Brandon Sanderson's Blog
January 21, 2015
Tonight (1/21) at the Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona at 6:00 p.m.
Friday, January 23 at Murder by the Book in Houston, Texas at 6:30 p.m. (They also have hardcovers of Mitosis available, and they’ll ship signed copies.)
Saturday, January 24 at the Barnes & Noble in Newnan, Georgia at 3:00 p.m. (possibly actually more like 3:30)
Writing Excuses put up two new episodes. The first one is on Lovecraftian Horror, where we, with the help of Cherie Priest, discuss what it is, the influence it’s had on genre fiction, and the tools if offers to modern writers. The second is a mini-episode talking about Shadows Beneath‘s 2015 Hugo Award eligibility, which I mentioned on the blog earlier this week when I talked about my eligible works.
A couple months back I was featured on the school library TV show Bookends. You can watch the video here.
The Mistborn dice Kickstarter from Crafty Games is in its final 3 days. If 158 more people back it, they will add Atium and Gold dice to every set.
My assistant Adam updated the Twitter posts archive for January.
Sign up to my newsletter here.
January 19, 2015
Hey, all! It’s the time of year again when nominations have opened for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. To nominate for the Nebula Awards, you need to be a member of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. To nominate for the Hugo Awards this year, you need to be a member of the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington, or be a member of the 2016 Worldcon in Kansas City or have been a member of the 2014 Worldcon in London (some of you became London Worldcon members when The Wheel of Time was on the ballot last year).
It has become traditional in the field for writers like myself to provide a list of which works of theirs are eligible, so that people who are interested in nominating can look into them and give them consideration. As always, it is better to nominate a work because you love it in particular, rather than because of your general preference for a specific author. (Except in certain cases where the creator is instead the focus of the award, such as is the case with the Campbell Award.) The Hugo Awards have only the strength, and prestige, we give them. Please consider my works below, but nominate them only if you sincerely think they are among the best works you read last year.
That said, I do have a particular request this year. Although all of the stories in Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology are indeed eligible on their own in the fiction categories (and I’m certain each writer would love them to be considered on that merit), we at Writing Excuses (Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and I) consider the main purpose of the anthology to be an aid to aspiring writers.
In past years, we’ve been nominated as a podcast for a Hugo Award in the Best Related Work category, and we won that award in 2013. This year, we would ask potential nominators to consider Shadows Beneath in this category instead of the podcast. We are very proud of the anthology, and think it does things that no writing textbook has before attempted. If you are eligible to nominate for the Hugo Awards, we will happily send you a copy for review. Please drop me an email through my website, and we will get one to you ASAP.
Now, on to the list:
Brandon Sanderson’s Award-Eligible Works for the 2014–2015 Season
Best Novel (Hugo or Nebula)
Words of Radiance (Tor/Gollancz)
Best Novella (Hugo or Nebula)
Sixth of the Dusk (From Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology)
Legion: Skin Deep (Subterranean Press)
Best Related Work (Hugo Only)
Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
(Note, if you are eligible to nominate, please feel free to request a review copy through my email contact form here.)
As an aside, if you don’t have at least a supporting membership for Worldcon, you should totally consider getting one (currently $40). With a supporting membership, you get voting rights on the Hugo Awards, and will be sent ebook copies of most (if not all) of the nominated books and stories (last year, the publisher of three of the novels decided not to include them in the packet). To nominate, you must have your membership by January 31st (or be a member of the 2014 or 2016 Worldcons by that date). To vote on the final ballot, you must be a member of the 2015 Worldcon only, by the voting deadline (sometime in July).
I’m going to be attending Worldcon this year in Spokane. I visited there for a different convention a few years back, and was impressed by how well the committee—many of whom are working on Worldcon this year—ran the convention. It should be a great time, and it’s one of the most chill ways I know of to hang out with authors. Worldcon is not like a comic con; there’s no frantic air of merchandising or enormous crowds. (Though I do enjoy comic cons.) Worldcon is about interacting with fellow fans and with writers. You can nominate and vote on the Hugo Awards with just a supporting membership, but to attend the convention requires an attending membership.
Hope to see many of you there!
January 14, 2015
My next tour stop will be at Powell’s in Beaverton, Oregon on January 16th at 7:00 p.m. It looks like this isn’t a ticketed event, so I will sign any book I wrote that you bring, but it’s awesome to show support for the store by buying your books there (ahead of time, if you want to read it before the signing). If you can make it, I hope to see you there, and many more of you throughout the rest of my tour in the US.
There’s a new Writing Excuses episode, I have an Idea; What Do I Do Now? We talk about our various approaches to the next critical step: What to do once you’ve got an idea that has story-legs. Many of which center around finding the person or people most affected by the thing our idea conjures into their world.
Tor.com is continuing their series of re-read posts for Words of Radiance. In the last chapter we were left hanging with word of an assassin in the palace. This week, Alice Arneson discusses Chapter 23, where we discover what the attempt involved and what the fallout was.
Another thank you is in order; Words of Radiance was voted as the winner for Best Novel in 2014 by the r/Fantasy community on Reddit. Thank you for your continued support in this, my lifelong dream of being a professional writer. I couldn’t do it without you!
My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter post archive for January.
January 9, 2015
With the release earlier this week of Firefight, the second book in the Reckoners trilogy, the publishers put the ebook of the first Reckoners novel, Steelheart, on sale at $2.99 in the US and £1.99 in the UK. Well, tomorrow is the final day for that special discount in the US, and then the ebook will go back up to full price. If you haven’t checked Steelheart out, now’s a good chance! Ebook links are to the upper right in the regional tabs. Sample chapters are here, and that page also links to a free ebook of the first five chapters.
If you’ve already read Steelheart but hadn’t noticed that Firefight is out, you can find store links for that here. And I’m continuing my book tour on January 16th; see the full list of cities here. Happy reading!
January 8, 2015
Today is the official release date of Gollancz’s edition of Firefight in print, ebook, and audio in the UK and Commonwealth or former Commonwealth countries. Check out the tabs to the right for links to where to find the book.
To celebrate the release of the Gollancz edition, let’s run a little contest just for Gollancz readers. The contest will take place on Twitter. Tweet a photo of yourself holding a copy of Firefight, mention @BrandSanderson (but not as the first word of your tweet), and include the hashtag #steelhunt. There will be 10 winners selected randomly.
Winners will get a set of the Firefight die-cut character cards that I showed a photo of in my blog post a couple days ago. The cards have a code on them that gives you access to content including an extended version of the excerpt from the new novella I’m working on, Perfect State, that I’ve been reading at my tour stops in the US. We’ll ship the cards to you wherever you are in the world (but delivery might not be very fast!).
The contest ends Monday night at 23:59 GMT. Good luck!
January 6, 2015
I watched Calamity rise.
I was six years old then, as I stood in the night on the balcony of our apartment. I can still remember how the old air conditioner rattled in the window next to me, covering the sound of Father’s crying. The overworked machine hung out over a plummet of many stories, dripping water like perspiration from the forehead of a suicidal jumper. The machine was broken; it blew air but didn’t make anything cold. My mother had frequently turned it off.
After her passing, my father left it on; he said that he felt cooler with it running.
I lowered my popsicle and squinted at that strange red light, which rose like a new star above the horizon. Only no star had ever been that bright or that red. Crimson. It looked like a bullet wound in the dome of heaven itself.
On that night, Calamity had blanketed the entire city in a strange warm glow. I stood there—popsicle melting, sticky liquid dripping down around my fingers—as I watched the entire ascent.
Then the screaming had started.
“David?” The voice came from my earpiece.
I shook out of my reverie. I’d been staring at Calamity again, but nearly thirteen years had passed since Calamity’s rise. I wasn’t a kid at home with my father any longer; I wasn’t even an orphan working the munitions factory in the understreets.
I was a Reckoner.
“Here,” I answered, shouldering my rifle and crossing the rooftop. It was night, and I swore I could see a red cast to everything from Calamity’s light, though it had never again appeared as bright as it had that first evening.
Downtown Newcago spread out before me, its surfaces reflecting starlight. Everything was steel here. Like a cyborg from the future with the skin ripped off. Only, you know, not murderous. Or, well, alive at all.
Man, I thought. I really do suck at metaphors.
Steelheart was dead now, and we had reclaimed Newcago’s upper streets—including many amenities the elite had once reserved for themselves. I could take a shower every day in my own bathroom. I almost didn’t know what to do with such luxury. Other than, you know, not stink.
Newcago, at long last, was free.
It was my job to make sure it stayed that way.
“I don’t see anything,” I whispered, kneeling beside the edge of the rooftop. I wore an earpiece that connected wirelessly to my mobile. A small camera on the earpiece allowed Tia to watch what I was seeing, and the earpiece was sensitive enough to pick up what I said, even when I spoke very softly.
“Keep watching,” Tia said over the line. “Cody reports that Prof and the mark went your direction.”
“It’s quiet here,” I whispered. “Are you sure—”
The rooftop exploded just beside me. I yelped, rolling backward as the entire building shook, the blast spraying bits of broken metal across me. Calamity! Those shots packed a punch.
“Sparks!” Cody yelled over the line. “She got around me, lad. Coming up on your north side—”
His voice was drowned out as another glowing energy pulse shot up from the ground below and ripped the side off the rooftop near where I hid.
“Run!” Tia yelled.
Like I needed to be told. I got moving. To my right, a figure materialized out of light. Dressed in a black jumpsuit and sneakers, Sourcefield wore a full mask—like a ninja might wear—and a long black cape. Some Epics bought into the whole “inhuman powers” thing more than others. Honestly, she looked ridiculous—even if she did glow faintly blue and crackle with energy spreading across her body.
If she touched something, she could transform into energy and travel through it. It wasn’t true teleportation, but close enough—and the more conductive the substance, the farther she could travel, so a city made of steel was kind of like paradise for her. It was surprising it had taken her so long to get here.
As if teleportation weren’t enough, her electrical abilities also made her impervious to most weapons. The light shows she gave off were famous; I’d never seen her in person before, but I’d always wanted to see her work.
Just not from so close up.
“Scramble the plan!” Tia ordered. “Prof? Jon! Report in! Abraham?”
I listened with only half an ear as a globe of crackling electricity whizzed by me. I skidded to a stop and dashed the other way as a second globe passed right through where I’d been standing. That one hit the rooftop, causing another explosion and making me stumble. Shards of metal pelted my back as I scrambled to the side of the building.
Then I leaped off.
I didn’t fall far before hitting the balcony of a penthouse apartment. Heart pounding, I darted inside. A plastic cooler waited on the other side by the door. I threw open the lid and fished around, trying to remain calm.
Sourcefield had come to Newcago earlier in the week. She’d started killing immediately—random people, no perceivable purpose behind it. Just like Steelheart had done in his early days. Then she’d started calling out for the citizens to turn in the Reckoners, so she could bring us to justice.
A twisted brand of Epic justice. They killed whomever they wanted, but to strike back was an offense so great they could barely conceive it. Well, she’d see soon enough. So far, our plan to bring her down wasn’t going terribly well, but we were the Reckoners. We prepared for the unexpected.
From the cooler, I pulled out a water balloon.
This, I thought, had better work.
Tia and I had debated for days on Sourcefield’s weakness. Every Epic had at least one, and often they were random. You had to research an Epic’s history, the things they avoided, to try to figure out what substance or situation might negate their powers.
This balloon contained our best guess as to Sourcefield’s weakness. I turned, hefting the balloon in one hand, rifle in the other, watching the doorway and waiting for her to come after me.
“David?” Tia asked over the earpiece.
“Yeah?” I whispered, anxious, balloon ready to throw.
“Why are you watching the balcony?”
Why was I . . .
Oh, right. Sourcefield could travel through walls.
Feeling like an idiot, I jumped backward just as Sourcefield came down through the ceiling, electricity buzzing all around her. She hit the floor on one knee, hand out, a ball of electricity growing there, casting frantic shadows across the room.
Feeling nothing but a spike of adrenaline, I hurled the balloon. It hit Sourcefield right in the chest, and her energy blast fizzled into nothing. Red liquid from the balloon splashed on the walls and floor around her. Too thin to be blood, it was an old powdered fruit drink you mixed with water and sugar. I remembered it from childhood.
And it was her weakness.
Heart thumping, I unslung my rifle. Sourcefield stared at her dripping torso as if in shock, though the black mask she wore kept me from seeing her expression. Lines of electricity still worked across her body like tiny glowing worms.
I leveled the rifle and pulled the trigger. The crack of gunfire indoors all but deafened me, but I delivered a bullet directly toward Sourcefield’s face.
That bullet exploded as it passed through her energy field. Even soaked with the Kool-Aid, her protections worked.
She looked at me, her electricity flaring to life—growing more violent, more dangerous, lighting the room like a calzone stuffed with dynamite.
Uh-oh . . .
The next two chapters are available in the US paperback of Steelheart and the UK hardcover of Mitosis.
Last night we had the first signing for Firefight, and I hope everyone who came out had a great time. The book is now available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook in the United States, Canada, Europe, and many other places. (The official release date for the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and associated countries is Thursday, but we’ve heard that many stores in the UK have the book out on shelves already.)
Firefight is the sequel to Steelheart, which is in turn a near-future science fiction / superhero mashup about a world where people start gaining super powers, but those powers corrupt the people who gain them.
As many of you already know, release week is the most important week of a book’s life. One oddity of the entertainment business is that week one often determines the entire life of the project. Whether it be a film, a book, or an album, the first week usually becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy to reflect future sales.
I hope you all will take the time to check Firefight out—or, if you haven’t read Steelheart, to look into it. Sample chapters are here. If you liked Mistborn, I think you’ll like Steelheart as well, as they share a lot of stylistic choices.
My book tour continues tonight and tomorrow with two stops in Seattle, and then I’m signing in Miami on Thursday. (In the past, lots of people have asked when I’m coming to Florida, so I hope you represent!) My full list of tour stops is on my events page.
For those who aren’t aware, at my signings I like to do a reading from something I’m currently working on. Last night I read a selection from Perfect State, a novella I’m writing. I also like to do a sort of scavenger hunt during my tours, and this year I’m doing #Steelhunt2015, where the goal is to collect these character standups:
Things are working a bit differently this year, in that inputting the code from each character card gives you access to that character’s bio. To see all three bios, you have to get all three cards. These are the same bios that appeared in the special editions of Steelheart that were released in 2013, and also appear in the small Mitosis hardcover in the UK, so some of you have seen them before. So that’s why I’m making sure that whichever code you use, you can also see something new: a longer excerpt from Perfect State, including the bit I’m reading at a signing but also extending beyond that. Once you input a code into the correct website, you can see the content immediately—you don’t have to wait for other people to submit other codes.
I’m handing out these cards at the signings to people who ask questions during the Q&A, and I’m also leaving many cards in the bookstores of airports I pass through. The first such airport was the SLC airport this morning, and I should hit up SEA today.
Now, if you aren’t going to be anywhere near where I’m touring, we want you to be able to participate too. We will have ways you can win codes on the website, on Twitter, and on Facebook over the next few weeks. In addition, we have a few surprise appearances by codes planned for stores I’ll not be visiting.
If you own or work for a bookstore in a city I will not be visiting and are interested in participating in the Steelhunt, drop me an email through my website. (Note: there is no guarantee we’ll be able to get codes to every store that contacts us.)
January 5, 2015
Firefight comes out Tuesday in the US and Canada (and it comes out on Thursday in the UK, but some stores there already have it on shelves). I’ll say more about the book tomorrow, but you can see my full tour schedule here.
The first event is this evening’s appearance at the Jordan Landing Barnes & Noble in West Jordan. I’ll be there at 6:00 p.m. today to do a reading (probably of an unreleased book) and Q&A, followed by a signing. Every copy of Firefight I sign tonight (and tomorrow in Seattle) will also receive a number. Barnes & Noble started handing out wristbands this morning and it looks like demand will be high, so if you want to make sure you get a copy, you might consider going down there earlier in the day to get your wristband.
I hope to see many of you there tonight, and many more of you throughout the month as I tour the US!
Writing Excuses, the writing advice audio show I do with Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells has started a new season! Each month this year will focus on a specific aspect of the writing process. If you’re new to Writing Excuses, this is where to start! If you’ve been listening for years, don’t worry—this isn’t a return to the 101-level stuff. In January we’ll cover the very beginning: coming up with cool ideas and wrapping them up into something that we can turn into a story. So for this first episode we answer the dreaded “where do you get your ideas” question quite seriously.
draQeSimba Sat Jan 03
@BrandSanderson will u ever come to The Netherlands?
BrandSanderson Sat Jan 03
@draQeSimba I’ve been once, and would love to return.
barryhutchison Sat Jan 03
The lovely people at Orion Books sent me a hardback copy of Firefight by @BrandSanderson. Be rude not to start it tonight.
BrandSanderson Sat Jan 03
January 1, 2015
Happy new year! The release of Firefight is next week. I did a post yesterday at io9 talking about writing superhero books that you should check out, and they also announced the dates for the book tour. Full details are on my events page, but a summary is below.
Monday, January 5: Salt Lake City
Tuesday, January 6: Seattle
Wednesday, January 7: Seattle
Thursday, January 8: Miami
Friday, January 16: Portland, OR
Tuesday, January 20: San Diego
Wednesday, January 21: Phoenix
Friday, January 23: Houston
Saturday, January 24: Atlanta (sort of)
Monday, January 26: Lexington, KY
Tuesday, January 27: Philadelphia
Wednesday, January 28: Boston