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Brandon Sanderson – Firstborn

January 6, 2009

161. Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson (2008)

The short story Firstborn can be read or downloaded for free (in PDF or MP3 format) at

Read By: Brandon Sanderson and his wife
Length: 1h 14min

Genre: Short Story; Sci-Fi

Started: 30 December 2008
Finished: 30 December 2008

Summary: Dennison Crestmar has lived his entire life in the shadow of his much-older brother, Varion. While Varion is a high-placed commander in the empire’s army, and has never lost a battle in bringing the edges of the empire to heel, Dennison can’t even seem to handle a small squadron in an unimportant skirmish. He wants nothing more than to be let out of the army, but fate has other plans for him, and he must decide who he is, independent of Varion’s influence.

Review: Maybe it’s because I read so little “hard” sci-fi that I have no other basis of comparison, but this short story seemed really strongly influenced by Ender’s Game – mostly due to the presence of interstellar war being controlled by holograms. It was a fun short story, with one twist in the middle that I didn’t see coming, although the ending was pretty predictable. It’s far from the best that Sanderson’s produced, and I wouldn’t want Sanderson’s body of work to be judged on this story alone, but it kept me involved for an hour’s worth of a long drive. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Not exactly ground-breaking, but it’s an entertaining short story for sci-fi fans.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | Download this story at

First Line: While safe aboard his flagship, there were two ways for Dennison to watch the battle.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2009 8:22 pm

    Thanks for reviewing this. I’ve been meaning to read it but forgot about it. Sounds like it is pretty much what I expected. First, it was written some time ago, and second, he’s said that he doesn’t feel short stories are his best event.

  2. January 7, 2009 11:06 am

    Laura – Yeah, it wasn’t *fantastic*, but it was a fun way to spend an hour’s drive.


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