Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson was born in Nebraska in 1975. Since then he has written the Mistborn series, amongst others, become a New York Times bestselling author and been hailed as the natural successor to Robert Jordan. He lives in Utah.

Simon

I find myself the Associate Publisher of Gollancz with no clear idea of how I got here but fairly sure I enjoyed the journey. There was some college, a lot of bookselling and a bit of marketing along the way but that was a long time ago. I’ve been editing since 1991. I’ve always read SF, Fantasy and Horror but I’ve always enjoyed reading other stuff as well. I’ve published other stuff too but never had as much fun doing it as I have publishing genre books. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing; to the extent that I’ve been comprehensively ruined for doing anything else. Anything else may have got off lightly. I’m definitely more Arthur Dent than I am Takeshi Kovacs. But then if anyone in publishing tells you they’re like Takeshi Kovacs they are LYING.
  • I can’t wait to read it 🙂

  • Simon

    Prologue appearing on a blog near you, ooh around about now actually. And more to follow.

  • Lisa

    I’m excited about a non-medieval fantasy setting! It’s high time one of the big names in fantasy tried this. But — and forgive me for being puzzled about genre labels — is this different from the genre of steampunk? Or is steampunk too overtly interested in technology to apply to what Sanderson is doing?

    • Simon

      That’s an interesting question. I am pretty ambivalent about genre labels (sub-genre labels doubly so) – seems to me they only really work as marketing labels. Beyond that and you invariably end up in a fruitless exchange about where various texts fit. If steampunk has a failing then it is in exactly what you say – that it is too overtly interested in technology and this has often been at the expense of character and story. Seems to me that is not a charge you can lay at Brandon’s door. I suppose you could call this steampunk (and indeed the US cover art is pretty overt in the way it references steampunk) but I’m not sure it’s useful or helpful (especially when Steampunk has a pretty patchy commercial record in the UK).

  • The LHC

    Just finished Alloy of Law (clunky title, tricky to type as well!), great little addition to the Mistborn portfolio. The use of “little” there isn’t supposed to be condescending, the book is much shorter than any of the original trilogy and it’s better for it, it cracks along at a fair old pace, I knocked it off in about 2 days and I wasn’t devoting a huge amount of time to it really.

    As mentioned it’s set about 300 year after the end of the Mistborn trilogy, the society is recognizably wild-west, the big city is just getting electricity, whilst the country-side is still ruled by men with six-shooters, it’s an intriguing setup and it works very well, for the most part. There’s a few references that seem to be somewhat too modern for the setting, talk of psychology and empowering womenfolk seem a little early for the technology level, although I guess if one of your leading religious figures is a woman that would be an encouragement to independent thinking and the character in question is about the most interesting one in the book (to be fair most of the society still runs along very traditional lines).

    Sanderson is never going to blow you away with his characterisation, here we have the good guy, the bad guy, the sidekick and the possible love interest and they’re all pretty much what you’d expect, it’s the story that sucks you in a keeps you turning the pages, it’s essentially a crime thriller and a pretty good one at that, I didn’t work out how it was done until the reveal which was pleasing.

    What Sanderson does better than anyone else is his magic systems, the Mistborn aren’t as powerful as they were, most people can only burn one metal, so the most powerful are those who can use both Allomancy and Feruchemy and there’s a good development in the form of Compounding, Sanderson REALLY thinks about this stuff! There’s an addition to the Ars Arcanum at the back, which expands on metal use, good for the geeks amongst us (hello)!

    Interestingly in the Foreward Sanderson mentions that this standalone novel just appeared out of nowhere whilst he was thinking about a later trilogy (or two!), however the ending has been left wide open for a return, in fact it practically demands it!

    Steampunk, hmm, no, not really, not in the fashion of Robert Rankin for example, the technological level is simply a back drop, it doesn’t particularly play much of a role, magic is still the main weapon, although our hero is very much the gunslinger, he wouldn’t be anything like as effective without his magic.

    • Simon

      @LHC Thank you for coming on to the blog with such an extensive and considered review. Love it!

      • The LHC

        No problem, any excuse for a waffle!