White Sand: the origin of Sanderson's fiction

White Sand: the origin of Sanderson's fiction

White Sand

Modern fantasy literature has become a fertile ground for a new generation of authors, who, after having formed on the works of sacred monsters such as Tolkien or Brooks, have given new life to the genre, giving life to new variations of fantasy. The result of this desire to explore new horizons is the fiction of Brandon Sanderson, a prolific American author, who with his imagination has, in a few years, written fantasy sagas that immediately became bestsellers, such as the cycle of Mistborn or The Chronicles of Lightning . Like all authors, Sanderson also had an initial moment in which his fiction was still in search of its own form, a first step that we can finally read thanks to Sabbia Bianca, a full-bodied comic book published by Mondadori in its Oscar Fantastica series. .

Accustomed to reading Sanderson's novels, experimenting his creativity in a comic is a new experience, but one that becomes a tool to understand what the writer's ideas were. In every work of the novelist there is an almost maniacal care in the creation of the word building, not limiting himself to a simple stylistic characterization, but building a complete and credible social dynamic, which touches often overlooked aspects such as politics and linguistic forms. White Sand, which represents the conceptual origin of Sanderson's fiction, already shows these qualities, in a seminal form that is still influenced by the influence of other famous fantasy and sci-fi writers to whom Sanderson does not fail to recognize a formative role for his authorial streak.

White Sand: Sanderson's desert fantasy

The Sand Rulers are a mystical force of Taidin, planet of Sanderson's Cosmoverse, capable of manipulating the sand, in order to make it a weapon or socially useful tool. This power of theirs has made them seemingly opinionated and greedy, pushing them to feel immune to the laws that govern the life of Kezare, a city built on the edge of the desert and in which the Professions govern through a collegial body. Center of power in which the Dominators are viewed badly, with envy from the other Professions who are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to erase this mystical and political force.

Possibility that arises when, during one of the many tests to which the young disciples are subjected, the Dominators of the Sand are attacked and almost exterminated by the Kertzians, a barbarian people who have always been enemies of Kezare and who have been repeatedly defeated by the Dominators. A tradition that fails in this battle, which sees Kenton as the only survivor, son of the Minstrell of the Dominators and one of the least gifted of the students, who after having incredibly passed one of the most difficult tests of his profession, finds himself inheriting the paternal role as head of the Diem, the assembly of the Rulers of the Sand. In this role, he will have to prevent the other Professions from dissolving the Diem, addressing both the internal quarrels of his people and the distrust of the people of Kezare.

At his side he will have his brotherly friend Aaarik, and the foreign Lady Khrissalla , a woman from the shaded lands of Taidin (known as Foscolato), who came to Fulgilate to discover the fate of her beloved, who disappeared during an expedition in search of the legendary Wizards of the Sands. Kenton will have to rely on these two fellow adventurers to give his people a future and solve the mystery about the betrayal that led the Sand Rulers to the brink of extinction, discovering long-ignored realities that risk upsetting the foundations of the same. Kezare.

With White Sand, Sanderson had already made what would become one of the most recognizable features of his fiction. Kezare and its socio-political dynamics are rendered with particular wealth of detail, through the dialogues between the characters all the explanations are provided to better understand the particularities of this city-state. The expedient of the foreigner who approaches a new society, a role played by Khrisalla, is perfect as a tool to animate this dynamic dialectic, embellished with a happy graphic intuition, which sees, in the presence of characters not united by a common language, the baloon take on delicate different colors to identify the language used by the character.

Sanderson, skilled builders of worlds

Sanderson, in this primeval work of his, still shows a certain immaturity, still allowing himself to be influenced in way too evident from his readings, as the author honestly admits in the introduction of the Mondadori edition of Sabbia Bianca. At the time of writing what would later become this massive comic book, Sanderson was still an author of short stories, which he himself described as 'unoriginal', and the creation of what would later become Taidin was his first work. of world building. A first step that betrays the strong influences of Dune and other cornerstones of fantasy literature, such as The Wheel of Time (of which Sanderson himself would have written the final chapters, on Jordan's death).

A concession that it can be granted to a then young author, considered as in White Sand, then adapted for the comic medium by Rik Hoskins, the future characteristics of Sanderson's work can already be glimpsed. The protagonist who faces the world from a disadvantaged position and forced to face the mistrust of all, a path of understanding his own powers that coincides with the rise to the role of hero are themes dear to Sanderson, able to narrate them with emphasis and passion . This is combined with the perfect construction of a social order that Sanderson will then perfect in Mistborn and Le Cronache della Folgoluce. This ability, from White Sand, evolves through Elantris or Il Conciliatore, but it is in White Sand that we can best appreciate his initial desire not to limit himself to telling stories, but to create worlds of incredible beauty.

A complexity that is enhanced by drawings by Julius Gopez, who in the first three chapters of Sabbia Bianca portrays a hyper-detailed and epic way, perfect for conveying the sensations of Sanderson's narrative verve. Gopez's stroke is impeccable, he excels in the architectural construction of Taidin, but he is superb in portraying the protagonists, with an enhancement of their magnificent, vital physicality. Movements, expressions and small charms of each character are rendered with a captivating realism, inserting them inside cages that change from table to table, following an intense and enveloping visual story.

Less impactful, however much however enjoyable, the chapters entrusted to Fritz Casas, more concise in his visual language and less generous in movement and detail. The passing of the baton between the two designers is clear-cut and risks disappointing, passing from an artistic richness like that of Gopez to Casas' spare and essential visual narration.

An unmissable fantasy volume

Sensation that is transpired in the passage from Ross Campbell's coloring to that of Salvatore Aiala Studio, where the former best interprets the narrative tensions of both the story and the design, especially in giving tone to the manifestation of the power of the Dominators and in managing the complex dynamics of light and shadow that characterizes the setting. Working on Casa's drawings, Salvatore Aiala Studios' coloring seems to adapt to this more sedate interpretation of Sanderson's narrative grammar, conveying less grit in the final phase of the story.

Mondadori's work, who publishes Sabbia Bianca in a full-bodied volume, in which the entire cycle is present, enriched by a generous compartment of extras that show the incredible work of Gopez in the making of his incredible tables. The cover price, although of a certain importance, is largely motivated not only by the charm of Sanderson's work, but also by the commendable editorial care with which Mondadori has created a comic book that will fascinate any Sanderson fan.

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