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Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere.

azith28azith28 Registered User regular

I want to talk about the idea of Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere.

I find it facinating and It makes me wonder if any other author has done this before outside of a comic book. It's even more facinating when you consider the confidence the guy had to begin introducing elements of this idea ever since his first published book. The fact that hes such a prolific writer, who sells and produces a great story, makes the goals of the idea more than just a pipe dream...unless something happens to the guy and all his secret writing clones, its going to happen.

To people new to the idea, Brandon Sanderson has published several series of novels, each series taking place on its own world and timeline, with its own unique magic system. However he is weaving elements and hints into these series that link each series to an overall event that created threads of power (shards), that came from the destruction of a god. Each of these 16 pieces of the god were seized by the people in the group that killed it, and each became a facet of a god. They created worlds, magic, and people (basically each having a series, or sometimes two or more being on the same world, usually in contention with each other). The elements being woven between the worlds are the occasional mysterous appearance of a character or item that comes from a different series. We are just Starting to see small details of the overarching series that has yet to be written.

Now the closest I have seen this attempted would be a Marvel vs DC crossover. I've never seen it happen in novels.

The Series that have been linked to the Cosmere:

The Stormlight Archive (The way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer(pending) (more pending)).
Mistborn Currently at 6 books, 7th and another trilogy after that
Elantris (Only 1 book at the moment, more planned).
Several small novellas

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Posts

  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    The granddaddy of this idea is probably Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion, which spawned the modern idea of the Multiverse.

  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    I think it has been done less effectively with King's interconnected Midworld, but yeah, a cohesive multiverse on the scale Sanderson is attempting to develop hasn't been accomplished. Your point about Marvel vs DC crossover, or either universe's established multiverses, remains pretty disconnected. They run it in multiverse so they can have half a dozen Superman lines running if they want to and it doesn't matter because "oh that's just another alternate reality" and they don't really touch often.

    The Cosmere is pretty neat, but I'd kind of like it more if he was building a multiverse with other authors and they worked out how to connect them all instead of it all just being him, which adds a certain level of sameness to everything despite vastly different magical and physical systems.

    http://panningforclouds.com
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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    I realize the Marvel/DC comparison was a bit of a stretch, but i didnt want to say the idea is completely new.

  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    I think it has been done less effectively with King's interconnected Midworld, but yeah, a cohesive multiverse on the scale Sanderson is attempting to develop hasn't been accomplished. Your point about Marvel vs DC crossover, or either universe's established multiverses, remains pretty disconnected. They run it in multiverse so they can have half a dozen Superman lines running if they want to and it doesn't matter because "oh that's just another alternate reality" and they don't really touch often.

    The Cosmere is pretty neat, but I'd kind of like it more if he was building a multiverse with other authors and they worked out how to connect them all instead of it all just being him, which adds a certain level of sameness to everything despite vastly different magical and physical systems.

    I'd like that, but I think it would be far too much work to keep everything straight. Especially considering how prolific he is compared to other similar authors, he'd just end up leaving them in the dust or be hamstrung when he needs to draw on something that's in their purview. So I'm happy to let him have the solo project.

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  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    Madeleine L'Engle did something like this in her works (link).

  • DissentDissent Mr. Fancy Pants Flavour CountryRegistered User regular
    Don't know anything about the author or series, but the idea sounds like a recipe for banality, given the genre's well-worn tropes.

  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Well, I think he does a pretty good job at coming up with new ways to do magic. I would suggest giving one of his series a try, Mistborn is excellent and you can read the first book and it has a somewhat decent stopping point as a stand alone novel at the end if you decide not to continue with the series.

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  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    Dissent wrote: »
    Don't know anything about the author or series, but the idea sounds like a recipe for banality, given the genre's well-worn tropes.

    The tropes largely get avoided by dint of the lack of information about the cosmere. Honestly, prior to Way of Kings the only people who knew about it were the die-hard fans who linked a particular character showing up in several different books. In the books themselves, information about the cosmere is very rare and not at all easy to spot at first glance, it blends into the rest of the story. It's only one subsequent readthroughs, or knowing what to look for, that things start getting peeled away.

    But really while the cosmere thing may bind some of the books together, they all stand on the merits of their own stories and you will miss nothing by not knowing about the cosmere.

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  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    Dissent wrote: »
    Don't know anything about the author or series, but the idea sounds like a recipe for banality, given the genre's well-worn tropes.

    Go for one of the novellas, they're pretty solid stories if you want a low-risk look into the author and the world. I enjoy them more than the novels. The Emperor's Soul especially is pretty frickin' great, but it doesn't give a good look into the Cosmere.

    However, Sixth of the Dusk gives a much better look into the ways in which the Cosmere planets intertwine, and it's also a really solid novella.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    I hadn't even heard of Sixth of the Dusk. Gah, I love Sanderson's writing but he's just so damn prolific and I can't keep up on the non-major series.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    My favorite thing about him is he keeps up with my reading schedule.

    3 months between shadows of self and bands of mourning, and a secret bonus novella? I'm beginning to think im not joking about his writing clones.

    schuss
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I can't really keep up with him and continue reading everything else. So if it isn't Cosmere I don't read it at this point.

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  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    Stephen King actually cut a dark highway connecting all of his books with the Dark Tower series, and gave it a very good reason that they were all connected. If done well, it's a masterful aspect of the story that rewards the avid reader. Everyone else will be in the dark to the backstory, but it should not detract from their enjoyment of the series.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    The Dark Tower series seemed more like fan service or even self-service since he put himself in the books than actually trying to merge the worlds naturally. He may have come up with a reason for it, but it certainly doesnt feel like it really fits with the story to the average reader.

  • ImthebOHGODBEESImthebOHGODBEES Registered User regular
    It's something that was tried in CrossGen comics back when I was in college. I was really excited about it, and loved at least 80% of the comics that were involved. Unfortunately the company went under before they could really kick off the super-cross over.

    Hadn't heard that this was a thing for Sanderson, but I'm right in the middle of listening to Way of Kings for the 3rd time, so I'll try to keep my mind open to it all.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    edited June 2016
    Oh yeah... keep an eye out for a character named Hoid in just about all of his various worlds.
    Hes really subtle about it right now but its heading in that direction and an overreaching series that will link the books eventually.

    azith28 on
  • CaedwyrCaedwyr Registered User regular
    LeGuin also did this with her Hannish Cycle.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    New book collection coming out in real book format involving all the cosmere related worlds, and even a new short novella.
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    vamen
  • November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    azith28 wrote: »
    The Dark Tower series seemed more like fan service or even self-service since he put himself in the books than actually trying to merge the worlds naturally. He may have come up with a reason for it, but it certainly doesnt feel like it really fits with the story to the average reader.

    This is a shame, since he played around with more natural connections earlier in his career with the Castle Rock books and "the Shop."

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  • ruzkinruzkin Registered User regular
    Okay, on all your recommendations I've bought the first book in the Stormlight Archives. This better be good.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Oh I Don't think you'll regret it.

    We could turn this into an informal 'Lets Read" for the book if you wanna keep us updated on your thoughts as you go. That would be fun.

    vamen
  • vamenvamen Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    ruzkin wrote: »
    Okay, on all your recommendations I've bought the first book in the Stormlight Archives. This better be good.

    I loved "The Way of Kings" so much that as soon as I finished reading it...I read it again. Back to back! And it is NOT a short book.

    vamen on
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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    @ruzkin hows the book coming?

  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    Personally, I'm about a third of the way into The Way of Kings. It's pretty good so far, but I am not sure I like the cosmere stuff that I can sense creepin' in on the edges.

    I loved Mistborn, but I don't know that I care really about any of the characters yet in The Way of Kings, where Mistborn had me from pretty much go.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Hum...Way of Kings had very little Cosmere in it. It had I think one short interlude chapter that was relevant to it. and one character whos only real connection is just existing at all.

    Really? No like for Dalinar? Kaladin takes some warming up to for some people but I've yet to meet someone who didnt really like Dalinar from the beginning.

  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    They had only just introduced Dalanir where I was, and yea the Cosmere stuff mostly vanished right after I posted that. I'm now halfway through Words of Radiance and the only character I really like at all is Shallan. Dalanir is decent but now Dalanir parts are also Kaladin parts and I just cannot stand Kaladin at all. Haven't read in a few days because I have some 20 minute long Kaladin chapter to get through and I just can't.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Whats so hard to get through? Kaladin's not exactly been given a lot of choices in his life. Kinda hard to blame the guy for being a bit manic depressive sometimes.

  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    To be fair Kaladin is a major ponce for much of Words of Radiance. It's a big part of his character growth.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Exactly...he has reasons for being as he is tho. I think its more honest to have him be like this, even if it makes him a bit unlikable at times.

  • BrodyBrody Cabot CoveRegistered User regular
    I just read Dusk the Sixth after taking a moderate hiatus from the density of Sanderson novels, and now I am preparing myself to read Words of Radiance. I assume Elantris is equally as weighty?

  • CaedwyrCaedwyr Registered User regular
    Elantris is Sanderson's first published book and as such is a bit weaker writingwise than some of the other offerings. I still enjoyed it.

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  • EnigmedicEnigmedic Registered User regular
    I actually thought elantris was better than some of his other books. Words of radiance and way of kings were both good, but i didnt really care for the second mistborn trilogy even though i liked the first. Warbreaker was pretty good if a little predictable. It's kind of funny that the two books i wish there were more about are the two that dont have sequels or anything (elantris and warbreaker)

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  • CaedwyrCaedwyr Registered User regular
    I enjoyed it too. Words of Radiance and Way of Kings both felt like they needed another pass by the editor. I really enjoyed the first Mistborn series, and I'm only at book 2/3 on the second series, so I am holding off my judgment of that one for the moment.

    If you haven't read it yet, I'd recommend checking out The Emperor's Soul.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Theres also Legion (1 and 2), Shadows of silence, and Perfect State as short stories (Well short for Brandon).

  • CaedwyrCaedwyr Registered User regular
    Of those, only Shadows of Silence is a Cosmere story I believe.

    If you are looking for short stories by Sanderson, I'd recommend checking out Defending Elysium which you can read in its entirety on Sanderson's website.

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  • vamenvamen Registered User regular
    edited January 20
    In case anyone missed it, there was a collection of shorts that came out recently:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EFIH09G/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
    It's cut into parts based on the solar system/planet, which I really liked. There are some that were already published ("Emperor's Soul", "Mistborn Secret History") along with new works, a few from worlds we've not seen yet. There is a fairly long (compared to the others) new Stormlight based one that s a bridge between book 2 and the upcoming one, so that is exciting if you're as big a fan of that series as I am.
    And after reading the short, I realllly want a full novel set on the hell forest planet.

    vamen on
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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Edgedancers Lift knocks Auri (Kingkiller chronicals) off the top spot of most adorable confusing girl.

  • ruzkinruzkin Registered User regular
    So I finally read Way of Kings. As expected, Sanderson writes a great story, but good LORD he needs an editor who'll actually put their foot down. That was a 400 page novel at best.

    Now struggling to find a copy of book 2 that isn't in the awful Australian split-volume edition.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    .... wha?
    Maybe its due to the fact that I read the wheel of time before Sanderson but I found him fucking concise comparatively. I thought he expressed a lot of detail about and entire new world in a lot more compact of a book then I had ever read before.

  • ruzkinruzkin Registered User regular
    Dude, that was a thousand page introduction to FOUR MAIN CHARACTERS.

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