May 19 2013 2:00pm

An Epic Fantasy Community Comes Together. Appreciating Unfettered, edited by Shawn Speakman

Unfettered Shawn Speakman fantasy anthology preorder

Unfettered is coming, a masterful anthology of epic fantasy edited by author Shawn Speakman, featuring unfamiliar stories set in familiar worlds. A sneak peek of Unfettered will debut at this year’s Phoenix Comicon, which runs through Memorial Day weekend, and all this week will be discussing the stories included in that sampler: including new tales from the worlds of Terry Brooks, the Vault of Heaven, and what may possibly be the last glimpse we’ll get from inside the world of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.

Unfettered is more than just an anthology, however.

Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, author Shawn Speakman quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That was when Terry Brooks, author of the epic Shannara series, offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell through Grim Oak Press to help alleviate those bills.

Unfettered Shawn Speakman fantasy anthology preorder

That offer touched off a wave of other donations from Speakman’s fellow fantasy authors, including Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Naomi Novik, Lev Grossman, artist Todd Lockwood, and many, many more. And so Unfettered was born.

Being a full-time author in the U.S. often involves the risk of going without medical insurance, and even with insurance there’s no guarantee that intensive and prolonged treatment won’t completely drain the personal finances of an author or his or her family. In this way, Unfettered is more than an anthology, it is the epic fantasy community standing together to hold back the tide so one of their own can make a stand.

Although as yet unreleased, Unfettered is already helping other authors in the field. Proceeds of the sales from the Advanced Reading Copy will go towards author Dave Wolverton, whose son recently became comatose in a longboarding accident.

Those lucky enough to be at Phoenix Comicon this year will have the opportunity to obtain a five story sampler from Unfettered from Shawn and Grim Oak Press. The stories included are:

  • Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks (a precursor to the Word/Void trilogy)
  • The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne (an Iron Druid tale)
  • River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (a Wheel of Time tale)
  • The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian (a Vault of Heaven tale)
  • The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman (an Annwn Cycle tale)

We’ll be taking a look at all five this week on, starting with Shawn’s own story “The Unfettered Knight.” You can keep track of our coverage of Unfettered by bookmarking the “Unfettered” site tag here.

Pre-order your own copy of Unfettered.

Paul Weimer
1. PrinceJvstin
Looks like a box office lineup of authors. Here's hoping the stories live up to that (especially given some of these authors don't seem to write at less than 6 figures in terms of word count!)
Jeremy Goff
3. JeremyM
I can't wait to get my copies of this book. I ordered both the ARC and Signed and Numbered editions. I honestly felt a little bad a bout the ARC since I already had the other copy ordered, but couldn't help myself. I love that he is using some of the sales of the ARC to help out another author and his family.
4. bigalosu
It makes me happy to see Shawn getting the press her deserves. He is a great author and contributes so much as the web druid for Terry's fan community. He is an inspiration to me and so many others, not just for the escape he provides with his writing and support of Terry's books, but also for the strength he has demonstrated in his battle with his illness. Unfettered is going to be EPIC and I can't wait to read it!
5. Shawn Speakman
Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Unfettered has been a labor of love and I think you all are going to love it. Some really great work in it, several stories that should be up for awards if I had my way about it! I'm moved by my contributors and their fans -- beyond words. More about Unfettered soon as we approach the June 25th release date.
7. Where'smybook
Has it been 1 or 2 years since pre-ordering deluxe version and still no copies and no date for orders. Swindled would be a more apt title!

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