Brandon Sanderson: The New King of Fantasy

Brandon Sanderson, a Lincoln-born author, changes what it means to be a fantasy author.

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Brandon Sanderson: The New King of Fantasy

Duncan McKee, Reporter

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There’s always another secret.

This quote from the novel Mistborn encapsulates its author, Brandon Sanderson, like no other. A Lincoln-born writer, he has grown to become one of the biggest names in the science fiction and fantasy genre of the modern day. Attributing much of his success to patience and a steady writing schedule, Sanderson delivers a handful of novels and/or short stories in any given year – ranging from fifty pages to over twelve hundred.

That second number is no mistake: when Sanderson chooses to go epic with a story, he goes truly epic. Tired of reading about a world that’s essentially Ye Olde Europe with wizards? Take a trip to Roshar – setting of the Stormlight Archive novels – or cultures, ethnicities, ecosystems, and magic that aren’t quite like anything you’ve seen or read before. Whether his hand-built world is rounded weekly by magically-fueled hurricanes, or totally covered in ash due to a slight whoopsy by an immortal dictator, there’s one common thread: most stories take place in the Cosmere, a universe that links the novels through common characters in the style of the Marvel and DC universes.

It isn’t one series, but several, set on their own distinct worlds, with a shared history that fans have been teased with since Sanderson’s debut in 2005. Most characters in each series aren’t aware of the dozen other human-filled planets out there, but they inevitably (and unknowingly) bump into a secret society of world-hoppers, or one of sixteen gods whose personalities range from “I love all living creatures!” to “All shall perish before me!” to “Get off of my lawn!”

While Sanderson originally intended for the connections to be covert, readers had begun to catch on by Mistborn, the second book in the universe, which takes place on an entirely different planet from the predecessor Elantris. Any series or story in the Cosmere can be read without knowledge or thought of these connections, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who regrets jumping into the deep end of über-nerdery with Sanderson; by the time of Oathbringer, the most recent (and twelve hundred page) Cosmere novel, fans are jumping for joy upon reading names like Hoid and Adonalsium, some of the Cosmere’s biggest mysteries.

It’s certainly intimidating to hear a fan saying something along the lines of “Hoid must have taken the Lerasium from Scadrial’s Well of Ascension and then Worldhopped through a Shardpool to the Horneater Peaks on Roshar!”, but it’s a truly satisfying experience to piece together the mystery as one enjoys the individual books. After ten years and many more stories, this universe has just begun. I’ll be out here with the bulletin board and red string, watching closely as worlds collide.

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