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 Tor.com 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.
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 Tor.com, 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.