Recent entries

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #1671 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    Have Rosharan mathematics advanced far enough to know Julia sets?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, they know Julia sets. Some of the mathematics are farther along at this time than ours, some are behind. Kinda like abstractionalism is a centuries-old art style on Roshar, calculus was discovered way earlier.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #1672 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    Is Wisdom a Shard? If so, how bad does it want to survive?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    There is a Shard with a similar intent. The Shard has realized that survival might not be the most desirable/important.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #1673 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    There's symbols in the temple at the end of The Bands of Mourning which none of the characters recognize. Are they from any writing system known to us or did Kelsier make them up?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    RAFO.

    Footnote: Paleo also mentioned in passing that the symbols didn't resemble any Aons or other symbols he knew. Brandon didn't react much to that.
    Stuttgart signing ()
    #1675 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    Are the Ashynite magic system, in which micro organisms cause diseases and bestow powers, and the Old Magic related? You could sort of see the powers and the disease as a boon and a curse. If so, does the "Old" part come from that?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, they are related, but the name comes from the magic actually predating spren bonds.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1680 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lirin was impressed by how calm he felt as he checked the child's gums for scurvy. Years of training as a surgeon served him well today. Breathing exercises, intended to keep his hand steady, worked just as well for covering up fugitives as they did for surgery.

    "Here," he said to the child's mother, digging from his pocket a small carved carapace chit. "Show this to the woman at the dining pavilion, she will get you some juice for your son. Make certain he drinks it all each morning."

    "Very thank you," the woman said in a thick Herdazian accent. She gathered her son close, then looked to Lirin with haunted eyes. "If... if child found-"

    "I will make certain you are notified if we hear word of your other children," Lirin promised. "I'm sorry for your loss."

    She nodded, wiped her cheeks and carried the child away towards the town. The morning fog obscured most of Hearthstone. On the outside, it looked like a group of dark shadowy lumps, like tumors. Lirin could barely make out the tarps stretched between buildings, offering meager shelter for the many refugees pouring out of Herdaz. Entire streets were closed off this way. The sounds of plates clinking and people talking rose through the fog. Those shanties would never last the storm, of course, but they could be quickly torn down and stowed. There just wasn't enough housing otherwise.

    Glancing at the line of those waiting for admittance today, he wondered how many more people the town could hold. Erik and the other men - once guards at Roshone's mansion, now forbidden swords - organized the line and kept anyone from sneaking in town before Lirin saw them. He had persuaded Brightness Abijan that it was essential he see each refugee and judge if they'd be bringing dangerous diseases into the city. In truth, he wanted to intercept those who might need a wound bound or a treatment.

    The woman carried her child up to the watchpost just out of town. Here, a group of armed parshmen lifted her hood and compared her face to descriptions that had been sent to them by the Fused. Hesina, Lirin's wife, stood nearby, ready to read the descriptions as required. She was one of the few women in the city who could read, though Brightness Abijan and several of the other parshwomen were quickly learning their lessons.

    Parshmen carrying swords, learning to read. Even a year after their awakening, Lirin found the notion odd, but really, what was it to him? In some ways, little had changed, despite the coming of the Everstorm and the awakening of the Parshmen. Their skin was different, but the same old conflicts consumed them as easily as they had the Alethi brightlords. People who had a little taste for power wanted more and they sought it with the sword. Normal people bled and Lirin had to try to put them back together. He turned back to his line of waiting refugees - he still had at least a hundred to give medical assessments to today. And hiding among them was one in particular. In some ways, it was the man who was the author of all this suffering.

    The next person in line had lost an arm in battle, but the wound was a few months old at this point and there was nothing that Lirin could do about the extensive scaring. He held up his finger and moved it back and forward before the man's face, watching his eyes track it.

    Shock, Lirin thought. "Have you suffered wounds recently you are not telling me about?"

    "No wounds," the man whispered, "but brigands, they took my wife, good surgeon. Took her, left me tied up to a tree, just walked off, laughing..."

    Bother, mental shock wasn't something Lirin could cut out with a scalpel.

    "Once you enter town," Lirin said, "look for tent fourteen and tell the women there I sent you to bed in that place."

    The man nodded dully, though his stare was so hollow Lirin wondered if the man had registered the words. Memorizing the man's description - graying hair with a cowlick in the back, three large bulbs on the upper left cheek - Lirin made note to check tent fourteen for him later tonight. It was the place were he had assistants watching for refugees who might turn suicidal. It was, with so many to care for, the best that he could manage.

    "On with you," Lirin said, gently pushing the man towards the town. "Tent fourteen, don't forget, I'm sorry for your loss." The man walked off.

    "You say it so easily, surgeon," a voice said from behind Lirin.

    Lirin stood and turned with surprise, then immediately bowed in respect. Abijan, the new city lord, was a parshwoman with stark white skin and fine red swirls on her cheeks.

    "Brightness," he said, "What was that?"

    "You told that man," Abijan said, "you were sorry for his loss. You say it so easily to each of them, but you seem to have the compassion of a stone. Do you feel, surgeon, for these people?"

    "I feel, Brightness," Lirin said, "but I must be careful not to be overwhelmed by their pains. It's one of the first rules of becoming a surgeon."

    "Curious," she said. The parshwoman raised her safehand, which was shrouded in the sleeve of her Havah. "Do you remember setting my arm when I was a child?"

    "I do."

    "Such a curious memory," she said. "It feels like a dream to me now, that life. I remember pain, confusion, a stern figure bringing me more pain. But now I recognize that you were simply seeking to heal me. So much trouble to go through for a slave child."

    "I've never cared whom I heal, Brightness, slave or king.

    "I'm sure the fact that Wistiow paid good money for me had nothing to do with it. He of course wanted his investment protected." She narrowed her eyes at Lirin. When she next spoke there was a cadence to her words as if she were speaking the words to a song. "Did you feel for me? The poor confused child slave whose mind had been stolen from her. Did you weep for us, surgeon, and the life we led?"

    "A surgeon must not weep," Lirin said softly. "A surgeon can not afford to weep."

    "Like a stone," she said again, then shock her head. "Have you seen any plaguespren?"

    "Diseases aren't caused by spren," Lirin said. "It is spread by contaminated water, improper sanitation, or sometimes the breath of those who bear it."

    "Superstition," she said.

    "The wisdom of the Heralds," Lirin replied. "We should be careful." Fragments of old manuscripts, translations of translations of translations, spoke of ancient diseases that killed thousands, spreading quickly and persistently. Such things hadn't been recorded in any modern text he had read, but he had heard rumors of something strange on the west. A new plague they were calling it. Details were sparse. In truth, he wasn't sure what to watch for, but Abijan moved on without further complaint to him. Her attendants, a group of elevated parshmen and parshwoman joined her. Though their clothing was of Alethi cuts and fashion, the colors were lighter, more muted than humans might wear. The Fused had explained that the singers in the past eschewed light, bright colors as to not distract from their distinctive skin patterns. Lirin sensed the searched for identity in the way that Abijan and the other parshmen acted. Their accents, their dress, their mannerisms - they were all distinctively Alethi, but they hung on what the Fused said about the lives of their ancestors and tried whenever they could to emulate them. He turned to the next group of refugees - a complete family for once - and though he should have been happy to see that, he couldn't help wondering how difficult it was going to be to feed five children and parents who were flagging from poor nutrition. As he sent them on, a familiar figure moved down the line towards him.

    Laral wore a simple servant's dress now, with a gloved hand instead of a sleeve, and she carried a water bucket. Ostensibly, she was seeing that nobody in line was thirsty. She didn't walk like a servant though. There was a certain determination about the young woman that no forced subservience could smother. The end of the world itself seemed about as bothersome to her as a poor harvest once had. She paused by Lirin, offering him a drink, ladled it to a fresh cup rather than taking straight from the bucket, as he insisted.

    "He is three down," Laral whispered to Lirin, as he sipped. <Laral grabbed him.>

    "Shorter than I expected him to be," Laral noted. "He is supposed to be a great general, leader of the Herdezian resistance. Looks more like a traveling merchant than he does a soldier."

    "Genius comes in all shapes, Laral," Lirin said, waving for another drink. More to give him an excuse to keep talking.

    "Still," she said, then fell silent as Durnash passed by, a tall parshmen with swirled black and red skin a sword on his back. Once he was well on his way she continued softly, "I'm honestly surprised at you, Lirin. Not even once have you suggested that we turn this man in. He'd be executed. You think him a criminal, though, don't you?"

    "Criminal? I'm not sure, but he bears a terrible responsibility. He perpetuated a war against an overwhelming enemy force, he threw away the lives of his men in a hopeless battle."

    "Some would call that heroism."

    "Heroism is a myth you tell idealistic young men to persuade them to go bleed for you," Lirin said. "It got my son killed and my other son taken from me. You can keep your heroism, and give me back the lives of those wasted on foolish conflicts."

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1681 Copy

    Cultivation's Champ

    I wonder whether Jasnah has been to the Cognitive Realm of planets other than Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She has not, she is not horribly cosmere-aware as of the end of Oathbringer, she is starting to get an inkling. Give her some time and you might be impressed with how quickly she can come up to speed.

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #1684 Copy

    allofthe11

    Is Dalinar based off of Genghis Khan to any extent, and if so did you blend him with other historical figures?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One inspiration for the Alethi is the Yuan Dynasty, which has Mongolian roots. Because of that, I've included little hints here and there connecting the peoples. I'd imagine Dalinar more as a Subutai than a Genghis, but the episode where he recruits a guy who shot him with an arrow is based off of a piece of folklore that surrounds Genghis, so it's not off base to note the connections there.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1686 Copy

    Steeldancer (paraphrased)

    Have you ever heard of the Alcubierre Drive? 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, I know about the Alcubierre drive. 

    Steeldancer (paraphrased)

    So, if we took two speed bubbles--mechanized, because Allomancers aren't powerful enough to pull it off--could we create a functioning Alcubierre drive?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    You are theorizing in the right direction. 

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1687 Copy

    Steeldancer (paraphrased)

     According to General Relativity, there should be spatial distortion in speed bubbles. So, why does no one notice it?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    There is spatial distortion in speed bubbles, that's why bullets are refracted when they enter a bubble. However, I played with it a bit, and ignore the redshift that should happen. The barrier of the bubble absorbs it, otherwise everyone would just be irradiated. 

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #1688 Copy

    Ilkhan2016

    Breath and Stormlight are both forms of Investiture. AFAIK you can power any of the magic systems from any form of Investiture. Zahel is on Roshar, I believe, primarily due to how easy Investiture (Stormlight) is to come across.

    AFAIK the form of Investiture doesn't change anything about the abilities. For example, Szeth was sucked out of Stormlight when he drew Nightblood; and Azure used Stormlight to Awaken in Shadesmar.

    /u/mistborn is that right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of this depends on the Investiture and the magic in question. Azure was legit using Breaths, for example--ones she'd brought with her. But Szeth was able to feed Stormlight to Nightblood, much as Vasher uses Stormlight to keep himself alive.

    To Awaken with Stormlight, the easiest thing to do would be to first change Stormlight into Breaths--something that Azure doesn't know how to do. (Admittedly, Hoid doesn't either, so it's not like it's a simple thing to achieve.) You could also theoretically use some magical (or mechanical) means to power your Awakening with a different form of Investiture.

    Extesian

    This is very interesting. Is it possible then in the Cosmere for the 'intent' (spin or however described) of Investiture to be changed? And I mean within reasonable limits (not the powers of six shards or any of that). Can a Shard effectively grow in power in a place (e.g. toward an avatar) through another Shard's Investiture being changed (not just corrupted)? Or is it just making one type ('intent' - you should canonize a word for this :D) of Investiture mimic the properties of another?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of the ways of accomplishing what you're talking about would involve either 1) fooling/overwriting your spiritual makeup somehow. (This is what Hemalurgy does, for example.) 2) Refining the power somehow into a more pure form.

    But there are a lot of variables. The way magic from Nalthis works, for example, the system is just looking for any available Investiture to power itself--and so basically anything will do, regardless of the source. This includes consuming your own soul, in some cases...

    You'll see terminology coming along eventually that facilitates talking about all of this. I'm not yet decided on some of it.

    Celestial_Blu3

    How many Breaths does [Azure] have by her final appearance in OB?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, I'm afraid.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1690 Copy

    Questioner

    Does BioChromatic Breath cure color-blindness?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... having enough Breath will interact very strangely with color-blindness. It won't heal it, necessarily, but it will have an interesting effect.

    Questioner

    Ah. I was hoping--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Are you color-blind?

    Questioner

    I am. So the entire time I read the book I was hoping it could cure color-blindness.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will have an interesting time. I think you would be pleased with how it affects it.

    Questioner

    Will we ever see a color-blind person in the books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I want to do one. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it in there... but you will be pleased with how it happens.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1691 Copy

    Questioner

    Was Lopen ever actually a slave or did he just see a slave wagon walking by and was like, "Hey, can I join you guys?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll get to his story eventually. But he did not spend a long time in a bad situation like some of the others did.

    Questioner

    *inaudible* One of the people just would walk up and it's like, "Hey, can I join you guys?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    It didn't happen quite like that but it is a little bit goofy.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1692 Copy

    Questioner

    So...what is the safehand about-- Like how did that develop into a thing, having one hand being scandalous?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it relates back to philosophical treaties written in world, long ago, where a woman was saying 'these are feminine arts, these are masculine arts'; that sort of thing. It was partially a way to control access to Shardblades, when Shardblades and Shardplate first entered the-- common people being able to have them because the Knights Radiant had abandoned them. At the same time there was a struggle for power over language, and this happened long ago. Really the reason is "humans are weird".

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1693 Copy

    Stormlightning

    Is the bird that talked to Allomancer Jak a kandra?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Haha, RAFO. Allomancer Jak thinks that it probably must be.

    Stormlightning

    Are you gonna say if it's an Aviar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to say Allomancer Jak has a strange blend of trustworthiness and not. He doesn't think that he's lying when he says things.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1695 Copy

    Questioner

    Can Hoid eat?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He can, yes.

    Questioner

    And is there anything that he can't eat?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are things he does not like. He would be-- Eating something that's still alive would be very difficult for Hoid. But he-- There aren't foods that would be forbidden to him by his particular ailment.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1696 Copy

    Stormlightning

    How hard would it be for a Sleepless to imitate the larkin powers in one of their hordelings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, they would take generations and generations of purposeful attempts at mutating that out.

    Stormlightning

    Could they theoretically do it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They could theoretically do it.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1697 Copy

    Stormlightning

    Would the Ghostbloods try to recruit [a Sleepless]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, the Ghostbloods would not trust a Sleepless.

    Stormlightning

    They wouldn't? So they wouldn't even try to get one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They would not. They would expect a Sleepless to take over their organization or try to. And try to stay far away from the Sleepless.

    Stormlightning

    What about the Seventeenth Shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are members of the Seventeenth Shard who would be interested in recruiting one of the Sleepless. Generally they represent a wildcard faction that a lot of other people are wary of.

    Stormlightning

    I guess Khriss and them just know about them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. The Sleepless are cosmere-aware.

    Stormlightning

    Are they worldhoppers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are Sleepless on many planets. They have mostly settled on Roshar for various reasons.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1699 Copy

    Questioner

    How did Hoid get the name Cephandrius?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cephandrius? Cephandrius is one of his very earliest aliases. Not his real name, but very soon after he stopped using his real name.

    Questioner

    Okay. Is there any relation to his real name? With that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will give you a RAFO card.

    FanX Spring 2019 ()
    #1700 Copy

    Stormlightning

    So about the Girl Who Looked Up, when her hair turns white, I'm just wondering, was that a Shallan-caused thing, or was that external?

    Brandon Sanderson

    External.

    Stormlightning

    It was nothing to do with her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Everything in that had something to do with her.

    Stormlightning

    But she didn't cause it? Subconsciously or otherwise?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, she was involved, but the original source of that-- Yes, she is involved in that--

    Stormlightning

    But she didn't know something that caused it, even way back in her memory?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, no. You're going the wrong direction for that.