The Resurrection of the Author: Wired and Brandon Sanderson

Unless an author has a particularly fascinating personal story, or is embroiled in a spicy controversy, I tend not to read a lot about them. I’d prefer to read and talk about their fiction. I think that’s a common angle in the old-school genre fiction circles (science fiction, fantasy, horror). So when Wired Magazine published a piece, reputedly critical of fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, I skipped it.

I don’t really qualify as a Brandon Sanderson fan. I encountered (and enjoyed) his work finishing Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, and on the strength of that I have Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I’ve enjoyed his commentary on the writing podcast Writing Excuses. He seems like a nice guy, accessible to peers and fans, and very enthusiastic about genre fiction. I never felt the urge to dive deeply into Brandon Sanderson, The Man.

But I do write for the Wheel of Time fan site, Dragonmount, whose audience has a heavy crossover with Brandon Sanderson fans. The Wired article invited an angry response from our audience, so it felt important for to have a stance on this part of the Brandon Sanderson conversation. So I read the Wired article. And I read Brandon’s response on Reddit. (I link to both in the article linked below.) And I tried to understand what the Wired writer was trying to achieve, because it was kind of all over the place. It was also condescending and mean. My most charitable interpretation is that Wired was trying to use “literary” framing to analyze Sanderson’s success–and it didn’t work.

My article on Dragonmount, Wired Thinks World Building Is Mormon is part of my Rajiv’s Threads In the Pattern column. It’s my toe-dip into The Discourse. I hope it’s a different, and even slightly enlightening perspective.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s