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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  3,362 ratings  ·  237 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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Mr. 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 is the very de
In this short story, acclaimed fantasy author Brandon Sanderson writes science fiction! It was incredibly interesting to read something of Sanderson's that wasn't fantasy, and though the story was lacking his amazing magic systems that I love so much, it was a really entertaining read. There were several twists to the story that really surprised me, and it was both fast paced and easy to jump into. I would definitely recommend this story to any Sanderson fans, or any sci-fi lovers looking for a ...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
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.
Kaleb Russell
I'd love to see Sanderson write more sci-fi! Is there anything he can't write?
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
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
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
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
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 :-)
I had planned on dropping the $0.99 on the Kindle version of this story when I realized that it was free on! 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
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:
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.
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.
Such a lovely short story, would love to read more of this but then wouldn't be lovely short story, wouldn't it?
Sanderson is like James Cameron in ink. Shut off your mind, sit back, grab popcorn, and enjoy!

Somehow Sanderson has sneaked-up as the most-read author in my bookshelves, or so tells me he is.

So, I can say with a little authority: This is not a good Sanderson story. A rare miss for him. In his defense, Sanderson is so consistent that if he didn't falter sometime, I would start suspecting he's an author robot with prose-machine-guns for hands... or some similar and totally believabl
Steven R. McEvoy
What an incredible story!

There are a few hallmarks of great stories, at lease in my opinion. One of the big one's for me is does the story stay with you. I finished this story about a month ago and yet it keep's coming back to me. I have now reread it. My first impressions were 'What an Incredible story!'. And that feeling has only intensified. This is likely the best science fiction short story I have ever read and to be honest probably the second best short story I have every read.

Two brother
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

Sanderson read this for 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
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
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
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
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
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
Firstborn is a sci-fi short story available for free on 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
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, 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
It was ok. Feels very Ender's Game like. I've read just about everything Brandon has written as of this date, and I feel like this might be his weakest piece. It might be that I tend to prefer fantasy to science fiction, but I didn't get drawn into this like I have for his other works, even his other short stories are more compelling. Sixth of Dusk is captivating and it's not much bigger than this.
Douglas Cootey
Fascinating concept, but an unconvincing ending for me. (view spoiler)
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The newest Cosmere story, “Sixth of the Dusk,” is available now in Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology .

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 Dragonsb
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