The Most Important Place in Brandon Sanderson’s Books is Named After Jane Yolen

Brandon Sanderson’s new story collection Arcanum Unbounded made a big reveal: Most of the author’s works take place in a single “Cosmere” universe, and many of those fantasy worlds will crossover in the future!

Readers have yet to see the most important planet in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere, however. Somewhere out there is a planet that breeds trouble, that produces scholars, that has seeded many different worlds with many different types of magic. Sanderson has yet to reveal that story, or that planet, but we do know one thing: It’s named after fantasy author Jane Yolen!

Sanderson’s Cosmere contains many worlds that we’ve already seen, from The Stormlight Archive (which takes place on Roshar) to Mistborn (Scadrial) to Elantris (Sel), and more. For the first time, Arcanum Unbounded reveals that all of these worlds have been altered (or at least affected) by individuals hailing from a mysterious advanced world known as Yolen.

Dragon's Blood Jane YolenIn the run-up to Arcanum, Brandon revealed that this planet is indeed named after fantasy author Jane Yolen. It turns out that Yolen’s Pit Dragon Trilogy, specifically the first book Dragon’s Blood, was one of the first books he ever read, and it had a profound inspirational effect on the young Sanderson.

The story of Dragon’s Blood is a mixture of epic fantasy and science fiction. From the series synopsis on Wikipedia:

The books are set in the far future, on a desert planet called Austar IV, which has a history and climate similar to that of Australia. The planet was originally a place where convicts would be exiled. For many generations the outcasts had adapted to their new environment and even formed a functioning society, focusing on a caste system of paid bonders and their owners. The amazing feature of the planet is that it does hold life, but very little, and has one species of dragons.

The concept of science fiction elements giving rise to epic fantasy settings is a concept that Sanderson’s novels explore in tremendous detail. The saga of the Cosmere continues to unfold, so it feels all too appropriate that its inciting planet is named after Yolen. (And that the forthcoming novel that chronicles the most important place in Sanderson’s Cosmere is titled Dragonsteel.)

It all begins with Yolen. In more ways than one.

Read more about Arcanum Unbounded and the Cosmere here on Tor.com.

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