Sunday, January 26, 2014

“Mitosis” by Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson-MitosisA good short story stop-gap between Steelheart and Firefight

Sanderson self-published this short story, set in the same world as his first super-hero novel, Steelheart. I rather enjoyed the novel (which was the first of the author’s that I’ve read), and when I stumbled across this I was very happy to be able to dive back into the world he’s created. I’m not going to include an official synopsis, as that will give away the ending of Steelheart.

Nevertheless, what you need to know (for both the novel and Mitosis) is that in this reality, super-heroes exist – something happened that bestowed upon a small percentage of the global population special powers. Unlike in the super-hero comic books of Marvel, DC, et al, the power has very much gone to most of these powered individuals’ heads, and they started using them for their own ends. In Chicago, Steelheart reigned supreme with a coterie of other powereds. Steelheart the novel was the story of a fight against this tyranny, spear-headed by an insurgent group known as the Reckoners and their new ‘recruit’, who is a bit of a geek, and has been cataloguing the powered dictators and criminals as a means to learn of their weaknesses.

Mitosis deals with a single powered individual: Mitosis. The story moves quickly, and there is a rather nifty homage (perhaps) to Agent Smith from second and third The Matrix movies. That is all I shall say on the specific plot of this story.

If you are familiar with Sanderson’s writing – be it The Way of Kings or his Mistborn series – then you are sure to know what to expect: brisk, engaging and professional storytelling. The man can certainly write, and I intend to get more of his novels read by the end of this year. [Famous last words, perhaps, but I managed to read three of the four authors I promised to last year…]

Short, but well-worth reading to hold you over until the release of Firefight.


  1. Any word on why Sanderson had to self-published this short? Seems a little strange as there is a publisher for the main series.

    1. I can see why it might appear strange. However, it is not unique: for example, Brian McClellan has been self-publishing a number of short stories set in his Powder Mage world, even though he has a publisher for the main series.

      If it's not contracted, then the author is not required to go through his/her publisher, and it means the author can self-publish short stories, etc. It also means the author benefits more directly from any sales.

      The only time I could think of it being an issues is if there were some clause in their book/series contract that stated any and all fiction set in the world is under contract to that publisher, but I've not seen or heard of a contract like that in a while. I have seen words to the effect of "any/all NOVELS" set in the world, which a short story would not count as, of course.

      It might also be the case that short fiction might later be included in paperback/omnibus editions of the series, or as bonus material in a hardcover release. There are so many possible options and variations, it's near-impossible to say for sure.

      But, in this case, I think it was just easier and quicker for Brandon to release it by himself.

    2. It's also now available (in UK) via Gollancz