At a recent Oathbringer event in the UK, Brandon Sanderson treated fans to a sneak preview of his latest “mystery project”: Skyward, a young adult novel that he described as “How to Train Your Dragon meets Top Gun with starfighters!” Gollancz tweeted a video of the reading, which doubles as an informal confirmation of Sanderson’s new project.
In early November, Sanderson revealed in an interview with Paste magazine that he was pulling his YA novel The Apocalypse Guard from its projected spring 2018 release from Delacorte Press. The novel was intended as the first installment of a new trilogy in a parallel universe to his Reckoners series, but Sanderson explained that he “just felt the book wasn’t right” and that “I decided I needed time from the book. So I set it aside and said, ‘Well, I’m going to write something else right now and see how I feel about that.’”
Since October, one of the progress bars on Sanderson’s website has tracked an unnamed Mystery Project. While he wouldn’t tell Paste the title or synopsis, he did mention that he had outlined the story in three days (as compared to the two years he took for The Apocalypse Guard) and that he was about 10 chapters in. Now, a month later, the progress bar reads 62%, and he read the prologue to the assembled crowd at Glasgow’s Waterstones bookstore.
Brandon Sanderson reading from his secret project, a new book, called Skyward https://t.co/PrqCKOkOJ6
— Gollancz (@Gollancz) December 2, 2017
The title, Skyward, is especially intriguing, as it’s the same as a project that the Stormlight Archive author mentioned in his 2013 State of the Sanderson post. At the time, he described it as a “Young Adult Cosmere novel”; however, Arcanum has collected answers from recent Oathbringer release party Q&As in which Sanderson clarifies where the book exists. From November 13:
Questioner: Is this new book in the Cosmere, or is it just a shoot-off?
Brandon Sanderson: Which one, Skyward? Skyward is not Cosmere.
From December 2:
Questioner: Skyward. Is that gonna be a Cosmere story?
Brandon Sanderson: Not right now. I’ve decided mostly. It’s possible I’ll pull it out, but I feel like I need to reference Earth for some of the things I’m doing. That’s kind of my baseline.
It does, however, seem to exist in the Reckoners universe, as he shared at a November 18 event:
[Skyward] is teen, ’cause it’s in my Reckoners line, and it’s a story I’ve been playing with for some four years now, and I built an outline, and it’s kind of like a cross between How to Train Your Dragon and Top Gun, with starfighters. A girl finds an old broken-down starship with a really screwy AI that she thinks she can get up and running. In the meantime, she gets into starfighter school and is learning to be a pilot, and there’s all kinds of mysteries and things about the nature of really what’s happening with the planet why they’re being attacked, and things like that. It’s a whole lot of fun.