Is the Ars Arcanum written by a person we have met yet?
Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)
He said some people have met this person. I pushed and he said this person is from an unpublished work.
Is the Ars Arcanum written by a person we have met yet?
He said some people have met this person. I pushed and he said this person is from an unpublished work.
I had a teacher, when I was in 8th grade--this is true, her name was Ms. Reeder *laughter* yes, she's now a professor in California-- and I was what we call in the industry a reluctant reader, that is a fancy term for "me no like-y books" and she couldn't get me to read. I was one of these boys-- it happens to a lot, more boys than girls, but it happens to a lot of kids between about 5th and 7th grade, they fall out of reading. And for me I suddenly found books boring during that era. I joke about it in one of my books actually, these books with the awards on the cover with the boy who has a pet dog and then the dog dies and that's your story. And I thought these were boring. I did try Tolkien, but if you're not a good reader trying The Lord of the Rings, I bounced off that so hard, had no idea what's going on. I got to like the barrow-wights scene, like "Euhhh what's going on? This is boring..."
That was a few years before my 8th grade year where my teacher, she realized I was struggling. And she realized that I was faking my way through book reports. And so she called me up after class and she said "The next book report is going to be a book that I have read and then you are going to read and we are going to talk about it." So she took me to the back of the room and teachers have these racks of ratty paperbacks… it's like a hundred kids have read these books, they're stained with school lunch spaghetti sauce and things like that. But these were some of her favorite books that she loaned out to students, and I browsed through those and I found a book called Dragonsbane, Barbara Hambly. Nowadays kind of a lesser known classic of the genre, it's fantastic, I love it. It has this gorgeous Michael Whelan cover on it. And it was longer than books I had tried before but it also looked more interesting. So I dove into that book, and you know the weird thing about this book is that it should not have worked, right? If you've read Dragonsbane it's about a middle-aged woman who has been told that if she would just dedicate herself to her magic-craft she could be one of the greatest practitioners ever. Her teacher keeps saying to her "Look you just need to dedicate yourself more". And at the same time she has a family, several children and a husband who in the book is called to go and slay a dragon. He's like in his fifties now, he killed one once when he was twenty, he's the only living dragonslayer and the story is sort of about him going "Oh I've got to go and kill this dragon" and her saying "Uh… You're in your fifties, you're going to get killed." It's a really interesting story, told through this woman's eyes and it's basically a middle-aged woman having a mid-life crisis, having to choose between her career and her family. Not normally what you would give to a 14-year-old boy and expect him to absolutely love it. But this is the power of fantasy, it's why I love the genre, it's why I came to love it.
It's the answer to your question, because I feel that in fantasy and science fiction we can blend the sense of the fantastic with the sense of the familiar and we can learn about people around us while having an awesome story at the same time. I remember a few years ago there were books that would come out, it was for parents to fool their kids into eating vegetables, they would say "You can mix this vegetable with this food and they won't taste it". I kind of view fantasy a little like that. You can have this awesome adventure that's really fun and exciting and at the same time you can deal with lots of interesting real-world issues but not be pretentious. You know there are a lot of great books in a lot of genres, but I'll read some that are "realistic" fiction and they just hit you with this moral so much that you are sick of it after the third chapter. Whatever the reason-- I know what the reason is that this book connected with me. My mother graduated first of her class in accounting in a year where she was the only woman in the accounting department. After doing that she had received a scholarship to go get a CPA and she had made the decision that "You know what I'm pregnant, I'm going to stay home with my son while he's a little kid until he goes back to school and then I'll go back to a job." And as a kid, you know, when I heard this story as a teenager I was "Well of course she did, it's me". Right? When you're a teen everything is about you, "Well obviously that's the right decision". In reading this book and seeing where it wasn't accounting it was magic I was like "Woooh that's how my mom feels about accounting and she gave that up, it's not an easy decision, it's not the obvious decision. Both decisions are right, she just picked one of the two and she did it for me". And so I get out of this book, this goofy fantasy novel about killing a dragon, and I understand my mother better. And that blew my mind as a kid. I ran back to my teacher, "there have to be more books like this" and so she took me to the library, which I had not spent much time in, and I just went to the card catalogue… the cards in a line, you read them by title and the next book in line was Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn so I got into those books, and then the next book after that in line was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. That was my introduction to fantasy. I spent the next months reading every Anne McCaffrey, Barbara Hambly, and Melanie Rawn book I could get my hands on, to the point that when someone handed me David Eddings that summer I said "I don't think guys can write this genre." *laughter* I was really skeptical. That was my mentorship, those three ladies.
Could a Knight Radiant pass their Nahel bond the way seons can be passed in Elantris?
Theoretically possible and in fact has happened in previous eras.
If the Lord Ruler captured Shai and gave her 100 days to craft a soulstamp that could turn an iron Hemalurgic spike into a steel Hemalurgic spike, could she do it?
Yes, but she would need a boost of power to do it. Affecting an Invested object is hard.
Can Shai change Hemalurgic spikes?
Yes, but it costs a lot of power and she wouldn't be able to do it alone.
So the question is: I use a lot of religion in my books how do I balance that with my own personal beliefs?
So, I'm a religious person and what this has done to me in specific is make me really interested in how religion affects people or how the lack of religion affects people. I find that the real fun of reading and writing, raising interesting questions, and approaching a topic from lots of different directions, is a thing that is really fascinating to me. I ascribe to a school of thought that I kind of-- this is a little unfair to these gentlemen but I kind of divide it among the Tolkien and C.S. Lewis line of those two were famously in a writing group together, and if you don't know Tolkien actually converted C.S. Lewis to Christianity, which is very interesting, and they were both deeply religious people, and they approached it very differently in their fiction. C.S. Lewis felt that fiction should be didactic and teach you a lesson and Tolkien repeatedly refused to tell people what he thought the themes in his books were. When they would come up to him and say "It's a metaphor for World War II, isn't it?" he would say "No, it's a story." And I am more a Tolkien than a C.S. Lewis. I like with fiction-- I consider myself a storyteller primarily, and I hope that a good story is going to raise interesting questions but that has to be focused around what the characters are passionate about and what they are thinking about. And so I try to populate my books with people who are asking interesting questions from a variety of different perspectives.
I said on a panel I was on yesterday "Nothing bothers me more than when reading a book where someone has my perspective, there's only one person, and they're the idiot. Whatever it is that they are an idiot about that I agree with." And I'm like ahh can't you at least present my side-- I want everyone who reads my books, regardless of their religious affiliation, if they see something like their own belief system in there I want them to say "Yes, he's presenting it correctly." And part of that means that I have to approach my fiction in certain ways, for instance, I like fiction that is ambiguous to the nature of deity, if there is one. I want-- If you can create a book with really cool atheist characters and then go "By the way here's this all powerful, all knowing benevolent god that he's just refusing to acknowledge" that undermines that character completely. And so I create my fiction so that the different people on the sides of the argument, just like in our world, have good arguments on both sides. And I think that if you present characters with interesting choices, making interesting decisions you will-- truth will rise to the top. That's kind of one of the purposes of fiction, is to discuss these issues. So that's kind of a roundabout answer to your question, that as a person of faith how I approach writing my books. I'm not sure if it's the right answer, but it's the answer I've been giving lately.
I asked another question about the population levels of Mistings, Ferrings, and Twinborn.
The numbers in the [Alloy of Law Mistborn Adventure Game] supplement are off. (It states the occurrence of Mistings/Ferrings is 1 in 50 people.) He said that they're not terrible, but they definitely are shown as somewhat more common than they really are. But he also said that they're not nearly as rare as people seem to think; for example, he stated that virtually everyone would know at least one Coinshot. So there are definitely a lot of Allomancers around.
And the occurrence of Twinborn would not be a normal statistical spread (alas). As folks opined before in this thread, the Terris folk do tend to keep somewhat to themselves, so there's not a huge amount of population mix. So Twinborn will be rarer.
I did point out that there had to be some mix, else we'd be seeing full Feruchemists around, and to that he mostly just smiled and looked mysterious. As he does.
I asked the question about chromium vs a Compounder with both Invested and un-Invested metals in both their stomach and piercings.
What it boils down to is this:
1) Yes, the piercings will get burned off.
2) The non-Invested metals go before the Invested ones. He said that because Invested metals are harder to affect, it takes a little extra time and effort to get them to burn off. So a Leecher trying to clean out a Compounder would have to get a good grip and hang on for a few seconds.
3) Chromium burns about as quickly as duralumin, so if you're trying to burn off a lot of metals, it is possible to run out of chromium before your target is clean. This would probably only be an issue when dealing with larger pieces (like jewelry) rather than your standard metal-flakes-in-the-stomach deal.
Someone asked how much Sazed "cheated" when it came to the Metalborn distribution.
That was met by more mysterious smiles and even a bit of chuckling.
Sophie, the robot that Melhi made to mess with Kai, is Melhi: she made a robot duplicate of herself. Brandon said that she actually feels kind of bad about all of it now...but that she's also rather messed up.
In Sixth of the Dusk, the advanced society that's trying to take advantage, have we seen them before?
They've been referenced elsewhere
Will we ever see full Mistborn and/or Feruchemists again?
Yes, but they may be cobbled together...
I meant more along the lines of a natural born Mistborn.
What's the approximate ratio of Epics to "normals?" Is that number increasing, decreasing, or staying roughly the same?
The ratio of Epics to normal folks is about 1 in 10,000. Brandon then clarified, without prompting, that was pre-Calamity population and the ratio is much higher now because so many normal people died. He then gave an example of Newcago, which has about 1000 Epics in a population of 250,000, so in that particular case the ratio is 1:250.
I asked Brandon if Sazed will resurrect Kelsier at some point in the future, since Brandon has pointed out that Kelsier's soul has stuck around and is still tied to Scadrial.
His response was "Sazed is not going to resurrect Kelsier. Keep your eyes open." And there was a verbal emphasis on Sazed's name.
So... CS question here, I'm seeing identity as essentially a 'encryption' on the metalmind - the spike has the decryption key to existing metalminds, but when you encrypt a new one you use your personal encryption key with the spike's hardware, so you still have compounding access to the metalminds even after removing the spike.
Is it possible for there to be a 'key collision' with Identity? Two people just randomly end up making compatible metalminds, because the pieces of their Identities that the magic looks like happen to be the same.
This would be about as likely as two unrelated people ending up with the exact same genetic sequence.
But, so far as I understand, that WOULD be possible.
So identical twins could share metalminds ?
How important is Intent to Hemalurgy? If two people who didn't know about Hemalurgy were running and tripped, falling perfectly onto a spike, would Hemalurgy occur? What about if it was a sick psychopath who liked stabbing people with spikes instead of an accident?
Would the planet these events occurred on matter?
Location is not relevant to most of the magics.
As for those specifics of Hemalurgy, I will RAFO for now.
If someone used Hemalurgy to take someones Feruchemical abilities would they be able to use that persons personal metalminds? Most relevantly perhaps to take that person's knowledge from their copperminds?
If someone stored their identity in an aluminium metalmind, then had their powers and metalminds stolen via Hemalurgy, then the person who took the powers used the aluminium metalmind to draw out the first persons identity would it permanently overwrite their personality with the original persons ? ( would kind of be a long winded way of stealing someone else's body and becoming immortal )
All Identity questions are a RAFO until I deal with it more in the books. (Sorry.)
If the spike granting Feruchemy were to be reforged/split into two distinct spikes which are then implanted into two different people, could those two people "share" a metalmind (as in actually be able to tap something the other stored and vice versa?).
It's complicated, but no.
There would be too much of the other person mixed in. Both could use the metalminds of the person the Feruchemy was stolen from, but when they made their own, their own Identity would "muddy" the creation.
Is the chronology through the whole cosmere fairly linear, or are there some Interstellar-relativity timey-wimey stuff at play?
Relativity is in play for sure, but I am not allowing time travel into the past in the cosmere. So while you might find places that move at slower/faster speeds, and while foreseeing future timelines is in play for sure, nobody will not be pulling serious time travel shenanigans.
A friend of mine was thinking Harmony's two-power combination 'perk' was the ability to use them together to create instead of just to destroy or preserve.
Was that 'chemical reaction' rule in the plan from the beginning, or was having Harmony more a precedent to develop a rule from it?
It was pretty early. (The idea that the two together can create was mentioned very early in the series, long before Harmony came to be.)
Dumb personal-obsession question - mistwraiths are people with "a blockage between the Physical and the Cognitive Realms" - does that mean if they set foot on Threnody they turn into actual undead-type-wraiths?
This is a very cool theory. I don't think I can shoot it down.
Have we seen any soul-stamped objects in any of the non-Sel books?
For you to have seen this, someone would have to have cracked the issue with Sel magics losing power greatly when taken from the planet.
Is this a feasible task for someone like Shai or Hoid? We know the Moon Scepter is a Rosetta stone, so the task seems less daunting, right?
The task is less daunting for certain. I don't want to say more, however, as I think the clues are there about Sel's magic, and I want to avoid saying too much.
Thanks for taking the time (again) to answer me!
So, here's the thing. The problem with magic on Sel is not one people are looking at the right way. And I'm really loathe to dig into it more, because I won't be able to write the books set on the world for a few more years yet.
Already, great moments in upcoming books aren't going to be as powerful to the hardcore fans, as they'll know the answers already.
But your theory, while very cool, wouldn't work--and stems from you attacking the problem in the wrong way.
If a Windrunner lashed Wax upwards, could he dump all of his weight into his metalminds and be unaffected or would the lashing affect his clothes and whatever else he had on him too?
Wax could mitigate the effect (unless he was in a vacuum) but not eliminate it completely.
Vacuum or freefall?
It can be easy to confuse them in the context of surface to orbit.
I was talking about a Vacuum, but it's good to clarify. What I'm saying is that without wind resistance, his mass doesn't matter--and the books have established that what Wax does is a freakish transformation of his mass, not just his weight.
Kaladin changes how much gravity pulls on someone, and in what direction. Wax (basically, it's more complex than this) changes how much mass he has. The two, then, have some very distinctive effects.
In a way I felt that The Emperor's Soul was a bit post-singularity - in the sense that humans were capable of downloading new identities and histories. I know you've planned on doing FTL cosmere work, but have you any interest in doing post-singularity cosmere work? I'd be fascinated to see 'multiple-consciousness beings' using breath or soul stamps. Seeing human development push the boundaries of the shards would be quite intense, and I'm tickled pink at the notion of humans bamboozling the rules of [Shardic] Investiture - how far can Spiritual or Cognitive Identity stretch?
tl;dr - do you have any plans to bring post-singularity stories to the cosmere
I have plans for some of this, but the main-line cosmere stories I'm planning seem to adapt better to grand space opera than true post-singularity stories. That said, I've certainly got some short story ideas that will play with this. (And you'll see more hints like this even in the mainline books that I think you'll like.)
In Chapter 19 of The Way of Kings, when Dalinar has a vision of fighting Voidbringers (maybe something else?) as a farmer, he says that he felt the Thrill in the vision. Does this mean that Nergaoul was active there, at the time that vision was "recorded" or was it Dalinar's viewing of the vision that was affected by the Thrill? Would the actual person whose perspective he was seeing have felt the Thrill if he had fought?
This is a great question, and one I've never been asked before. The answer is going to be a little vague.
First, Dalinar could have felt the Thrill from Nergaoul, and imported it into the vision.
Second, Nergaoul could have been active then, and the farmer could have felt it when he fought.
So both theories are valid. Which is it? I am going to hang back from answering this for now, as I am digging more into the Unmade in a future book.
At what point in your writing did the ending of [Shadows of Self] become a thing in your mind? Was is there from the beginning? Did it unfold naturally? Or was it something you saw before even writing [The Alloy of Law]?
I wrote Alloy of Law as kind of a free write. Once I finished it, and liked it a lot, I sat down and said, "Okay, if this is going to be Mistborn, it needs to have a tighter series outline." So I outlined three sequels, so I knew where Wax and the characters were going. Then I wrote the prologue of Alloy of Law. (It originally didn't include that scene with him and Lessie meeting Bloody Tan.) That scene was the first I wrote knowing the entire three book sequence, including the ending of SofS.
From there, I did a revision of Alloy of Law to match what was to come. The biggest change was adding in the trauma to Wax, which wasn't a piece of the initial story. (It was also something the book needed. Wax didn't have an arc in the original draft; he was kind of just "stoic sheriff." Building into him this longing to escape responsibility, and an underlying worry that his failures would break him, made it possible to create for him a four book arc.)
Quick question on genetics and investiture on Scadrial. Is it weird that Wax would have a different Allomantic power than his predecessors, or does it only matter that you have the ability in the first place, and then it takes different forms generation to generation?
Great question! I don't think anyone has asked it.
It is the second of your two theories. The power manifests differently in different people; specific powers are not hereditary.
Are the Ten Essences related to the Ten Shardworld's Form-of-Investiture
They are not as related as philosophers from ancient days, who created those tables, thought that they were.
Would you yourself be able to wield Nightblood?
Anybody can wield Nightblood for a short, short time.
If Miles stored a very tiny bit of health into a gold bead and then burned it, what would happen? Would he see goldshadows for a time and then obtain Compounded health when reaching the charged part of the bead? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, no gold shadows, but at a very low rate since only little health was loaded in it? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, but at a standard rate the user would always get when compounding?
He'd hack the system to deliver health for a short time instead of doing what it was supposed to do, but only until the small portion of gold Invested with his Investiture ran out.
There seem to be several black trinkets in your books (Vin's obsidian chunk, the polished-to-a-metallic-look pendant Roadan receives as a wedding present, & the sphere Gavilar gives to Szeth) My question is...are these things related?
No. Unfortunately, you've seen a coincidental connection. Several of these things are important, but for different reasons.
Is there any substance that reflects Allomantic power? (For example, such that a Coinshot could appear to be a Lurcher if this substance were behind the piece of metal being Pushed, or perhaps said Coinshot could Push things around a corner if this substance were angled properly?
Nothing like this is known right now.
I just read Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell and loved it. How did the first shade come to be? Are there shades in other worlds? Do shades have bones?
Shades are what we call "Cognitive Shadows" in the cosmere. They're basically "spren" or "[seons]" created from human souls. (Where Investiture--or magical power--keeps a consciousness alive after it has lost its Physical connection.) Yes, shades all once had bodies.
Think of them like petrified souls, where instead of stone replacing the tissue of a corpse, magical power replaced the parts of a soul that connect that soul to the Three Realms.
A theme throughout a lot of the Cosmere novels is that form, of one sort or another (patterns, aons, etc.) has a crucial role to play in unlocking or using Investiture.
As a chemist, I'm curious about the role of form in Allomancy and Feruchemy. Does the underlying molecular or crystalline structure of the metal or alloy play a roll? Different processes, doping ratios, and metal mixtures result in different molecular packing, lattices, and ultimately structure. It seems like that kind of very defined, orderly matrix would be right in line with other forms of unlocking Investiture.
Yes! I've actually mentioned to people before that the chemistry of the various metals acts, for Allomancy, in the same way that the Aons work for AonDor. It's more a key than it is a source of power itself.
I've seen people saying that Alloy of Law takes place during the gap between the first five Stormlight books and the last five. Is there any chance for some crossover?
What was Hoid up to during the Lord Ruler's Ascension?
I might tell you some day.
Can a person who dies but somehow hasn't passed Beyond the Three Realms (a la Kelsier) serve in place of a spren for Radiant purposes?
This is theoretically possible, but it would require an unusual sequence of events.
We know that the Stormfather is a Cognitive Shadow and is also acting as a spren for Dalinar but is he able to do that because the "unusual sequence of events" took place or is there something else going on specific to the nature of the Stormfather?
If Kelsier became a "spren" for a Radiant, would he grant Surgebinding or Allomancy?
The updated Elantris map (from the anniversary edition) includes a city map, and the interior of Elantris looks awfully like Aon Ela. Was it indeed designed so the streets for Ela, and if so - does this merely augment/support the giant Aon Rao, or does it have a separate effect?
This was designed this way! It is separate from the shape of the city itself.
But does it have an actual effect, or is it just aesthetic?
It doesn't have an effect at the moment. It might once have.
Since burning Feruchemically charged metal seems to require a choice between getting the Allomantic or Feruchemical property (e.g., Miles only sees gold ghosts when he wants to, not as a side effect of compounded healing), is there any special advantage to compounding pewter and tin, where the Allomantic and Feruchemical use is the same? Is their compounding even stronger than normal compounding because you can tap both power sources simultaneously, or maybe because Preservation is particularly attuned to providing those powers through those metals?
Remember that compounding is a "hack" of the magic. You're looking to fool the magics, and use one to power the other. The value in it is that you can use Allomantic power to fuel Feruchemy. It's like hooking a power cord up to a device that, up to that point, you'd powered by using a hand crank.
Compounding requires practice, according to The Hero of Age's annotations. And yet, it's apparently as easy as burning a metalmind. What was going on that meant the Inquisitors couldn't figure out how to do it (despite Ruin likely knowing how and undoubtedly wanting them to learn) for over a year? What skill did they need to practice doing, exactly?
And what happened while they were practicing burning metalminds without successfully Compounding? Did they get an Allomantic effect?
What I think I was getting at in the annotations was a cosmere magic rule that, perhaps, I hadn't completely refined yet. This is the idea that INTENTION is vitally important to the workings of most cosmere magics.
You can learn to burn metals instinctively over time, but it does take time--time for your body to figure out what it's doing. If you have instruction and guidance, you can pick it up in an evening, like Vin did. Same goes for most of the magics. This ties into Awakening, with the idea that you have to form a command.
During Warbreaker was where I really refined this aspect of the magic. Logically, since the beginning of the cosmere, I've wanted all three Realms to be important to the way the magics worked. The "Practice" therefore for compounding is mental practice--a barrier to overcome in understanding what is happening, and what it will do to you.
If you already know all of these things by having it explained to you, that barrier is far less high. I think that was what I was talking about in the Annotations, without really having the idea specified yet--though I'd have to look back at the annotation and re-read it to say for certain.
Why does Marasi's memory of the voice of "Death" or Marsh, change? From Alloy of Law to Bands of Mourning chapter 15?
This is a thing that drives Peter crazy. My research tells me that people change memories based on expectations and environment.
On occasion, you'll see me having characters miss-quote themselves, or remember events clearly wrong. I do this for realism.
(Though on occasion, it's just a mistake or lapse on my part. Those we fix. The rest drive my editors crazy.)
I've read and reread Calamity looking for clues but I can't figure out what Mizzy's powers are! Why did you not reveal them?
I wanted to be vague because I need to have freedom to tweak them when I write a follow-up.
I have plans, but can't lock myself in too much until the outline for Mizzy's book is done.
Is there a relationship between the power of [iron] Ferrings and the power of Windrunners?
Just curious. Sazed says that filling his [ironmind] affects the pull of gravity on his body and Windrunners are similar...?
An [iron] Ferring is basically changing weight. It's not the same as lashing.