Firstborn
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Firstborn

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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,762 ratings  ·  209 reviews
Of the son of a High Duke of the interstellar Empire, much glory is expected.- And expected.- And still expected, despite endless proof that young Dennison Crestmar has no talent whatsoever for war. But the life Dennison is forced to live will have its surprising lessons to impart-
ebook, 32 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by Tor Books (first published December 17th 2008)
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Stephen
Mr. Sanderson...Sir...Brandon...it is with a heavy heart that I must report that this story contains a fair to moderate amount of... [image error]

2.0 stars. The fail is by no means EPIC or UBER, but given how much I loved the Mistborn series, it was, in the end, a disappointment. Now, I don't mean to imply that this SF short story is horrible or poorly written because that is not the case. I just found it to be very UNDERWHELMING and seasoned with a healthy sprinkling of MEH...it is the very de...more
Duffy Pratt
The story felt quaint and derivative. It's science fiction, but very light on the science, so SF in the same sense that Star Wars is SF. The closest Sanderson comes to explaining a scientific principle is to say that heavier objects move slower in space than lighter ones. Thus, a fleet of starships gets slowed down by the largest ship in the fleet.

Also, in the tradition of Star Wars, we have a highly advanced technological society whose political structure seems bound up with ideas of Empire an...more
Chris
Eh...didn't hate it. I did have trouble staying focused and probably drifted away too many times to really get what happened. But that's ok.

I didn't expect much, as it was a short science-fiction story. I mean, it's a short story and it's sci-fi. Two things that are suspect before I begin.

But it was worth killing an hour or so.
David
I've got mixed feelings about Brandon Sanderson -- I liked his Mistborn series, and I've gotten invested in his new doorstopper epic fantasy series The Stormlight Archive, but he's kind of a dork and sometimes he writes dorky stuff. He talks on his blog about being a big Magic: The Gathering player, the magic systems in his novels are very clearly based on spending his teen years as an RPGer, and while reading this short story, I pictured him pushing little cardboard chits around on a Starfleet...more
Becky
This was OK... It just didn't really grab me. On a scale of 1 to 10, my interest in military battle theory is a -2, so I wasn't exactly engrossed here.

There were some interesting concepts though, such as the expectations that others put on us, and those we put on ourselves, and how we don't always live up to them, no matter what the potential is. Sometimes those very expectations backfire.

This wasn't terrible, but definitely not my favorite of Sanderson's stories.

I'd still give him a good leg...more
Miki
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dzemo Sh
I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, and I love everything he writes. After reading so many of his longer works, I decided to read some of his shorter stories and see what I think about them, but also to catch up a little on my reading schedule.

This story was by no means perfect, but still it was better than I thought it would be and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the main character a lot, and I liked how everything unfolded.

However it's better when Sanderson writes longer stories, becaus...more
Warnie B.
I'm not generally a huge fan of short stories--I'm all about character-driven stories, and it's so hard to really make a character feel real in such a short period of time. But this is Brandon Sanderson we're talking about here, and you know? He manages! I liked Dennison a lot, as well as Kern, and even the emperor. Still, I feel like the short story is just not where Sanderson's real strength lies. There are a couple of twists in this one, but neither of them really came as much of a surprise t...more
Kaitlin
A sci-fi themed and fast-paced story told from the fantastic words of Sanderson. Considering that this cost next to nothing and it's pretty short in length the story does well and has good development and intrigue for its size. I love Sanderson's skill at forming a new world and believable characters every time I read his work. For a short snap of sci-fi or Sanderson pick this up. Recommended :-)
Brandon
I had planned on dropping the $0.99 on the Kindle version of this story when I realized that it was free on tor.com! Bonus. (link)

This is what short stories are all about. Just enough description to paint a vivid picture. Enough characterization and personality for the reader to relate to and get caught up in the protagonist. Twists and turns that one can see coming, but not too far ahead. A reversal of fortune through ingenuity and NOT through deus ex machina. I especially liked my mental image...more
Elise
Apr 11, 2011 Elise rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: His fans, sci-fi fans
Recommended to Elise by: Tor.com
It's eighty pages long, for his short story. That would be um...half of my book? How is that short for anyone! Just kidding. I hope to be like Brandon Sanderson when I writerly grow up. Yeah, I've got writers jealousy from this author. Four out of five because it's short :) He totally could have made it a book and I'd've read it already. I have it on my phone so I can just read it if I've fogotten my book at home or something.
Kimikimi
I liked this one, it's about failure. I've spent my life surrounded by highly intelligent people, the kind of people who very seldomly fail and so never learn how to handle it. And then there's me, the dyslexic girl. Yeah, I can really relate.
Igor
Such a lovely short story, would love to read more of this but then wouldn't be lovely short story, wouldn't it?
Joe Martin

Dennison has spent his entire life watching Varion, his older brother by 20 years, win battle after battle. Varion has fought his battles flawlessly, perfectly, never losing. Dennison has fought his own battles valiantly, but hopelessly, never winning. And, yet, his father and his Emperor refuse to release him from military service. Why? What good does it do anyone for him to stay in arms? Especially when his brother is loyally advancing the Empire’s cause at every turn?


This was a pure impulse b

...more
Manny
Sanderson read this for Tor.com. It's about an hour long, and as much as Sanderson warns about his shortcomings as an audiobook narrator, it's always enjoyable to hear an author read their own words.

The story is relatively simply, playing on a few sci-fi tropes, but Sanderson's love of genre-fiction (and knowledge of the canon) makes his story stronger than it has any right to be. This seems to be one of Sanderson's hallmarks, since I found it also true in "Mistborn 1: The Final Empire" (althoug...more
Becky B
Dennison is an officer in a gallactic army at war. He has spent his entire life under the shadow of his older brother, the mastermind at the head of the army who is 20 years older than him. Everyone expects him to be equally brilliant in military strategy, but he absolutely stinks at it. Eventually he is put on a ship under a superior officer who just has him study his brother's tactics for a year and do nothing else. He starts to move from pure resentment of this brother whose shadow he lives u...more
Derek Jordan
Jan 19, 2012 Derek Jordan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci Fi Fans and Sanderson Fans
Recommended to Derek by: Amazon
Shelves: owned-kindle
I usually do not really get into short stories. Many times they feel as it they could only have been better with a few more details, but as well I have read some that just lacked any sort of hook to get me to even read it all.

Sanderson... ,ever since I read the Mistborn novels, has always been able to grab my attention. I started this and was immediacy understanding of the plight this younger son was having in his field as well as with his father. It may be because it was reminiscence of the re...more
David
A plot of epic scale somehow fit into a short story while rarely feeling rushed. I'm impressed. Brandon wastes no words getting from action piece to action piece. The story reads almost like a well developed outline. To its benefit, Firstborn is fast paced, has interesting twists, and has great closure. The problem with the outline feel is that some events don't have the emotional impact they could have if Brandon had the luxury of even a few thousand more words to develop characters.

After start...more
Taylor Finch
Believe it or not, I had never heard of Brandon Sanderson until I encountered this short story (“Firstborn”).

As I’m not a natural short story fan I started out anticipating the frantic (or conscious minimalist) characterizations and setups which you often see reading through magazines like Asimov or Fantasy and Science Fiction. I was instead surprised and delighted by how well Brandon manages in “Firstborn.” I grew to enjoy the leading character and the supportive characters surrounding him. By...more
J.A.
I rounded out my reading of his short fiction with the e-book Firstborn. Originally released as a Kindle edition in 2008, it was later re-released by Tor in a DRM-free format. I purchased it on my nook color and read it on an iPad. I’m not accustomed to reading on digital devices yet, but it was the simplest way of acquiring this particular story. Firstborn is a different venture for Sanderson as well, as it is short form science fiction. It’s a story about a second son who lives in the shadow o...more
Matt Ridenour
Whenever I read, I try to separate the story from the author. Brandon Sanderson has set a high bar, a high expectation, and this story does not live up to it. However, this is one of his earlier works, and I'm certain he wrote it as well as he could at that time in his career.

So, separating iconic man from paper, this is a decent story. It explores a commonality most of us struggle with - confidence and pride. I enjoyed this fast read, but it lacked human connection. A good idea, but it fell sh...more
Rusty
Brandon Sanderson is a master storyteller. This novelette was a steal at 99 cents.

I gave it 3 stars because it, as many short stories do, gives an ending I feel isn't very satisfying. Short form is great for telling a scene, but this length - and I think my Kindle said it was 44 pages - is long enough that I expect a more emotionally satisfying ending, and I didn't get it.

Still, if the story is about the ride, and not the ending, then this would get 4 or maybe 5 stars from me. It's awesome from...more
Brian
Firstborn is a sci-fi short story available for free on Tor.com. It has some great visualizations of deep space battles including lumbering but powerful capital ships and agile fighter squadrons. The main character is a commander who issues commands to his fleet by walking through a holographic, real-time representation of the battle. Unfortunately, he is a far cry from his older brother who is an unbeatable legend in commanding space combat.

The story is really one of the younger brother oversha...more
Brad
A quick, enjoyable read from Sanderson. This was the first bit of sci-fi that I have read from him, and he did a good job. The characters and universe were interesting, and I would be interested (as always) to read more from him. Certain elements reminded me a bit of Ender's Game, like the holographic ship displays.

The whole story is available on tor.com, and will probably only take 45 min - 2 hours depending on how focused you are while you read.

Rating: PG-13, for some violence, and explosions...more
Douglas Cootey
Fascinating concept, but an unconvincing ending for me. (view spoiler)
Brandon Zarzyczny
This was a great little sci-fi story, with some interesting ideas. I really enjoyed it, and even though the end was very abrupt, it was very fitting. I love how Sanderson examined what could happen in a clone's life that would result in a completely different person. If one had always won and never lost in his life, how would he react when he looses, and how would a version of the person who had always lost in his life reacted if he won once. It's a great concept and it's very well done. For the...more
Brett Pedersen
I feel almost silly adding this, I read it over lunch, for free off Tor's website, but it's a fun little short read. Can definitely tell it's one of Sanderson's earlier works, but it's well put together and nice and compact, definitely fun if you've got 30-45 minutes or so time to kill.
Robert
Jun 15, 2011 Robert rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone into the Old Sci-fi shorts from the 50's and 60's
Shelves: sci-fi
First off, Firstborn is very short. And at the end, I found myself regretting this, as it was a really good setting and concept. I very much enjoyed it.

I would describe Firstborn as an homage to the early to mid 20th Century science fiction stories of "Doc" E.E. Smith, Asimov, Pols, Simak, and all the others who pioneered the sci-fi novel genre. It has that "Found in a Science Magazine" feel to it: fast paced, presenting new technological ideas and concepts every few pages, and ending with a ver...more
Jessica N.
www.2thepointbooks.blogspot.com

Another Brandon Sanderson short story. This one is set in the far future in space - about a guy who is an absolute failure as a military tactician.

Fantastic moral at the end - with a bit of a Twilight Zone-ish twist. Loved it.
Christina
Meh.

I'm almost 98% positive that I've read this at least twice, & yet still it's not memorable enough to have stuck with me. I absolutely adore Sanderson's work. I do. But this piece just wasn't what I've come to expect from Sanderson, I'm sad to say.
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Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested to him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This changed when an eighth grade teacher gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

Brandon was working on his thirteenth no...more
More about Brandon Sanderson...
Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2) The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) Elantris (Elantris, #1)

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