be canon, but the characters to not be.

TheFulgid [PENDING REVIEW]

So, anything about Topaz, does that not stand?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Doesn't really stand. The whole thing with the gods, and stuff like that, is really in flux.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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ConserveGuy

Hi Brandon I don't know if you will answer, but. Did "earth" ever exist in the cosmere? There seems to be humans on all the planets. so where did humans come from? or even the idea of humans?

Brandon Sanderson

Earth did not exist in the cosmere. Humans existed on Yolen (and other planets) before the shattering of Adonalsium, and it is assumed Adonalsium created them.

From a writing perspective, stepping back, I feel like other book series (like the Wheel of Time, Pern, Shannara) really covered the idea of, "This is Earth and/or earth people in another dimension/after an apocalypse/or far in the future." It's been a common enough theme in fantasy that I felt I wanted not to touch on it. So there are no plans to connect the cosmere to Earth in any way.