Recent entries

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    Questioner 1

    My friend and I always argue. He's like, "Amaram and Jasnah are the same age." Are they really?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Amaram is a little older, I believe, but they are around the same age.

    Questioner 2

    Like 24ish?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, no. Jasnah's like in her mid to late thirties. Mid thirties. I get it mixed up which one's Earth age and which one's Rosharan age. Whatever I say in there, it's about 10 percent more for our age. But yeah, Jasnah's not...

    Questioner 2

    She's not a spring chicken.

    Brandon Sanderson

    She's not a spring chicken. 

    Questioner 2

    But Amaram's older?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I think Amaram's like a year or two older, but they're around the same age.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    I was just going to ask if we're going to hear any more from First of the Sun.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually started writing a sequel story but it gives a lot away about Era 4 of Mistborn. I'm like, "I don't know if I can do this."

    Questioner

    So we'll just wait a little bit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. We'll see if Peter thinks I'm giving away too many things. Like I don't want to give away endings of like the Stormlight Archive in the short story and so I have to be careful about those things.

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    Questioner

    If Nightblood was to attack one [a Shard] and decided it was evil, could he destroy enough of that Shard to seriously weaken it compared to other Shards or not really?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean it would be such a drop in the bucket. To actually weaken the Shard. Like, there is so much out there. This would be hard to do. I won't completely nix it, but let's just say there's a lot that Nightblood would have to...

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    Questioner

    A while back I asked about, have you developed your equivalency system for Breath to... 

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. We're still working on that. I actually have some people. I just got some physicists and mathematicians and said, "I'm gonna have you guys do this, and then you'll keep me honest." That's where we are right now.

    And they're like, "It is such a big job." And I'm like, "I know. That's why I'm paying you to do this, so that I don't have to do it. So do your best, it's okay."

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    What was the name of a Shard that you choose not to use? Like the Shardic intent you decided not to use?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can't confirm those because I still might use them. Mostly, the things I've discarded are names that are too simple, or too on the nose. 

    Maybe I'm not not... People are like "oh they're just synonyms, hatred and odium are synonyms" but I see more nuance to Odium. So like it feels more deep. 

    Questioner

    Yeah. If it's got a different history as a word.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But I haven't 100 percent eliminated any of them. Like, some of them are similar enough that at the end of the day, I might be like "you know what, this is better as this name instead of this name" and that would change the intents.

    Questioner

    So you have...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have a list of all 16 but I haven't settled on the actual name for each of them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh! I decided not to do the Shard Levity. I did move away from that completely.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Your languages in Stormlight, do you have a way you do names and such?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually there's two different ways that I approach it. If I'm going to spend a lot of time in the linguistics, I'll look for linguistic themes like in Stormlight it's names that are symmetrical or things like that. If I need to shortcut, I'm going to look for an Earth culture and I'm going to use the language kind of based on more themes from that culture and the sounds they have and try to replicate that but not using the actual words from that culture.

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    Questioner

    Are you still planning on Death by Pizza after...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So Death by Pizza is now called Death without Pizza. It's actually called Songs of the Dead. I've been working on that with Peter Orullian who's a singer in a metal band. Some parts of it are really working, some parts aren't, so we're doing another draft. Basically, I did the outline and the world, he's writing the book. The first revision, there were some things that needed to be done in the first draft. So, we'll see how it goes. It's an experiment for both of us. Neither of us have co-written a book before.

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    Questioner

    Was Adolin and Shallan always the endgame, or did you ever shift to Kaladin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did shift, back and forth. So, what I do with a lot of my relationships is, I don't usually plan them out. A lot of characterization, I have to leave the characters kind of their own volition. So I write my way into relationships and I write my way into the character elements. I plot my world, my setting, and my plot out ahead of time but I let the characters go where they're going to go. I know some people would rather she made a different decision, but that is the decision that felt right to me going forward.

    I've just validated all the Shallarin people on the internet saying, "Aw, he changed his mind!"

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Is "Trell" Odium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO. I'm sorry. The cheeky thing for me to respond would be, "Which Trell," but the answer is just it's a RAFO.

    Questioner

    Which Trell, huh?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. The name Trell has shown up multiple times in the Cosmere.  But the Trell specifically you're asking about is the one who is invading Scadrial during the second Era.

    Questioner

    Is that the same one in Era 1?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So that's a RAFO also but there's also a Trell mentioned on Taldain so the name has shown up multiple times.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    If you take a coppermind that has stores and you take a zincmind that has stores and you melt them together to form brass, what happens?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's mostly going to destroy your ability to recover any of it, unfortunately. 

    Questioner

    Are you going to be able to store any more?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're probably going to end up, if it was already full, with it being full but you not being able to access it. So it would not be very handy to do. Not be very useful for you.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Are all the planets on the same timeline? Is the time the same on all of them? Like a thousand years on Roshar is a thousand years on Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They aren't. The years on Roshar are longer. They're different. So the way they count them is different. Basically, if you took a clock that was set, the time would pass at the same speed on most of them, but the time that it is a year on different ones are different.

    Questioner

    I was just curious if like Anno Domini was the same for all of them like year 1 is year 1 on...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope. They are not. The calendars are all different. And Roshar for instance, if I say someone is 20 in the Stormlight books, they'd be 22 in Earth years and Scadrial uses a very-close-to-Earth year so they'd be 22 in Scadrian years. I keep them mostly very similar just for the reasons of trying not to be super confusing. 

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    Questioner

    Does gender play a role in how a spren chooses a Radiant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does but it is not a strict... It's just spren are going to have preferences like people have preferences and that does play into it but there's not really any sort of strict...

    If you want to know narratively, behind the scenes, it tends to work to pair opposite genders together, because it just makes for better conversations and things like that. And it makes the cast fill out a little bit better with a little more variety. So that's why you see the writer side of me doing it, but in-world my kind of explanation is they have preferences.

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    Questioner

    I have a question about Shadesmar. What inspired the beads where everything in the actual reality is a bead in Shadesmar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I were being truthful, it probably goes all the way back to a Michael Whelan painting I saw when I was a teenager. But at the end of the day, I thought it was a really interesting image and a good reflection. I want things to reflect the real world—the Physical Realm—but in a different sort of way. So I like the kind of crystalline nature of it and things like that.

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    Questioner

    Is "Doomslug" Doomslug's real name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Doomslug" is not Doomslug's real name but Doomslug will accept that name from Spensa. Doomslug would have a name in Doomslug language.

    Questioner

    Are you going to try and pronounce that for us?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    In your underground lair, will you have a secret room that has another secret?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Laughs* We should. We will have a secret door so we should have a secret door that has a secret in it. Good suggestion. If we do that, then you can say you inspired it.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Arlin

    You have a Twinborn. It doesn't matter what Allomancer he'd be. The aluminum Ferring. They've stored up a lot of aluminum before all this happens. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, aluminum was really hard to come by.

    Arlin

    I know. Theoretically, and they've filled it up and then they become a savant.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hard to do without being a [Compounder].

    Arlin

    I'm saying Twinborn in the other metal they become a savant. Then they tapped the aluminum.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I could see that having some very weird effects.

    Arlin

    Basically my thought is, is it a toggle switch?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So I'm going to RAFO that for now. You're theorizing around really cool lines, but I'm not going to answer it yet because I have plans for what I'm going to want to do and I don't want reveal it yet.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    I was reading Starsight and then I remembered you wrote the novelette Defending Elysium a while ago.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did.

    Questioner

    So when you wrote that, were you expecting to make a series based off it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had plans for where it would go with the series. It did not involve Spensa in them. It involved some of the evolutions that ended up in this book. Particularly early in my career, everything I wrote, I planned, if it was the thing that took off, where I would go with it if I were doing sequels. So I had a whole bunch of ideas but it's been 15, almost 20 years since I wrote that. So when I sat down to do Starsight, there were something that were from those original plans and some things that weren't.

    Questioner

    With Jason, he was blind and stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Questioner

    Is Spensa going to develop those powers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So what I've been kind of doing is, I'm kind of taking a lot of the different powers that Jason had and I'm kind of moving them into specialties that different people could have. So you could theorize that someone could learn them all but more likely you're going to see people specializing.

    Questioner

    So, like her grandmother has like the sensing power.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm. Just read the new book and see what happens there.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    You describe the mistcloak as being a hundred tassels from the shoulder down and yet there are pockets.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.  You could put a pockets right up in there and plus different people have different designs on their mistcloaks. It's not modern era. They're not mass produced. You go and you get yours made how you want it to be. A lot of people put there's down here when they're actually making them and trying them on. They find it works better.

    Footnote: Mistcloaks are traditionally dozens of thick ribbons rather than a hundred small ones.
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    Questioner

    So on the cover for Alloy of Law, is it Wayne standing next to Wax?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and Wayne has a gun. So, we saw that. We didn't think it was worth changing. We recognize that that's the way it is but it's mostly just because the covers aren't meant to be an illustration of the book; they're meant to be evoking the feeling of the book and we liked the feeling of the book. We didn't want to have to go back to do reshoots because that's an actually photography shoot. All of those books, he has actors dress up and do the shoots and then Photoshops it.

    It wasn't bad enough to make us say, "Ooh you have to go reshoot this whole thing." But Wayne has just not realized he's holding a gun yet and dropped it. Someone handed it to him and he's like, "What? Oh!" but they got the shot right before.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    What if you had a Twinborn who had atium for both and he burned atium that was stored?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I'll RAFO that. I believe I've RAFO'd that in the past so I'll RAFO it again. 

    Footnote: It was revealed in Era 1 that Feruchemical atium stores youth. Compounding atium was what gave The Lord Ruler his longevity. Brandon may have thought the question was about compounding aluminum, for which we do not know the effects.
    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    What philosophies do you feel like inspired you the most? Philosophies, or mysticisms, religions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I like a lot of different things. You'll see a lot of things in Way of Kings of Pantheism. You see all the old Greek dudes. You'll see some Cartesian stuff. It's kind of everything. You'll see a lot of Shinto. Yeah, probably the most has been Shinto or actually more of the kind of Buddhist and Jainism sort of idea. 

    Questioner

    You know, Taravangian I feel like is embodiment of compassion versus seeing the world for what it really is. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Right. And then there's the whole Utilitarianism versus altruism and I just find all of that stuff fascinating. I don't know if there's any one. Shinto, that idea of animism, the idea of everything having a soul, is probably... Yeah.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Do you have the endings of all of your books already pre-planned or does that kind of evolve as you go along?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have the ending of Stormlight 10. I have the ending of the Mistborn series. But I don't have all the endings of all books.

    The main core line of the Cosmere, I do have, but those are subject to change as I go. I don't necessarily have the ending of the Threnody book. Like, that I would have to outline and sit down.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Phenax, which Shard do you think he is most like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    God of Deception. I don't know. I'd have to think about that. I'm not 100% sure. It might be one I haven't revealed yet which...

    Questioner

    Obviously that's the whole RAFO deal.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Phenax is an interesting character in the lore. I like all of their gods of the underworld that they do.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    So the Parshendi Rhythms. They talk a lot about them as like music. So do you imagine them as rhythms where they talk like this or is their a melodic quality to it? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is what they're doing. There's not very much melodic quality to it. They set songs to the Rhythms. The way I have it in the books, in my mind, and the canon, is there is Connection between them and the songs of Roshar. That they can pick up a Rhythm when there's actually not enough of it, even in a sentence, because of the intent of the Rhythm and what the other person's hearing. So they can hear a Rhythm even if it's only a couple words being said, that you couldn't learn, if you were just a human listening. No matter how good you were. Some you wouldn't be able to pick up because there is not enough information there. 

    Questioner

    So they're just like kind of complex rhythmic things that you could write out musically.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You could. You definitely could write them out.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    What was the thing you that you researched for your books that you were most interested in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ooh. That's a great question. Probably alchemy, because I find that fascinating that they believed like almost science but not. I loved that sort of stuff. 

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Sparkle

    In Stormlight Archive, how are they paying for the wars before the one on the Great Plains? How was Dalinar funding his armies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually they have an almost feudal system on Roshar where the city lord's in charge of collecting taxes and sending them in but a lot of the taxes from out around are going to be goods. It's going to be basically feeding the armies and things like that. The people who are living in like Hearthstone and stuff like that aren't paying any taxes other than in grain. But in the cities, they are and you can also see the more important the lighteyes, the better of a city they will get with a higher population because they get a percentage of those taxes. Like Roshone doesn't really get anything. He's basically taking care of someone else's lands.

    Sparkle

    Now is that like on a property tax basis or is it more of a sales tax?

    Brandon Sanderson

    More of an income tax.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    If you could do a fourth Allomantic [Metallic Arts] magic system. Have you thought about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually hadn't even thought about it. You'd think I would have but I haven't. Those three interlock so well. I'd have to think about it. I really don't know that I have one. I'm sure I could come up with something but I'll put that in the back of my brain. They interlock so well that I've never even considered what I'd do for a fourth.

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    Questioner

    What character have you written that you felt is most inspired by your own personality?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My mom says it's Alcatraz, my middle grade series, is most like me so I trust her. Other than that, it's hard for me to say. You have to go to my friends and things. I feel like ever character's part of me and every character's not. Stephen Leeds, from the Legion series, has a lot of writer-ish stuff in it. Particularly the last of the three if you've ever read that one. That was kind of a very personal book and it was getting into kind of the way... So maybe Stephen Leeds as a middle manager. I feel like a person who's controlling all of these characters. Rather than this person having the adventures, I'm keeping them organized.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    So we were trying to guess what your next book's title would be for this series. If you were to stick with alliteration, it could be Solbound.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a pretty good idea. I actually had the next one being the Aztlánian because Aztlán is the mythical home—like the heaven—of the Aztec people, but I don't know if I'll go with that or not.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    I have a bit of a problem with the first Desolation timeline. I'm wondering how old were the Heralds when they became Heralds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The age that you would see them as when you met them. They basically are the age they look. When they became Heralds, they are the age that they appeared.

    Questioner

    So they were like in their younger middle age?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some of them. I mean Ishar is older.

    Questioner

    So that means that the entire timeline of the first Desolation happened within a single lifetime?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of the ancient chronologies are wrong and you won't get the actual answers until the Heralds themselves explain it in their flashback sequences in the back five. 

    Questioner

    You've said that the Heralds came over from Ashyn. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Okay. How old were they then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Younger than they were when they became Heralds.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    What's the longest you've spent revising a single sentence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually, the longest I spend revising single sentences would be the keteks in Stormlight, which are the poems I write that go along with it. I'm not so good at poetry so it takes a lot longer for me to get poetry right. Followed by humor scenes. Witty lines, and things like that, take a long time for me to actually write.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Will you write a novella on Silverlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Someday I want to, but I can't promise it. It's if it fits in. I've got a really good, nice Silverlight story that I want to tell, but whether I can get to it... There are just so many things competing, and the only things I will commit to are the core Cosmere stories.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Are you doing any more novels for White Sand?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can read the prose version that this was based on—that I wrote—just by getting it from us. Someday, I'll probably do some prose for these short stories, but right now, they are going to be graphic novels. In fact, we'll do a sequel series—now that we know what we're doing—that is designed specifically to be a graphic novel. That's our goal there.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Will we see more of Rysn in the Stormlight Archive books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I plan to... She never becomes a main character. I plan to have an interlude with Rysn every time.

    Questioner

    She won't be out of the interludes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, she won't be, but I might write a novella with her. Like I did with Lift.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    I was just kind of wondering how long the art process takes like would Alcatraz be out next year?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The art places is really going to depend on how long Hayley takes. It's probably going to take at least a year. I think the earliest you would see it would be around the time we release the next Stormlight book. That would be my guess.

    Isaac Stewart

    With the latest maybe May of 2021. Yeah. Like mid-2021.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's going to depend on her schedule for doing the art now that we have the book. You could give it to her, if you haven't already, to read. 

    Isaac Stewart

    Yeah. I talked to her about it today.

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    I gotta ask, are you going to give us any sort of backstory prior to Dragonsteel coming out? Of Hoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will get little snippets here and there but really it's when you get his story that you are going to get the fully story of Adonalsium shattering. I have to leave it at snippets until then, because anything I give you is as a snippet now is canonizing something that I'm going to write later on. So I have to leave it at the stuff I know is going to be in there. 

    Starsight Release Party ()
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    Aradanftw

    Let's say you wanted to be the Mistborn equivalent of a Surgebinder, having all ten Surges, would the best way to do that to bond at least five Honorblades or can you bond more than one spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You could bond five Honorblades. That'd be the easiest way by far. Because convincing multiple spren to bond you is going to be really tough, so by far the easiest way is just to get... you'd actually need all ten Honor... No, you'd need five Honorblades for the five... Yeah.

    Aradanftw

    You'd have to get the right ones.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'd have to get the right ones and then you'd have all ten. 

    Aradanftw

    And then, there's nothing wrong with bonding five individual Blades? You don't have to have five arms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You do not have to have five arms. You could bond five Blades if you wanted to.

    Aradanftw

    Really cool. Thank you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Particularly Honorblades. 

    Aradanftw

    They're special.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Barnes&Noble YA Podcast ()
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    Barnes&Noble

    Do you have, for Starsight and Skyward, aesthetic touchstones that you bring to these different books? Or does it just all sort of emerge from the storytelling as you get into your characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do, and it depends. Sometimes, as I'm working on the book, I develop those. Sometimes it's ahead of time.

    My cultural touchstone for Skyward was me saying, "All right. These people are in just this terrible situation. And they are constantly being fought by this unknown enemy. What kind of society would grow out of this?" And I pushed it towards a little bit of an authoritarian, martial dictatorship. Using, actually, North Korea as one of the touchstones, and some of the Axis powers as touchstones. And a little bit, in places, of communist propaganda, and things like that. Some of the visual touchstones was Italian futurism, and things like this, just to kind of give this same sort of feel that I was looking for. If you read the book, there's just little hints of it here and there. You're gonna see cubist designs in the architecture, and you're gonna see the paintings and things they describe have this sort of Italian futurist feel to it. There's a little post-Art Nouveau. You've probably seen the art style. It's, like, ships flying into the air leaving lines of red and yellow light in the sky, and very very almost Art Deco-ish feel. These were my visual touchstones for myself. Just because the society, I thought, this might be the closest thing that we have on our planet to how I feel this would really arise with the military being completely in control and lots of people being lost in battle but them needing to keep morale up, and things like this.

    Barnes&Noble

    So this whole aesthetic of speed and force and martial unity and finding themes of, there is a particular beauty to those kinds of things. There's art that reflects it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's also this kind of, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." And one of the things Spensa butts up against in the books is, "Have we gone too far on this? Have we become so focused on this that we're losing track of what it means to be human? But, at the same time, is this what kept us alive? Maybe the fact that we can even think about being human exists because of how extreme our society had to become." And these are really interesting questions that are fun for writers to deal with. Part of the reason that I write sci-fi and fantasy is it allows me to pluck some of these things from our world, separate them from some of the cultural baggage, and try and approach them and talk about them in story form. So I can just explore what it might feel like and how some of these questions might be explored, potentially, by us in the future.

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    Aradanftw

    If you were to use Hemalurgy on a Surgebinder, would it steal the Surge or the actual spren bond?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's going to steal the spren bond, but you've got to remember the spren has power over that bond. So what you're doing is (1) incredibly evil, even more evil, but (2) you may not end up with what you want, because that spren has free will in most cases. You may go through all this trouble and then they may break the bond, and you would be left without it. So you would need something else to force them to be unable to break the bond, which would be even more evil, but it is possible in Hemalurgy.