Note: The following is a sample chapter from Brandon’s middle-grade novel Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians which was published by Scholastic Press in October of 2007. You can read more about where Alcatraz came from right here. Enjoy!
I am not a good person.
Oh, I know what the stories say about me. They call me Oculator Dramatus, Hero, Savior of the Twelve Kingdoms. . . . Those, however, are just rumors. Some are exaggerations; many are outright lies. The truth is far less impressive.
When Mr. Bagsworth first came to me, suggesting that I write my autobiography, I was hesitant. However, I soon realized that this was the perfect opportunity to explain myself to the public.
As I understand it, this book will be published simultaneously in the Free Kingdoms and Inner Libraria. This presents something of a problem for me, since I will have to make the story understandable to people from both areas. Those in the Free Kingdoms, for instance, might be unfamiliar with things like bazookas, briefcases, and guns. However, those in Libraria—or, the Hushlands, as they are often called—will likely be unfamiliar with things like Oculators, Crystin, and the depth of the Librarian conspiracy.
To those of you in the Free Kingdoms, I suggest that you find a reference book—there are many that would do—that can explain unfamiliar terms to you. After all, this book will be published as a biography in your lands, and so it is not my purpose to teach you about the strange machines and archaic weaponry of Libraria. My purpose is to show you the truth about me, and to prove that I am not the hero that everyone says I am.
In the Hushlands—those Librarian-controlled nations such as the United States, Canada, and England—this book will be published as a work of fantasy. Do not be fooled! This is no work of fiction, nor is my name really “Brandon Sanderson.” Both are guises to hide the book from Librarian agents. Unfortunately, even with these precautions, I suspect that the Librarians will discover the book and ban it. In that case, our Free Kingdom agents will have to sneak into libraries and bookstores to put it on shelves. Count yourself lucky if you’ve found one of these secret copies.
For you Hushlanders, I know the events of my life may seem wondrous and mysterious. I will do my best to explain them, but please remember that my purpose is not to entertain you. My purpose it to open your eyes to the truth.
I know that in writing this I shall make few friends in either world. People are never pleased when you reveal that their beliefs are wrong.
But, that is what I must do. This is my story—the story of a selfish, contemptible fool.
The story of a coward.