VERICON @ Sever Hall, Harvard, Cambridge, MA
I left Providence this morning around 8:45 to give myself plenty of time to get to Harvard. Google Maps didn't fail me, and I parked about 50 minutes later. I found Sever Hall with only some difficulty, where the lovely nerds at the reception desk pointed me to an ATM and a RadioShack, where I picked up a digital audio recorder. I slid into my seat around 10 minutes before Brandon's "Reading and Q&A" session, and I was surprised to see only a half-dozen people there! However, the number of attendees tripled as everyone trickled in at the last minute along with Brandon.
ALLOY OF LAW READING
Brandon took a quick poll, and the majority wanted him to read from Alloy of Law (I voted for Steel Heart, his self-styled "superhero apocalypse book," but I wasn't too upset at the loss). Brandon took up the entire 45 minute slot reading. He read the entire prologue, summarized the events of chapter 1, and read half of chapter 2. I'm not a professional book reviewer, and I'm clearly biased, but Alloy of Law is freaking amazing. It is able to go from touching, to exciting, to hilarious, to disturbing smoothly and believably. Seriously, it's some of the best dialogue I've seen from Brandon (and that's including Lightsong in Warbreaker).
I recorded the entire session and, should we get approval to post it (I could understand if Peter would rather we didn't), I'll upload it here. Until then (or instead of that, should we get a "no") here are some details that I recalled on the ride home (no cheating, Peter. I promise!)
- We deal with a bendalloy (Allomantic)/gold (Feruchemical) Twinborn in addition to Wax's steel/iron combo
- The nickname for a iron Feruchemist is a "Slider"
- A nickname for Sazed is "Harmony" (I think)
- The events in the first trilogy have spawned 2 religions: Survivorism (der) and Pathism (followers of Sazed, unless I completely misread things)
- Bendalloy has some very interesting rules/restrictions:
----- once a time bubble is created, it cannot be moved; I had always thought it would follow the misting around as they moved)
----- entering/exiting a time bubble has some interesting effects. You can't shoot out of it, because objects entering/leaving the bendalloy bubble (especially those at high velocity) have some strange kind of conservation-of-energy-like effect, where they gain some kind of spin and ricochet in a different direction. I can't help but extrapolate what this means for individuals trying to enter/leave the stationary bubble. Maybe if it's done slowly (like with a shield in Dune), it's OK. We'll have to theorize on that until the novel comes out.
- [This one might already be known, but it sounded new to me] The third Mistborn trilogy will be sci-fi, involving space travel. Crossovers, anyone? This might be the beginning of the final stage of Unity
Q&A AT SIGNING
While I was thrilled to hear the excellent, excellent intro to Alloy of Law, I was a little sad that we didn't get to the Q&A part of the session. So I headed over to the Harvard Bookstore, where he would be signing and answering questions. Now, this bit was a little strange for me. I've met Brandon before (probably a dozen times or so between '06 and '09), all at varying levels of fame, I listen to writing excuses every week, and I follow his blag, so it wasn't "oh my gosh, I get to meet him" jitters. I feel like, in all the ways that I want to, I already know Brandon.
The jitters were probably a combination of a couple of things: (1) I had no desire to have him sign anything, I just wanted to ask Brandon a couple of questions. I've never a big "sign things" person, especially when the signer is a person to me, and not a Figure (if that makes any sense). And (2) this was the first time that I had one-on-one interaction with Brandon while considering myself an agent for a higher group (namely, the 17th Shard). It was a bit nerve-wracking in a way that was completely new to me. Anyway, ending my indulgent self-psychoanalysis...
I figured out the way to overcome (1). Instead of having him personalize it to me, I asked him to write a clue about the Cosmere in my worn copy of Elantris (it's my first Sanderson, and is literally falling apart; the cover is scotch taped on ). He wrote "Do not go to Shadesmar on this world (really, I'm not kidding)" on the title page, then said to me "You guys can chew on that for a little while."
I like that. I think that I'll bring in all of my books to his next New York/Boston signing and ask him for Cosmere clues instead of signatures.
After he signed my book, I asked him a few questions and got the following nuggets (some of these were also overheard in his discussions with other people):
CAMEO: There is a cameo of Josh & Michele in Alloy of Law! There's a gunfight at their wedding reception [I feel like I've heard this somewhere before, but it also sounded new to me]
DOUBLE TWINBORN: There will be a _____ Twinborn somewhere in the novel, a Twinborn with matching metals a la how the Lord Ruler used atium
17S Does Aona = Love or Compassion?
BS: "You have it, it's just a synonym there. You basically have it"
NOT SKAI'S SHARD
17S Does Skai = Devotion or Order?
BS: "You're not on there. But you are on on the first one [Aona]."
DEFINITION OF A SLIVER
17S Is the definition of Sliver: Someone who has held a large part of the raw form of a Shard temporarily?
BS: "That is it"
SORT-OF DEFINITION OF A SPLINTER
17S How is a Splinter different from a Sliver?
BS: "Let me see... You have met splinters in Elantris, Warbreaker, and in Way of Kings. You have not met them in Mistborn."
17S: "I feel like we know that. So, qualitatively, what's the difference?'
BS: "Qualitatively, they're reverses of one another. A Sliver is a human intelligence who has held the power and released it. A Splinter has never been human."
17S: "But it derives from a Shard's power."
BS: "Yes. That's not it completely, but there's at least something to think about."
So we got some good stuff. I was a little too starstruck to dig for more specificity on the Slivers, but that won't happen again
With my head full of thoughts, I headed back to my car, where the good policing force of Harvard had decided to bestow upon me a $25 parking ticket for the extra 15 minutes that I had overstayed my meter's welcome.
You know what? Totally worth it.