cover image Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection

Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection

Brandon Sanderson. Tor, $27.99 (608p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9116-2

Bestseller Sanderson’s first short fiction collection gives readers nine behind-the-scenes glimpses at the intricate cosmogony that ties together his various blockbuster fantasy series. In the Shardworlds, magic comes from pieces of a shattered creator deity. Close investigation into how magic shapes its users in the world of Elantris (the Hugo-winning “The Emperor’s Soul”) contrasts neatly with how its users can reshape magic for their own needs (“White Sand,” a graphic novel excerpt). Complete with spoiler alerts for the Mistborn series, a short story (“The Eleventh Metal”) tells of the training of original Mistborn trilogy protagonist Kelsier, and a novella (“Mistborn: Secret History”) fills in the trilogy’s resolution with his “afterlife” activities. Original to the collection, “Edgedancer” chronicles the madcap adventures of Lift, a user of “awesomeness,” who will be more important in upcoming Stormlight novels. Other pieces focus on non-series worlds: for example, in “Sixth of the Dusk,” competing uses of magical ecology fuse into a determination to save a planet from the dangerous “gifts” of advanced aliens. This collection is required reading for Sanderson fans, offering plenty for new readers who are undeterred by learning too much. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (Nov.)