Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing

Event details
Name
Name Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
Date
Date Dec. 6, 2016
Location
Location Chicago, IL
Tour
Tour Arcanum Unbounded
Bookstore
Bookstore Volumes Bookcafe
Entries
Entries 90
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#1 Copy

Questioner

I want to know how Hoid travels between worlds. Or, if you're not going to tell me right now, will we ever find out?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has travelled between the worlds by getting in one Shardpool in Shadesmar and coming out a different one. *pause* Okay? So that is one method he has used to travel between the worlds. The worlds are connected through Shadesmar. Um, things that people don't think about as much reflect very minorly in Shadesmar, so when you-- all the-- most of the space between planets is cut out, and there's some weird, twisted geography going on there. So that's basically how he does it, Cognitive Realm.

#2 Copy

Questioner

So we know that you can't just have someone-- If someone were to do something similar to Hoid, he can't just pop and go "Oh look, I can now do Allomancy or I can now do Surgebinding". What about Breath? If someone could somebody get Breath-- Maybe not *audio obscured* Could they still get the benefits of--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, good question... Yes you can, actually. Breath is-- Once it is given to you, it is being keyed to you. Your Identity. So that transfer makes it yours to use however you want.

Questioner

So you could Awaken?

Brandon Sanderson

You could Awaken. If you-- If you were to somehow make it there, you would be able to Awaken. It's the easiest of magic systems to get the magic from, and then to manipulate. Because it has keyed into it Identity.

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you can take Breath onto another world. In fact, you've seen characters do this.

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

It would work, yes.

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it would work the same way.

The only magic that is location-dependent--  The ones who aren't interested in this, just hum to yourself, okay? *laughter* You don't need to know any of this stuff to enjoy the books, okay? I write them so that you could just-- each series can be read independently, and enjoyed. There is behind the scenes stuff, and if you want to dig, it goes pretty deep.

So on Sel, we have AonDor. AonDor is based on the fact that the Dor, which is an amalgamation of Dominion and Devotion, has been pressed together and stuffed into the Cognitive Realm by Odium who didn't want it to gain sentience, as Investiture will do if it is left alone. It will either seek someone to be its Vessel or it will gain sentience. He pressed it in there; he pressed it together, which creates the violent reaction, because those two intents are opposed. And that is the foundation of the magic. Because it's stuck in the Cognitive Realm rather than the Spiritual Realm (the Spiritual Realm is location-independent; Cognitive Realm is location-dependent), it makes the magic on Sel only work in close proximity to what is keyed through there to the location they're keyed to. This has to do with Identity and Connection. Mostly Connection. So that means you can't do AonDor on another planet, but you can do other magics works anywhere, because they're drawing the magics specifically through either the place, or they're end-neutral, like Breath is, and you don't need any extra power.

#3 Copy

FirstSelector

So if I'm a Surgebinder, I have my own Cognitive entity with me. Can I go off-world with that and will everything continue to work in exactly the same way? Because we've seen Cognitive entities that don't--

Brandon Sanderson

So taking a Cognitive entity off-world is hard. So, Surgebinding, if you can find out how to make it happen, remember, the Investiture is keyed to Connection. This is why Kelsier is-- Oh, sorry, spoilers! When a certain somebody *laughter* had trouble getting off Scadrial, because he basically was a spren by that point so--*laughter* ...So, yeah Surgebinding would work off planet, but you'd have to get the spren off-planet first. That's hard to do. Cosmere-wide it's not hard hard but it is-- You'd have to know some stuff. You could learn how.

#4 Copy

Questioner

Does the Shard of Ambition have anything to do with the Bondsmith?

Brandon Sanderson

Shard of Ambition have anything to do with the Bondsmith, no, good question. Oh! I see what you guys are getting at. Who's the third Bondsmith... So, uhh, this is a RAFO. I will eventually start talking about the third Bondsmith. I'm gonna RAFO all questions about it for a while though. So just warning you guys.

#5 Copy

Argent

You mention... No you didn't mention Arthur Clarke. The guy with the "Any sufficiently advanced technology is distinguishable from magic" ...In, at least, one of the Mistborn trilogies you are probably going to have to deal with the distinction between magic and technology. So can you talk a little about how you are going to address that?

Brandon Sanderson

So yeah, addressing the-- This is a really good question, thank you. So Clarke's Law says that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Right? And this is kind of a science fiction truism that we use in writing. It's a really cool concept when you think about it. But he asks "Well we're pushing the Mistborn trilogy more and more towards science fiction--"

For those who don't know, I pitched the Mistborn trilogy to my editor, long ago--this was 2003 when I pitched it to him-- I pitched it as a trilogy of trilogies. An epic fantasy trilogy that then after the epic fantasy trilogy we would jump hundreds of years and do an urban fantasy trilogy in a more modern setting, where all of the events of the epic fantasy trilogy became the foundation of religion and superstition and even culture to a modern society. What if our heritage were something like The Lord of the Rings? And then I was going to write a science fiction trilogy where... magic became the means by which space travel is possible. So there is, built-in to Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy, FTL-capability. *audience mutters* *nervously* It's not there yet don't worry. *laughter*

Argent

Somebody found the rabbit-hole.

Brandon Sanderson

That's all RAFO's. I'm not answering any of that.

So I did Alloy-era, by the way, as a stop-gap between the epic fantasy and the modern because I wanted something smaller-- The modern trilogy is going to be very thick books, and I wanted something to balance Stormlight while I was doing the first five Stormlight...

So he's asking how I'm going to deal with this whole collision... between science and magic. So there's a-- I don't know if corollary is the right term. Probably not, but there's a version of Clarke's Law which you inverse. And you say "Any sufficiently understood magic is indistinguishable from science". In the cosmere the magic is science. What I would call-- say is science fantasy because we've added to the Laws of Thermodynamics. We have this other thing called Investiture, which is what powers all the magic. Which is the souls of the things they call gods, their substance. And you can change matter or energy into Investiture and back. And so we've got a third circle in the old Laws of Thermodynamics and so because of that it's science fantasy. I would still call this fantasy because science fiction is where they go "We're going to take the Laws of Thermodynamics and try to explain what we can do using them" I'm like "No, we're just going to add to them, right?" But yeah that's where we're going. There will be a collision of that but it's really going to be-- To them it's indistinguishable, once you get far enough along, that it really is science.

#6 Copy

Argent

There's a scene in... Way of Kings, where Syl appears full-sized, like a human. It’s the only time she does that, why is that?

Brandon Sanderson

That was a very special moment. And there’s was some matters of Connection going on. In the Cognitive Realm she's full-sized, when she's there, and so this is echoing that. So that when, later on, if you were to see her in Shadesmar, and if you're like "Oh she's human sized!" Well--

Argent

That's how she would appear.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you should know.

#7 Copy

Questioner

Did the Red Scar, or Red Rip, whatever you want to call it, look the same pre-Shattering as it does now?

Brandon Sanderson

Taln's Scar, or the Red Rip, it's on the map inside [Arcanum Unbounded] did it look the same... before and after the Shattering of Adonalsium? RAFO.

#8 Copy

Questioner

Did you come up with Prof's powers *audio obscured* did you come up with them prior to setting up the context to the story or after--

Brandon Sanderson

That one was prior. That's the only power for the entire series that I came up with before, and it's part of why I wanted to write it. In fact there is a certain scene, with the ceiling opening up and someone landing and being very superhero-ish for a little bit of time. That was the first scene I came up with for that book after-- even before the prologue I think. So yeah-- Every other thing I did in that I developed.

...Those powers were the thing I wanted most in that book. The second thing was the idea in the prologue-- If you haven't read this book there's a supervillian doing awful things and then a superman-analogue floats down from the ceiling and then says, basically, "Hey good job, wanna join my team?" That's the scene I wanted to kick off the book, and it's this idea that there are no heroes. There are only villians. And so what do you do if you have to bring down an evil superbeing and you have no powers yourself.

#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So I can turn this into a general question because it's very-- people find it very interesting. How do I plot a series?

What I usually do is I have independent ideas that are spinning around in my head and they start sticking together. An idea by itself, such as "Hey what if the hero prophesied to save the world failed?" that's a cool seed but it's not a story yet. But when you smash that into "Gang of thieves want to pull off a heist. They're gunna rob the dark lord" those two ideas make something cooler. The sum of the parts, for me, is greater than the individual pieces. And ideas come from this, you start with random characters, and plot ideas, and setting ideas, and magic-- Allomancy was developed for a separate book, that I wrote and was terrible, and then it laid in my notes file until I started needing a magic system a bunch of thieves could use that could complement them and each thief could have a different power. And I pulled Allomancy and redesigned it to go in this book. All of these thing happen, often independently.

I then build an outline. I'm an outliner. I build an outline. I then do character sketches, which are short in-viewpoint or first-person dialogue/viewpoint things of the character just living their life. It doesn't go into the book. Usually. But it gives me a feel for who the character is, because it's very hard to outline a character. If you do then they start to feel rigid. And so I do this-- try to discover the character, and then I go back and rebuild my outline, then I write my book. And then I outline the next books in the series. Usually.

So Reckoners is a good example of this. I built the first book, wrote the whole book, had no ideas for sequels when I wrote the first book. Then once it was done I sat down with my team, they read it, and I said "Alright, here's the feel I want for this. We-- For instance I want illusionist powers that are very different from what Shallan does. I want to have this and this and this. Let's design sequels, and then I'll go back and re-write the first one to match, with the new outline for the sequels. I release the first book and then I write the sequels." That is kind of the basic process for designing a story for me.

#10 Copy

Questioner

A lot of the magical methods you create in your novels carry with it the birth of nobility.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

And that reminds me a lot of the magic martial arts *audio unclear* Aside from the big influence of Dragonsbane and other novels on your fantasy novels have you drawn any other inspirations--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah.

Questioner

--spiritually from Asian, Korean or Chinese *audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The question is, have I drawn any inspirations from Eastern literature. Specifically he asked for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. *speaks Korean* I lived in Korea for two years and I speak Korean. Mormon missionary, right? So I speak Korean, I actually do have a Korean minor. And even before that, Hong Kong kung-fu movies. OH YEAH. *laughter* I love Hong Kong movies particularly-- You know the modern stuff is really beautiful, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero or House of Flying Daggers and stuff like that, but even the old stuff, it's a little bit silly. Yeah, I just ate that stuff up. Jackie Chan. You can't go wrong with Jackie Chan, right? But even the stuff that's just a little ridiculous I love. It's just-- It's cool. There's something about it. So there's that. You're also going to find echoes of RPGs I've played, obviously. I mean I've worked hard because I don't want my books to feel like a video game. But I grew up playing video games, right? That's one of my major influences. Steelheart's going to feel like a comic book, right? And some of my books are going to feel like that. It's a part of who I am, it's part of my geek upbringing, right? So yeah, definitely. There's a lot of-- now that I have become a writer through my twenties there's a lot of different influences. The Alethi are based slightly on the Mongolians specifically-- But there's no horses, which let's me divorce it a little bit. People always expect Mongolians to be a nomadic horse people but you just don't have enough horses. If you guys have studied Subutai, if you know him, a Mongolian general, I based Dalinar a little bit on Subutai. But then you are mixing in Hebrew influences and Arab influences. That's kind of my mash-up that's creating the Alethi. And so yeah,you are going to find all kinds of weird things. Art of War is of course a big influence on how I approach warfare and things. So yes, yes, it's there.

#11 Copy

Questioner

You mentioned RPGs, what's your favorite RPG?

Brandon Sanderson

Final Fantasy X *audience cheers* I love that one. Like a lot of the Final Fantasies didn't make any sense, and it's okay that they don't make any sense, but that one actually really made sense to me and it really worked. I like that they have-- Like it has a character who's not dark and broody? *laughter* For the first time ever? It's kind of a jock. He's just-- He's just a happy-go-lucky jock who gets caught up in saving the world and it was such a fresh-- Fresh of breath air? It was such a fresh of breath air. *laughter* But yeah. Pen and paper, I grew up playing the Palladium. A lot of Palladium, so TMNT was my introduction to pen and paper RPGs.

#12 Copy

Questioner

Any new Alcatraz books coming up?

Brandon Sanderson

Any new Alcatraz books coming up? So, for those who haven't read my really goofy middle-grade series, if you like it in this speech when I've been goofy, that's what's in-- what those books are basically all. *laughter* It's basically Professor Sanderson riffing for a bunch of pages. I write them as escapes from things in the Cosmere which are-- I take very seriously, right? They-- To the point that I try not to make them self-important but they got to take themselves seriously. Even if the characters can laugh at situations, the situation itself must not be ridiculous. And so to blow off steam I write these books about people who have really dumb magic talents. Like "arriving late to appointments" is a superpower. Which I chose because I do it all the time.

And I had this evil plan with the Alcatraz books. That I was going to tell everyone it was a five book series. And then end the fifth book on a huge, huge down note, and then be like "It's the end!" Except have in the back-- It was supposed to be a card, a little, printed card, but we realized that would get lost when you check it out from libraries and things. So we just made it a folded-up page [marked] "Don't read it first". There's a character who says "Okay since the main character, this Alcatraz, is not going to write the last book and show that he's actually a hero, I will write it." So we're going to change character voices, dramatically, to someone else and write one last book, that is not a big downer.

This is because when I wrote the first book-- You know how I did that outline thing I talked about? I wrote the first book of Alcatraz and it was this whole-- this story about this hero who claims he's not a hero, he's actually a big failure and he's writing an expose on himself to get people to stop worshipping him for all the cool things he supposedly did. And it's very ridiculous and funny, but I wrote this book and I'm like "Okay great. Either we have to have the ending everyone's expecting, which is 'He's really not that bad a guy, he's just been playing with you the whole time.' which feels like too cheap and easy or it has to be a really downer of an ending like he promised." The first paragraph starts with him about to be sacrificed. And that scene is on the cover of the fifth book, 'cause it's a flashback when he talks about it. So I came up with this dual-nature. The editors were kind of baffled by it, "We tell them it's a five book series but then we have one more book. So we can have both, a real downer of an ending and not a real downer of an ending?" And so the sixth book I will write some time this year.

#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Stormlight 3 will be next November. I had a meeting with the Tor people, and that's what we're planning. Tentatively [Stormlight] 3 next year, Rithmatist sequel, the following year, Wax & Wayne the following year, and then the next Stormlight. That is our plan. Hopefully new Stormlight can come a little faster than that, but what I've found is the outlines for Stormlight books take like a year to build, even though like-- When I do this outline process I do like the first book and then I outline each one with a couple pages? And then it takes forever to build this outline because I write Stormlight books as a trilogy, each novel is a trilogy, that I then interweave and release as one volume. And then there's a short story collection in there too, with the interludes and things. So it's a complex process. So I'm hoping, but I'm not going to promise them faster than one every three years, I just can't. They're too big and the way my process works, once I finish something I need to leave that alone for a while and try something else. And originally I'm like "Every 18 months, I can do that!" I can't do that. It's the travel and everything and whatnot. So we're going to do that. So we're going to do Stormlight, Rithmatist, Wax & Wayne-- last Wax & Wayne book, and then Stormlight-- the next Stormlight. That is our plan right now. I will also be doing another YA series to follow-up The Reckoners, for those who like those.

#14 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I will also be doing another YA series to follow up The Reckoners, for those who like those. This one-- So here's the pitch. I'm actually pitching one of my books! It's great. *laughter*

It's the story of what happens if you call the Justice League for help and they're all gone solving a bigger problem and you get the intern. *laughter* It's actually about a girl named Emma and she is the coffee girl for the Apocalypse Guard who are-- Like in the Reckoners universe there's people with super powers. The Apocalypse Guard is kind of bigger than that. In the Reckoners books they've discovered the multiverse, the different dimensions-- A very comic book thing. I'd already done something like the Cosmere, so I decided to go with the multiple dimensions theory in this one. Some of them are stable, they're real worlds and things. A lot of them are just shadows. But the stable ones, they find, are all undergoing some big disaster. Or most of them are. It's all kind-- Something is happening that's put all these worlds in crisis. And so they formed the Apocalypse Guard. There's people with superpowers but there's also lots of engineers and scientists. It's not like they sweep in and save the day in a couple minutes, they spend like eight months building this big plan to save these planets. And so they've got a plan, they're going to save a planet, and then something attacks them. Completely unexpectedly. Disaster happens. Emma the coffee girl gets transported to one of these worlds that's about to be destroyed. And she has no powers, they're all off fighting whatever attacked this thing, and she either has to get off this world or put in action their plan, that they've been working on for many months, by herself and one guy that is tech support. *laughter* Yeah, those are our two main characters. One is tech support, over the headphones, trying to talk her through putting the plan together. And she is the coffee girl. And they have to deal with this.

The world is actually a cool one I came up with a few years ago that's surrounded in an envelope of water, all around it. Based on the idea of the Firmament. So there's land, air, and then water. And the water can't come crashing down, but it's where some old philosophers thought the Flood was. In ancient days, before the Flood, you would have looked up and seen air, the clouds, and then an envelope of water. The Firmament. And I've always thought that idea was really cool, so that's going to happen on the world. They've got to stop the flood that's going to destroy the planet. Or get off of it, or something.

#15 Copy

Questioner

Are there any specific choices that you've made in the story of the books that years later you go "Ah man, I wish I had done--"

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, what a great question. Are there any things that i've done in my books that I've regretted. Like I'm like "Oh I should have done this" or things, many years later. There's basically one for every book. Or two, or multiples. *laughter* One of the big ones is, at the end of Mistborn Vin draws on the mist... I'm trying to avoid spoilers on this... which is something I'd been planning to do in Book 2, and then I wrote Book 1 and did all my outlines and things and my editor got back to me on Book 1, "Could we add more pow, more punch to the end of this book?" and I'm like "Yeah we can do this thing I was going to do in Book 2". But then it didn't feel foreshadowed to me. After I put it in and released the book, I was looking through it again like "This doesn't have enough foreshadowing." And this is where I developed Sanderson's First Law. I was "I did something wrong in this book." It's lack of proper foreshadowing on how the magic works. So there's that. There's all sorts of things, like at the end of Words of Radiance I had a character kill another character in a situation where I don't think he should have. He should have just let the character die to the environment or something like that. And so I actually tweaked that between hardcover and paperback. I'm not sure if I should have done that. I wanted to try it out and see. But yeah, every book.

Most of the time you just have to let it go, right? Elsa. You have to Elsa it. Because otherwise-- Was it da Vinci? "Good art is never finished it is only abandoned" right? Or just art, "Art is never finished only it is only abandoned". You've got to learn to just to let things go and let them be canon. And it's actually very-- I've found that readers are more forgiving of these things than the author thinks they will be. They're like "We like seeing early books, and the fact that you hadn't learned to do some of these things quite right yet. It's an aspect, a fun part of the writing". But yeah, basically every book that I wish. I wish, for instance, in Mistborn, that I had made Ham a woman. I was so focused on Strong. Female. Protagonist. that I forgot half the population are women. *laughter* And like years later I look back, I'm like "Ennnnhhhh... The whole team--" I do have Vin, who turned out really well, and Tindwyl in the next book. But in the first book you're like "Are there any women in this world? It's basically all dudes". So this happens to a lot of new writers, and if you guys are new writers, don't stress it too much. You're going to make mistakes. When they become obvious to you, just realize you're in a process. That's how you learn. You come up with goofy things like Sanderson's Laws to explain stupid stuff you've done to help yourself not do it in the future.

#16 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Movie deal? Let's preempt that one. Yes, we are doing Cosmere as a movie series. *audience cheers* What happened is-- The short version so I don't get in too much trouble. The short version. We started-- They came to me for The Emperor's Soul, like three or four years ago. And I was like, "Emperor's Soul? You realize this takes place all in one room?" *laughter* And it turns out they're a Chinese company and they had been looking for good fantasy properties, and action properties, or fantasy-- whatever, they just wanted properties where they could feature a Chinese actor because they feel there aren't enough Asian people given roles in Hollywood. And so the company's specific goal was to do this. They're one of the production companies for Iron Man 3, so they've done some things. And so they came to me "Emperor's Soul stars a Chinese woman and it's this awesome fantasy story. We might have to leave the room and go to different locations, and stuff like that, or field trips. But we want to try and adapt it." And so I said, "That sounds really cool, go for it." So they bought Emperor's Soul and then a few months later I got a phone call from them. And it was a guy in LA, one of their American correspondents they said "Start working on how we would adapt this. Pick a-- Work with a screenwriter and things like this." And he said "Alright let's get some backstory, it's related to Elantris I'll read that. Oh Elantris is related to Mistborn, I'll read that." *laughter* So he called me having just read all the works of the Cosmere across about a month and having spent about eight hours on the 17th Shard's Coppermind. *crowd cheers* So that's actually how the movie deal happened. He called and said "I need all the unpublished books."

There are two unpublished Cosmere books I'll send out to people. They're not very good but you can write us through my website and we'll send them. Theoretically... So if you want'em-- It takes about a month or two to get back to you on them, but will send them to you. Because I don't think they're worth charging for, but-- One of them is White Sand, which is now a graphic novel, it's the prose version of that. So hopefully you can get the graphic novel and compare it to the prose. and the other one is Aether of Night. Which is really fun but it's like two books that never matched. Like how I have those ideas, right? So you read this book and it's like this mistaken identity, Shakespearean comedy, fantasy thing plus one of the Shards of Adonalsium trying to destroy the world. And it just doesn't mesh. But it's got cool magic. So if you want those you can write to us.

So he got those, he read those, he's like "I need everything." and got all that and I'm like "What do you want?" and he's like "I'm trying to convince my boss to buy the whole Cosmere." And he did, he convinced his boss to buy the whole Cosmere. Except for Mistborn which was optioned to someone else. So when people read the thing and said "Why are they developing Way of Kings first?" Well technically they were developing The Emperor's Soul first. That came back as "This a really hard one to develop because it takes place in one room." And so they're like "We're going to fast-track Way of Kings." Way of Kings is also very hard to develop, but that's what they started on. And when Mistborn became a available this summer they bought that and that's when they did the big announcement. "We now have the whole Cosmere and they put Mistborn immediately into development for screenplay. So I bet the screenplays come in at about the same time, even though they had Way of Kings for about a year longer. Adapting that book-- We want feature film because there are so few places to do a tv show right. There's like two markets, maybe three. Amazon, Netflix, HBO. That's basically-- There's so few options, and there's way more movie studios and things like that. If it doesn't fit into a film we all agree that television is next. But if the screenwriters can get it into a film that we like we'd rather do-- we'd rather do that. Our chances of getting something good go up. There are lots of markets for television but most of them don't have a budget, right? So that's what we're looking at. Everything's looking well. They're great people. Multiples of them have read the entire Cosmere now. And when I get phone calls from them I get asked questions like this. *laughter* They're good people, they're doing a great job. I can't guarantee we'll make any films, right? It's Hollywood. It took twenty years to do a Spiderman film. It took like twenty-five to get an Ender's Game film, and that's practially written-- When you read the story it has "Oh this is a screenplay" all over it. So I can't promise that we'll get it done but we're going to give it the old college try.

#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Alright we're going to read now. This is a short passage, but it is a flashback from Kaladin. Probably not what you expected. This book will mostly have Dalinar flashbacks, but Kaladin I plan to do multiple books where I sneak flashbacks in. They're short. Like I said they're only a few pages, but they fill in wholes in Kaladin's backstory. He doesn't get all of them in this book, but through the series you'll get glimpses of Kaladin's past. And this is one of them.

#18 Copy

Questioner

So when does that new Reckoners come out in your hierarchy of release?

Brandon Sanderson

They've got it planned for Summer 2018. So that's a year where I'll be-- When I'm not doing a big book is when you'll be seeing those.

Questioner

Is that just the one or--

Brandon Sanderson

It's a trilogy.

#20 Copy

Argent

The essays in Arcanum, how trustworthy are they? Considering--

Brandon Sanderson

They're pretty trustworthy, as much as you would trust a scholar nowadays who’s an expert in their field. Do know that they take place before Sixth of the Dusk occurs.

Argent

Before Sixth of the Dusk.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. These are contemporary with most of the books right now, not contemporary with all the stories in there.

Argent

Were they all written at the same time? Or across a--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, same time for a little thing she was doing about the worlds for people.

#21 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

*reading a personalization request* Name a Shard not--

FirstSelector

Preservation... from the alternate [Well of Ascension] ending.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh! Oh, oh, oh, oh! What do you mean by that?

FirstSelector

I thought that those four were-- the four mist-people--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh the four mist-people that's-- Oh... *sighs* I gotta RAFO that, right?

FirstSelector

Well it's not canon technically.

Brandon Sanderson

No it's not canon... Okay I just have to dig back deep... But there's stuff--

FirstSelector

Star.

Brandon Sanderson

There's a star, just remember the star.

*writes*

"Endowment was there*"

#22 Copy

FirstSelector

Does Elsecallers-- Can they move without perpendicularities on other worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh Elsecallers. Yes, they can.

FirstSelector

Yeah, we were considering *audio obscured* teleporting--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah this is-- This is the thing. Getting in and out-- off and on-- is not--

#23 Copy

FirstSelector

Are the Shards from Aether of Night canon? You mentioned that just a second ago--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes I did. Aether of Night is not intended to be canon anymore. The thing is, I'm trying to work it back into the Cosmere... so when it's done there are going to be dramatic changes.

#24 Copy

Questioner

Would Sebarial and Cett make good roommates?

Brandon Sanderson

Heh, heh... They'd make a good comedy show.

#25 Copy

Dragon13

Does Hoid have any relations other than his parents?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid have any-- like direct blood relatives?

Dragon13

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay. In the book, when I wrote it before, he did not. Dragonsteel isn’t 100% canon anymore so that will possibly change, but he did not, and there are none in my mind right now, so he's an only child as I have right now. It's unlikely to change, but I do have to asterisk that one because I haven't written Dragonsteel yet... Oh no, he had a little brother! He did have a little brother. Even in the original.

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Dragon13

Are the Hemalurgic constructs in Shadows of Self as twisted as they are because... something was spiked out of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay the Hemalurgic...

Dragon13

Or something spiked into them?

Brandon Sanderson

We're talking about who?

Dragon13

The Hemalurgic constructs in the catacombs.

Brandon Sanderson

There's something spiked into them.

Dragon13

Is there anything spiked out of them? Making them more feral?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, but-- Let's just say this it's a RAFO with the star of "Nobody knows how spike someone without killing them right now." So it's a "Most likely, just spikes in."

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Questioner

Are there any greatshells in Roshar's oceans larger than the ones we've seen?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

So the Reshi Isles--

Brandon Sanderson

The Reshi Isles, that's the biggest, and even with that I'm doing major fudging on the square-cube law. They've just spren-bonded, we'll talk about this. But even with the spren, those are a stretch. That's as big as it gets. They could exist in the oceans because the square-cube law doesn't apply the in same way, with buoyancy and things. But I think we don't need anything larger than islands.

Questioner

No Godzilla?

Brandon Sanderson

They're bigger than some version of Godzilla.

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Questioner

Who writes these perspectives?

Brandon Sanderson

Those are written from a group called the Sleepless. You'll find them referenced in Edgedancer. They are Aimians.

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Brandon Sanderson

With the-- You're talking about the breaking of Elantris? Who says it was after?

Questioner

Well I assumed it was before...

Questioner

...Who says it was before or after? The real answer to that is some are from before, some are from after. That's the actual answer. I was being cheeky but you caught me because I misread the question. They are not all the same age.

Footnote: The actual question is unknown, but presumably it refers to the Ire.
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Questioner

I noticed a very similar fire-starting tool in both Sixth of the Dusk and also in [Shadows for Silence in the] Forests of Hell.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that any-- I know they have two levers you push together and they spark.

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

Questioner

Is that any kind of random--

Brandon Sanderson

So I  did intend there to be a connection there but it is not a connection that is supposed to be super meaningful. It's just that somebody figured something out, and Sixth of the Dusk is many years later. We have them in our world too. I did it deliberately because I wrote those stories so close together. I was like "Oh this technology has gotten around because the Ones Above have started visiting." But I don't think they're of a technology level that they couldn't have discovered it on their own maybe, so it's not supposed to be some big reveal.

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Questioner

Is Nazh a cartographer?

Brandon Sanderson

Nazh. So Nazh knows enough that he-- Like he knows more than the average person, but I would not call him a cartographer. I would describe him... as a grumpy, cosmere James Bond. Not nearly as cool, but it's the same sort of thing. "Here's the mission. You need to do this. Get in. Infiltrate. Get this thing." Right?

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Questioner

My crazy theory is that Nazh was Isasik Shulin...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he is not. Good question. Nazh is Isaac’s character, he designed him and came up with him. I said "I need somebody to be getting these" and the character is all him, doesn’t necessarily look like him. He doesn't actually look like him. But Nazh, he owns. He just credited that, and I knew people would look at that be like "What's going on here?" But it wasn't meant to be anything, just this is Isaac's character and if he ever-- He wants to write some stories in the cosmere, he might write about Nazh.

Footnote: Brandon is referring to the fact that is author photo is attributed to "Nazrilof".
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Questioner

What is the experience of Steelrunning? ...It doesn't speed up your mind, so how do you control yourself?

Brandon Sanderson

Most forms of Allomancy give a small boost to any attributes you would need in order to survive and use and manipulate it,  just like atium. So it's going to give you a slight ability-- might speed you up just enough to get some reactions and things, otherwise you just can't do it. What I don't have it doing is cancelling friction. I did that intentionally, so you can burn yourself up with that. But you have to use it measuredly and carefully.

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Questioner

If you're willing to answer it, how did Bloody Tan pull off the move in the intro to the Wax and Wayne books?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. I do think I'll actually answer that some day. If I don't I'll just put it online. Bloody Tan had influences.

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Questioner

Are we going to hear much about Dustbringers in the near future?

Brandon Sanderson

So--

Questioner

'Cause I don't know why but I'm really curious about them.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but it's going to be very slight for a little while. I'm intentionally digging into these magics somewhat slowly, all the different orders, just so we have time to get used to them. They're one of the later ones. Let's talk more about Bondsmiths and Skybreakers before we do that.

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Questioner

If Kaladin and Dalinar were Magic cards, what color do you think they’d be?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar now is mono-White. He was mono-Red in his youth, inching toward Black-Red, but I would just call him mono-Red in his youth. Kaladin I would probably call Blue-White in Magic terms because they like things that fly and that have to do with the wind. So he would get the elemental Blue and personality White. Maybe a tinge of Red, but probably-- I would make a Blue-White Kaladin.

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Questioner

Can you tell us something about the magic on the Darkside?

Brandon Sanderson

Not nearly as explosive and obvious as the magic on Dayside. Most of the Investiture you’ll find is on Dayside, but there is some stuff going on over there.

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Questioner

He wants me to ask you about the knife that was given to Kel?

Brandon Sanderson

To Kal? Oh Kel, Kelsier. By Nazh. The knife is weird. That's all I'll say.

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ARARITA

Has Denth ever been to Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Has Denth been to Scadrial. So Scadrial is one of the planets that's easier to get to, in cosmere terms. I will say this: he did not travel the cosmere widely. But Scadrial is one of the easier-- He spent a lot of time on Roshar, and did not travel widely. That's your answer.

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Questioner

Will there be any more of Silence from the Forests of Hell?

Brandon Sanderson

The world is very relevant to the cosmere. I have several books planned there, I don’t know how many of them I’ll write. I will at least write one of them. Silence herself is not a character from the books. I designed that story and it matched the world so I put it there. But yes there will be other things from that world.

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Questioner

In Secret History, Hoid says something to Kelsier about him destroying the Pits and destroying an entire mercantile system. Is he talking about literal inter-Realmic trade?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Interplanetary trade, yes.

Questioner

Follow-up: Is House Venture involved?

Brandon Sanderson

House Venture is not involved. People in House Venture might be.

Questioner

The guy who--

Brandon Sanderson

Here is a RAFO card for your follow-up. House Venture is-- Yes.

Footnote: The questioner was likely referring to Felt, a spy that worked for House Venture, who is a worldhopper.
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Questioner

When Hoid took the bead of lerasium, did he actually eat it or did he just hang on to it?

Brandon Sanderson

You have seen him use Allomancy in other books, so… there's your answer.

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Questioner

I’ve been fixating on this mass exodus. The Iriali, the Iri people, are they the people of the mass exodus? Or-- I've always wanted it to be the people of Threnody.

Brandon Sanderson

The Iriali are not native to Roshar.

Questioner

Okay, that's... what I've always assumed.

Brandon Sanderson

There is stuff going on on Threnody too, it shares some similarities.

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Questioner

The two Shards on Sel were kind of pressed into the Cognitive Realm. Is that what makes travel there so difficult?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Because you usually travel through the Cognitive Realm. WELL that's not exactly what you want to be doing on Sel.

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Questioner

Are there any books of yours you would like to experience as a first time reader?

Brandon Sanderson

I would looooove to read Way of Kings for the first time.

Questioner

Way of Kings? It's pretty great.

Brandon Sanderson

But y'know, that Sanderson guy. I hear things about him. I hear he likes really bad jokes.

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Questioner

About the Sleepless, if and when will I see them again?

Brandon Sanderson

You have seen them multiple times already, so you will see them multiple times again.

Questioner

Okay, I'll have to re-read and look closely.

Brandon Sanderson

Watch for cremlings in places that--

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Questioner

On the map here, are the other cosmere worlds on the map and just unlabeled, or is there a bigger map?

Brandon Sanderson

There are stars on there that are unlabeled that have inhabited planets around them.

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Questioner

When you put together different magic systems, do you just have a file of those that "this is goiing to work for this one"?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a file of magic systems, characters, and settings, and plots. Usually I review it for a while, periodically I mean, and certain connections are made. I build on those in my head, then eventually stick them back in if it doesn't end up working. But ocasionally it's like-- Like Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, I wanted to write a book about a bounty hunter woman who runs an inn and kills the people who come to the inn. I developed that all without the magic system or anything like that, and then said what world would this fit on? Would it fit on any of them? Do I need to make a new story? And I'm like "This worked really well on Threnody" so I put it there and put the magic in. Usually it's the other way around, I've got the world and things and I need some characters to plug in.

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Brandon Sanderson

SanderCon-- I think that JordanCon would be happy to host a-- They always have a Brandon Sanderson track and I go every two or three years. So every two or three years JordanCon has a mini SandersonCon attached to it. And that is what I recomend, okay? I mean Pratchett could carry one but I don't think most of us can. I think cons are more interesting if you have some other paneling to go to.

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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!

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Argent

So, the Edgedancer's Resonance, the Perk? I think you've called it Resonance at some point, is that still accurate?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that totally works. The powers affect each other in interesting ways.

Argent

Right.

Brandon Sanderson

Um, so the thing about it is, calling it a Perk, that like saying--

Argent

It's a side effect right?

Brandon Sanderson

It's less a side effect-- It's like, when the powers merge, they are always slightly different. For instance, Lightweaving from a Truthwatcher is different from-- Slightly. There will be things. So, you're gonna see that they all have access to the Surges, but in combinations, they act a little differently from one another.

Questioner

So is the Edgedancer's Resonance something to do with communication? Because we see Lift--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah we'll RAFO that.

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Questioner

Is there any way it's possible that somebody could have gotten to the Cognitive Realm on Scadrial without the Well of Ascension?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

And can we know how?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, how many Shardpools would Scadrial have?

Questioner

Two, so the Pits of Hathsin would be so? That's what I theorized.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So you've adopted the term "Shardpool". That was never really my term, but I've started using it. What happens with a perpendicularity is large concentrations of Investiture, particularly purely attuned to one of the Shards, will create an access point. You've seen another one in--

Questioner

Yeah, yeah I know these.

Brandon Sanderson

You know which one I'm referencing?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

That you didn't see a Pool from?

Questioner

Oh wait--

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, he knows, so… We'll move on. *general outcry* Okay, fine. Umm, at the end of Words of Radiance.

Argent

There has to be one there because Jasnah has to leave somehow, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but Honor's Perpendicularity moves.

Questioner

Woah...so...Highstorm?

Brandon Sanderson

*makes non-committal noises*

Questioner 2

Kind of related to that, I don't know if this is a RAFO kind of question, but you call them perpendicularities, are we going to see this sort of thing created? Could there be, like--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, perpendicularities can be created. You'd need a lot of Investiture, right? You'd need a ton of Investiture. But, basically what Jasnah does is create a little mini perpendicularity, right? And slips herself into the Cognitive Realm.

Questioner 2

So it's just a question of skill, not a question of--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It's hard to pull off, but some of the powers are built to do it.

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Questioner

I have a specific question about one Perpendicularity, on First of the Sun. You've mentioned that it's dangerous.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that because there are predators that can sense your thoughts, that can sense your presence in the Cognitive Realm as you're travelling across the Perpendicularity before you cross over--

Brandon Sanderson

That's a Read And Find Out.

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Questioner

Does Silverlight have a permanent Perpendicularity on it?

Brandon Sanderson

Silverlight has weird. So I'm gonna give a RAFO to that.

Questioner

It's got a physical constellation map. So they've gotta go to the Physical somehow right?

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, no. That can be in the Cognitive Realm.

Argent

The constellation map can be a picture from the Cognitive?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, yeah, I mean, it can be a picture in the Cognitive. That is a picture that exists in Silverlight.

Argent

Right, sure, but they need to be somewhere to view those things.

Brandon Sanderson

Right, I didn't say that that’s from the perspective Silverlight, but what we say is the picture is hanging there.

Questioner

So that was a mis-interpretation on our part.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the picture is hanging there in Silverlight. Okay?

FirstSelector

Is there actually anything on the Physical end of Silverlight?

Brandon Sanderson

That is-- That's the RAFO part... That's what I'm not answering. If there's anything Physical. There can't be a Perpen--well, there could be a Perpendicularity, but then you'd have to go someplace in the Physical, and it gets all-- Silverlight is really weird.

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Questioner (on behalf of Yata)

When someone is spiked, and dies, does that affect the time they spend in the Cognitive?

Brandon Sanderson

If they are spiked, yes because if you are extra Invested, which spiking technically does, if you have a spike stapling a bit of someone else's soul to yours--

Questioner

The other way. Someone spikes through you and you die--

Brandon Sanderson

Ohhhhh, oh okay, no, that might make you go faster.

Questioner

Is that why Harmony doesn’t know who's spiking people? Or--

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. Yeah. Okay. I had not considered that. But yeah, sure. *laughter* Suuureee. You added to the canon. I mean, the actual answer was, when you're spiking somebody, you're ripping of the soul, so kind of, there's not enough left to talk. I mean, you're ripping off enough of the soul, so it's a bad thing. It's a very bad thing. So you go "Who killed you?" and it's just somebody who is essentially-- But yes, they would go faster too.

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Questioner

How old is that picture that's hanging in Silverlight?

Brandon Sanderson

The picture in Silverlight is... Okay, so on cosmere-times it's very recent. But, the cosmere scale is very large. Khriss's essays are older than it, but not by much. She had that-- It is in existence when she wrote the essays, but the essays are much older than Sixth of the Dusk. Okay? Sixth of the Dusk had not happened yet, that story, when she was writing these essays. We're going to need some dating periods, we'll eventually get that.

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Argent

I do have a follow-up on the map? All of the constellations-- Or most of the constellations seem fairly straightforward. The one containing Roshar has a Shardbearer or Herald…

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, mmhmm. There are a couple--

Argent

Yet Sel gets a lamp?

Brandon Sanderson

Sel gets a lamp, yes.

Argent

Why?

Brandon Sanderson

Ask Isaac about that, he came up with the symbolism. And I like all the symbolism. But I would go to him about the symbolism of that. Ask him to write an essay for my website about it, because he has really cool-- Cause again, cause I said to him, "I want a star map" and I wasn't gonna put constellations on it, right? Just, the one in the back cover that doesn't have constellations, that's what I asked for and he came back and said "I did a constellation map with these things, what do you think?" and I'm like "that’s cool! Can you explain these to me?" so I'm just gonna let Isaac go with that, he chose it, he chose the perspective and the point of view, so it's his map, and he's canon on that.

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Questioner

So we know some people can survive going through perpendicularities.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

But we also know, like, when Rock talked about the lake that people swam in, that Hoid came out of, he said that some people who swam in it died. So, who can and can't survive a perpendicularity?

Brandon Sanderson

So, you should not take much of what Rock says. When he says they swim in it and they die, they have gone through the perpendicularity. They just don't come back. What would you think if someone swims and doesn't come back? They have drowned. Right?

Questioner

So pretty much anyone can?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not traumatic to go through most perpendicularities.

Questioner

So it depends on where, who and when?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh huh.

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Dragon13

Would it be possible to create a potential Vessel that has a Connection to all 16 Shards? Through a combination of birth planet, genetics, Hemalurgy--

Brandon Sanderson

You--  So, terminology. The Vessel holds a Shard. Lots of people have Connections to the Shards without holding them. So, I'm just gonna RAFO that. You guys got years and years left, before we're even gonna discuss things about-- But if I tell you now, like, what are you gonna ask?

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Questioner

So I've got sort of a Shard-related question. So, the entity that Harmony is, all the other Shards that we've had named so far, are any of them combinations, or are they all--

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, good question. The only one I would count as a combination is the Dor, right? But it isn't even a full Shard. So everything else, single holder only when we talk about it okay? That's an excellent question. Or they've been Splintered completely.

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Questioner

So, in Secret History, when Kelsier is in the pool and looks at Ruin. Are you intentionally making a Lovecraftian reference with the looking into the abyss and the abyss looks back?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sometimes I have to specifically phrase things. I write it and I'm like "Oh yeah, that's Nietzshe!" And I'm like "Ohhh, I should probably not quote Nietzsche" ...So I have do have to reword these things sometimes.

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FirstSelector

Is Ati Ruin's original Shardholder?

Brandon Sanderson

Ohh, good question. I will go ahead and RAFO that.

FirstSelector

I have a big theory that someday we are gonna see something more about him.

Brandon Sanderson

You will see something more about him for sure! Because Dragonsteel includes-- But that's not what you meant, and I know what you meant.

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Questioner

Thank's for that Reddit comment earlier today about "Yeah, if you read Dragonsteel it's super obvious!"

Brandon Sanderson

I mean if someone is asking a question about Cephandrius, the name Cephandrius. I assume that they know about Dragonsteel, because how else would they hear the name Cephandrius?

Argent

Secret History.

Brandon Sanderson

OOHHHHHH! I did! That's right. Because I was answering other questions about Yolen, yeah...

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Questioner

Have we seen cameos of Heralds on other Shardworlds?

Brandon Sanderson

The Heralds are tied to the system by the magic that permeates them. They could not leave.

Questioner

I thought I saw someone but I guess not.

Brandon Sanderson

It’s part of the magic. Some would call them Cognitive Shadows, right? Whether they are or not. "Cognitive Shadow" is a very ambiguous term in the cosmere. It means, basically your soul-- It's the same thing with petrification, right? Investiture replaced your soul, and permeated your soul, and your soul continues to exist, but... you are usually Invested with something, that's tied, and you're basically like pure Investiture then. You're tied to the thing you're Connected to. Most of the things that you're gonna see with that, travelling is going to be very difficult, unless you know how to do it. You have seen people do it.

Questioner

Who?

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher... You have seen people do it. But anyone who's got-- yeah.

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Questioner 1

You said that moving people like that [Cognitive Shadows] or spren off-world, from Roshar is difficult.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner 1

What about physically, say the Ones Above visit them, and they fly away?

Brandon Sanderson

So one of the things you'll have to be asking questions and theorizing on is what happens if you try to carry a spren around the planet. What happens to their Cognitive sense, right? So you're on Roshar, right? So on the Physical Realm what would happen-- Because on Shadesmar, you have a flattened version. So there are questions for you to be theorizing implicit in that.  And one of them is, what happens, you cross a threshold circling the globe, your spren, what happens to them? Because-- Okay? This relates to the question you’re asking.

Questioner 2

Wait wait, you have a three dimensional plain coexisting with a two dimensional plain?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, two dimensional is the wrong term, but basically...

Questioner 3

Can you specify the mathematically projection used to create this? *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

We'll try to give it to you eventually, but this is the sort of stuff that I do that Peter's like "Oh man..." *laughter* "Alright give me the math Peter." "Ahhh what do you mean? I'm not a mathematician." "Eh, y'know. You're close." It is very convenient to have a physicist and a mathematician in my writing group.

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Questioner 1

Are there specific reasons why opposite Shards seem to end up in the same system?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner 2

So why do opposite Shards...

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! *laughter*

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Questioner

Is there a Shadesmar for each planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Anything that people think about, right? And, you really have to be inhabited to get a good Shadesmar… But, y'know, you can find the gas giants in Shadesmar, but they don't manifest as an entire plane. Um, that's gonna change! But we're years away from that. Shadesmar is cool and weird but--

Questioner

Ohh, there's only one Shadesmar with different areas--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, really what we call it-- Shadesmar is a term that has started to stick in the cosmere for the Cognitive Realm. But there are manifestations of most planets. Or all planets.

Questioner

But they do all exist-- All of those Shadesmars are part of the same cloth, so to speak.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you could walk from one to the other, barring some weird distortions that you might have to-- We're not going to dig-- I'm not gonna tell you about.

Questioner

But spren can't because they're bound.

Brandon Sanderson

They're bound Physically to the Realm, the Invesiture.

Bystander

Unless you help them off.

Brandon Sanderson

Unless-- There are certain ways you could do it, and things like that. But spren are bound, you aren't going to--

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Questioner

Why did Hoid in Secret History have to ride on another person to get to the Well, when that person could float on--

Brandon Sanderson

Sooo, what he's floating on is a Cognitive Shadow. It's a spirit, it's not an actual person. He is floating on someone who is--

Questioner

Do we know them?

Brandon Sanderson

You did not know them, don't worry about them. But see, he's using that as a boat because it's easy to sink through the mist. And if you notice, he has to coat his oar with Investiture in order to move him. So yeah, he's floating on a person's soul... It was so much easier with the Pits, but that's because there were boats and things.

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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.
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Questioner 1

When you were talking about spren being bound to the Cognitive Realm of their planet. Are seons similarly bound? Especially with-- Because the--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner 2

Could you also pull them off, with the knowing how?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but you’d have to get through the Cognitive Realm, on Sel. But yeah-- Yes, that is possible.

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Questioner

Is the third Bondsmith in any way related to the Sleepless?

Brandon Sanderson

I am RAFOing third Bondsmith. You will find out a lot more about these in coming books. That one's seeded for the story to answer, and it's not next book, right? This is stuff for… yeah.

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Questioner

In Secret History, Kelsier goes out onto the ocean and he finds plants in the Cognitive Realm.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, mmhmm.

Questioner

Do they have a Physical aspect, or are they just Cognitive--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they're Cognitive only. They don't follow a standard ecology that we would understand, but-- Well, it'll make sense, hopefully, when eventually the science of that is understood in the cosmere. But there are--and I've said this before--on Roshar Shadesmar there are spren cities, and things like this. And there's a spren ecology, and stuff so…

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Questioner

Speed bubbles--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Ehhhh... these are the hardest ones.

Questioner

We've seen them work and move with trains, we've seen them not work with carriages: is there a size requirement, or is it how they view themselves?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a good question. So I build in this thing, right? I'm like "Oooh, speed bubbles! Speed bubbles are cool!" but the Delorean problem, right? You're like "I'm going to go back in time: to the middle of SPACE", because the planet is in the same position, right? This is stuff that science fiction writers have been having fun with since the silver age of science fiction. So I'm like "Alright, I need to deal with the Delorean problem". And so I'm like "Alright, we're going to have to say that frame of reference is a big part of it: so perception and frame of reference is a big part of it; and also size of the thing that you're on". So it would be possible to use kind of cosmere cognitive training to get that speed bubble moving with you-- And someone asked me a question about this on tour, I believe, so it would be in one of the reports-- Not this exact same thing, but "Could they learn to move their speed bubble with them?" And yes you can.

Questioner

So it is how the allomancer views it, not how the thing views itself?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a part of it. Partially how it view itself, *garbled* It's really also mass. Big thing-- The speed bubbles required all kinds of physics-gymnastics. I'm sorry physicists, but once you start playing with time the stuff you gotta do. It's just crazy stuff you gotta do.

Questioner

We actually sat down and worked out what the metric would have to do to have a speed bubble-- Yeah, it was gnarly.

Brandon Sanderson

...We did run the math on these things, and stuff like that. And Peter, y'know, he rais-- "Redshift" and stuff like this we talked about. And all kinds of fun stuff about speed bubbles that I then had to--

Bystander

Khriss asked about that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. So this is-- This one and manipulating weight... Those are the math ones. So these are the ones where-- They create the fun things to talk about, but they are where this is fantasy and not science fiction. Like a lot of these questions I could answer and you'd be like "Alright, if there were this alternate power source, we could buy this" but in this case we're like exception-list-of-asterisks to make it work. But they're too fun to not do, right? And I knew I was doing gravity on Stormlight, so I'm like "I gotta do weight separately".

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FirstSelector

I read that you had said if you had written Khriss' essay on Nalthis, it would have been more or less that she was talking about the magic, and then mention that there were scholars on this planet that were spitting distance from, like…

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah.

FirstSelector

So, Vasher, and maybe some of the other ones have been off world--

Brandon Sanderson

Shashara has been, yeah.

FirstSelector

...Are they known to the people at Silverlight? Like--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah.

FirstSelector

Like does Khriss know Vasher?

Brandon Sanderson

Know Vasher is a different question than know of Vasher. But they are widely regarded as early cosmere scholars... They are pioneers of this sort of stuff. So yes.

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FirstSelector

Silverlight is old?

Bystander

No Khriss is old. *laughter*

FirstSelector

I know Khriss is old--

Brandon Sanderson

Let's RAFO Silveright until I set something there. Here's the thing. It's weird.

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Argent

Some of the few Shards Rayse Splintered included Ambition, I believe, Dominion, and Devotion.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

And those were all way back, in the history. So, we know that the Shards' personalities overrides the Vessel's personality over time?

Brandon Sanderson

Strongly influence, and depending on the individual, override.

Argent

Okay. So did Rayse choose those Shards because--

Brandon Sanderson

He went after Ambition first, but didn't find Ambition until after going after Devotion and Dominion. But Ambition was number one on his hit list.

Argent

Was it because of the Shard or because of the Vessel? Like did he hate the person?

Brandon Sanderson

In this case it was the Shard, primarily, that drove him--

Argent

Oh, he was maybe afraid the Shard would grow too powerful and take over--

Brandon Sanderson

He was afraid that this Shard that would rival him. And so he's like "This one is number one on the hit list. We're taking down Ambition." But then he got trapped in the Rosharan system.

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Argent

Which is a nice segue to Shards Investing into Shardworlds, that I've been meaning to ask. So is it kind of a passive-- The more a Shard stays on a world--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

--the Investiture kind of seeps--

Brandon Sanderson

It does. Once you've got a Perpendicularity, you are starting-- That's trouble for going other places. But you've gotta remember, going other places means multiple things to someone actually holding a Shard. They can exist in the Spiritual Realm, where all things are one. And they can even kind of comprehend it...

Argent

Can a Shard choose to just instantly invest in a place?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they just need to start making some stuff.

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Questioner

What role will the chasmfiends play?

Brandon Sanderson

So there's a bunch of different roles for the chasmfiends that are all minor but-- For instance, I don't think anyone's made this connection, thunderclasts have chasmfiend-- it's part of the in-world inspiration for thunderclasts. And really chasmfiends exist in part to show off the symbiotic relationship between certain spren and certain creatures on Roshar. So when people who read the first book who know a little about physics can be like "Uhh, Mr. Sanderson" and I'm like "Well, look at these things that are flowing around this thing when it dies." It's an introduction of gemhearts and things like this. And the ability of certain creatures on Roshar to hold Investiture permanently, as Szeth says, rather than it seeping away like it does to humans.

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FirstSelector

Was Cultivation close enough to when Odium got  Honor, to know how to fight back?

Brandon Sanderson

Heheheheh. I would say yes.

FirstSelector

And Cultivation, is she--

Brandon Sanderson

She is still there.

FirstSelector

Alive and kicking. Okay, you've said that before--

Brandon Sanderson

She is alive and kicking.

FirstSelector

And she can probably know how to not turn her back to the--

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I mean... She has learned from the experiences of others.

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Questioner

Sak, Dusk's non-native Aviar. That ability is very, very similar to Allomantic electrum.

Brandon Sanderson

It is!

Questioner

And his other Aviar is very, very similar to Allomantic copper.

Brandon Sanderson

It is.

Questioner

Is there a connection between those two, deeper? Or is it--

Brandon Sanderson

will RAFO that. Let's just say it is an intentional reference, but I'm not going to say whether it's a direct connection to Scadrial magic systems or more that fundamental rules of magics can reproduce one another. We have seen multiple instances of Lightweaving, so-- It's one of those two... That at least narrows it down for you.

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Questioner

So Allomantic Savants. So I was curious-- That system-- When that happens, is it purely physiological, or is there something else happening in terms of--

Brandon Sanderson

Uhh, it's physiological in a cosmere sense, but that can involve your Cognitive and Spiritual aspects.

Questioner

I guess the question there is, are there other similar processes to savantism with other--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah you've seen it. So, Soulcasters.

Argent

Where their skin turns--

Brandon Sanderson

Where they're slowly being-- their spirit is slowly being merged and infused with Investiture that is having Physical ramifications. It's the same thing.

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Questioner

If you Soulstamp somebody to give them a Connection to Arelon, and they became an Elantrian, could they become and Elantrian, and if the Soulstamp is removed, would they remain?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so you're asking a better one than people have asked. So you say "You get Soulstamped, you move to Arelon, your soul thinks that it is this, you do have spiritweb of Connection" I will go ahead and RAFO this with the caveat of why it might not work, is because, you might think you’re something, right? That doesn't necessarily mean-- Like, this is not completely invisible and things like this. And so, whether the power is going to follow those lines of Connection or not I will leave up to discussion, but it is a possibility worth theorizing upon.

Questioner

So a Soulstamp doesn't necessarily change the core of your spiritweb.

Brandon Sanderson

It does, but it's overwriting it. It's like Hemalurgy. What you are is still there underneath when it's ripped away, right?

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Questioner

What if you Soulstamped a city?

Brandon Sanderson

Soulstaped a city... So if you're a really good Forger-- It is possible to do things like that, but it requires a lot of work and time. Just one thing to keep in mind with Soulstamps, and anything that does this, rewriting your spiritweb, right, like, requires Invesiture. A lot of Investiture. And so, for instance, what Shai can do is really cool, but what an Elantrian can do is gonna look a lot more dramatic, right? Shooting a column of fire, you would say "Which takes more power, making the wall have flowers on it or shooting a column of fire?" Making the wall have flowers takes way more Investiture. It's a lot easier to pull off some dramatic effects with others, but the actual changing of the soul and overwr-- ...So just keep in mind the extent-- This is why you don't see Shai Forge it so the whole building disappears. Right? And stuff like this. Which is not outside of reason for a couple of Elantrians with the right program to put into place. But I mean effectively-- They could blow it up, essentially, that's what they would do

Bystander

Make a new hole, rather than making one that has existed.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Exactly. Do keep in mind, people like to ask, you've probably seen people ask, "Could I rewrite myself to be a Knight Radiant?" Right? WELL... There are certain things that you just-- you can't fake without enough energy that it becomes impractical. Usually what I use as an example to that is: Yes, we can turn hydrogen into gold, if we wanted to. Right? We can do that! It might take more energy than the earth creates in an entire year, but we can do that.

I get a lot of questions with this that I'm like "is it possible?" and I'm like "Guys, is it possible?" ...You should probably be like, "Is it possible, with reasonable amounts of energy provided by one Invested person".

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Questioner

If you Stamp yourself, to have another, overwritten spiritweb, and you get Spiked-- *laughter* What would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

We actually worked this out. *laughter*

Questioner

Well, you'd die, or very close to it, but would it revert when the Stamp reverts?

Brandon Sanderson

So what’s probably going to happen here is that you’re going to rip off the Investiture you’ve put on your soul, and your own soul will have less damage. Now, the spike is only gonna get the-- the spike, you're like "What will it do?" It will do what you've been overwritten with, but again remember, becoming an Allomancer takes so much energy, and things like-- But it is theoretically possible in the cosmere to rewrite yourself "You're an allomancer", someone spikes you to get this. The Investiture doesn't care that it was fake on you, you have managed to get that Investiture to work. Uhh, this is really tough. And really, like, you need Connection, and you need, like, the right kind of Investiture, but then it rips off and yes you have made a spike that makes you an Allomancer, even though the person was a Forger. So yes, okay? But this is the kind of stuff that is like the thought experiments for physicists in the cosmere as opposed to, y'know--

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Questioner 1

The ball of Preservation energy that Kelsier used, is that Stamping, Hemalurgy, or a third kind of the same thing?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a different thing. You haven't really seen that before.

Questioner 1

Because it seems to have similar effects--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you haven't seen that before. It was designed to do what it did.

Questioner 2

Is it just Connection?

Bystander

Connection juice. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

We'll get into this, this is involving Silverlight stuff, so let's RAFO it for now.

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Questioner

So there's a line in Secret History that references, like, a mythical string that shows the way home in the maze of Ishathon. Is that an intentional reference to--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, so here's one thing I do in the cosmere, because my senior course was in folklore, I had a really good folklore teacher-- So you should all thank Dr. Thursby for this. One of the things I learned in folklore-- I don't know if you guys have studied this, but it's really interesting-- Societies come up with the same myths. Right? They do! You'll find-- The biggest one is the Cinderella myth. There's a version of Cinderella in almost every culture, and it's shocking how they hit the same beats. And so my folkloristic inclinations lead me to say that certain stories that I know are common, whether it's the string that leads you out, or breadcrumbs-- different people use different things-- But these stories exist. Mythical mazes, you will find stories about. And so that's not meant to be anything more than for the folklorists to say "Ah! I recognize this, Roshar has some of the same myths, and the same versions, that we have."

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Argent

Have we seen the Resonances of either Wax or Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, well, Wax is really good at sculpting bullets and things away from him.

Argent

The bubble.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah and things like this. This is playing with the fact that he is-- Let's just say that the abilities make this happen, and I’ll let you theorize on why, but it's just an enhancement to what he can do.

Argent

I might be wrong, but I thought you said it was because he was becoming a steel savant.

Brandon Sanderson

A savant, yeah, definitely, but this is what this is coming from.

Argent

But being a savant has to do with being really good with one power--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

--and Resonances--

Brandon Sanderson

Being a savant has to do with using Investiture a lot, and it's starting to permeate your soul. Like we've ta--

Argent

So he's more a savant with both of--

Brandon Sanderson

He's used them a lot, and they are changing his soul, and so the powers are morphing and changing. Just in slight, little ways. You're not gonna see a whole bunch. But you can imagine these two separate powers are kind of becoming one to him.

Argent

Yeah I can see that. And Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

So Wayne's is not as obvious. I'll go ahead and RAFO that right now.

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Dragon13

Are there requirements to join the Seventeenth Shard, and would they accept, for lack of a better term, a non-enhanced member?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and yes... Baon is not Invested...

Questioner 1

What would they not like? 'Cause, like, we know they don't like Hoid, and what he's doing-- *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

They do like what Khriss is doing, alright? This is an acceptable thing to them.

Questioner 1

...What about when people start integrating themselves with a culture, is that gonna make problems?

Brandon Sanderson

They would prefer that people didn't do that.

Questioner 2

So not Vasher?

Brandon Sanderson

Not Va-- Vasher is very far from being Seventeenth Shard. *laughter* So very far.

Argent

Would you say they are a community of scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

They are a community-- They are not all scholars, so I would not say that. I would say they are interested parties who do not want any planets to get destroyed.

Questioner 3

So they're the Apocalypse Guard? *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

No, they aren't really able to prevent these sorts of things. They're more like the-- Oh what do they call them in DC? The Watchers? ...But those guys are super powerful and stuff, so it's not like that. But you can imagine it's something like that. "We're watching, we're studying' we're investigating, and we're trying to prevent-- ...They're like Starfleet, right? They've got some Starfleet stuff right? "We're gonna go research and study these people, but we shouldn't be involved." It's less about Prime Directive, and more about "What if something we do causes-- exacerbates the conflict between the Shards." the Shards split up for a reason, is what they think, right? Shards split up for a reason, they should continue to be split up, we should not dabble in bringing them together.

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