Brandon Sanderson sells out Dragonsteel convention, thinks Dune: Part Two is inferior to Part One

Author Brandon Sanderson is selling out convention halls in an hour and giving lukewarm Dune takes. How long until his movies make it to the screen and he becomes a household name?
Brandon Sanderson. Photo by Nazrilof. Image courtesy of Tor Books.
Brandon Sanderson. Photo by Nazrilof. Image courtesy of Tor Books. /

Brandon Sanderson is the hugely successful author of fantasy books like Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive. How hugely successful is he? Well, for the past few years he's held a fan convention called Dragonsteel in his native Salt Lake City dedicated to his fantasy universe, the Cosmere. Tickets for the 2024 meetup went on sale last week, and all 7,500 sold out in an hour, according to KSL.

Dragonsteel 2024 will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center from December 5-7. Event coordinator Kellyn Neumann said they tried to get more space but were rebuffed. "I told them almost two years ago that we wanted that amount of space, and they weren't transparent about what metrics we needed to hit … and by the time we hit them, it was too late."

As for Sanderson, he talked about the event in a YouTube video. "I knew it was wonderful, on the one hand; but on the other hand, there's going to be disappointed people," the author said. "My job is a solitary job. I sit in the basement and tell stories all day. It's really important to remind me that there is a community out there."

Brandon Sanderson thinks Dune: Part Two is a 9/10 movie, but Part One is a 10/10

The conventions and the videos are a couple of the ways Sanderson fosters his community, which has a lot to do with his continued success. He also has a podcast where he and fellow author Dan Wells riff about basically whatever, usually while Sanderson signs things. In the latest episode, they talk about Dune: Part Two while Sanderson signs tip-in pages for one of his Mistborn books.

For the record, Sanderson didn't enjoy Dune: Part Two as much as he enjoyed Part One, giving the new film a 9 and the earlier film a 10. His main objection seems to be director Denis Villeneuve skipped over too much of the timeline as laid out in Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic Dune. If Sanderson had his way, this would have been three movies rather than two. If you've read his work, you know he's not afraid of long books, so that tracks.

Sanderson has been extremely successful at growing his brand. He's on the edge of becoming a household name, but he's not there yet, whether because he hasn't yet been able to get Hollywood to adapt his books for the screen or because mainstream media outlets like Wired don't seem to know what to make of him.

As fantasy fans, we have two futures in front of us: in one, Brandon Sanderson's books get turned into movies and TV shows and he becomes the next Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, a celebrity author whose ideas influence pop culture as a whole, not just fantasy books. And in another, his work just isn't a good fit for the Hollywood machine, and he goes on being merely a hugely successful author with his own passionate niche following, rather than a phenomenally successful one with a mainstream one. It can go either way at this point, although I think that if Sanderson is going to blow up, it'll happen soon.

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