Recent entries

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #501 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you compare the kinds of compulsion that are caused by being an Epic with the kinds of compulsion caused by being a Vessel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm, crossing the streams here. I'd say that the compulsion of being a Shard is much much stronger, but your capacity as an individual is increased, so your ability to learn how to deal with it is also equally increased.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #502 Copy

    Questioner

    Does Demoux know that Kelsier is still around? If so, does he know about the Ghostbloods, and does he still idolize Kelsier?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will RAFO that. I will say, you can assume that if he did know, he would not be as idolizing. It would only take getting to know him to destroy some of the way that Demoux views, does that make sense?

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #503 Copy

    Questioner

    Kaladin is now learning how to counsel people on how to balance what they've had to do which is destroying things, and their desire to protect or preserve things. Will he be of some benefit to another individual who is trying to balance those two things together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Someone he's been teamed up with? He could potentially be of help, depending on whether or not this individual wants help.

    Questioner

    Specifically is Harmony...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I thought you were talking about Szeth. Could he be of use to Harmony? Maybe, in a theoretical world, I think the more people Harmony had to talk to, the better. I would say yes, but I was thinking Szeth.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #504 Copy

    Questioner

    Obviously the Shards are the top dogs in terms of power and stuff, but Hoid seems to be his own level of dangerous. Are there any other characters as sort of rivals to his ambition or power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on how you want to express it. Some of the dragons from Yolen are as old and are very crafty. You could argue that the aethers, the actual core aethers, are as ancient and potentially powerful. I wouldn't put them by raw power at Shard level, but they would claim that they are. Depends on what you would think there. There are some other individuals of a similar, not as dangerous as Hoid, but on a similar level. Been around for thousands of years, investigated a lot of the magics, and these sorts of things.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #506 Copy

    Failsafe

    If one were to Riot or Soothe out of a cadmium bubble or a bendalloy bubble, would the emotional Allomancy be effectual? If so, how would it be affected by the speed bubble, and how would that work in reverse?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you were to... Someone's inside a bubble, and you're shooting Allomancy into it from outside, would it have an effect? The answer to that would be yes. Shooting out of it should work also. It is going to be affected though. I think depending on the speed of it, you're gonna end up with a stretching or condensing of it. If you're doing it from inside a bubble, you could probably effectively get something like a duralumin hit. And if you're doing it from outside in, and they're moving very fast, you're gonna have a lesser effect.

    Questioner

    Would it have some randomness, like a bullet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You probably wouldn't be able to target... No, you would be able to. You would be fine. You can do kind of a cone, and things like that. It might be hard to hit the specific individual, but it wouldn't be as much trouble as a bullet.

    Questioner

    What about with duralumin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The thing about duralumin is, if you wanted to extra duralumin it, what you'd have to do is eat some within a speed bubble, use it, then eat some more, then use it. You could therefore kind of multiply up, but yeah. So yes, you could do that, but you'd have to do it multiple times.

    spectral.limina

    Just to confirm, is that a fast bubble or slow bubble?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That'd be a fast bubble, cause you're piling it up. More time is passing for you than people outside. Basically, you're doing five times duralumin push in one burst. It could probably get pretty dangerous, some people's emotions.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #508 Copy

    Questioner

    I believe Trell is a vessel [avatar] of Autonomy, due to there being a character named Trell in White Sand, and Autonomy being there. I believe Kelsier gets the idea from Trell to use [avatars], and that's what he goes on to use as the leader of the Ghostbloods.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think you're theorizing in interesting directions, and I would not squish that theory.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #509 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Nightblood more or less susceptible to damage and/or death when he's satiated on Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Satiated, he's much less dangerous. More susceptible, I would say by technicality, yes. When he's full, it's gonna be harder for him to pull in things, so all sorts of things could happen. So yes. But it's not that he's weaker, it's not like the metal is easier to break or bend, it's more that he's not as likely to suck your soul.

    Questioner

    So he behaves more like a regular sword.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, a little bit more. Still, for human levels of Investiture, still really dangerous to touch him. He's satiated, but if he's at 100%, and the amount of you he could eat represents 0.001%, the moment a little of that wears off, you're gone. So still would not be picking him up in most cases, just out of that, "Oh! He got a little hungry again!" But in terms of larger, grand scale Shard stuff, much safer to handle.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #510 Copy

    Kyrroti

    Shards can't break oaths, and new Vessels have to follow previous Shards' deals. Ruin and Preservation made a deal. Does Harmony have to follow that deal?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Ruin and Preservation deal is considered fulfilled. There's a lot of things going on in here. The way that oaths work, perception is still important. And Shards can break deals, it gives others a way to get at them. Odium could break his deal, but if he did, that's very dangerous to those who would seek to have advantage against him. I think fulfilled is the wrong term, the deal between Ruin and Preservation is broken, and no longer in force because it was broken. This does leave Ruin with more advantage in this situation, but they're the same individual, so I'm sure that's just fine! No problems at all! Everybody's doing just great.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #511 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Vasher aware of Vivenna's sword?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher is aware of Vivenna's sword by now.

    Questioner

    And does he approve of it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher needs more information. I'm going to say his initial response is, "That's stupid, never do things like that." But I haven't written the Nightblood book yet, so when I write the book, it might turn out that I need to accelerate some of that, so he might actually have known by then. Right now, in the timelines, he didn't know, it happened after. Big asterisk on book that's not written yet, that the outlines could change on.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #512 Copy

    Questioner

    Most of the time, for Nightblood, from the point of view he is seen as male. But for the short time when Lift is talking to him, it says "she". Is that important, or is that up to perception?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is up to the perception of the individual, and Lift perceived Nightblood as a she, and Nightblood doesn't care.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #513 Copy

    Questioner

    Why didn't TenSoon and Vin ever meet up before she died?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I just could not get it into the story. I did consider trying to make it happen, and there are just too many things narratively that I was doing, and it just didn't end up working out. I don't feel terribly bad about that, because in some ways loss requires... you don't always know, and things like that. I do regret not being able to get Mat and Perrin and Rand back together, one last time in the book series. That's one I think I should've tried to stretch. I tried to go to Team Jordan and be like, "Hey we could do it like this," and they said you just can't do that logistically. But I think if I'd pushed harder, I could've found a way to make it happen. So that's one of my regrets there. I don't think I would change TenSoon and Vin, because of the nature of loss for those books, and I did try, and artistically I felt it didn't work.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #514 Copy

    Questioner

    Teft is one of my husband's and my favorite characters.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm sorry.

    Questioner

    I was wondering if we would get to see him again.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, you can read the books again! If I write the Lopen story that's supposed to go between books 1 and 2, then he would appear in that book. So it is possible that you will see more of Teft, but you are not going to see, you know.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #515 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you turned a person's theory into something in the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm sure that I have at some point... No, I know that I have. Someone asked me, for instance, they were getting some bisexual vibes from Shallan. They asked me on Twitter. I'm like "You know, I feel like I'm writing that without realizing it." So yes, I leaned into that a little bit more in the more recent book, because it felt really realistic and natural to her character. Sometimes people will ask me things like that, and I'll be like "I feel like I am doing that, or that's a direction I am going", and it happens with plots and things too. Yeah, fan interactions do influence the books, on occasion.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #516 Copy

    Questioner

    In the first epigraphs in Rhythm of War, we get Navani's lecture on the different metals, and it talks about how the different metals can do different things to fabrials. Have all of the 16 metals in Allomancy been tried in relation to fabrials?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Questioner

    Have they discovered any others with different effects?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Any others that she didn't talk about? I don't know. I'm gonna say no, but it's possible that there's one I'm not thinking of. Let's just say that certain people in the cosmere are very aware of this now, and are very quickly experimenting with the metals Navani is not able to get a hold of easily.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #517 Copy

    Questioner

    So, the Diagram was basically created to help Taravangian figure out if he was having a bad day or a good day, kind of?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's not one of the reasons they were founded, but that is certainly one of their duties.

    Questioner

    And we found out it was because Odium helped Taravangian figure out the Diagram. Now that Todium exists, will he still have to use the Diagram and go forth with the Diagram? And how will that shape what this contest of champions is gonna be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I won't tell you how it's gonna shape, but he now has access to what Odium could do, which is limited ability to see the future, and a little bit better than a lot of the Shards are at that. He could see what the Diagram was an inferior version of making, in a lot of ways. In other words, the physical print thing, the Diagram, is no longer necessary to him.

    Questioner

    Now that it's Todium, will he have problems with having his good days and bad days?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #518 Copy

    LeftImBorn

    We have this WoB that says you can split ettmetal into atium and lerasium, but not through normal means. In Rhythm of War, we see Navani changing the forms of Light by removing the Connection to other Shards and introducing new ones. Is that the same way that you would turn ettmetal into atium and lerasium, or similar means?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That sort of science would possibly lead to the proper method. It is a good way to be going, but it's not exactly... Let's say there are multiple ways to do this. Some are less dangerous than others. The way you're theorizing could lead to a less dangerous way.

    LeftImBorn

    If you were to do that to a live, living Shardblade, which you said could be called Honor's God Metal, what would that do to the spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If what happened to... Oh, remove the Connection for a Blade like that?

    LeftImBorn

    And like, gave it Ruin's connections?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You would have a really hard time doing that, because it's an actual individual. It'd be the same as cutting off a person, which is possible, but you're talking about stuff like what a Shardblade does to a soul. So you'd have a hard time, and it would have not-happy effects on a living individual that that happened to.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #519 Copy

    Questioner

    There are two Shards that aren't confirmed. One I call "Concealment", which we haven't figured out about because it conceals itself from the rest of the cosmere. The other one I call Unity, that might be two different Shards later, like Harmony, that Dalinar gets. Do either of these Shards exist, or will they exist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Plausible existence of one of the Shards you have talked about. The ways you are theorizing, in some of the things you're saying here, are intentional on my part, and you're following correct paths.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #520 Copy

    Questioner

    Are the Ghostbloods on Roshar the same organization as the Set on Scadrial? And if not, is the--

    Brandon Sanderson

    *immediately hands him RAFO card*

    I will tell you this. The Lord of Scars is Kelsier. Not hiding something there. I'm not being tricksy like I was with the Sovereign. You can trust that. More about that will be forthcoming in a book that might be released about one year from now!

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #521 Copy

    Questioner

    Szeth references birds other than chickens. When he's training with the Skybreakers, he uses an analogy that they scattered like sparrows before a hawk. So there are other non-chickens in Shinovar. Are they going to end up... Probably not being like Aviar, but are we going to see more of them in book 5?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see birds in book 5, most likely. Whether or not they are like Aviar or the weird fish, I will leave as a RAFO. But the two Aviar you have seen are not native.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #522 Copy

    Questioner

    Nightblood has more Investiture than any other being, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not every other being, but definitely one of the most highly Invested individuals that we have seen.

    Questioner

    So Nightblood, he was used to wound Odium. Is Odium now weaker than he was before?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not in a relevant way. Technically, yes. Not in a relevant way. The amount taken, compared to how much there is, is pretty small. And a whole bunch of what happened there was focused on the Vessel, not on Odium itself.

    Questioner

    Could Nightblood consume Odium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood would get full before consuming even the smallest fraction amount of Odium. As you saw, Nightblood kind of got full in that instance. Actually, it was with the perpendicularity, it would be similar to that. So for those who are wondering, no, you can't stab Nightblood into the planet and absorb the planet. Nightblood is really dangerous, as we've seen, but we're not talking "absorb planets" dangerous.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #523 Copy

    Questioner

    If there's a Forger like Shai who plausibly had an opportunity to ingest lerasium and become Mistborn, but she passed it up, could she create a stamp that makes her temporarily a Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She would have to have access to enough Investiture to make that happen. The stamp saying, "Hey, I'm a Mistborn!" doesn't actually give her the Investiture to do that. She could rewrite her past so that she took that bead. She would not actually be able to use the power, until she got an infusion of Investiture, which could be done with a stamp in the right manner, but most of the time you're gonna have to have some external source. Basically you're gonna have to take a hit of Investiture, a large amount of it, and then use the stamp, and then it will feed on that to change you into basically any of the other magics.

    Questioner 2

    Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you could get a hit of Stormlight, that'd work. The problem is, Stormlight's not easy to get off of Roshar, and it still is technically keyed. You could get it a lot more easily-- Stormlight would work fairly well, but what you really want is some pure, unkeyed Dor. That stuff, you could do all kinds of things with. But, you know, it's kinda dangerous. But that's the stuff you're gonna want, or something like unto it.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #524 Copy

    Questioner

    My question is about squires. You've confirmed that Bondsmiths, Windrunners, Skybreakers, Dustbringers, and Lightweavers all have squires. You've also said that not every Order will have them. Could you confirm whether or not another Order has them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Does another Order have squires? Is there an Order we have seen that we don't know-- Yes, there is another Order that has squires.

    Questioner

    You can't get more specific?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, the Stonewards do have squires, usually.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #528 Copy

    Questioner

    What gave you the inspiration for cytonic slugs?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The cytonic slugs came into existence when I started writing a short story I called The Eyes. This was a much later derivation of Defending Elysium, where I wanted to tell a story about human refugees in space who were fixing a hyperdrive that turned out to be a living thing. And most people didn't understand that the hyperdrive was a living thing, it was a secret.

    I started writing this short story, and the lore was not clicking quite right. In that one, they were these glowing things. They looked like a power source, so people didn't know they were alive. The whole story didn't work, it wasn't the right rebuild of things from Defending Elysium. So I shelved that story. Sometime I'll let you guys read it. I may have put it out, I can't remember, but if I haven't I'll-- I only got two or three pages into it.

    But that idea kept going in the back of my head. And eventually, when I was writing and building Skyward, I knew what I wanted was something that would look innocent, that Spensa would mistake for being the ship's hyperdrive. That would just look like it was something that's there, I like to hide things in plain sight. So putting a cute slug in... Why a slug? I don't know. I like underwater sea slugs, that just look cool. That's a cute thing I'd like to have as a pet. They're really something you can't, in our world, have as a pet. You could have it in a fish tank, but you can't get it out and play with it. What if you had one you could? So I built that as the hyperdrive and started having her teleport around, so that when you found out about the hyperdrives, you're like "it's been there all along, that makes sense!" The only thing I had to tweak from my original draft is, I realized eventually M-Bot was gonna have to have been crashed there for a long long time, so Doomslug had to be the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of the hyperdrive for that ship, rather than the actual hyperdrive.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #530 Copy

    TheNerdChaplain

    What are some things you've learned about the screen adaptation process from WoT? What kind of hopes or expectations do you have for if/when your own work is adapted? Have those changed, based on your experiences with WoT and Amazon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think if I ever get a television show for Stormlight, I will ask for more than eight episodes. I might have thought that was enough before, but I feel like just two more episodes would have helped this production a lot, letting it breathe a little more in the beginning.

    Also, I think I'm getting better and better at understanding screenplays and storytelling for that medium, so I hope that I can have more and more influence over the process. Though I wouldn't want it on this production, as I feel this rightly belongs to others and not me, on my own I would like the right to veto a change as big as the Perrin wife plot.

    For the Mistborn film, I have such veto power, notably.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
    #532 Copy

    Shaun

    Are there any genres you haven't published in yet that you would like to try in the future? I would love to see your take on a horror/thriller, maybe even a collab with Dan Wells.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually outlined (briefly; it's, like, one-page outline) a horror story, a straight-up horror story. A Junji Ito-style horror story, actually. Whether I'll ever have time to write that or not is a completely different thing. So yeah, I totally would love to do a straight-up horror if I can find the time, but it's in that slot of the Brandon what-if universe, so to speak. Where do I find the time? But it's real cool; it's real cool. I think people would love it.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Marvin Rosh

    With "cytoverse" being a fan-coined term, are there any other instances of terms from the fandom that you have adopted yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm sure there are instances, but I bet the fans are better at picking them out than I am. Not sure. I don't think I was ever called BrandoSando before the fandom got a hold of me, and I know I've used that occasion. But I wouldn't say that I normally think or refer to myself in that regard. But a lot of times, I get things from the fans who are like, "Will you please just canonize this so that the wiki can have a page?" And so occasionally I canonize things because they are bugging me about it. I'm sure there are other ones, I just can't think of it.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Argent

    Starsight introduced us to several interesting alien species, the figments being among the most outlandish of them all. Can we expect more lore about them, especially given their connection to a certain spaceship's tech?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. We are gonna do more about the figments; it may not be in the main-line series. It's probably going to be in future explorations of the setting, where we kind of get into the ideas behind that tech and where it came from and why, and that sort of thing. Doesn't quite fit into this narrative. So, don't expect that in book three or book four. But we are going to probably do more novellas, and things like that.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Lews Therin

    If I remember correctly, Janci mentioned that guys had wanted her to help with Skyward for a while. Did you approach writing it any differently with the idea someone else might be coming in later in mind?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I really didn't, honestly. I'd like to say that I did, but when I was writing Skyward, it was all hands on deck, we have a problem: Apocalypse Guard has failed, and if I don't turn in a book, it's gonna throw off a whole bunch of scheduling things. And so because of that, I just wrote the best book I could

    Now, when I started working on the sequels, I had it in the back of my head, because originally I had talked to Janci years ago about the idea of "what if I wrote the first book and then you wrote the sequels?" And that was kind of the original idea with what I might have been doing with Skyward back then. But this is, again, before I had even an outline. This is back when it was a lot more vague. And I always felt bad that we had talked about doing that, and then I needed to accelerate it; because Skyward was gonna come after Apocalypse Guard, the whole series. And after jettisoning that, everything kind of went crazy. And that's why I went back to her and said, "I knew we talked about this; do you still want to be involved? I've got this idea for novellas." And Janci has been delightful to work with in that regard.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Marvin Rosh

    Are all the cytonic abilities form Defending Elysium still canon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they are. And some of those, one of the things that I've done is making it so that different people who are cytonic have different weights of talent in different areas, if that makes sense. So things that you're not seeing are things that Spensa's not good at, but you might start seeing as we explore more characters in the setting.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Carrie Griffin

    Did you intend, when you started the Skyward series, to have the first three books in completely different settings? Will the fourth book also be in a different setting, back on Detritus, or in a mixture of settings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I like to go new places in my books. You see this in the Mistborn series. By the third book, we're not in the same setting. You see these even in the Stormlight books, we move... I don't wanna always be in the same place. We're slowly evolving the setting. Now, it's slower in those other ones; these are more fast-paced and a little more jarring. That was done intentionally, for that reasons we've talked about already, that I needed to kind of kick Spensa in the head a little bit. But the fourth book is going to kind of come back full circle, if that makes sense without giving too many spoilers.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Christian

    In terms of foreshadowing (and you are a planner), when you were starting Skyward, did you already go way to the end of book four in your mind? Or how far did you go?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What works best for me for a series like this is to make sure book one is working, and then build the series. And that's what I did with Skyward. Skyward was a specific idea; I knew that I was setting up the cytoverse, and I had ideas of where I would have gone with, for instance, Jason's story in Defending Elysium, and things like that. So that was a backdrop that I had for the general setting. But Skyward itself, I wrote the book, and then I sat down and said, "All right, what is my outline for my series? Now that I really have a good handle on who this character is, what is her arc?" And that's where I decided how long the series is. That's why Skyward is four books instead of three; it was the right length at that point for this series. And I usually do a pretty decent outline of the rest of the series at that point, while I still have a chance to revise the first one to make sure that everything is consistent and fitting.

    Going into the fourth book, I still had that in line. It's mostly where I placed it, just with some... Cytonic was one of the hardest writes of my career. This is partially Covid. There are other things playing into this. This is kind of a domino effect, also, of how I changed Starsight, and all of these things coming together. But it looks vaguely like the thing that I imagined it being when I started years ago, which always feels nice.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Christian

    One thing that I've enjoyed through your books is the cheeky, sassy sidekick style of character. In the Stormlight Archive, it's usually the spren; or you've got Nightblood in Warbreaker. And, of course, in Skyward, it's M-Bot, and to a lesser extent Doomslug at times. But I feel like, going into Cytonic, the M-Bot storyline and the M-Bot relationship with Spensa is getting a little... I don't wanna say "deeper" to discount the other ones, but it's getting more interesting. Can you talk a bit about what you wanted to do here with M-Bot?

    Brandon Sanderson

    M-Bot is a mystery. M-Bot is a mystery specifically set up to be used in future books. In the first book, M-Bot is a companion, but also kind of a tool. The story is about finding this spaceship and fixing this spaceship and using it to achieve what Spensa wants, which is to become a pilot. And getting a friend out of the deal is like a side benefit that she was not expecting and that we weren't expecting. But that friend comes with a lot of mysteries. What happened? Why is he like his is? And things like that. And that's a Chekov's Gun, that's a gun on the mantle of me promising "look, we're gonna get to this eventually."

    And one of the kind of key tenets for my storytelling is to always remind myself that whatever the character, whoever they are, in their heads, they are not the plucky sidekick. They might be a friend, they might know that they are helping someone with a larger story, they might see themselves not necessarily as the central hero of whatever. But they also don't see themselves as a plucky sidekick; they see themselves as a person living a life, and they're the protagonist of their own story. And that's something that I constantly want to keep in my mind, and be giving hints and expansions where it's possible in the narrative. And so these two things are colliding: M-Bot is a mystery, and M-Bot also is a protagonist. But he's a protagonist that doesn't accept that he's one. And this source of tension is what's driving us toward Cytonic, which is much more about M-Bot than the previous two books have been.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Christian

    In Skyward, there was some of the most unique alien designs I have, at least, read. I don't think anyone else has done a smell that's sapient. It was just so unique. And I loved it because, after I read about the figments, then I would smell something in real life, and it just starts to infect your world. And especially with the Diones and the whole birthing process and kind of testing out having a child, it's just so unique. I wanted to ask if you have any stories about how you came up with any of the races in Skyward.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure. The Diones came from the weird idea... Like a lot of things, it's just like, "What if you could audition for having different children? What if you could pick which one's personality's gonna fit in your family really well?" I audition characters. Like Spensa (we are gonna release these with the collection of the novellas), I did three different versions of Skyward before I settled on, I think, the fourth one for how her personality was going to work. And that's not uncommon for me, just be casting different characters. And as I cast those different characters, I'm like, "What if you could do that for your family?" That's obviously horrible; as authors, we are horrible people, we think of things like this, and we probably shouldn't. But the whole point of sci-fi/fantasy is to be able to ask those what-ifs, to deal with a society built around this sort of idea. So I run with it and hope that people understand that I'm not actually saying you should be able to boot your children out if they don't match your personality. It's more like, "Hey, what if this existed?"

    On a more serious note, that's kind of what science fiction is about. Let's do a dry run on what would happen if we had this experience with an alien race. We've gotta think about these things. Not necessarily the weird stuff I come up with, but what happens when we meet an alien race, and they're like this or like that? How do we treat them? All of these sorts of things are worth exploring, I think.

    With Starsight (and we have a little bit more of this in Cytonic), I just, again, wanted to expand the world and kind of kick Spensa in the face with how different the universe is compared to what she was expecting. So I forced myself to stretch a little bit extra on some of the alien races, where I might not have in another context. But I just wanted her and you to be like, "Oh wow. This is not as simple as I was expecting it to be." And anytime you can reinforce that with something as simple as adding a character who acts very different, that's the sort of thing I want to do.

    Waterstones Cytonic Release Party ()
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    Christian

    With the worlds expanding so much in book two and then even futher with the novellas you did with Janci Patterson, do you have almost like a cap in your head? Like, we can only go this big? What is the potential for this cytoverse in your head at the mometn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the things, as I've been writing on the cytoverse, is I've wanted to have a good science fiction space setting to tell stories that don't fit in the Cosmere. So one of the goals of the cytoverse is to give me that receptacle for stories that I want to tell going forward. And so, where is the limit? I'm not sure that I've put a boundary on it. I know what Spensa's story is, if that makes sense. And that's where my eyes are right now. Like all of my settings, even with something like the Cosmere, the goal for that is always to give me the means to tell the stories I want to tell. And where I place a story is really depending on, as it grows and develops, what sorts of themes do I want to deal with, and things like that. If you read through the Skyward series, there are some story hooks for things that I might tell or I might not tell, going forward, if those stories decide that I need to write them.

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    Questioner

    Should Stormlight ever reach the film stage or TV series, would you consider using the Black Piper Kaladin album as its soundtrack?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would consider it. It would really be up to the people who were making it, but that's definitely something to consider. It's a very good album.

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    Questioner

    You've written about a lot of cultures that have some parallels to the real world. Do you have any culture or magic system you've kicked around that's inspired by the Indian subcontinent?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do, actually. Thank you for this question. You should be very interested to read The Lost Metal. There's a worldhopper on The Lost Metal from a planet with a culture inspired by the Indian subcontinent.

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    Questioner

    In your books, you have some pretty powerful healing magics, and we've also seen some characters sustain some pretty traumatic brain injuries. The human brain stores information as electrical connections, right? So if you blew a part of it out, you could grow it all back, but those connections wouldn't really be there. Have you considered that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have. This is why you will see memory... So, Cognitive Shadows maintain a person's memory. And your Cognitive aspect, your Invested self, maintains your memory in the cosmere. This is why you will also see people's memory being edited by accessing some of the Investiture. You'll see this in Warbreaker; you saw this in the end of Rhythm of War. Your Cognitive self, your Invested self, keeps a duplicate of all your memories. So this allows very significant trauma to the Physical sense; as long as the Cognitive sense is still attached to that body, those memories will be reimplanted in the Physical self, or will be accessed. And this was just necessary for me to even have things like what happened with Raoden in the beginning of Elantris, and for ghosts to exist, and things like that. It actually works pretty well, because it lets me use it to edit people's memories by accessing their Investiture.

    And one of the other things that's going on here is: if you have more Investiture, you can remember more, and better. But then that's dangerous, because it's a lot easier to access that Investiture. And it's a lot harder to notice when it has been edited. Hmm.

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    Questioner

    When you were writing Skyward, did you ever change Spensa's name? And if so, what were some of her previous names?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, I kind of just started with Spensa. And so I don't imagine that there was anything. I'm trying to remember; I don't think there was anyting else before that. It was just nebulous, and I was using nicknames for her.

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    Questioner

    How do the people on Detritus breathe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How did the oxygen get recycled, is that what you're asking?

    Questioner

    Yes; they have no plants.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do. Here's the thing: it has lots of alien fungus that works like an algae. This is what the rats are living on; this is what the slugs are living on, and things like that. And so the air is recycled naturally. But we don't see most of the plants that are creating oxygen on our planet; it's the same way with them. Even the lichen and things that she is mistaking for dust and what-not is helping the planet to maintain an oxygen cycle. Good question.

    But that is also why there's rats in the caverns. And a lot of these are surviving geothermally. It's alien; it works, but because I say so.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
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    Questioner

    How do you think pushing and pulling on liquid metals would work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would work, but it'd be messy. It would definitely work; you could do it. In fact, you can find all kinds of things with ferrofluids that would show you kind of how it'd work. I visualize it working similar to some of those things, where you get some of those pretty cool patterns of the liquid. Though not exactly the same, because they're gonna work exactly like ferrofluids, because ferrofluids gonna have suspended particles. Anyways, it's different. But things like that, I think will be very fun. And I imagine trying to find ways to use that more in the future.

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    Questioner

    If you've been having success writing books with other authors, as you've had, is that a strategy you might write sequels to Rithmatist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is something we've considered with Rithmatist, yeah. What would be really nice is, if I'm adding a coauthor, getting somebody who has Aztec heritage (because I wanted to write the next one taking place and dealing with kind of some Aztec lore and things like that) would be really cool. So that's kind of what we've been looking for, if we can find somebody who at least has some understanding of some Mexican heritage and things like that, or a scholar of that. That is probably where we're gonna go, when we do it; we just have to find the right person. So that's what we're looking out for. If you know writers that you really like, you can send me emails about who I should look into.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
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    Questioner

    I believe that you can reasonably assume that humans and Parshendi at some time mixed, resulting in Horneaters with their red hair and hearty stomachs, Herdazians with their fingernails, and Thaylens with their eyebrows (maybe; I don't know about that one). However, Aimians, like Axies the Collector, have blue changeable skin, and this doesn't seem like a Parshendi trait at all.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is not.

    Questioner

    Is it possible that there was another race welcomed onto the planet like humans were?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.