Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Defending Elysium” as Want to Read:
Defending Elysium
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Defending Elysium

(Cytonic Series)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,627 ratings  ·  230 reviews
This story originally appeared in the October/November 2008 Asimov’s Science Fiction (in the US) and the UPC Science Fiction collection (in Europe).

"An image came to him. An image of humankind escaping into space. An image of human merchants trading and cheating, of human tyrants capturing the Varvax, Tenasi, and Hommar. Images of wars, of fighting, of a paradise destroyed
Online Edition, 43 pages
Published 2008
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Defending Elysium, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mark They are in the same universe and Defending Elysium sheds light on many things in Skyward & Starsight... and poses a lot more questions. I would not r…moreThey are in the same universe and Defending Elysium sheds light on many things in Skyward & Starsight... and poses a lot more questions. I would not recommend reading it prior to Skyward because it will spoil some surprises, but see no harm in reading it between Skyward and Starsight.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,627 ratings  ·  230 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Defending Elysium
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Today I am the queen of Brandon Sanderson freebies. I found this very interesting SF novelette on Sanderson's website here.

This story is set in a future where humans have been contacted by aliens and, because of reasons, one of the Bell phone companies played a key role in that contact. As a result the Phone Company has a monopoly on all cool alien technology, including the secret to faster than light (FTL) travel, which would open up the galaxy to humanity. So the fact that the Phone Company w
Aoife - Bookish_Babbling
What an interesting "novella" available on Sando's website HERE for free.
What has actually just blown my mind, having read the blurb after reading the novella itself, is this was a short story released in 2008! 10 years before Skywards publication. This guys imagination and storytelling ability never ceases to amaze me 🤯

Thank you so much @twila for bringing this prequel, set much earlier in the Skyward universe, to my attention 🤩

As always Brando manages to pack in humour, twists & reveals, prob
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A must read for all Skyward fans. If you don’t know novella this “prequel” novella exists, I’m telling you now.

When my boyfriend wanted to read this novella, I didn’t think much of it. It’s by Brandon Sanderson, no need to know more. I had no clue that it inspired Skyward later on nor that the latter takes place in the future. When I learned that, I was excited to read it, I always wanted to know more about the past that led to the current events in Skyward. I quite enjoyed it, it was a very en
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This sci-fi novella is one of Brandon Sanderson's early works. That shows a litttle as this is not quite so polished a story as his more recent stuff. It is still pretty good but I feel this story lacked the usual emotional connection with the characters that Sanderson is good at creating. Outside of that this was a pretty fun sci-fi novella. The world was an interesting one and the story packed in a few twists and turns despite being less than 2 hours long in audio!

This was a decent sci-fi spy
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, that was VERY interesting!

One of the first stories Sanderson ever wrote, and I would not have guessed it, it's so well written. It's scifi and packed with a LOT for such a short story, but it is a great little read.
Mar 26, 2015 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Armina by: Ɗẳɳ 2.☊

I just found this earlier today thanks to Dan.

It's free and it even has an audio version! More details here:

I'll read it soon.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Pretty good, although it felt a little mechanical. I read this for its connection to Skyward and the newly released sequel, Starsight. Defending Elysium is set in the same world as those books, although obviously many generations in time before, so the actual stories are really not all that connected.

Read this story for free here:
How does he do it? How does Sanderson pack so much of a punch in one little novella? 🙌🏼
Woa. For a so-called short story -more novelette in intend- pack a lot of punch and ideas.

Aliens were to be handled by the Phone Company. The PC had made first contact; the PC had negotiated Earth out of danger following the Tenasi incident. The PC had brought FTL communication to humankind.

This is a century before prequel of Skywar. Special agents, intrigue, agents following agents and unexpected revelations.

Jason is with the Phone Company to recover a missing minor funcionary, but the Bureou i
sofia (sam willows)

this was really interesting, and branderson managed to pack an intense plot and world in very few pages. unfortunately, that left me completely confused in the end
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very solid little sci-fi story. I don't want to give away any plot points because it's only forty-some-odd pages long. But I was really impressed with the amount of worldbuilding Sanderson was able to incorporate into such a short story. All of the characters felt fully fleshed out, as well, so nicely done Brandon.

The two Legion novellas and now this tiny novelette are the only stories of his that I've read so far, so I don't think I've reached fangirl status just yet, but I'm definit
TS Chan
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Technology is limited. Only the mind is infinite.

Another great short story from Sanderson which was written way back before Elantris was published. I frankly do not know why he used to think he was not good in writing shorter stories, as this was pretty darn excellent. For just under an hour of reading, the world and characters were well fleshed-out and the plot detailed. Sanderson wasn't kidding when he said in the preface that he "took a short story (well, novelette) and filled it with as
André Oliveira
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Interesting short story and now I can see how it connects with Skyward.
Yursa Tahir
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ok somebody tell me what just happened?? I started this short story because I thought it could give me a better insight as to what is going on with the skyward series but it has left me even more confused. This is supposed to be a prequel story right?? Then why is it even more confusing than the actual books??
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, a round of applause for Mr. Sanderson, he is the master of taking the most cliche trope and turn it on its head! He tells a story you’ve heard a million times before but never that way. Amazing!

Secondly, why is this a novella? Seriously? I have so many questions, I need to know more about the character, (view spoiler), I need to know more about space and the races, I need the backstory, I want to know what happens next: “[…] salvage som
Divine Anas
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another intergalactic space opera of Brandon Sanderson, mix in some spy element and voila! This started off great and picked its pace fast enough but I found the ending quite abrupt and confusing? I guess it's probably because this is new territory for me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this and found the concept of Senses and Cytonics to be quite refreshing!
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
A sci-fi based novelette from Sanderson and one that I actually very much enjoyed. This is a story focused around our main character Jason who works for the PC (Phone Company) which is basically the ruling technological company of this world. The world itself is actually not Earth, this is an intergalactic and space-based story with new worlds and alien races all thrown into it.

I would say that this is a great little read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed despite the fact that it took less than
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another free short story, available on Sanderson's website: see here. How this story saw the light of day, can be read in the annotation: see here. It's, like Firstborn, set in space and in the future. However, this time Earth is also involved.

Different species, man vs aliens, and new technologies, like FTL (faster than light) travel. Main character Jason Write has been blind for quite some time, but to counter this loss of sight, he can Sense things. Yes, with a capital S, as this ability can a
Dzemo Sh
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia
This story has what I like to call "Sanderson awesomeness".

I'm just amazed how Brandon Sanderson managed to write this short piece of fiction with so much world building put into it. The world this story is set in has great potential in my opinion, and it's something I believe that can be made into a novel.

Compared to the other short story I recently read by Brandon Sanderson(Firstborn), this one kept me wanting more. Somehow, I still have a lot of questions unanswered after finishing it, and
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
“I might have been wrong … about everything.”

A science fiction novella. It opens like many SF stories, with the point of view character arriving at a remote space site on a mission. Before he can attend to business, events propel him in another direction.

Too bad the movie Elysium released after this tale. The similar names, referring to where dead heroes go in Virgil’s The Aeneid, will confuse potential readers. This tale has nothing to do with the movie.

Free, too.

Cover Art Quibble: The events d
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reads-2016
Another sci-fi I read today. It is better than the story I read earlier today Firstborn. Lot more world building in this. FTL (faster than light) travel, telepathy, Cyto ,it leaves you wanting more. As title says there is lot more to the story than it seems. Certainly a Good read. You can read this and other stories at Brandon Sanderson's website.
Ronit Ray
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really really interesting concept, Brandon is at his immersive best as usual and does so well to capture the vibe that Asimov's early Robot novels had. Good read, wish it was longer. Hoping for Skyward to be set in the same universe.
Ari ☾
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Idk how Sanderson makes novellas pack the punch of a novel.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I find I difficult to rate fiction so short. Did I enjoy the story? Yes. Did I enjoy the characters? Yes. Did I want more m? Yes. Did I completely not hear my boss talking to me because I was so absorbed in the story? Yes. Was it Sanderson’s best work? Not for me. So I guess four stars is fair enough, right?
Caleb Powers
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic sci-fi novelette that I listened to, (in an awesome audio version narrated by Nick Camm, who is a very good narrator) today while cleaning the house for Wednesday night small groups. I normally don't read science fiction, I'm definitely more of a fantasy guy, but holy crap this was good.

I've enjoyed both of Brandon's science fiction short-form works, but this one is definitely my favorite of the two. Super interesting concept, centered around a phone company that accidentally makes fi
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: signed-copies
A fun and unique little romp, with a bit more depth and quality of story than I expected. It's partially tongue-in-cheek (I think), with some lines that bordered on hilarious and cringeworthy, but all in the name of good fun.

I really expected to be let down by this one, but was pleasantly surprised that I ended up enjoying it all.
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
An interesting Novella. Something a little Philip K Dick about it. An interesting concept and a lot of detail packed into a short book.
Ole Steinbru
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great shortstory by Brandon Sanderson. Interesting characters and plot, the world building is also great. I really hope we get to see more from this universe.

Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5/5 Stars.

The short story was interesting, and I found myself interested in what was happening. There were a couple twists that I didn't expect and some that I did.

The main drawback for me was the world building. It was present, definitely. But I found it a little confusing to fully grasp or understand.

I would say it's definitely worth reading if you're a fan of science fiction work. If you've found yourself interested in the Skyward Series by Sanderson, then you'll definitely want to find som
Hannah (Ink & Myths)
I’m currently suffering from a huge Skyward hangover, so I decided to read Defending Elysium, a short story / novella by Brandon Sanderson. I read a theory somewhere that Skyward might be in the same continuity as Defending Elysium (Sanderson himself doesn’t want to say anything about it yet, because apparently it would be a spoiler for Skyward) and after reading it — I’m honestly not sure? It’s a good novella, though, and can definitely stand on its own! It was kinda creepy in a way that only s ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: New Cover 3 14 Jan 22, 2014 03:35AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Starship Repo
  • The Burning White (Lightbringer, #5)
  • Gunner's Apprentice (Lightbringer, #2.5)
  • Forsworn (Powder Mage, #0.2)
  • Dreams and Slumbers (October Day #10.1)
  • Return to Honor (Powder Mage, #1.5)
  • The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library, #6)
  • Year One (Chronicles of The One, #1)
  • The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy, #1)
  • Blackflame (Cradle, #3)
  • Murder at the Kinnen Hotel (Powder Mage, #0.3)
  • The Good Student
  • Ангелы Ойкумены (Побег на рывок #3)
  • Suffer a Sea Change (October Daye 12.5)
  • Path of Honor (Path, #2)
See similar books…
Brandon’s major books for the second half of 2016 are The Dark Talent, the final volume in Alcatraz Smedry’s autobiographical account of his battle against the Evil Librarians who secretly rule our world, and Arcanum Unbounded, the collection of short fiction in the Cosmere universe that includes the Mistborn series and the Stormlight
Archive, among others. This collection features The Emperor’s S

Other books in the series

Cytonic Series (4 books)
  • Skyward (Skyward, #1)
  • Starsight (Skyward, #2)
  • Untitled (Skyward, #3)
  • Untitled (Skyward, #4)

Related Articles

Individually, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows are three authors who write fantasy and paranormal novels for young adults. Together,...
32 likes · 9 comments
“Technology is limited", Jason said, "Only the mind is infinite.” 7 likes
“You must understand that he knew the risks of living in an undeveloped civilization. Creatures of lesser intelligence cannot be held responsible for their acts of barbarity. You have not yet learned a better way.” 1 likes
More quotes…