At long last, Unfettered, a fantasy anthology edited by Shawn Speakman, is available for purchase. So, please excuse me while I have a little fangasm.
If you’re unaware of the anthology, Unfettered has a history that stretches back to Speakman, owner of The Signed Page, being diagnosed with Hogdkin’s lymphoma in 2011. Uninsured (due to a past cancer diagnosis), Speakman did the only thing he could think of to deal with the monumental medical bills accrued during his cancer treatment: he called his friends, he made a book.
Oh, yeah… his friends include Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik and Lev Grossman. Each author contributed an original short story to the anthology and, as the title suggests, were not restrained by an overall thematic structure as is often the case with anthologies.
Authors and stories included in the anthology:
– Foreword by Patrick Rothfuss
– Introduction: On Becoming Unfettered
– Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks
– How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss
– The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
– Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
– The Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey
– Mudboy by Peter V. Brett
– The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian
– The Coach with Big Teeth by R.A. Salvatore
– Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood
– Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton
– Dogs by Daniel Abraham
– The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne
– Select Mode by Mark Lawrence
– All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
– Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth
– Nocturne by Robert V.S. Redick
– Unbowed by Eldon Thompson
– In Favour with Their Stars by Naomi Novik
– River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
– The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan
– The Duel by Lev Grossman
– Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks
– The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman
The slam dunk here looks like Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s “River of Souls,” which is a deleted sequence from A Memory of Light, which explores the off-screen actions of Bao, the Wyld, who Wheel of Time fans might recognize by a different name. With Jordan’s Wheel of Time series concluding earlier this year, this on-the-cutting-room-floor excerpt from the series is one last chance to dip a toe into Jordan’s world.
I’ve not had a chance to read through the entire anthology, but a meander through its pages, along with the handful of stories I have read, Unfettered seems to live up to its promise of being one of the most comprehensive and exciting anthologies of mainstream fantasy released in years. The Table of Contents won’t set anything afire for pushing boundaries, but the (admittedly male-heavy) list of authors includes Sanderson, Carey, Abraham, and Rothfuss, and looks to provide a variety of short stories that is sure to please readers.
Disclaimer: I provided editorial feedback to Todd Lockwood on his story, Keeper of Memory, which appears in Unfettered.