STATE OF THE
SANDERSON

Every December
Brandon updates
readers on the state
of each of his projects.

EVENTS

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INTRODUCTION

Tor.com has published one of my short stories. As they have noted, this story—called “Firstborn”—was the first sf story I ever published. Though “published” is kind of a loose term here, as the story originally appeared in The Leading Edge, a BYU publication with a very limited print run. (This was after I’d graduated. The magazine asked me if I’d donate a story to one of their anniversary issues, and so I sent them this one, which I’d actually just finished writing.)

I’ve long been looking for a place where the story could reach a larger audience (when I was at BYU, The Leading Edge—despite having some very high quality fiction in it—had a distribution of under a hundred copies.) So I sent the story over to Tor.com, asking if they’d consider it even though it had appeared before in a small publication. Patrick enjoyed the story, and said he might be interested in it if we put it through some editorial work. Moshe, my editor, gave it a very strong edit (something it really, really needed.) A few months later, here it is! With an illustration by Donato, no less. I’m flattered.

I’m very pleased with how the story turned out. You who visit the blog frequently may have heard me say that I don’t think much of my short story writing skills. I think I’m best suited to long-form fantasy epics, but when I do turn my attention to short stories, they almost always come out as classic-style space operas. This story, and the one that appeared in Asimov’s earlier, are both good examples of this. (They also happen to be the only two good short stories I’ve written to date.)

I did an audio reading of “Firstborn” for Tor.com as well. Look for it in the “Listen” link in the upper-left corner of the page. There’s also a “Buy Download Version” link where you can get the book forKindleNook, or iBooks.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story. It’s completely free to read, courtesy of Tor. I don’t even think you have to register for the newsletter. (Though you may want to do so, as you’ll get emails with other short story links in them.) Just as an aside, I think that the staff over at Tor.com have really pulled out the stops to create an excellent website filled with serious goodies. They’re still releasing free ebooks regularly, as well as high-quality short stories. Give them a little pat on the back by signing up for the newsletter and maybe posting a comment or two on stories/posts you like. I think they’d appreciate knowing that they are on the right track.

Read it on Tor.com

DEFENDING ELYSIUM

INTRODUCTION

This story originally appeared in the October/November 2008 Asimov’s Science Fiction (in the US) and the UPC Science Fiction collection (in Europe). It was winner of the UPC science fiction award, and was the last short story Brandon wrote before he sold Elantris to Tor.

The story was first named honorable mention in a Writers of the Future contest in early 2003. (Brandon got the phone call from an editor buying Elantris in April 2003.) A few years later, he did a couple of serious revisions of the story and then submitted it to the UPC award in Spain. It won first place, and subsequently sold in the US to Asimov’s Science Fiction—which was Brandon’s first (and so far only) fiction appearance in a major print magazine. It was given an honorable mention in Gardner Dozois’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology for 2008.

We present it here as a Holiday 2009 thank you to Brandon’s friends. This version here hasn’t been copyedited (Brandon’s electronic copy did not reflect editing changes) so there will be typos. But Brandon feels this is the finest short story he’s written to date, so hopefully you will enjoy it. Happy holidays, and thank you for reading!

An audio version of this novelette is also available on episode 339 of StarShipSofa.

Read Full Story Here

MITOSIS

INTRODUCTION

Mitosis is a novelette set between books one and two of The Reckoners. If you enjoyed book one, Steelheart, I think you’ll enjoy this story—but I do have to warn you that it includes major spoilers for Steelheart itself, so I’d avoid reading it unless you’ve read the novel. (And if you haven’t, you can find it here!)

PERFECT STATE

INTRODUCTION

Nominated for the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Novella!

From the author of Legion and the #1 New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archivecomes an action-filled novella about privilege, culture clash, and expectations.

God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai’s world.

Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date.

Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal—a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world?

Read Excerpt Here

SNAPSHOT

SYNOPSIS

If you could re-create a day, what dark secrets would you uncover?

From New York Times #1 bestselling author Brandon Sanderson comes a detective thriller in a police beat like no other. Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are the only real people in a city of 20 million, sent there by court order to find out what happened in the real world 10 days ago so that hidden evidence can be brought to light and located in the real city today.

Within the re-created Snapshot of May 1st, Davis and Chaz are the ultimate authorities. Flashing their badges will get them past any obstruction and overrule any civil right of the dupes around them. But the crimes the detectives are sent to investigate seem like drudgery—until they stumble upon the grisly results of a mass killing that the precinct headquarters orders them not to investigate. That’s one order they have to refuse.

The hunt is on. And though the dupes in the replica city have no future once the Snapshot is turned off, that doesn’t mean that both Davis and Chaz will walk out of it alive tonight.

Film rights have now been optioned by MGM, with Broken Road Productions and Entertainment 360 producing.

DREAMER

INTRODUCTION

“I’ve got him!” I yelled into the phone as I scrambled down the street. “Forty-ninth and Broadway!” I shoved my way through an Asian family on the way home from the market. Their bags went flying, oranges spilling onto the street and bouncing in front of honking cabs.

Accented curses chased me as I lowered the phone and sprinted after my prey, a youth in a green sports jacket and cap. A bright yellow glow surrounded him, my indication of his true identity.

I wore the body of a businessman, late thirties, lean and trim. Fortunately for me, this guy hit the gym. I dashed around a corner at speed, my quarry curving and dodging between the Theater District’s early evening crowds. Buildings towered around us, blazing with the lights of fervent advertising.

Phi glanced over his shoulder at me. I thought I caught a look of surprise on his lean face. He’d know me from my glow, of course—the one visible only to others like us.

I jumped over a metal construction barrier, landing in the street, where I dashed out around the crowds. A chorus of honks and yells accompanied me as I gained, step by step, on Phi. It’s hard to lose a man in Manhattan. There aren’t alleyways to duck in, and the crowds don’t help hide us from one another.

Phi ducked right, shoving his way through a glass door and into a diner.

What the hell? I thought, chasing after, throwing my shoulder against the door and pushing into the restaurant. Was he going to try to get out another way? That—

Phi stood just inside, arm leveled toward me, a handgun pointed at my head. I pulled to a stop, gaping for a moment, before he shot me point blank in the head.

Disorientation.

I thrashed about, losing sense of location, purpose, even self as I was ejected from the dying body. For a few primal moments, I couldn’t think. I was a rat in the darkness, desperately seeking light.

Glows all around. The warmth of souls. One rose from the body I’d left, the soul of the man to whom it had really belonged. That was brilliant yellow, and now untouchable. Unsavory, also. I needed warmth.

I charged for a body, no purpose behind my choice beyond pure instinct. I latched on, a lion on the gazelle, ripping and battering against the consciousness there, forcing it down. It didn’t want to let me in, but I needed that warmth.

I won. In this primal state, I usually do. Few souls are practiced at fighting off an invasion.

To be continued.


This is not your typical Brandon Sanderson story—it’s shorter than all of Brandon’s other short fiction, and it’s a horror story. If horror appeals to you, check out the anthology this story appears in: Games Creatures Play, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.