Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Legion And The Emperors Soul Legion And The Emperor's Soul
by Brandon Sanderson

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

Now, as I have stated elsewhere, electronic publishing is bringing about resurgence in the publication of novellas and novelettes. So what do print publishers do? The obvious is to gather up multiple stories and publish them as a single volume. These two novellas have nothing obvious in common except they’re both by Brandon Sanderson; they’re not even in the same genre (which may present a problem for some librarians).

Legion is a science fiction story about a man with multiple personalities and a device for taking pictures of the past. It’s beautifully conceived, with a fascinating protagonist and very clever in the way that it satisfies the reader while leaving its central question unanswered.

The Emperor’s Soul is the fantasy tale that won the Best Novella at this year’s Hugo Awards. Given that I voted for it, you may safely conclude that I liked it, at least better than the other nominees. It focuses on a novel form of magic, that of Forging, which involves rewriting the past so as to alter the present. The problem is that the Emperor has been not entirely successfully assassinated, and while his body has been healed, his mind is gone. It is up to Shai, imprisoned for attempting to replace the Moon Sceptre with a forgery, to Forge the Emperor’s soul before the end of the hundred days of mourning for his wife.

And there you have it, two novellas bound to together not by anything so obvious as setting or character, but by the way in which they both explore the nature of art, of time, and of the human condition.

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