%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
[[caption-width-right:212:The man himself.]]
Brandon Sanderson (born December 19, 1975) is an American fantasy author. He is oft-acknowledged for his ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'' and ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' series. He is also widely known for being selected to finish ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' saga after [[AuthorExistenceFailure the death of Robert Jordan]].

His works are famous for their strict and innovative [[MagicAIsMagicA rules-based magic systems]]. Often quoted for his First Law: "An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic."

He has released 20 novels since his 2005 debut ''Literature/{{Elantris}}''. Several of his works have been {{Doorstopper}}s (which he sometimes releases two per year), and plans to be even ''more'' prolific in the future, having at least 30 novels planned. Those are just the stories in [[TheVerse his Verse]], not even all the stories, just the main ones. He also pursues various {{geek}}y OneOfUs interests in his spare time, including ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', {{Fan Convention}}s and TabletopGames.

He also heartily embraces NewMedia to the point of providing his own CelebrityBlog, participating extensively in fan forums, releasing several ebook test balloons, and making his own write-your-own-novel PodCast ''Podcast/WritingExcuses'', co-moderated by his friends Howard Tayler, artist and writer of ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', Dan Wells, author of the ''Literature/IAmNotASerialKiller'' horror trilogy, and Creator/MaryRobinetteKowal, author of ''Literature/ShadesOfMilkAndHoney'' and numerous short stories.

You can check out his website [[http://www.brandonsanderson.com/ here]] for lots of cool info about his works. Check out fan forum [[http://www.17thshard.com 17th Shard]] for all your Brandon-obsession needs.

!!Original works by Brandon Sanderson

* ''Literature/TheCosmere''
** ''Literature/{{Elantris}}''
*** [[http://brandonsanderson.com/elantris-the-hope-of-elantris/ "The Hope of Elantris"]], a tie-in short story set during the climax of the events from ''Elantris''.
*** ''Literature/TheEmperorsSoul'', a standalone novella set on the ''Elantris'' world.
** ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}''
*** ''Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy''
*** ''Literature/WaxAndWayne'', a sequel series set 300 years after the first ''Mistborn'' trilogy.
*** [[http://brandonsanderson.com/shardhunt-wor/the-eleventh-metal/ "The Eleventh Metal"]], a prequel story to ''[[Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy Mistborn: The Final Empire]]'', detailing Kelsier's Mistborn training. This story is included in the ''Mistborn Adventure Game'' book.
*** ''Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania''. A preview is [[http://brandonsanderson.com/allomancer-jak-and-the-pits-of-eltania/ here]]. Included in the ''Alloy of Law'' supplement to the ''Mistborn Adventure Game''.
*** ''Literature/MistbornSecretHistory'' is a companion piece to the original trilogy, taking place mostly during the events of the second and third books.
** ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'', available [[http://www.brandonsanderson.com/portal/Warbreaker for free]] as a sample ebook on Sanderson's website.
** ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''
*** ''Literature/TheWayOfKings''
*** ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance''
*** ''Literature/{{Edgedancer}}'' is a novella set around the end of ''Words Of Radiance''. It is included in the short story collection ''Arcanum Unbounded''.
*** ''Literature/{{Oathbringer}}''
** "Literature/ShadowsForSilenceInTheForestsOfHell", a novella originally published in the ''Dangerous Women'' anthology.
** "Literature/SixthOfTheDusk", a short story, found in the ''Shadows Beneath'' anthology.
** ''ComicBook/WhiteSand'', a graphic novel adapted from one of his unpublished works.
* The ''Literature/AlcatrazSeries'', notable in that while they're aimed at the Middle Grade (4[[superscript:th]]-8[[superscript:th]] grade) audience, they still have his signature cool new magic systems, philosophical digressions, and a decidedly snarky sense of humor.
* ''Literature/{{Legion}}'', a novella set in a modern day setting; has been optioned for a TV series based on it.
* ''Literature/TheRithmatist'', a SteamPunk YA novel featuring chalk-based GeometricMagic.
* ''Literature/TheReckonersTrilogy'', a post-apocalyptic YA novel about superpowers that only villains can receive, and the CapeBusters who work to assassinate them.
** ''Literature/{{Steelheart}}''
** ''Literature/{{Firefight}}''
** ''Literature/{{Calamity}}''
* ''Literature/{{Snapshot}}'', a short story set in the ''Reckoners'' universe, but unconnected to it otherwise.

!!Short Stories

There are also a number of short stories available (mostly on his website) for readers to enjoy. These include tie-ins to his larger works as well as stand-alone short stories in both science fiction and fantasy. Cosmere stories are listed above.

* [[http://brandonsanderson.com/centrifugal/ "Centrifugal"]]: Written when he was a high school senior for a writing contest, it is one of the first stories he ever wrote.
* [[http://brandonsanderson.com/defending-elysium/ "Defending Elysium"]], a standalone SF story.
* [[http://www.tor.com/stories/2008/12/firstborn "Firstborn"]], a standalone SF short.
* "I Hate Dragons": Both the [[http://brandonsanderson.com/i-hate-dragons/ original]] and the [[http://brandonsanderson.com/i-hate-dragons-extended-version/ extended]] version of a story used for one of his ''Podcast/WritingExcuses'' podcasts.
* "Dreamer", a horror short story found in the ''Games Creatures Play'' anthology.

!!Collaborations and Tie-Ins

* The last three volumes of ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' -- ''The Gathering Storm'', ''Towers of Midnight'' and ''A Memory of Light'' -- a series previously left unfinished by Robert Jordan when he died.
* ''Infinity Blade: Awakening'' and ''Infinity Blade: Redemption'', {{interquel}}s to the ''Videogame/InfinityBlade'' series; set between the first and second game and second and third game respectively.
* "Heuristic Algorithm and Reasoning Response Engine", a short story co-written with Ethan Skarstedt for the PoweredArmor themed ''Armored'' anthology.

!!Tropes common in Brandon Sanderson's works:

* ActionGirl: Several, Vin of Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy being the most dramatic, although Vivenna of Literature/{{Warbreaker}} is an ActionGirl in training, [[Literature/{{Elantris}} Sarene]] has moments, and Jasnah of Literature/TheStormlightArchive can kick serious ass if sufficiently motivated.
* AfterTheEnd: Used in both ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'' (where it's just the titular city), ''Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy'' (where the whole world is post-apocalyptic), ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' (where The End just keeps coming in a cycle of EternalRecurrence), TheReckonersTrilogy (civilization was destroyed by superhumans)...there's a lot of this going around.
* ArcNumber: Four and derivatives (eight, twelve, and especially sixteen). Also ten in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'', and a little bit in ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}''.
* AuthorAppeal: Boy, does Sanderson ever love his fantasy cities. Almost all of his Cosmere works take place in or around a particular city or cities, with the notable exception of ''Way of Kings'', where much of the action happens on the battlefield (but there's still a subplot that takes place entirely in the city-state of Kharbranth). He has stated this was a deliberate choice to differentiate himself from Robert Jordan and other fantasy stories of that time which usually had the characters travel the world extensively.
** The idea of ascending to godhood. It happens to many characters in his books, all in different ways.
*** For that matter, religions in general. Most of his created settings include intricate theologies, most of which represent a partial or flawed version of the real metaphysical truth. The way people struggle with and interpret (and reinterpret, and misinterpret) their faith is a constant theme.
** Lofty ideals, and the demoralising difficulty of living by them in a CrapsackWorld full of moral no-win situations.
* CharacterDevelopment: No flat characters here; Sanderson makes certain that every POV character and important non-POV characters get their own arc.
* ChekhovsArmoury: Oh lord, yes. Sanderson absolutely loves to use lots and lots of [[ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Guns]].
* DiscOneFinalBoss:
** The character who is initially presented as the BigBad is almost never the ''actual'' BigBad in his works, and they may not even be that villainous, period.
** In ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'', Hrathen looks like the BigBad but is actually an AntiVillain. [[spoiler: The real villain is his treacherous, fanatical DragonInChief, Dilaf.]]
** In ''Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy'', the Lord Ruler is initially presented as the BigBad [[spoiler: but he's actually only as bad as he is (that is, an oppressive mass-murderer instead of a xenophobic {{Jerkass}}) because the real BigBad, Ruin, has been toying with his mind while TLR's been keeping him imprisoned]].
** In ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'', perhaps the most extreme example, God King Susebron is built up as potentially worse than the Lord Ruler [[spoiler: but he's actually a perfectly kind and friendly figurehead. His secretary Bluefingers is the villainous mastermind]].
** In ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'', the Parshendi appear to be the villains but while we still don't know much about them [[spoiler: apart from their possibly being Voidbringers, the real villain is almost certainly Odium]].
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: It's been observed that he's rather fond of strong female leads of the royal persuasion. [[TheChessmaster Sarene]], [[RebelliousPrincess Siri]], [[WrongGenreSavvy Vivenna]], and [[BadassBookworm Jasnah]] are the most noteworthy.
* EvilOverlord: ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'' uses straight, [[Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy the Mistborn trilogy]] deconstructs, ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'' subverts.
* FourthWallObserver: In ''[[Literature/TheStormlightArchive The Way Of Kings]]'', Hoid states that "I began life as a thought, a concept, words on a page." This ties in with his being a recurring character that helps tie the various book series of the ''Cosmere'' together.
* FunctionalMagic: Sanderson is very fond of inventing new magic systems, giving them clearly defined rules and ensuring they have a logical place in their respective settings. The ''Mistborn'' series, for instance, features three different magic systems, with the most important one, ''allomancy'', working by having the user imbibe certain metals or alloys and then "burning" them to affect their own bodies in esoteric ways.
* GambitPileup: Intricate plotting and scheming is pretty common in all his works, with ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'' being the most extreme example. This has lead to the coining of the phrase "Sanderson Avalanche" where he somehow manages to bring all these massive gambits to, generally, satisfying conclusions in a very small space. The last few chapters of a Sanderson book tend to move at breakneck speed. This may have contributed to his selection as the author to untangle ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''[='s=] notorious KudzuPlot.
* AGodAmI: Used in all his works; he's [[WordOfGod admitted up front]] that the idea of divinity fascinates him.
* GuileHero: Sanderson is fond of clever characters, and many of his heroes rely as much on their wits as their physical abilities.
* MagicAIsMagicA: Sanderson is fond of inventing new magic systems, and is careful to define them clearly and keep their use consistent. He has formulated what he calls [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanderson%27s_First_Law Sanderson's First Law]] to describe the importance of maintaining this trope, and it is defined as follows:
--> "An author's ability to solve conflict satisfactorily with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic."
* MagnificentBastard: [[invoked]]Sanderson likes smart characters and charismatic characters, so it's no surprise that there are a number of his who qualify for this trope, usually one per world. Hrathen in ''Elantris'', Kelsier ''and'' the Lord Ruler in ''Mistborn'', Denth in ''Warbreaker'' and Sadeas in ''Way of Kings'' are all solid examples.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Given the high ratio of Guile Heroes in Sanderson books, it's perhaps unsurprising that this tactic is frequently employed. He's especially fond of having female characters thrust into strange court settings do it, but [[spoiler: King Taravangian]] probably takes the cake for how well he plays ''everybody''.
* OurGodsAreDifferent: The Shards of Adonalsium. Each Shard embodies an aspect (Honor, Preservation, Ruin, Odium, Cultivation, etc.) of the now-shattered Adonalsium, and holds a portion of its former power; the Shards also act as the source of the Cosmere's various magic systems. Shards and their holders have significant power to alter reality, but are limited by their aspect in how they can supply their magic. Preservation gifts you magic while Ruin steals magic from another with some fraction of the magic ruined. They are also limited to some extent in what they can do with their magic. Cultivation, who presumably cares about cultivating things for the future, is better at seeing the future than Honor, who cares about honor in the present.
* ParentsAsPeople: Parents vary from [[GoodParents decent]] to [[AbusiveParents vile]], but even the best ones tend to have notable flaws -- at least those that are [[DeceasedParentsAreTheBest still living]].
* PerfectlyArrangedMarriage: ''Elantris'' play this one straight. ''Warbreaker'' plays with it somewhat bizarrely: the King technically breaks his agreement by sending ''the wrong daughter'' to marry the foreign king, but then ''she'' turns out to be perfect for him! And in ''Words of Radiance,'' a betrothal is arranged between [[spoiler: Shallan and Adolin,]] and they both think it's a great idea, to the surprise of pretty much everyone, and get along pretty well with each other, despite both of them having a tendency to offend just about everyone else they meet.
* PlayingWithATrope: Sanderson loves taking the typical tropes of HighFantasy and putting unique spins on them. In particular, ''Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy'' is a GenreDeconstruction of said genre that assumes that the evil overlord won in the past and goes with it from there, while ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'' explicitly has reversals of expectations (for both characters and the reader) as a theme, and so deals heavily in {{subver|tedTrope}}sions.
* RealWomenDontWearDresses: Averted -- all of his major female characters are feminine to a greater or lesser degree, and all [[ActionGirl end]] [[GuileHero up]] Badass [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses in their own way]].
* RousseauWasRight: Most major characters in Sanderson's works have sympathetic motivations for their actions, though he'll usually throw in at least one really evil person for variety's sake. He stated in an interview that he doesn't think of any of his novels as having villains, just characters who, for varying reasons, made the wrong decision(s). This is most obvious in ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'', whose BigBad and TheDragon are both given sympathetic backstories and motivations, and whose most evil character is essentially hired muscle rather than a villain in his own right. Taking this into account, this just makes one of his [[WordOfGod Annotations]] calling the BigBad of ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'', [[spoiler: Dilaf]] "an evil man" all the more meaningful. However, even that one has a FreudianExcuse.
%%* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething
* SignatureStyle: Sanderson is best known for his [[MagicAIsMagicA intricate, self consistent magic systems.]] His works also tend to contain lots of political intrigue that ultimately [[GambitPileup results in chaos]], {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s, [[WorldOfSnark large quantities of snark]], and characters [[AscendedToAHigherPlaneOfExistence becoming gods]].
** He is into Powergaming. Said magic systems will almost always be used in unusual, game breaking ways, and any seemingly 'useless' abilities will always be proved extremely effective and plot important before the end.
** In each new world he creates, expect an early scene with an experienced (usually male) character on a solo mission. The scene will have little dialogue, if any, and will contain a great deal of detail about the local magic system and its use.
* {{Troperiffic}}: As the rest of this page shows, Sanderson likes his fantasy tropes. He also likes [[DeconstructedTrope doing]] [[SubvertedTrope things]] to them.
* TheVerse: ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'', ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'', ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive,'' ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'', and several unpublished novels are in the one universe—Literature/TheCosmere (individual planets are known as Shardworlds). Much of what is known about the Cosmere comes from WordOfGod, and the hints about it in the books themselves tend to be less than obvious— with one exception, a recurring character called Hoid. Hoid has appeared as a [[Literature/{{Elantris}} beggar]], [[Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy an informant]], [[Literature/{{Warbreaker}} a storyteller]], and [[Literature/TheStormlightArchive the king's]] [[DeadpanSnarker Wit]]. Hoid's exact importance, motive, and true role is unknown, but he can definitely travel between worlds and knows more about the Cosmere than most other characters. He is, according to the glossary of the third novel of Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy, "A mystery yet to be solved." It is pretty much confirmed he was there at the shattering of Adonalsium as well, which means he must be thousands of years old. Brandon has confirmed that Hoid uses Shadesmar, an alternate plane of reality also called the cognitive realm, to travel from world to world, and that he has some way of both slowing down time and living longer than a normal human should. He will play a major role in the Stormlight archives, and many more hints were dropped down in the second book.
* WhamEpisode: It's so common for the last few chapters of every book to be one Wham after another that it's earned a FanNickname: the "Sanderson Avalanche".

!!Short Story tropes


%%* BestServedCold
%%* GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke
%%* ThanatosGambit


[[folder:Defending Elysium]]

Jason Write is a psychic member of the Phone Company, humanity's only source of FTL communication. He arrives at Evensong, the farthest human space habitat, for a routine pickup, to find things aren't as simple as they seem.
* AlmightyJanitor: All light speed communication is handled exclusively by a phone company, without anyone else on Earth knowing how it is done.
* BrokenPedestal: At the end of the story.
%%* GrandTheftMe
* HandicappedBadass: Jason Write is completely blind but definitely not someone you should mess with.
* HiddenElfVillage: Inverted: the galaxy at large is the elf village and our solar system is kept isolated so we don't wreck it. (Only the Phone Company knows this reason).
* HumansAreSuperior: Played with. Human technology is far in advance of all other races but it is our reliance on technology that is keeping us from being truly civilized. To keep the alien races safe from us the Phone Company has suppressed this information, letting humanity as a whole believe that alien technology is superior and that we are not ready for it yet. [[spoiler:In the end however, it is revealed that the alien races are not so morally superior to our own after all.]]
* InsufficientlyAdvancedAlien: Since FTL travel and communication rely on PsychicPowers rather than technology, it is perfectly possible for a race to have interstellar travel before they invent the wheel. (This is explicitly stated to have happened at least once). In total, humans are several orders of magnitude more technologically advanced than any other race.
* {{Intangibility}}: [[spoiler:Jason teleports himself right up to Edmund with his hand phased into his chest then crushes his heart and phases his hand out again.]]
* PsychicPowers: MindOverMatter and [[spoiler:TeleportersAndTransporters]], but not {{Telepathy}}.
* SealedEvilInACan: ''Humanity''. The Phone Company refuses to release the secret of FTL travel in order to keep humanity locked up in our own solar system, where we can't hurt anyone else. [[spoiler: In the end, Jason learns that the aliens are just as evil, and prepares to release the secret of FTL travel.]]



Dennison is a military commander, trying in vain to be as strong as his brother.
* AloofBigBrother: Varion is a perfect military leader, extremely confident and arrogant, while his younger brother Dennison is hopelessly incompetent. The one time they actually meet, Varion isn't too friendly.
* CainAndAbel: Varion wants to defeat his brother, especially because [[spoiler:the latter is his clone]].
* DrivenToSuicide: In the final battle, [[spoiler:Varion kills himself when he thinks he is losing]].
* TomatoInTheMirror: When he meets Varion, Dennison learns that [[spoiler:he is a clone of Varion]].
* YoungestChildWins: It turns out that Varion wants to take over the empire. It's up to Dennison to stop him.


[[folder:I Hate Dragons]]

Skip has the magical talent of smelling incredibly delicious to dragons, and a separate one of automatically hearing the punctuation and spelling in a spoken sentence. His life is not a pleasant one.
* BlessedWithSuck: The protagonist, Skip, has the magical talent (or ‘knack’) of smelling incredibly delicious to dragons. He also has the far less dangerous, yet pretty useless, talent of hearing the punctuation and spelling in a spoken sentence.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: Skip wants to use his second talent to write a book defining the correct spelling of words.
* MediumAwareness: Skip can hear spelling and punctuation in spoken words.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: These dragons are intelligent and actually quite articulate. They eat humans, mainly because they apparently can't digest anything else, but only need to eat once every few months. They also have two stomachs: one for digesting humans and one for carrying things in.
* TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers:
--> '''Skip:''' Just today, I've heard the word dragon spelled 'dragoon,' 'daragon,' 'dragen,' 'deragin,' and 'blarsnaf.'\\
'''Sorceress:''' Er... 'blarsnaf?'\\
'''Skip:''' That was from Pug the cook. He speaks Lukarvian.
* WorldShapes: This story takes place on a cubic world. Three of the six faces are known to some degree.
** Dawnface's inhabitants are capable of becoming sorcerors, harnessing the magic of the cube to their will.
** Sixthface is the face from which all the protagonists (except the Sorceress) hail. Its inhabitants can't use sorcery, but have random magical gifts called "knacks".
** Drakeface has lots and lots of dragons.


[[folder:The Hope Of Elantris]]

A short story taking place near the climax of ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'', outside the perspective of the three viewpoint characters from that book.
* BigDamnHeroes: [[spoiler:Dashe is returned to consciousness by the restoration of Elantris, and saves Marisse from dying.]]
* FandomNod: The character Marisse is named for a student of Sanderson's then-future wife as thanks for her incredibly in-depth ''Dragonology'' style book about ''Literature/{{Elantris}}''.
* {{Flashback}}: The majority of the story is told as one describing what Ashe was doing for the majority of the climax of ''Literature/{{Elantris}}''.
* FramingDevice: The entire thing, barring the very beginning and end, are Ashe's story in most of the climax of the main novel, told from Marisse's point of view.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Dashe is briefly turned to a Hoed in pain after giving himself to give Marisse and the children time to escape the massacre of Elantris.]]
* InfantImmortality: In order to balance out [[spoiler:Karata's HeroicSacrifice]], Sanderson opted to have all of the children saved in Elantris survive the end of the book.
* JustInTime: [[spoiler:Elantris is restored just before Marisse is turned Hoed. Therefore...]]
* LodgedBladeRecycling: Justified. [[spoiler:Dashe, having been impaled with a sword, was restored and healed completely by the restoration of Elantris. He takes the sword that is presumably on the ground at that point to kill Marisse's assailant.]]
* POVSequel: The story takes place around the time of [[spoiler:the invasion of Arelon]].
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: This part of the story was nearly in the novel itself, albeit without Marisse's inclusion and told from Dashe's point of view instead at the time of the {{flashback}}.


[[folder:The Eleventh Metal]]

A prequel story to ''Literature/MistbornTheFinalEmpire'', covering Kelsier's training as a mistborn.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Lord Shezler inflict this upon his Skaa in an attempt to make them Snap so he can test new metals on them.
* HeroicBSOD: Kelsier has been feeling increasingly lost, despite becoming a mistborn, out of grief for Mare and because he does not know what to do or who he is anymore.
--> He didn't know what to do. He hated that. He'd always known what to do. But now...
* HesBack: At the end of the story he has the epiphany he needs and his focus returns.
-->'''Kelsier:''' Anyone can die. Anyone.
* SuperHeroOrigin: Where Kelsier first starts to become the hero known as The Survivor of Hathsin.
%%* TrainingFromHell


[[folder:Heuristic Algorithm and Reasoning Response Engine]]

A story from an anthology, following the technology behind mechas.
* BolivianArmyEnding: The story ends with Karrin cutting open H.A.R.R.E. desperately trying to rescue Karith. It's left unclear whether he survived his wounds or not.
* BugWar: {{Inverted}}. The humans and the bugs are on the same side.
* CombiningMecha: Inverted. The mechas of the story start off combined with their air support in order to enter battle from orbit but have to separate before they can actually fight themselves. The agile airships also require the mechas as heatshields to be able to withstand re-entry.
* EasyAmnesia: H.A.R.R.E. is stated to recently have taken enough damage that his AI had to be restored from some kind of backup, causing him to lose a lot of the experience he should have had from hundreds of drops with Karith.
* GrewBeyondTheirProgramming: Karith's personality starts to rub off on HARRE's programming. [[spoiler: Despite orders and programming to the contrary HARRE chooses to continue his pilot's heroic LastStand instead of attempting to save his life by returning to base.]]
* InitialismTitle: Inverted. The title reveals what the acronym HARRE actually stands for.
* ReassignmentBackfire: Karith has just transferred from an elite RGK first-strike unit to a much less dangerous advisory role to keep himself safe for his wife and new baby. Then he and Karrin drop in on a boiler infestation that proves to be several years ahead of where it should be on the development tree.
* RobotWar: The various other races of the galaxy vs. the boilers.
* YouShallNotPass: Karith's plan is to throw himself at the Boiler army and inflict as much damage as he can to slow their advance into civilian areas.


[[folder:Perfect State]]

Kairominas the First of Alornia, Keeper of the Seventeen Lanterns, Master of Ultimate Lancing, Slayer of Galbrometh, rules over his world completely. It took him hundreds of years, but he conquered it with his own might and strength. He is the undisputed lord of all he sees.

Then his tenders call to tell him he needs to go on a date.
* ArtificialIntelligence: The machineborn population of the states are these.
* AntiVillain: Sophie. She is directly responsible for the suffering of millions of machine born in her home state, once she destroyed the utopia she created. But what she's railing against is the artificial nature of Liveborn existence. [[spoiler: None of this is true, since she's an android with a false history, but she certainly seems to believe it.]]
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Amusingly {{Lampshaded}} when Kai realizes that a Border State containing valuable {{Unobtanium}} and a dangerous but potentially recruitable ProudWarriorRace exists for no purpose other than to be something for him and two other Liveborn to fight over.
* ArtificialHuman: [[spoiler: Sophie]].
* AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever: Kai and Sophie's date is interrupted by an attack by a giant robot sent by Kai's nemesis. [[spoiler: It's a distraction from the actual attack, Sophie.]]
* TheBadGuyWins: Kai's nemesis [[spoiler: plans to drive Kai to despair by shattering his illusions about the nature of reality and then having the woman he's fallen in love with kill herself. It works perfectly.]] Subverted because in the end, Kai is probably better off for it. That was NOT the intention.
* BattleCouple / FireForgedFriends: Kai and Sophie by the end. [[spoiler: Exactly as planned.]]
* BittersweetEnding: At the end Kai feels horrible, but he has learned a lot and is going to start coming out of his isolation.
* BoringInvincibleHero: In Universe, what the situation becomes for the players if they realize that, in fact, they can't lose to Machine Born or ultimately fail their tests.
* BrainInAJar: All the Liveborn, including Kai, are brains put inside a simulation that is perfectly suited to them but still challenging. They are informed of this when they turn fifty years old.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Of the LotusEaterMachine trope, raising questions of whether keeping people trapped in a blissful illusion could possibly be the right thing to do. The story doesn't deliver a conclusive answer either way.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Kai provoked the feud with his nemesis by treating him dismissively once. He retaliated by committing genocide against a machineborn population and then starting a campaign against Kai [[spoiler: that ultimately culminate's in Sophie's suicide.]]
* TheEndingChangesEverything: [[spoiler: Sophie is actually an android designed by Kai's nemesis to make him fall in love with her, make him question the nature of reality in a way that will break his suspension of disbelief, and then kill herself once she's sure he loves her.]]
** changed even further by a deleted scene that was meant to be the ending of the story and according to WordOfGod is still has some canonicity, if only in the background, that shows that [[spoiler:Melhi's real name is Sophie, and everything Sophie said was true, even if the Sophie that 'died' was a program based on the real Sophie.]]
* FunctionalMagic: Lancing. While it only functions in Kai's state or Border States he touches, it grants near-omnipotence therein.
* GenreSavvy: Sophie is this about the nature of their artificial world: namely, that it's constructed like a video game to keep the inhabitants happy and challenged.
* GodEmperor: Not too much emphasis is put on it, but it's part of Kai's title. He still swears by something called "the Lords," though, so it's not clear if he's the only religion left, or even worshiped at all. Most likely it's just an AppropriatedAppellation, since the world was literally created for him.
* HeelRealization: Kai has one in the midst of the attack against him in a Noir-themed state during his date with Sophie. His lancing has been hacked to let him draw power from heat, which lets him sense the thousands of machine-born people hiding in terror in their homes. He realizes that they've been consigned to live in a world of eternal darkness and rain just so they can be pawns in power games between liveborn that are literally meaningless.
* HeroicBSOD: Kai is in one in the aftermath of the attack, but the story ends as he begins to come out of it.
* HumansAreSpecial: Kai believes this, in contrast to [[JustAMachine Sophie's view of machineborn]]. In summary, he sees them as people and is honestly friends with some but still thinks he's more important. By the end of the story, he's had a HeelRealization about this attitude.
* IHatePastMe: Sophie's attitude toward her past, more idealistic self. One reason she gives for sleeping with Kai is that as a feminist she'd be horrified by having sex with someone who had a harem.
* JustAMachine: Sophie is dismissive of Machineborn, which Kai finds a little horrifying, considering it essentially FantasticRacism. Then again, he has some of this attitude himself: he considers machineborn people, but still considers himself better and more important. He even casually considers [[MindRape rewriting the personality of one to be more agreeable]]. He realizes his hypocrisy by the end.
* LostWorld: Apparently there always is one somewhere in Fantasy themed worlds to provide a new challenge once things have gotten too stable.
* ManChild: The Liveborn as a rule. They are universally immortal conquerors and other world leaders who scratched and clawed their way to the top of the pyramid. They tend to be extremely arrogant, as well as largely petty and self-centered. Presumably the only reason they aren't worse is that they aren't informed of their special status until they are 50, giving them decades of life as an exceptional but still 'ordinary' citizen.
* {{Noir}}: The state Kai and Sophie's date happens in has a distinct Noir atmosphere, though more focused on politics than might be expected.
* NotDistractedByTheSexy: Kai, when disaster strikes right as things are starting to heat up between him and Sophie.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Any rebellion against the people monitoring the simulation is essentially this, since they apparently can and will change anything about it to force you to comply if they have to. Sophie has been doing this for a long time now.
* RealityWarper: What hacking amounts to, since the world is a simulation. Kai isn't very good at it, but Sophie and Kai's Nemesis are. [[spoiler: This is because Sophie is an android programmed by said Nemesis]].
* ShowyInvincibleHero: What the world designers are going for with their 'just hard enough to make you work for it' design.
* SourSupporter: Kai has one, who he keeps because (aside from the fact that hacking his personality would be too difficult) he needs someone to argue with him.
* SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic: Lancing. Kai understands what he's doing to the point that he describes getting rid of a stain by first splitting the water into hydrogen and oxygen and then denaturing the pigments.
* {{Utopia}}: Sophie achieved this, or something close to it, in her world. They'd solved war and a number of social issues, and were working on the rest. [[FaceHeelTurn Then things went bad.]]
* VictoryIsBoring: The Wode work hard to avoid this for the Liveborn, making sure that they always have some kind of worthy challenge to occupy their attention. They can still come to suffer from it if they realise that it's impossible for them to actually fail, though.
* WhatMeasureIsANonhuman: The major focus of the story is on how creating a seemingly perfect world for liveborn humans has created a system of slavery and oppression for uncountable machineborn, and Kai's changing attitude about this.
* WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief: In Universe, Kai and presumably others actively avoid thinking about the way their world is constructed.