Defending Elysium by Brandon Sanderson is one of the novelettes included in his con exclusive book. I was so excited when I showed up at a booth to get autographs on my other Sanderson books and I discovered that I could buy another Sanderson title! Obviously I had to buy it immediately and add it to the pile of books I was getting signed. Fortunately there wasn’t a limit! And then I had something to read while waiting in line :D. Though I actually spend the line-waiting talking to other fans and being asked if Steelheart was for sale at the con >.> (I had my ARC of it and felt a little awkward after that….). Anyway! This collection of (two) novelettes starts off with a lovely preface with some background on when Sanderson was writing these novelettes (before he published his big and mighty books!). They are both sci-fi stories that show off just how humorous Sanderson’s imagination can get!
Note: I purchased Defending Elysium at GenCon.
Oddly enough, the ones who made first contact were an outdated, nearly bankrupt phone company. Second contact was made by the United Governments Military when they accidentally shot down a Tenasi ambassadorial vessel. The Phone Company negotiated Earth out of danger following the Tenasi incident. The Phone Company had brought FTL communication to humankind.
And Phone Company operative Jason Write has sworn to keep the galaxy safe from the barbaric humans who would ruin the Elysium that the galactic races currently enjoy. -- Book Blurb
- I’m always impressed when a piece of fiction shorter than a novel is able to throw in plot twists. How is there enough room in Defending Elysium for me to get invested in one perspective enough to be surprised by a plot twist? I don’t know, but there is!
- One of the things I really look for in my sci-fi is tough philosophical questions. Defending Elysium definitely delivers on that front, given the more advanced alien societies to compare against our own. (And more, but I don’t want to spoil it ;-) )
- Defending Elysium also manages to fit in two points-of-view which end up being fairly entertaining. One of the characters makes some assumptions that we as the reader know are false, and I just couldn’t help but chuckle at his train of thought!
- Sanderson of course introduces an interesting new power/technology, but the novelette length just didn’t have room to explain much about it. I like being thrown in to a world and forced to slowly understand how things work, but if the story ends before I grasp the magic system, I’m sad. I really want Defending Elysium to be expanded with another story so that I can get more of an idea of how these mind powers work.
- On a similar note, when you move from world-building to universe-building (because of the space travel and all), there is a lot of room to explore. Can we explore more now please?
I enjoy Defending Elysium for the clever plot twists, interesting philosophical question, and the brief glimpse of what looks like a cool and complicated new technology. In the end though, I just wanted more! And I felt that Defending Elysium could have easily been turned into a full novel of awesomeness, so why not?