Saturday, January 24, 2015

Kalyani and Rahul

In January I went to the book signing for the release of Firefight by Brandon Sanderson. If you aren't aware, I really love a lot of Brandon's books. He makes the top 5 list of my favorite authors, and I have some of the most fun anticipating his new releases because there are a whole lot of other fans that like to theorize and discuss. (I've been moderately active over on the official fan site ever since the build up to the release of Words of Radiance.)

For the signing, I dressed up as a Rithmatics professor, my sister came as Megan (from the Reckoners series) and I dressed my son up as Pattern (from Stormlight Archive). I enjoyed recording the Q&A and the signing line, and meeting Brandon again (for the full report, see this thread on the 17th Shard fan site). But my favorite part of the evening was definitely meeting the people behind me in line.

There I was, nearly at the back of the line (my son was getting fussy so we had left for dinner and come back). The woman behind me asked if I had read Legion, which is told from the perspective of "a perfectly sane man" whose hallucinations all have psychoses, but are also geniuses. When I replied that I had, she said, "I'm Kalyani," which is the name of one of the hallucinations. At first I thought she meant she was dressed up as that character, but as it happens the inspiration goes the other direction. Kalyani in line was the basis for the fictional person.

Along with her husband Rahul (who also appears in Legion), Kalyani makes an impressive effort to extend hospitality to their friend Brandon. Whenever he has a signing within 8 hours of their home, they drive to the location and cook him an Indian meal for dinner. Both of them were also wearing T-shirts with their own fan art on them (a chasmfiend and the oathgate network.) I'm glad I got to meet them.

As a result of some questions asked by KalynaAnn, who has put a lot of thought into the geometry underlying the chalk magic from The Rithmatist, I got excited about possible variations and extensions of the defenses described in the book. Here are three hypothetical Rithmatic constructions that could be valid defenses, depending on how many of my assumptions are accurate. I discuss them in this post on 17S.