Recent entries

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11651 Copy


    Did you pre-write the Kelsier stuff for Secret History, or did you just outline the events ahead of time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kelsier was notes, though detailed ones. They might mostly worked out. I believe there was one "thought" a character has in HERO that I had written to be influenced by Kelsier, but turned out to be logistically impossible. I worked on Secret History itself on and off for years before finishing it last fall.


    Was that thought the one Sazed has in his fight with Marsh?

    Those weren't coins, a voice seemed to whisper.

    The bag Marsh shot at you. Those weren't coins.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup, that's it.

    Moving the well, playing with where Kelsier was, and the physics of moving through perpendicularities between Realms all kind of combined to make what I had planned originally there not work. I tried fudging things so Kelsier could be there, and felt it was dishonest to the rules. So I didn't let him stray far enough from the Well to talk to Sazed there. Peter had thought for years that was Kelsier, I recall, and was sad we couldn't connect them.


    I don't suppose you'd be willing to share with us who the new, canonical voice in Sazed's head is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm afraid I probably won't ever go into this. At some point, you risk twisting and turning too much. I have a canon answer in my head, but for readers, it will probably need to remain ambiguous--with "it was simply him coming up with it on his own" being a valid option.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11652 Copy


    Still not sure what the multiple mist spirits were that warded off Marsh in the deleted version of the ending - I've heard speculation they were somehow kandra (justifying the mistwraith name). Do you remember what was going on there?

    By the way, the knife leras is carrying around. Would people call that a shard blade ;)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What a nice, heaping pile of RAFOs you have there, Phantine.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11653 Copy


    Was Hoid a Feruchemist before he ever got to Scadrial?

    I remember reading this somewhere but I can't find it. Not sure if it is a theory or a WoB.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't believe I ever said anything like that.

    Footnote: Brandon has said that Hoid uses Feruchemy to know where he needs to go in the cosmere. He has also said that it may not necessarily be Feruchemy, but something similiar based on the same underlying mechanics.
    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11654 Copy


    If I remember correctly, Allomancy is from Preservation, Hemalurgy is from Ruin and Feruchemy is from both Preservation and Ruin.


    This is correct. It isn't caused by a shard, but the interaction of two opposing shards


    Would something like that happen between honor and odium?


    I just read WoK the other day, I have yet to start in on WoR. That said, my speculation is possibly, but I don't think so. It sounds kind of like Odium isn't from Roshar. Maybe I'm wrong there, but I got that impression. That would mean his form of investiture is somewhere else.

    Also, I think that the reason Preservation and Ruin have Feruchemy is also that they worked together to create. There has to be some reason that they interacted while others didn't, and I would guess it is probably their working together

    Edit: We could summon [Brandon] but I am almost positive this would get RAFO'd

    Brandon Sanderson


    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11655 Copy


    Dalinar's visions: at the end they are revealed to be a "journal", where his interactions are superfluous. How does this explain the vision where he fought the smoke creatures with a fire poker? There his actions were having an impact.

    Brandon Sanderson

    We get into this in the next book with some vivid examples. So it's a RAFO--but with a promise that an explanation is coming.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11656 Copy


    As another note, I think it's cool that the Cognitive Realm on different planets have similarities, but different styles, like the beads on Roshar vs the Mist on Scadrial. I assume all worlds have something related to this. (?)

    I'm reading (listening to) Warbreaker currently, and I'm curious as to what the Cognitive Realm on Nalthis looks like. I imagine a neutral gray wasteland to represent nonliving matter (metal/rocks) and glowing clouds of color to represent people--glowing more powerfully if they have more breaths, no color if they are a drab--and less colorful more solid structures for once-living-matter. Similar situation with the whole "water is land, land is whatever the fuck the planet wants".

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll eventually figure out what Shadesmar looks like on Nalthis.


    Are there any big plans for the world of Warbreaker beyond the sequel? Or would that be a RAFO (equally exciting)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11657 Copy


    Can Cadmium bubbles be nested if you have multiple Pulsers?

    Bonus Question: add in duralumin/nicrosil to the equation.



    The effects multiply.



    I guess hiring 3-4 Pulsers before something you have to prepare for might be worth it. They create their bubbles one after the other at the same place, and boom, you have days instead of minutes.

    Ok, lets calculate. We don't have exact figures for cadmium, but we have for bendalloy: 2 minutes into 15 seconds, that's a ratio of 8. 4 Pulsers mean 84 = 4096 ratio. So 21 second for every day goes by for every day you spend in there.

    The outer Pulser burns this 168.75 second's worth of cadmium, the first inner one needs 22.5 minutes, the second inner one needs 3 hours and the innermost needs the 24 hours.

    So basically for every day spent in these bubbles you need ~27.5 hours worth of cadmium, depending on how routinely they set up the bubbles one after the other.


    Wait, are you mixing up sliding and pulsing? I also think you are nesting your bubbles but not your pulsers, so you are losing a lot of efficiency not to mention practicality.

    Tell me if I'm misinterpreting what you're describing, but this is how I'm visualizing it:

    I'm saying that you get 4 pulsers huddled together and the one that can open the biggest bubble goes first. Then the next largest one pops his. Then the next. And finally the smallest bubble fires.

    In that scenario (unless there is something that prevents this) I picture it like this:

    This method, 170 days pass only burning 4 hours worth of cadmium.

    Well. I'm gonna do it. Gonna page /u/mistborn and ask: is this possible? Can time bubbles be nested like so and if they can do you truly get this kind of efficiency?

    crosses fingers

    Brandon Sanderson

    This one is a RAFO. :)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11658 Copy


    In the first book the group is focused on getting control of the palace and is not worried about the return of the army because they think that if they get the palace they'll have the atium and, thus, the ability to pay for the loyalty of the army, since they're mercenaries. Well they didn't find the atium, right? So no ability to pay the old army for their loyalty. I'm just saying that it seems to me that the absence of the Lord Ruler's army supporting the city should be a huge indication to all the other warlords that the atium isn't in Elend's possession.

    People have been saying that he wouldn't have anyone to trade with so the atium would be worthless but he would have had a year to work out trade with someone if he wanted to monetize it (with as valuable as atium is made out to be in the first book he would have found someone wanting to buy some even if he couldn't get the price the Lord Ruler charged for it).

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah! Well, that makes sense. I certainly think some people in world might have come to this conclusion. But they'd still think the atium must be somewhere in the city, even if Elend doesn't have/isn't spending it.

    However, I think the issue is a little less cut and dry. For one thing, Elend DOES have the loyalty of much of the local army--the garrison serves him now, which would be an indication that he has access to some of the Lord Ruler's resources. I don't think the lack of a larger army would be an indication he doesn't have the atium, however.

    Let's say you were a small band, and were able to seize and control Ft Knox, and get the guards stationed there to serve you. The president is dead, and the country is fragmenting into city-states.

    A senator from a nearby state might easily round up the military in his area, promise them that he's the new civil authority--then push them to go seize the gold. When they arrived, they wouldn't think, "Why is their force so small? They must not actually have the gold." They'd think, "They're ripe for the picking. We got here first."

    That's basically what is happening. The "Lord Ruler's Army" doesn't exist any more--it's fragmented, taken over by various groups who ruled their own local regions. And the bulk of the most frightening part, the koloss, are their own uncertain band.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11659 Copy


    How about the Iriali and Alethi mix we have going on with Adolin and Renarin? Where would this put them within the chibi figures? I have always had a hard time trying to figure out how they would look like due to their mix ethnicity. I have ideas... of course, but I'd be great to have confirmation.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They're gong to have lighter skin, but skin tone isn't something Alethi pay much attention to. Hair and eye color is what draws their attention. Dalinar and Kaladin will be darker than Adolin and Renarin, though none of them would look Caucasian to us. Of course, Caucasians have varied skin tone as well, so it's hard to say specifically what they'd look like. (As a note, Renarin/Adolin are a Riran/Alethi mix--not exactly Iriali/Alethi, as there's some slightly different genetics going on there.)


    Oh I thought Riran and Iriali were the same... Where did I go wrong?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can't say much without giving spoilers, but there are small differences.


    Would be cool if you ever got the chance to sit down with a sketch artist to put out images of your visualization of how some of these characters look.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would be fun, though I've done this (in a small way) with Ben McSweeny, who does a lot of art for my books. I have semi-official character sketches I use for my own descriptive purposes, but I don't consider them close enough in some ways to be canon, so we don't release them or put them in the books. That said, some of them might be floating around on the internet--I'm not sure.

    One thing I wish I'd done was nudge Michael Whalen to push his Kaladin on the cover of Words of Radiance a little further to be a little more ethnically Alethi--as I think it would help people's visualizations of him. But the one we ended up with is already the third version of Kaladin he did for that painting, and each one was increasingly better--I felt bad pushing him further.

    As a side note, I've always loved this fanart for Rock. I don't know if there's a more on-target picture of one of my characters out there:

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11660 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Taln has what we'd call black skin pigmentation. So does Ash (the woman from the Baxil interlude.) Same for Sigzil.

    Fun fact: in the original draft of The Way of Kings, Taln shared equal screen time with Kaladin. In the revised version, for a multitude of reasons, I moved Taln's story further back in the series. He'll eventually get a book of his own.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11661 Copy


    In Sanderson's most recent lecture (50:25 in) to his BYU Writing Class, he mentions that Alethkar natives resemble Asians. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, especially since I always imagined the Shin as the "Asians" of that world.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a little more complicated than I might have made it seem. Alethkar natives other than the Shin have the epicanthic fold, but the Alethi wouldn't look strictly Asian to you--they'd look like a race that you can't define, as we don't have them on earth. I use half-Asian/half-arab or half-asian/half-Polynesian models as my guide some of the time, but Alethi are going to have a tanner skin than some of those.

    Some Horneaters might look Caucasian to you--but then, most will not. They'll seem like something alien, and not all of them have light skin; they tend to walk a spectrum between pale and coppery. Reshi and Herdazians will look closest to something like an indigenous Bolivian.

    Shin would look the closest to Caucasian to you, but again, they're not an Earth ethnicity. So you might not be able to place them either.

    A lot of the fanart has done a good job with this, and if you search through it, it might help you get an idea.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11662 Copy


    Are the House bios etc. for the game considered canon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Short version: no.

    Long version: Crafty needs too much new material for their games for me to provide. I'd be spending hours and hours on backstory, and none on writing new books. We tried, at first, to make it all canon, but it was too time consuming. We do look it over, and try to catch any big errors, but the problem is that if I want to write more stories in Mistborn, I can't be bound by what the games have included.

    That said, I'm mostly worried about extrapolations of the magic in this regard. (They need to be able to include powers and abilities that are good for gameplay, for example, and need to let people use metals in ways that the stories haven't explored yet.) I highly doubt there would be any reason at all to contradict the information about the houses and their bios, which looks solid to me, and in no need of revision.

    So it's more of a "Yes, you can treat this as canon, but know that in some extreme cases it's possible I'll rewrite it in fiction."

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11663 Copy


    Do rebellious Alethi teens ever mix together red wine and yellow wine so they can be all 'see parents, I'm just drinking orange, that's nonalcoholic'.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There aren't as strong a set of taboos on underage drinking in Alethi society as there are in ours. I'd imagine that what you say has happened, but wouldn't be too common.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11664 Copy


    I think wines in Stormlight are more similar to fermented juice than alcoholic beverages, the word wine is just the closest thing in English to whatever they are saying in Alethi.


    I guess you're right. With all the storms, I don't think they can grow grapevines.

    Just like the word 'chicken' seems to be used where we would use 'bird'. :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is correct; these are both several examples of linguistic broadening and semantic change in Vorin languages.

    When and Alethi says "wine" they generally mean "alcohol." Though some of them are fermented juices, much of what they drink wouldn't seem like wine to you at all. Several that the Alethi lighteyes are fond of are akin to a harder liquor with an infusion. In others, the colorings are added for the same reason we add coloring to a cola--for convenience, feel, and tradition more than taste. A character in Book Three finds themselves in possession of some distilled Horneater liquor, and it's colorless.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11665 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've mentioned sequels to Elantris and Warbreaker, though I'm not sure if I should count those or not, as I don't view them as a series in the same way. They were both written as stand-alone novels, and when I return, I intend them to be more return to the worlds as opposed to returns to specific characters.


    I don't know if can accept that. I want more Raoden and Sarene. Despite the so-called "flaws" with Elantris, it's my favorite book/world.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I understand, and there's a chance I might revise my original outline. But I intended from the start to do these as more "Anne McCaffrey" style sequels--where the main characters from one book become side characters in the next. We'll see.


    The fact that you have acknowledged and responded to this means I have nowhere else to go except to accept what your intended direction is. Doesn't mean I can't remind you that Lessa appears in the following books...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, and I do intend main characters from Elantris to appear as side characters in sequels, maybe even with viewpoints and subplots. But I intend to pull a Dragonquest, where the main focus shifts to someone else. (In this case, Kiin's children.)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11666 Copy


    In the third Mistborn novel, Marsh's view was shown briefly but what I want to see is a story were one is a main character. This could show many cool stories like, Marsh's training to become an inquisitor (bit like scary hogwarts) or others.


    [Brandon], any chance you could squeeze this into the upcoming cosmere short story collection?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm sure I'll do some more Marsh viewpoints eventually, but I have my hands full getting things ready for the collection. (Plus, it has multiple stories from Scadrial already. It's Roshar we're missing.)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11667 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Lord Ruler died because he had filled his bracers with a large amount of youthfulness, and had to keep drawing it out to stay young--as his soul knew how hold it was, and his body kept trying to 'bounce back' to its perceived age. Compounding is how he gained enough extra youthfulness to pull this off.


    Actually, I have a question about the 'bouncing-back'.

    Is the 'bounce back force' actually what's stored in a metalmind?

    For instance, when storing atium a feruchemist ruins his body to make himself old, and then his metalmind 'catches' the force the soul puts out as it tries to restore his true, younger age?

    So you create metalminds by seesawing a ruining and a preserving impulse together.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The bounce back is caused by the relationship between the three realms of the cosmere. What you're saying isn't terribly far off, but at the same time, ignores some underpinning fundamentals of how it all works.

    In the cosmere, your soul is basically an idealized version of yourself--and is a constant force pushing your body to match it. Your perceptions are the filter through which this happens, however, and many of the magics can facilitate in interesting ways.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #11668 Copy


    From a very recent signing, we have this new Word of Brandon...

    chasmfriend's son: Is there a finite amount of Investiture?

    Brandon: Yes.

    chasmfriend's son: So is Nightblood consuming it?

    Brandon: Yes. Very, very slowly.

    This worries me somewhat because of the following observation.

    Nightblood consumes Breath (and other Investiture, but let's limit ourselves to Breath for a second).

    Every person on Nalthis is born with one Breath.

    Populations tend to grow. Which means that under normal rules of demographics, population of Nalthis should keep increasing.

    This in turn means that under normal circumstances the number of people with Breath on Nalthis should be growing.

    I can see the following possible explanations to this:

    1. Endowment can give Breath to many more people than are currently living on Nalthis. So, the exponential population growth has not yet reached the level at which Endowment's ability to award a Breath to each Nalthis-born human is seriously challenged. When it happens though, things will not go well.

    2. There is some built-in mechanism controlling population growth on Nalthis, making certain that the population stays within the limits. Nightblood's consumption of Breath makes these limits smaller, and overall may lead to Endowment's inability to grant Breath to Nalthis-born, but not for a while (essentially, Endowment controls population trends at she sees fit).


    Brandon Sanderson

    Just as a point you should understand, the amount of MATTER in the cosmere is finite too. As is the amount of energy.

    Worrying that Endowment will run out of Breaths to give is a little like worrying that the amount of carbon on Earth will run out because people keep being born.


    So just for clarification, once Nightblood consumes investiture, that investiture gets recycled? That's what I've always assumed. That it enters the cognitive/spiritual realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The investiture he consumes is not gone forever--it's not leaving the system, so to speak.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #11669 Copy


    So how do the exact mechanics of Feruchemy in relation to Compounding work?

    This confusion is primarily around how [the Lord Ruler] gets his near infinite age.

    Okay. So first off, I understand the concept of how they work. Feruchemy is net zero, Allomancy is net positive, combine them and you end with a net positive Feruchemy ability.

    So how Feruchemy normally works... you take say weight, store half your normal weight and then you can access it whenever you want. So you (originally X weight) are taking A weight, storing it, and then you are at (X-A) weight, with access to A. So we have a metalmind that store magnitude with the efficiency of how its received based on how quickly or slowly it is drawn upon.

    All the metalminds except atium seem to act this way. Atium seems to work as storing magnitude/time rather than just magnitude. The way I understand it is that say a 30 year old person becomes 50 years old for 1 day, this would give access to 20 years difference for a 1 day period.

    The Lord Ruler then exploits this by gaining access to say 20 years difference over 10 days (magnification by Compounding) which he then slowly feeds into himself to lower his age.

    Why this difference? I'm assuming its to maintain a neutral "body age" because with just magnitude a person could permanently make themselves younger by Compounding.

    With just magnitude of "20 years of youth" being stored, if the Lord Ruler magnified it, he could turn it into "200 years of youth" and then he would never need the constant stream off youth (and wouldn't have died without the bracelets)

    Hope this makes sense.

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, so there are a few things you have to understand about cosmere magics to grok all of this.

    First, is that magics can be hacked together. You'll see more of this in the future of the cosmere, but an early one is the hack here--where you're essentially powering Feruchemy with Allomancy. (A little more complex than that, but it seems like you get the idea.)

    The piece you're missing is the nature of a person's Spiritual aspect. This is similar to a Platonic idea--the idea that there's a perfect version of everyone somewhere. It's a mix of their connections to places, people, and times with raw Investiture. The soul, you might say.

    (Note that over time, a person's perception of themselves shapes their Cognitive aspect as well, and the Cognitive aspect can interfere with the Spiritual aspect trying to make the Physical aspect repair itself.) Healing in the cosmere often works by aligning your Physical self with your Spiritual self--making the Physical regrow. More powerful forms of Investiture can repair the soul as well.

    However, your age is part of your Connection to places, people, and times. Your soul "knows" things, like where you were born, what Investiture you are aligned with, and--yes--how old you are. When you're healing yourself, you're restoring yourself to a perfect state--when you're done, everything is good. When you're changing your age, however, you are transforming yourself to something unnatural. Against what your soul understands to be true.

    So the Spiritual aspect will push for a restoration to the way you should be. With this Compounding hack, you're not changing connection; it's a purely Physical Realm change.

    This dichotomy cannot remain for long. And the greater the disparity, the more pressure the spirit will exert. Ten or twenty years won't matter much. A thousand will matter a lot. So the only way to use Compounding to change your age is to store up all this extra youth in a metalmind, then be constantly tapping it to counteract the soul's attempt to restore you to how you should be.

    Yes, all of this means there are FAR more efficient means of counteracting aging than the one used by the Lord Ruler. It's a hack, and not meant to be terribly efficient. Eventually, he wouldn't have been able to maintain himself this way at all. Changing Connection (or even involving ones Cognitive Aspect a little more) would have been far more efficient, though actively more difficult.

    Though this is the point where I ping [Peter Ahlstrom] and get him to double-check all this. Once in a while, my fingers still type the wrong term in places. (See silvereye vs tineye.)

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #11670 Copy


    I didn't realize Horneaters had parshmen blood, didn't even realize that was possible. How closely are humans and parshmen related, do they have a common ancestor? Or is one an artificially created version of the other?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There was intermixing long ago. Horneaters and Herdazians are both a result. (Signs of this are the stone carapace on Herdazian fingernails and the Horneater extra jaw pieces--in the back of the mouth--for breaking shells.)

    Humans and parshmen don't have a common ancestor. And as a side note, both of these strains of humanoids predate the ascension of Honor, Cultivation, and Odium.


    Are there Aimian-Human hybrids as well? (Either type of Aimian) If so, are the Thaylen people one of these?

    Brandon Sanderson



    *via private message*

    Some of us believe that you are saying that humans and listeners existed pre-Shattering while some of us believe that you are saying that Horneaters and Herdazians existed pre-Shattering (you have mentioned that humans had been on Roshar since before the Shattering recently). What were you trying to say here?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Humans (other than those on Yolen) existed pre-Shattering, as did parshmen.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #11671 Copy


    I was just listening to Darn Carlin's Hardcore History podcast and Dan Carlin was talking about Genghis Khan's habit of seeing the potential in anyone, even an enemy. He was specifically going over the story of Jebe, a soldier who shot Genghis Khan in the neck and was recruited by the Khan because of his skill. This, at least to me, bears a striking resemblance to the final scene in the first flashback of [Oathbringer]. [Brandon] can you confirm or deny my suspicions that this scene was directly inspired by the real life event?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup, that's where it came from! I read a history of Genghis a number of years back, and loved this story, which was included there (though said to be just a legend.) Since I based old-school Dalinar on Subutai, a Mongolian general, I thought that this would be a perfect inclusion.

    The origins of the Mongolian-Dalinar link, by the way, can be traced back to a friend of mine, Bat-ultzi, a Mongolian who went about always claiming to be "The Great descendant of the Great Genghis Khan." He'd throw his shoes at people if they offended him. He was such a character that I got very interested in Mongolian practices and history.

    More tidbits. Rock and his culture started Mongolian long, long ago. (98-99 era, when I first wrote him.) As Roshar in general (and the Alethi in specific) became more Asian in look and less Semitic (though they are still a mash-up) I decided to push Rock's people in the direction of a human/parsh hybrid strain. This also was part of moving Rock himself from Yolen to Roshar, following after Dalinar and some other characters, who came earlier during the original Dragonsteel / Stormlight split in the early 2000s.

    These changes drove the Horneaters away from Mongolian influences, though I can't say specifically where the Polynesian/Russian mashup came from. I liked how it read, and felt the linguistics supported the accent. These changes, of course, had a domino effect that resulted in the Veden people gaining their occasional red hair and fair skin from Horneater relation, which means Shallan is part parshman--though the relation is distant at this point.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #11672 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of the magics are unaffected by being taken off world, though still subject to their own inherent flaws. Stormlight seeps out. Sand loses its glow. Metal can only be used by one with the right genetic code. Note that the magic from Sel is different, and is location dependent for reasons I don't think fandom has quite teased out.


    I assumed the shard Dominion was the reason why magic's are geographically and/or geopolitically based. Is there a different, essentially unrelated reason?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is a different reason.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #11673 Copy


    Who would win in a fight between a Full Shardbearer and a Space Marine?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know 40k well enough to say. But you will see Shardbearers in space some day.


    ...that's amazing. You've got high sci-fi fantasy coming? That'll be amazing.

    Uh... Now I've got this image of Kaladin in modified shardplate(hell, can shardplate just serve as a spacesuit?) floating about in space and Syl appearing with a little bubble helmet.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The cosmere (the shared universe of my epic fantasy books) is interconnected, and eventually there will be space travel between them. Those books are quite a ways down the road, though.


    I've known a long time of your cosmere! But I figured you'd take a "stargate" approach eventually -y'know, magical gates?

    But actual Space travel?

    I can imagine the various magical systems lending themselves well to that kind of stuff! I mean, gravity fabrials for artificial gravity, using some sort of cross-world steel pushing fabrial/biomechanical steel pushing device for a gauss rifle..

    I mean, the last one is if you make this like space ship battles.

    Windrunners and Skybreakers could just function as fighters themselves!

    here's a question: how are cross world magics gonna work? Let's say a space freighter powered by fabrials enters Scadrial space. What happens to those fabrials?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of the magics are unaffected by being taken off world, though still subject to their own inherent flaws. Stormlight seeps out. Sand loses its glow. Metal can only be used by one with the right genetic code. Note that the magic from Sel is different, and is location dependent for reasons I don't think fandom has quite teased out.


    Isn't Sel the original planet where Adonalsium happened?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yolen is the original.

    Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
    #11674 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This might be our final Oathbringer update--as today, I finished the fifth and final draft of the book, and am ready to send it off to Tor. From here, the book is in /u/peterahlstrom's hands as he handles the copyedits, the gamma read, and the proofreads. It's possible I'll make a few small tweaks to the text, but the book is mainly his burden now.

    I'm extremely pleased with the final draft, which I managed to cut to 450k words. That meant trimming about 64k off of it--roughly 12.5%. These are mostly line edits, with only a few small scenes being cut out. I improved pacing, and even added a few small sections to smooth out certain plot lines.

    Fans tend to hate the idea of cutting--but trust me, this version reads far better. I did make sure to keep anything substantive I cut so you can see it later as deleted scenes.

    We're still planning a November 14th release in the US. (I think UK releases on Thursdays instead of Tuesdays, so it would be a few days later over there.) Simultaneous audio and--if we can swing it--simultaneous Spanish.

    For now, I'm at Supanova in Sydney and Perth--which unfortunately means I won't be monitoring these comments (or my direct messages.) Be forewarned, you might not get a reply to questions posted here. (I will try to do a proper AMA about the book once it's out.)

    My next project will be The Apocalypse Guard, a book with loose connections to the Reckoners. I'm chomping at the bit to do some actual writing again, as I've been working on revisions of Oathbringer nonstop for almost exactly six months now. I think the last time I wrote anything non-Stormlight was Snapshot, fourteen months ago. Whew!

    By the files in my folders, the first chapter I wrote for Stormlight Thee was started on June 24, 2014. The last scene I added was written today, in my hotel in Sydney. The bulk of the writing happened June 2015-December 2016, with revisions lasting until just now.

    It clocks in at 122 chapters, with 14 interludes, plus a prologue, epilogue, and ketek.

    Looking forward to you all being able to read it, come November. Thanks, as always, for your support--and your patience.

    Stormlight Three Update #7 ()
    #11675 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Back with another update. It's been a few months, and I have worked through the third draft of Oathbringer. Original draft didn't have a few of the interludes, so I added those in this revision, as well as incorporating feedback from my team and the team at Tor Books. Earlier today, I wrote the epigraphs and the Wit monologue, then polished off the ketek.

    The current length is 514,000 words--so around 100k longer than Words of Radiance. Whew! That's big enough that we're not sure if we can bind it in paperback. (We can manage it in hardcover without too much trouble, though we might have to do some old term paper tricks such as expanding the margins.) The book won't be split in the hardcover US release, or in the ebook, but there's a possibility the US paperback might be split into two volumes released at the same time. (As has been common in the UK for all the books in the series.)

    We'll see what happens. Next revision, 4.0, is to incorporate Beta Reader comments and to make some tweaks I've been thinking about. This should be the fastest of the drafts, as I don't need to make any big structural changes or write many new scenes.

    5.0 (the final draft) will be a polish and trim. Publication date is still scheduled for this November. The US cover came in just recently, so expect a reveal on that soon. Michael did a fantastic job.

    As a warning: I'm not going to be able to monitor this thread very well, as I'm off to Europe. (I'll be in Poland, Germany, and Bulgaria--details on the events section of my website.) So be warned in advance that I probably can't post many replies to your questions here.

    I'm still making my way through my recent AMA on /r/fantasy, though, so you can pop over to that and read what I've had to say recently.

    As always, thanks for your patience. Beta read responses to the book are strong, so I think you'll be pleased with the result come this fall.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11677 Copy


    I have a philosophy question that could actually be answered in cosmere:

    Ship of Theseus in cosmere. If I went and replaced every part of the ship, would it still - Cognitively - be the same thing?

    What if I replaced everything and made a second ship out of the parts from the first one? What could somebody watching all of that from Shadesmar tell me?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're right, part of the design of the cosmere (which has some deep roots in classical philosophy) was an attempt to answer the Ship of Theseus question.

    In the cosmere, part of the Cognitive--and even spiritual--aspect of a thing (particularly if it isn't sentient) is delineated by the way that thinking beings define it. Per the old joke about the axe, if you replace your axe head and think of the new axe as "Your Axe," then the cognitive and spiritual aspects of that thing will grow to reflect that.

    If you replaced every part of your ship, and gave the sailors time to sail it, thinking of it as the same ship--it would become the same ship.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11678 Copy


    I am space nerd with a love of fantasy, so; Why is Scadrial prime example planet to invent space travel. Is its allomancy/ferruchemy/hemalurgy combination more suitable for that kind of technology or do they have other incentives to invent space travel other than regular technology development? Is it related to the intervention of unknown metal/shard/beings we saw?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are a bunch of reasons.

    The most technologically advanced of the planets (Taldain) is extremely isolationist because of its Shard, while Harmony is very interested in the progress of his people.

    Scadrial has an advanced understanding of metallurgy, and for many years was quietly open to visitors from across the cosmere. In the modern era, that has enhanced. It's a much safer place to visit than, say, Sel, Threnody, or First of the Sun.

    There are other reasons, too, which we'll get into as the world progresses. Having some prominent cosmere-aware people pulling strings behind the scenes is a big help. If you know other worlds are out there, and are populated, then you're more likely to push toward space travel.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11679 Copy


    What does Nightblood do if he gets fully drawn and runs out of breath and people to eat?

    Does he start vaporizing the ground and start boring a hole to the center of the planet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, he won't. (Good question though.) I'm not sure I want to get into the mechanics of why not, yet. It WAS one of the first things we talked about with Nightblood, though. :)


    Not to go into mechanics, then, does Nightblood just 'go to sleep' when his job's done?

    That would explain how Vasher is confident he'll be able to get Nightblood back, even if the person he tosses Nightblood to ends up fully drawing the blade.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He doesn't sleep, but if he draws in enough, he'll start to sound drunk or drowsy (depending on your interpretation.)

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11680 Copy


    Is death in the Cosmere a two-stage process? It seems to me like (under normal circumstances) the body dies first, sending the mind fully in the Cognitive Realm; the soul, presumably, remains in the Spiritual for the entire process. I am a little unclear on what happens after that though - what is it that passes into the Beyond, just the mind? Does the soul / spiritual aspect / Spiritweb just kind of... break down in the Spiritual Realm, turn into free iInvestiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It's a two stage process, and most of what you said is correct. The odd thing is, though, that the Spiritweb doesn't completely break down (just like your body doesn't immediately break down.) Even after a long time, there's a record of that Spiritweb in the Spiritual Realm.


    Wait wait wait. If there is a "corpse" of Spiritweb (so to speak) and actual, physical corpse is also there... Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy? Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy if you really know what you're doing and have some useful powers (manipulating Connection comes to mind)?

    Could you patch the remnants of the Spiritweb and staple it to the body and end up with some zombie-zombie Lifeless? You'd still need to give it a mind but I figure Awakening is just doing that?

    Brandon Sanderson


    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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    I recently saw on TV some info about some incredibly violent physical events in our universe, namely a collision between two black holes or a star quake on a Magnetar or Neutron Star. Is a shard holder sufficiently independent of the physical realm to be immune to even such mega-violent events, or would even one of them have a tough time shrugging it off?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ruin and Preservation were, together, able to form a planet--so I'd say they could shrug that sort of thing off, depending on circumstances.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11683 Copy


    Do Idrians Return with a "purpose" they can reasonably complete in a week? From the book and annotations, purposes that we saw tended to be long-term goals. Does Endowment realize this, and only send back Idrians with tasks that can reasonably be accomplished in their shorter lifespans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is somewhat RAFO territory. (Sorry.)

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11684 Copy


    Without saying too much, what do you think you have improved on in this novel in comparison to the previous two Stormlight books so far?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hard to say until I have it done. Mostly, at this point, I just want to make sure it's as good as the other two. Though, I do think this book can finally start to really dig into some of the big questions and issues confronting life on Roshar, which is new.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11685 Copy


    When we all finish reading book 10 in maybe 30 years from now, how much hidden secrets will we be able to discover from re reading books 1 and 2?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will certainly be a lot of these--but at the same time, the way I plan and execute foreshadowing, I feel that most of them should have been figured out before Book Ten. I don't want to be obtuse just to be obtuse.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11687 Copy


    How would an albino with red eyes be regarded on Roshar? Do they even exist there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They would be deeply mistrusted. (Unfortunately.)


    Just because Rosharans are racist, or is it a cultural carryover from fear of the Voidbringers?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Probably both.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11690 Copy


    You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

    Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

    Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

    A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

    When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

    Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.



    ... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11692 Copy


    Do you have the "end state" of the Cosmere in your mind? Do you know where, thirty years or so from now, where the main characters will be once all major Cosmere series are finished? Or do you plan on having them end at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I have a plan--but remember, we'll be dealing with a lot of new characters by then. The goal is not to take everyone you're reading about now, and have them appear in the final books. Some will persist, but my end game is more focused on events.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #11693 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey, all! Back again to talk about the progress of your book. I promised you updates through the year, and I'll do my best to pop in here now and then and let you know how things are going.

    Oathbringer, if you somehow missed the update last month, is done. But it's not DONE done. I turned in the rough draft, but immediately jumped into the third draft. (Because I did the second draft at the same time as the first--basically, after finishing each section of the book, I jumped back and revised it before sending to my editor. The goal being to get him a second draft to begin editing so he could work at the same time I did.)

    I've finished Part One and Part Two of the third draft as of today. This included adding in two interludes, which I hadn't finished in the rough draft. Later today, Part Two should be going to the beta readers.

    (To answer the inevitable question, the beta readers are chosen by Peter--my assistant and editorial director--from among those who have been very active on the fan websites, or who know us personally.)

    I'll jump into the Part Three revision soon, then will do Parts Four and Five together. That will get us through the 3.0 draft.

    4.0 and 5.0 drafts will be done together, hopefully in March/April. 4.0 will input beta reader comments and writing group comments, and 5.0 will be the polish where I try to trim words and perfect the language.

    We're still in the early stages of the art, as Isaac was busy last fall with the Mistborn Leatherbound and doing maps for Tad William's new series. So we'll need to work hard getting artwork done. Plan is to have a new set of colored endpages for the hardcover of the US edition, as we've done in the past, though I can't announce what those are yet.

    Book is looking great so far. Part One needed a heavy revision at the intro, but nothing more than that. Part Two (the slowest of the parts) remains a bit of a questionable area. The only way to speed it up is to cut some fun, but ultimately flabby, chapters. I think they are chapters people will love, as they have some unusual viewpoint characters, but the have a bit of an interlude feel to them. If Tor puts its foot down on length limits for the book, I'll have to cut these out.

    Part Three has some larger revisions I've been planning with Peter these last few weeks, so the 3.0 draft on that might take a little longer than the other two did.

    Anyway, it's exciting to see the book coming along! November release date is looking very good, and I doubt we'll miss it. Also, my Spanish publisher contacted us with the hopes of trying to do a translation and get their edition out at the same time as the US/UK editions, which would be a first for any of my books in translation. So a big thumbs up for them.

    Thank you again for your patience. Hope to see some of you in Boston next month, where I'm guest of honor at a convention. Otherwise, I should be mostly nose-to-the-grindstone, as my travel schedule is very light until I head off to Germany (and maybe Poland and Bulgaria) in March.

    Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
    #11694 Copy


    You mentioned in a signing that all the heralds are insane. My question is about how they got that way.

    Were they insane at the moment they gave up their swords? Was it more from being tortured?

    Or, was it a direct consequence of giving up the oathpact?

    A third possibility is that being alive for millenia tends to crack you up. Do they even sleep? Not sleeping would really do it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid. We have heralds as main viewpoint characters. I'll let the narrative do the explaining on these questions.


    Brandon, what is the rough timeline for us to learn more about the Oathpact? Is this something that will come out when the Heralds become flashback characters in the back five books, or will there be more information in the earlier books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid.

    Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
    #11695 Copy


    Would the rate at which a [Nalthian] Returned needs to consume investiture to stay alive (1 breath per week in Nalthis) be the same in a different system? Saaaay in Roshar for example?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it would be--but they could substitute another kind of investiture without too much difficulty.

    Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
    #11696 Copy


    Why don't Feruchemists wear small metalminds like rings, toe-rings, earrings (Lot of rings it seems), as backups.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most Feruchemists do just what you say. Look at the Lord Ruler and Sazed. Both have tons.

    In the new era books, you have two Feruchemstis where it doesn't make sense. Wayne's healing stores are very difficult to build, and take a lot of time. He generally burns through them quickly, though sometimes mentions he's got a little stored away. Being Wayne, though, he tends to use these up and push himself right to the edge of running out.

    Wax is somewhat similar. He can use iron, a very common metal, to store and make a metalmind. He's generally storing weight everywhere he goes, a little, as the books point out. He's got many metalminds, but he's not as possessive of them, as filling his metalmind is as much of a power as tapping it.

    So...I'm not sure what gave you the impression that they don't have lots of metalminds. Also, keep in mind that in your example of someone getting knocked out, they're going to get searched well enough to find a toe ring. Generally, as Wayne has pointed out in the books, sticking a coin or something in your mouth is the preferred way to hide something.

    Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
    #11697 Copy


    I can't remember if I asked you this before - is there going to be anything like a 'khriss's notes' proto-ars-arcanum for White Sand?

    I think it would be neat to see how her style has changed over time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've been thinking about it. We'll see.


    Since Khriss is actually from Taldain, does it mean, we are going to get a 100-page encyclopedia? (and please, let the answer be "yes")

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe some day.

    Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
    #11698 Copy


    The original White Sand was the first of a trilogy so i was wondering what is your plan for the other two books? Writing them as books, graphic novels, or are you just to busy to actually do anything about it right now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We'll decide when the graphic novel is done and out. Basically, we have to gauge fan response. If sales are good, and fans want more, we'll likely do them as graphic novels.

    When I write more in Taldain, I intend to construct a new story, taking place after the events of the trilogy. (Whether or not we actually do graphic novels of the other two originals.)

    Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
    #11700 Copy


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

    Brandon Sanderson

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


    Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

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

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

    Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Heals from wounds, but still ages.

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you are correct.


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

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

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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