Thursday, February 21, 2013

Influences and Bittersweet Endings

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting my favorite fantasy author, as well as one of my biggest influences, Brandon Sanderson.  It's always a wonderful feeling to meet someone who has influenced something that you are passionate about and to be able to let them know how much their work has meant to you.

For any who don't know about Sanderson, I can't recommend his work enough.  He is fairly well known for his creative worlds and magic systems.   His Mistborn trilogy is my favorite collective fantasy work of all time.  If you enjoy fantasy and haven't read Mistborn: The Final Empire, I suggest remedying that situation as soon as possible.  If you'd like some pointless trivia, Sanderson was also college roommates with Jeopardy super-champion Ken Jennings.

The biggest thing he has been known for over the past five years is taking over The Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan's unfortunate and untimely death in 2007.  As you may know, The Wheel of Time is a massive fantasy series started in 1990.  Up until Jordan's death, there were 11 books, millions of words, and hundreds of characters.  Brandon Sanderson was approached by Jordan's widow to finish the Wheel of Time series, using pieces already written by Jordan and his massive amounts of notes.

Sanderson, like many younger fantasy writers today, was massively influenced by Jordan's WOT series and jumped at the chance to help finish a series that had helped inspire him to become a writer in the first place.  He has since written the final three books of the series.

There aren't many writers who could have pulled off the feat of taking the reins of such a huge story with its dozens upon dozens of intertwining plots and characters.  There also aren't many writers who would have had the guts to undertake such a project.  Jordan's WOT has a huge following of dedicated fans who had amazingly high expectations for the series' conclusion.  Though I have not finished the final book just yet, I can say that Sanderson has handily met those expectations.  He finished this series not only as a skilled author, but as a dedicated fan himself.

Anyway, I mention this because I met Brandon on his book signing tour for The Memory of Light, the 14th and final book in the WOT series.  If you like fantasy and need a new book(aside from The Forgotten King coming May 10, 2013 ;) ), give his work a try.  You won't be disappointed.

Anyway, here's pictures of me with two of my biggest writing influences.  The first is me with Brandon last night.  The second is my wife and me with the late Robert Jordan during his Knife of Dreams book tour back in 2005.

I made sure to pick up a second paperback copy of Mistborn: The Final Empire as well to A)Help support the local bookstore the signing was at and B)To have it personalized for my 2 yr. old in the hopes that maybe in 10-12 years I'll get him into Brandon Sanderson's work too.  For now, my son will be more entertained by the other book I bought for him there: Mr. Duck Means Business :).

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Brian Beam

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