Is Khriss on Roshar during The Stormlight Archive?
Khriss is... RAFO.
I'll follow up on that: Does that mean she's in Shadesmar?
Ehhhh... There's some trickiness with answering that.
Is Khriss on Roshar during The Stormlight Archive?
Khriss is... RAFO.
I'll follow up on that: Does that mean she's in Shadesmar?
Ehhhh... There's some trickiness with answering that.
How was it to do The Wheel of Time, how was it to finish the words of a giant?
It was scary. For those who don’t know the story, I did not apply to finish The Wheel of Time. I got a phone call out of the blue one day from Robert Jordan's widow, and what she said was exactly, I got her on the phone and she said, "I was wondering if you'd be willing to finish my husband's series." I was not expecting this at all, so I replied, "Arrrgggahhhhh." Seriously, I could barely speak. That night, I wrote her an email that said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot." I was just so surprised, but I was also extremely honored. She asked me because she knew I had read all the books since I was young man, and I had this moment where I realized, if I screw this up, it is a big deal! But if I turn it down, and someone else screws it up, it’s a bigger deal. So, I said yes, because I figured, if he couldn’t do it, I at last wanted it in the hands of someone I knew cared.
Are there, in the Cosmere, any gas giants inhabited by people or other sentient beings?
Actually on the gas giant?
Or in their atmosphere.
In the actual atmosphere of the gas giant? I do not have any currently planned. There are gas giants with satellites.
With the genre becoming more mainstream with stuff like Game of Thrones opening the door, or like American Gods, which of your particular series, including Wheel of Time, would you like to see converted to big or small screen?
This is good question. A lot of people wonder the answer to this one, so I'm glad you asked it. It'll prevent me from having to answer it seven times or 70 times going through this line. As a basis for the question, we have sold the rights to almost everything. Hollywood is very good at buying properties, and very bad at actually doing anything with them. I sold Mistborn for the first time in like 2006. We're now on our third company who has bought the rights to Mistborn. But if I could pick anything, I would have Stormlight done as a Netflix Original Series. So, if your uncles are the Duffer brothers, have them call me. I should say that Stormlight is currently in development as a feature film. The screenplay has been turned in and it’s huge. So, we'll see if it can be cut down to feature length. If it can't, we will explore television shows, but the people who bought it want to try to make a feature film.
Okay, so if we spiked a Listener with Feruchemical Nicrosil, could he store that spren and lose their form, and then bond another spren and then switch them?
I'm gonna give you your third RAFO, because he's already got two. In part, because I don't wanna give spoilers for Oathbringer, and this answer could spoil some little bits of that.
Can you use Allomancy in the Cognitive Realm?
Yes... you can.
Are all Cognitive Shadows outside of Threnody afraid of silver?
Read And Find Out on that one.
Can an Allomancer burn metal that is not from Scadrial?
If someone out of Roshar knows the Immortal Words, and he's, for example, a kandra, can he become a Knight?
So, becoming a Knight Radiant is up to the spren, right? Saying the Ideals, swearing the oaths, these sorts of things, you have to convince a piece of sapient Investiture that you deserve it, and that's the main thing.
And the kandra?
So, the kandra would have to lots of fast talking, and there are a few more difficulties involved, but this is theoretically possible. For instance, taking some pieces of Investiture offworld are difficult.
If Hemalurgy can be used to transfer Investiture regardless of the planet, is someone gathering pieces of different Investitures the way Hoid got, for example, the Lerasium bead?
In The Emperor’s Soul, Forgery allows you to Forge your soul to create a different past. My question is, would on Scadrial burning gold in a controlled way allow you to do something like that?
Wow, you guys are good. So, they are similar but different. I would say that no, gold is not gonna do this exact thing. They're working from the same fundamental roots, but gold is a lot more bounded in what it can accomplish.
What would happen if an Allomancer burned Awakened metal?
Oh boy, we start right with the really hard ones. So, it would be very difficult to do, and other than that it's going to depend on who the Breaths are keyed to with Identity.
What was the very most fun writing Legion? Was it writing aspects, or creating each of the new aspects, or was it thinking up the twists, or maybe thinking up crazy stuff like a hallucination with a hallucination?
Right, so the most fun for Legion... I don't know if I can say specifically what was the most fun, there were a lot of things which I'll go into. One thing that was really fun to me was this idea of coming up with a detective who was themselves more of a middle manager than a hero. A lot of detectives or people are these action stars, these Tom Cruise types, and I instead wanted this guy to just be a manager who kept all these other crazy hallucinations targeted on the right thing. But I also wanted the Legion stories to have some sort of science fiction element to them. Because I always point out: "Why not have some sci-fi or fantasy?" They always make a story better to me. So I’d say the idea that first made me want to write the Legion story was the idea of a camera that could take pictures in the past.
So my question is how'd you create the Legion *inaudible*?
Ooh! Good question! So, Legion is a lot of fun, and it's very weird. What happened is, I really do think, as a writer, I have all these weird voices in my head who are telling me to do different things.
One day, I was talking to a friend of mine who writes a lot of psychological horror, and I was talking about schizophrenia, and I said, "Hey, what if all those voices helped you out instead of drove you crazy?" And he said, "That doesn't sound like a horror story. That sounds like a fantasy story, you should write that." So I did.
The last one, a bit offtop, Me and Klaudia-- We dream about becoming a fantasy writer. I'm sure she's wondering too: how does it feel when your first book was published...
Man that's so hard to define. I'm a writer, I should be able to do this, but it was amazing. It's validation for having spent twenty years trying to learn how to do this. Maybe not twenty. Fifteen years trying to learn how to do this. At the same time, theoretically in some way it's also just a released breath. Okay it happened. It worked. But at the end, you write for yourself. I don't know if you guys have heard this story; I've told it before, but I had a really down point in my writing career before I got published.
Yes the four hundred-- uh, when you sold Elantris.
See, when I was trying to get published, everyone was telling me you need to be more like George RR Martin. They really did. They'd say that, and they would also say my books are too long. So they would tell me these two things. You need to be more like George Martin and your books are too long. They were all looking for Joe Abercrombie. That's who they wanted to find, right? They wanted short, brutal books. And Joe's a great writer, so there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not me. And I tried doing that. That's what Final Empire Prime and Mistborn Prime--unpublished novels--were. I took some of my ideas and I tried to write something more Joe Abercrombie-esque, even though Joe hadn't been published then. So it was just a short, sort of grimdark thing, and they were terrible. They were absolutely terrible. And so I sat back and I'm like, "Okay, nobody wants to read what I'm writing, but if I try to write what they say to write, it turns out to be a terrible book. Should I just give up?"
And I thought about that for a while and I eventually came to the decision: I'm not writing for them. I'm writing for me. That's the point. And if I die at age 90--let's say age 100 *laughter*--and I have 150 unpublished books in my closet, then I'm a success, because I kept writing, because that's what's important, was enjoying and loving that process. Even if I never got published, I wanted to be that person. And that's when I sat down and wrote The Way of Kings [Prime], which was my proverbial flipping the bird at the industry. I said, if you say my books are too long, I'm writing one twice as long. If you say my books are not George Martin enough, I'm going to go the complete opposite direction. High magic, high fantasy, all the awesome stuff. Knights in magical power armor. All of this stuff. And I wrote that book fully expecting no one would ever publish it. And that's when I got the call from an editor buying Elantris, which I'd written five years before at that point. It might have been four years, but you know.
But when Elantris came out, I'd already made the decision that I'm a writer, no matter, I don't give up. I write for me. And so in some ways it was hugely relieving and thrilling. But in some ways the more important decision had already been made. I was a writer, and I didn't need that validation to be a writer. Because the only one that says whether or not I'm a writer is me. I get up every day and I do it.
OK, I’ve got a question about AonDor.
So it's a lot like functional programing.
And my question is: could you write a higher-level language of programming with that?
Mmhmm. But. Only an Elantrian could make it, like, work, right? Not compile but could execute the function. They would have to type it out and execute it. Like if you were just-- Even if you just gave it to them, they would have to retype it and go. But yes, you could.
Couldn't you like-- Is there an Aon for define, definition? So like you could go and define some really long sequence of Aons and then assign it to a simple shape.
Then draw the symbol, and would it work?
Right right, object-oriented. This is realistically plausible, you would have to write all this stuff and call the function and have this constantly in a state of kinetic Investiture. But that is reasonable. I mean it's not so far off from things they actually did with much fewer-- much fewer lines of code, if you wish, in the past. It's what Elantris itself was.
We have this one bizarre question, that actually was really, really weird but we have to know it.
There was a question about Siamese twins. If they were born gold Feruchemists, and they they were split apart, would they like, form together again?
Uhhhnn... It depends on how they view themselves
That's the answer to every question like that!
Right! But that's the whole point of the cosmere is that-- Spiritual Realm is filtered through the Cognitive Realm to the Physical Realm, right? And this lens is going to filter how things work. Perception is really important in the cosmere. That's where most of these things come from, and so-- Yeah that is the answer to everything. But that's the point of the answer to everything, is that there aren't a lot of hard and fast rules when it comes to a lot of these things, with Identity and whatnot is going be filtered through perception.
So it is technically possible for them, if they are seeing each other as one.
So we can--
Now the big hard question is, what if one of them views them as one and one of them doesn't?
Aaaaoooohhh! Then it depends on who's using the magic.
What if both of them are?
Both of them what? Are gold? If both of them are healing and one doesn't want to and one does, magic's gonna cancel each other out and nothing will happen.
Mmhmm. Yeah I made your question harder and weirder.
Well it was a very logical answer to a very unlogical question.
Yes. I've had to answer a lot of these. My feeling is that if I can make the fundamental magic principles work then you can answer those questions rationally but really what you would have to do is-- Even I'm not the expert on these things. Like I'm the ultimate word in some ways but in another ways the answer would be "I don't know, let's have a thought experiment and if it ever comes up, try it out and see what happens". But yeah, there you go. There is my best answer to you.
Few days ago I was in my family home to take some books for tomorrow's signing and my grandma which was reading The Way of Kings couldn't let me because she was somewhere in the middle and she was... taken by it.
Excellent, happy to hear that. How many, how many of the older generation in Poland read fantasy novels?
I don't know, my mom does.
Your mom does?
Your mom is probably not that old.
Your mom is probably my age so yeah.
I think it's more the-- It seems so a lot of old generation reads fantasy in Poland, its involving all the time.
My parents think these are just fairy tales not worth telling.
What's that? Your mom does? That's ok, my parents were very, very scared. They wanted a doctor and I changed to write fantasy novels. They were very scared for me. They were like "What are you doing?" Now, they don't complain at all.
My grandma was scared at first too when I gave her Mistborn and she likes it the best I think.
Excellent, I'm happy to hear that. Good job spreading the word to your grandma.
Who do you think is that we’re way too young to understand? Star Wars but I was thinking-- What do you think about the target of your readers?
My target audience? I write primarily for myself as a fan of fantasy genre. I trust my instincts as a reader, I read a lot. I read what other people are doing. And my primary audience is "What awesome book is nobody writing that I could write?" And so I don't know that I have-- I focus too much on that. I think madness lies in that direction, so-- I do appreciate my readers. I do rub my hands thinking "Ooooh they are gonna love this part" but at the end of the day I'm just writing the book I want to read.
Speaking about other movies, do you have your favorites?
Favorite films? Picking favorites is always so hard. In recent years I really liked-- I don't know if it's my favorite-- but I really liked Live.Die.Repeat./Edge of Tomorrow.
The book is better.
The book is better? I really liked that. I really liked Lincoln. I mean, it’s not science-fiction/fantasy but I really liked that-- Classics, Fifth Element, it's like my go-to guilty pleasure space opera, I really like that. I really like the movie Gattaca… You guys ever seen Gattaca? Gattaca is good movie. It's an oldie now but it's great. It's a science-fiction. What else have I really liked? I like Chris Nolan's movies, I like them all.
Yeah, Inception would be my favorite, I think. Though I really like The Prestige also. But on that one the book is legitimately better, also. But Prestige turned out very well.
If you were choosing-- If someone messaged you that they wanted you to end a series that was not ended before, because the author died. Some other author, OK? Would you agree once again to end a series that wasn’t ended?
It would depend on the situation. There are very few authors I have read as much as Robert Jordan and that I felt my style was a good match to. I would have to feel like I was a good match and that I was needed and it's a job that someone else couldn't do. I don't know that I could think of any authors that that’s the case for right now. But if I could go back in time and rewrite the prequel Star Wars movies for George Lucas I would do it.
What would you improve in the prequels?
Oh, everything? I don't know if I would be able to fix it because that's hubris but I sure would've liked a stab at it. You know, as many people...
Couldn't agree more.
I mean, George Lucas has lots of talents but the stories do not come together very well for me. I was there opening night. You guys are too young to know what it was to go wait in line overnight and go to The Phantom Menace and be like "hmm…" after waiting so long. If I were to continue anyone else's legacy I would go back in time to rewrite those scripts when George Lucas wasn't looking.
Will there be some other books concerned with the Wheel of Time maybe?
Chances are not good. I feel that Robert Jordan didn't want there to be more-- And I'm not the final decision maker on that, Harriet is, but I've mentioned to her that I don't feel it would be right to continue doing [Wheel of Time] books. So I don't think it's likely. If she decides that she wants more that's certainly not my place to say that she can't, or things. But I don't think I would write anymore just because I feel like he wanted it to be an ending. If he were still around, he would've written more. But I don't think he would want me to.
Sentient machines, artificial intelligence. Would they be able to use Investiture? Or not? How would that work?
So, define "use Investiture". Like, there's a lot of different ways to quote-unquote use Investiture.
OK, I don't mean the medallions but like if I go and peek into the Spiritual Realm and I look at the machine, do I see Investiture inside it? The Connections to the Shards and so on?
Chances are good that you will. But I have to add a big asterisk to that, it's gonna depend on so many factors. But consciousness in the cosmere is directly tied to Investiture. And creating a machine in many ways cosmerelogically is not that different from creating a child.
Yes. I'll just leave it there.
If you were to choose one of your own worlds to live in, which would that be?
It would definitely be… Does it have to be cosmere?
Because then I could go with one of the cool science-fiction ones and I could have-- Like, you know-- Live far away from where everyone is having war and live like in a futuristic society. I think that's kind of cheating. If I had to pick one of the cosmere worlds I would probably pick Scadrial because it's the closest to having the Internet and instant noodles.
Where the hell in Warbreaker is the Terris lady?
Hehehe. Do you have any guesses?
Nurses. One of them.
*pauses* Why do you guess that?
I don't know.
That's a pretty good guess.
I mean they are the only females apart from the main characters who are somehow important. So I guess somewhere there because I don't think she's like in the fifth plane somewhere in the back of the alley where someone walks by.
That’s a very good guess. I guess you have narrowed down your options. Um, yeah… um...so… I’m just gonna say that’s a ththth-- the-- he seems-- Yeah. So, there you go. I'm surprised...
...You’re not supposed to be able to guess who the Terriswoman is, by the way.
So we will see her somewhere else?
Yes, you will see her somewhere else. Yeah, you're not supposed to be able to guess. So that's why I'm surprised.
Do you think that writing on a high level is a matter of talent or is achievable by just hard work?
I have no idea. I would like to think that it's hard work but I do know that talent plays a part in that as well. I would say that it's 10% talent 90% hard work but if you don't have that 10% talent it can be really hard. So I don’t know. I feel like I started off really bad at this. And wrote a whole bunch of books and got pretty decent but I also know that I do have some natural talents.
As we know you're a human typewriter. You can release books faster than we can read it.
Now you say that but I release like a Stormlight book and I start getting fanmail for it the next day. This took me 18 months to write and then you read it in one day so I don't know if I’d agree with that. But go on.
You certainly have some free time for, let's say, reading books. And what books do you like to read? You have some favorite authors? Maybe fantasy genre?
Terry Pratchett is my favorite writer. But I like to read widely. I like to read a little bit of everything. Usually-- Like people talk about how fast I write; I'm not that fast a writer. I'm just very consistent. I write a little bit every day. And that adds up to a certain amount that I can do every year. But I write for 8 to 10 hours a day and spend four hours or so with my family and then spend two hours goofing off. So, goofing off can include listening to an audiobook while I do other things or reading a book or playing a video game. So I do find time.
Would you like to see your stories adapted into video games?
Yes. I've tried a couple of times. So far they haven’t worked out. We had someone working on Mistborn for a long time. Video game industry is hard. But-- I mean, there've been some really great games made from books so I hope to have one someday.
What about cameos? Do you have some ideas in your mind?
Cameos for me? I want to die in a different way in every movie. As payment for killing off characters. And so I want to be like the Redshirt or whatever, the person who gets killed in a new creative way. That's my thought.
Who would you like to be the composer, do the music for your movies? Do you have any idea?
I have never been asked that before! Wow! I have no idea. Right? Like I listen to a lot of soundtracks and I like them all but I'm not an expert in this. Michael Kamen was always my favorite. He's passed away. So we resurrect Michael Kamen and have him do it.
What's that? Yeah, yeah, Michael Kamen the Lifeless.
Few months ago we've received great news about some of your books which will be adapted into movies. So what do you think, which one is most likely to get adapted first?
I’ve always thought that Mistborn would be the most likely 'cause it's the easiest to translate to a film, but the people who bought the rights to the Cosmere bought everything but Mistborn 'cause Mistborn was owned by someone else. And then they bought Mistborn a year later, when it became available. So Mistborn is a year behind the others. Emperor's Soul and Stormlight have been going the longest. Stormlight is so hard. Right, we’ve just got the screenplay in and the screenplay is like *does a gesture* you know, it's like for a five hour movie or something like that. And they're like "We have to cut this down!" "Yes. Yes, we do." And that is super hard. And Mistborn is a lot easier to adapt. So I still expect we'll see Mistborn first, but who knows.
Question about some encyclopedia of about cosmere, so like Silmarillion, something like that.
Yes, yeah. Someday maybe. I don't promise it. We will see.
Technological progress. So Scadrial is going all the way to cyberpunk.
But do you plan to do it anywhere else?
Yes, with an asterisk, right? Roshar has a very different technological path but they have access to so much more Investiture in an easy to use format. Roshar is really heading toward what we call magicpunk, or things like this, magepunk, where you are using a magical power source and things like this. So their technology is going to go weird but it's going to go fast once they start figuring things out because they have easy access to Investiture resources.
Scadrial: slower for various reasons and things like that, but it's ahead.
And then there was Taldain, which was really far ahead but then froze when it got-- Offworld travel was stopped and it became isolationist.
So most everybody is kind of heading that direction but, yeah.
In Arcanum Unbounded--
Khriss said that Roshar has an unusually high level of oxygen.
And where does this oxygen come from?
It is a natural part of their atmosphere. Part of this-- There's two answers to this. One answer is: It was created that way, because Roshar creation predates the Shattering of Adonalsium and a lot of things were set up that way. The scientific side is, in building the creatures that I was building on Roshar I needed a high oxygen environment, just to make the logistics work and even then I had to like-- It's high oxygen, low gravity, right? It's like 0.7 something Earth gravity. And even then I still had to add magic to get big beasties that I wanted to. Like the greatshells just can not exist. Square cube law. Even after I tweaked atmosphere and the gravity, the math didn't work, but fortunately I had the whole spren thing going on. These are both things I was trying do in order to create megafauna. I’m sorry, is that, did that make sense?
Ok, but is there some higher level of production of oxygen, so like, there are no trees but it comes from the oceans?
Yeah, yeah. I mean they've got a lot-- What you've got, also, to remember is, most of Earth's oxygen doesn't come from our trees-- I mean it does but it comes from the ocean and things like this. I didn't have a problem building this into Roshar because-- What we've got on Roshar is we've got, number one, we've got the highstorms-- Which are actually really good for plant life when it comes to microflora, right? And beyond that you've got-- you've got weather patterns that are very-- Like it’s rarely freezing on Roshar. Most people on Roshar have never seen snow. And so-- I mean I didn't find it a problem making a high oxygen environment work, that was the least of my troubles in building Roshar. I mean most of the planet is ocean anyway.
Some people were curious, just about it.
Yeah, were they? Okay. I mean, yeah-- I mean all you have to do is hit-- Like really you only have to hit a stasis, right? You are creating as much as you're using. Like if you start with high oxygen and you create as much as you use, you stay high oxygen. It doesn't need to actually be creating a higher percentage than our world is creating, as far as I understand it.
What happened with the Shard that just drifts in the space, the one that wants to hide and survive?
What about that Shard? They want to hide and survive.
Huh, something more?
I think I will RAFO that for right now.
A bonus piece of information - my poor friend that I dragged along with me (who had only read Warbreaker) asked about the specific naming of Bio-Chromatic Breath.
Sanderson confirmed as part of his response that at least some the Five Scholars had visited worlds who had gone through the Industrial Revolution (and therefore would have more of a sense of scientific theory, that the Scholars would have picked up on).
Alright, thanks. Last question for me tonight - so, when a Hemalurgic spike steals something, then it's storing Investiture in it, yeah? So could you - could you do something with that Investiture? Like... say I'm on Nalthis, and just theoretically, I use a Hemalurgic spike to steal a lot of Breath - can I use that Investiture to Awaken something? Could I Awaken the spike?
That... you'd need a lot of Investiture to Awaken a spike.
Because it's already charged up with something else?
When was the concept of cosmere, one big Universe that connects all your stories was born? Do you remember the very beginning, the first thought of it?
I can start to talk about this because there's a couple of things. I remember being a teenager and reading books, and I would always insert my own characters into other writers' books. This is the beginnings of Brandon the Writer. So I would read, like, a-- an Anne McCaffrey book and I would insert my own characters and eventually Hoid started jumping between all the books I was reading. And so when I started writing my own books, I started inserting him myself. I blame that. I also blame how Asimov connected Foundation and the Robots series. When I read that it kinda blew my mind, and I wanted to do something like that.
I knew when I started writing Elantris I was going to do something like this, I wanted to start connecting everything together. I put Hoid into it and stuff like that, but as I've gone back through my notes, it was really during the years following that I really designed the cosmere. Like when I first wrote Elantris, I had no idea how I was going connect it all, I just knew I was going to. But like-- You know Shardpools. I put the pool in and then I'm like "I don't know what it is". By the time I got to Mistborn I knew all this stuff and fortunately Mistborn was the first one-- Mistborn I was working on when Elantris sold, right? And so I was able to go back and revise Elantris to make sure it matched everything that was coming for the future.
Though I do have to admit, when I first wrote Elantris, a lot of things I'm like "Ah this'll connect somehow. I'll put this in. Sure”.
And by now, can you say that you already know how Cosmere will end?
I do know how The Cosmere will end, yes. I'm an outliner. It could always change. But I have-- So you know the core series, Stormlight and Mistborn, and the last book of The Cosmere is the last Mistborn book, which I have an outline for. So, we shall see. At least chronologically it's the last. I don’t know, I write a lot and so who knows. Yeah, you know, keeping track of it all, I’m sorry.
Okay, next question. The Hemalurgic bind points for the right and left eyes - are they the same?
In terms of...?
Like, the Inquisitor spikes, is it the exact same process for either eye? Is it interchangeable?
They're slightly different.
And on bind points... are these something that we could figure out ourselves one day, through analysis and guessing? Or is it something we'll just have to wait and see?
They're... it would be a lot of trial and error, but it's... possible? And you need Intent, so... it would be a lot of trial and error. It wouldn't be easy. Probably not.
So you said that you liked our Polish covers. Is something that you liked the most maybe, we have… *people speaking over each other*
I would say that the first Mistborn cover is probably my favorite of them all.
Yeah, it's amazing.
But the Wax & Wayne one also, those have really good covers too. So, the whole Mistborn series is great-- The Way of Kings is not bad either-- But the whole Mistborn series, spectacular covers. We put them in our leatherbound. So-- I don't know if you know but I do, in English, I do leatherbound 10 year anniversary.
So, at the end of Mistborn Era 1, Sazed takes up both [Preservation] and Ruin, Shards which are obviously fairly diametrically opposed. Secret History implies that Sazed is able to hold both of them at once because of (for lack of a better term) who he is, and therefore implies that other people might not be able to do the same. Is that true? What would happen if someone tried to take up multiple shards and didn't have those qualifications?
Sazed was uniquely able, yes. Usually there would be an imbalance favoring one shard, which would override or push out the other.
Like, physically expulse?
Right. Not necessarily, but yes.
So what would happen then? Would it just float around? Would it Splinter? Could it be dragged into the Cognitive, like on Sel?
Oh, you guys finally figured that one out?
No, no, it's- it's in the book.
*points to Arcanum Unbounded*
Right, yeah, I gave you that one. But it depends- it depends on the circumstances. It might Splinter. In the right circumstances, it might obtain its own sentience. Or it might seek out a holder on its own.
Wait, you mean, sentience without a holder? Just...?
In the right circumstances, yeah.
And if it sought a holder, it would be inclined to find someone that would fit better with its intent?
And these circumstances would also depend on which Shards are taken up? Like, if they're less opposed that Ruin and Preservation?
So do you know anything about Polish literature, especially something about fantasy?
Well I know-- I can't say his name. *attempts to say "Sapkowski"* --The Witcher guy. Everybody knows The Witcher, so I do know at least a little bit of Polish-- And I have read some of his work. So I'm a little bit familiar but I wouldn't say I know a ton more. Like I bet that’s all everyone knows. “Oh yeah, Poland. The Witcher guy”.
You should try the game.
Yeah? The Witcher games? I have all three of them, I bought them all in one bundle together.
So, the first question is that, you are finally in Poland now--
Yaaay, finally in Poland.
And you are already know Polish culture, maybe a little, you got to meet it-- And you know inside it's a little bit different than any other culture, actually you get the contact, do you know anything about your position as a writer here?
In Poland? All I know is, that the Polish have been the single most persistent at trying to get me to come visit. Of anyone. I hear more from the Polish fans about me coming out than I hear from anyone else. So I knew that I better get here eventually, but that's really all I know about my position in Poland, other than the publisher has some of my favorite covers-- Like the Mistborn books in particular. Internationally, I think they have some of the best covers. The Polish covers are better than the US or the UK covers, which is very-- You know usually I like the US best, but the Polish covers are among the, if not the single, best Mistborn covers.
You are here since yesterday, yes?
And how do you find Poland, by now?
So far so good. I got in yesterday and I crashed and I got up and I've been doing interviews all day long. Tomorrow, actually, I get to see some Poland. It depends on if we get rained on or not. If we get rained on we are going to the museum. The Polish Resistance Museum? Uprising-- Polish Uprising Museum-- and if not then we are going to go to Downtown-- the Old Town. So-- Then I will know more Poland. Really the only thing I know-- There's a few things I know about Poland. One is that you are very persistent about trying to get me to visit. The other thing is-- I was mentioning to my guide that when I was young our local grocer was Polish and we loved to get sausage from him. So how do you say it, kiełbasa?
So when I was the kid, we ate polish kiebasa. Like once a month or so, my mom would make it and then that grocer went out of business and I never got it again, I was so mad. It was so good.
You should try, definitively, something like pierogi.
Pierogi? Is that little dumplings? Yeah, he has told me, I'm gonna get dumplings and I'm gonna try your soup too, so apparently there is like the sourdough soup that I'm supposed to try.
What was your design process for designing all of the star systems for each of the worlds?
I am lucky enough to have on staff one of my good friends, Isaac. He actually introduced me to my wife. He sent me on a blind date with Emily. He was one of my students, my second year teaching the class. He's a really good friend. At the time, he was an illustrator for a video game company who was just interested in fantasy books. And he saw that there was a class at BYU and he was like, "I'm gonna take that."
He now works for me full-time. Though, fun story on this. You know how some people joke that in their marriage there's one person they could cheat with, like a celebrity? When I hired Isaac, he was like, "I will come and do things for you full time. But if Tad Williams ever asks me, I'm doing something for Tad Williams," his favorite book series. This summer, Tad Williams needed a map for the new Osten Ard books. Isaac is like, "So, I do maps for Sanderson." He's like, "Sure, do one for me. Great!" So Isaac's been working on that and it has been a dream come true for him.
Isaac and I, we sit down and we do brainstorming sessions for the art. He's done almost all of the symbols and maps in my books, except the ones that he commissions someone else to do because he wanted to get a different style for it or the first book, Elantris, I did the symbols. That's why the Elantris symbols are not quite as visually interesting as some of Isaac's. They fit the world but I drew those and my artistic chops are... So Isaac and I sit down, we brainstorm and we say, "What do we want this to look like? What's the feel of it?" So I'll outline what the planets and the world are and then he will bring up historical- like he went and got Renaissance star charts and said, "Do any of these work? What do you like?" We kind of narrowed it down to ones that have the right feel but I said, "I want it more like this, more like this." He took that and ran with it and gave me iterations. He's like, "Here's four different versions of a map for Scadrial. Which one do you like?" And then I'll give him that and he'll then do four iterations on that, saying, "Here are different designs of this. Which one of these do you like?" Anyone who's an artist knows that illustrators, that's what they do. So we come up with it and then I say, "This style, go," and then he does all the maps.
Speaking of Dave Wolverton, did he inspire you to explore unusual avenues of magic?
The question is, speaking of Dave, Dave Wolverton/Farland, he uses several pen names, did he inspire me to seek out new avenues of magic, because The Runelords is one of the best magic systems in fantasy. I usually credit it as the best magic system in fantasy. The thing is, I hadn't read Dave, until I took his class. In his class I was writing Dragonsteel, so White Sand and Elantris were done. So yes, like reading his, I'm like, "Wow, I need to up my game." Garth Nix did the same thing to me. I read him during that era, I'm like, "Sabriel's great, I need to up my game." I would step back and credit Robert Jordan in part. You might say, "Oh, his magic system is a little bit soft, not as hard." But it was a lot harder than the things that were around the time. Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books were another big inspiration for that. And partially it was me saying, "I don't think fantasy's doing this sort of thing enough. It's something I'm interested in and good at. I want to try bringing it to fantasy." But yeah, Dave's books, the Runelords, that magic system is incredible.
Why do you teach and not just write full-time?
What a good question. So I only teach one class now. I used to teach full-time before the writing took off. There is a class called "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy," and I just can't let go. What we did is we moved it to one night a week for three hours instead of one hour three days a week and we moved it to a night class. So it's Thursday nights and it's only one semester; we cancelled all the other things of it. But I can't let go. There's enough of me that is a professor that I need to get out of the house and do something. I can't just sit in my room all the time.
Beyond that, I took this class in 2000, so 16 years ago. I took it from David Farland, who has come and signed here at UBooks before. It was so important to me as a writer because my other professors were good writers and they could talk about writing but they had never made a living as a writer. There's only so much, if you want to be a professional, you can learn from people who aren't themselves professionals. They know a lot about being a professor and they know a lot about writing good writing. They don't know about how to take that good writing and make a career out of it. When I took the class from Dave, when he said practical things like, "Here are tools you can use try and get past writer's block." I'd never heard that before. In my other writing classes it was things like, "If you have writer's block, seek your muse. Go sit outside and stare at the clouds." Things like this that you get from an art degree. And Dave's like, "Yeah, if you have writer's block, try writing longhand, that works for me. Take a notebook and write in it. Try writing a first-person viewpoint monologue from one of the characters talking about their frustrations right now in life." And it works really well. If you've got writer's block you're like, "Oh, let's talk through why the character's frustrated, have them talk to me." Or you've got writer's block, he'll say, "You know what? Try just throwing something against the wall. Try having ninjas attack." Stuff like this that you're not going to put in the book, but it's just to get you thinking and writing. Practical advice like that. He's like, "If you want to publish in science fiction and fantasy you might want to go to World Fantasy Convention and meet some of the professional writers there and get their advice." I'd never heard anything like that.
I feel it's important for me to continue this class. Dave moved off to try to make movies and they were going to cancel it because they just didn't have a writer to teach it. So I said, "Yeah, I'll teach that class". This was back when I had sold a book and they didn't know what to do with me. Here I'm teaching freshman composition, I'm getting my master's degree in creative writing and we're all dancing through flowers and talking about our feelings as you do in art degrees. Then I walked in one day and said, "Hey, I got a book deal." And it terrified all my professors they had no idea what to do with that. They said, "Well, that's probably gonna to be your master's thesis then, Sanderson." It was Elantris as my master's thesis. So having somebody there who writers can go and say, "How do I sell a book? What does an agent do? How do I make a character sympathetic?" People don't talk about those sorts of things. They talk about the prose, but they don't talk about those things. That's why I still do it.
When Siri goes to the God King, and she kneels and Bluefingers tells her everything that she's supposed to do, was he just making that up to cause a lot of tension?
Most of what he told her is true. If anyone else heard it, they'd be like, Bluefingers might be exaggerating a little, but that's his job. So I would say, yes this is true but there are people in the know who know that not all of those things are actually useful, but that's part of the cover up.
Other than his home planet, what's Hoid's favorite planet in the cosmere?
He probably would pick Scadrial. Hoid likes his creature comforts. Scadrial is the nicest place to live right now. Now there are other places that are easier to get Investiture, which is very nice, but if you actually want to go to a restaurant, your options are limited. They've got some on Nalthis, but you want to get a nice restaurant, go to Scadrial. You want a car service, Scadrial. And if he sits around long enough, he'll have instant noodles.
Can a Shardblade come back to life?
This is something that has never happened on Roshar yet. Now they didn't have many opportunities for it to happen in the past, because it was rare for a Radiant to break their oaths. It is not something that's happened and the spren think it's impossible.
Is Sadeas actually dead?
Sadeas is dead dead. Yeah, Sadeas is gone. Now the new Sadeas is not dead.