You define life or it defines you In Shawn Speakman s case, it was both Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hodgkin s lymphoma in , Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to payThat s when New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell to help alleviate those bills and suggested he ask the same of his other writer friends Unfettered is the result an anthology built in order to relieve that debt, featuringshort stories by Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, Carrie Vaughn, Jacqueline Carey, Peter V Brett, Peter Orullian, R A Salvatore, Todd Lockwood, Black Charlton, Daniel Abraham, Kevin Hearne, Mark Lawrence, David Anthony Durham, Jennifer Bosworth, Robert VS Redick, Eldon Thompson, Naomi Novik, Robert Jordan Brandon Sanderson, Michael J Sullivan, Lev Grossman, Terry Brooks, and, of course, Shawn SpeakmanWith the help of stalwart friends and these wonderful short stories, Shawn has taken the gravest of life s hardships and created something magical Unfettered is not only a fantastic anthology in its own right, but it s a testament to the generosity found in the science fiction and fantasy community proof that humanity can give beyond itself when the need arises After all, isn t that the driving narrative in fantasy literature Lengthhrs andmins The editor of this Anthology, Shawn Speakman, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 Because he had no health insurance, Terry Brooks offered to give him a short story to help defray the medical costs He also told Shawn that he should ask other authors to contribute to as well This book is what came of that Most of the stories are very good, with a few that are outstanding, and only 1 or 2 were duds Here is a list of the stories, and what I thought about them Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks The editor of this Anthology, Shawn Speakman, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 Because he had no health insurance, Terry Brooks offered to give him a short story to help defray the medical costs He also told Shawn that he should ask other authors to contribute to as well This book is what came of that Most of the stories are very good, with a few that are outstanding, and only 1 or 2 were duds Here is a list of the stories, and what I thought about them Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks A fairly good story about a boy with cancer who meets an elf The boy goes into the forest with him to slay a dragon, but no one believes him 3 stars How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss Suprisingly, this was one of the duds in the book Rothfuss is one of my favorite authors, but this is a weird poem It felt like he was going for a Norse mythology style This story didn t work for me 2 stars The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams I am not a Tad Williams fan, but this is a great story The story of a Knight and a Dragon pulling a pool shark scam 4 stars Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn One of the best in the book This is a story about a group of people that control history by stepping outside of it 5 stars Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey Jacqueline Carey is another author that I am not a big fan of, but this is also a very good story A political game of houses type of story, involving the son of someone important, and a young visitor from another country 4 stars Mudboy by Peter V Brett I have never read anything else by this author, but I really enjoyed this story It is the story of the youngest child in the family, who is constantly getting picked on by his siblings 4 stars The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian This was my favorite in the anthology Good enough where I plan on findingto read by this author It is a story of a war, in a world where music is magic 5 stars The Coach With Big Teeth by R.A Salvatore A fairly good non fantasy story about being a boy on a baseball team when you are not a very good athlete 3 stars Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood A very good story about a boy fleeing a city that is being overrun by invaders A fun story with a great twist 4 stars Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton This is a very good story set in a world where children are almost never born Most children materialize on earth, and belong to the one who picks them up If the child is a girl, the father is permanently linked to the girl If she dies, he dies 4 stars Dogs by Daniel Abraham More of a suspense story A man is attacked by a pack of dogs and almost killed This is a story about how his life changes after that 3 stars The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne The story of a very old Druid telling the tale of how the grail legend came to be, and how he was involved in it 3 stars Select Mode by Mark Lawrence A good story about men being led to a trial that is essentially a death sentence 4 stars All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham Another great story This is about a cat who dies and comes back as a ghost The only catch is no one can see him 5 stars Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth This is also a good story It is about a pair of conjoined twins who are separated at birth Then they get a little older and the boy doesn t want to hang with his sister any 4 stars Nocturne by Robert V S Redick I am not a big Redick fan I find his writing tedious This was an ok story though 2 stars Unbowed by Eldon Thompson An excellent story This is another author that I have never read before that I will be looking forbooks by The story about what is basically a ninja school 5 stars In Favour With Their Stars by Naomi Novik A cool sci fi fantasy twist story 4 stars River of Souls by Robert Jordan Brandon Sanderson I am a Wheel of Time fanatic, so this is the reason I bought this anthology This is a deleted scene from A Memory of Light It will only make sense if you have read the Wheel of Time, but I loved it 5 stars The Jester by Michael J Sullivan A very cool blend of fantasy and a heist story Two professional thieves are hired to steel something from a dwarf 5 stars The Duel by Lev Grossman A cool story with a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court feel to it 4 stars Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks This is also a deleted scene A story about a man confronting a ghost for answers to questions 3 stars The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman Not a bad story, but I didn t like it It involves vampires, and vampire storys are hard to pull off without sounding cheesy He also mixes it with Catholic theology I found it slightly cheesy and a bit bizarre 3 stars.So in summary, I enjoyed this book, and the only story I disliked was the Rothfuss story, and that was surprising It is a great way to find new authors, and help someone with crushing medical debt at the same time I highly recommend this book Over the last couple weeks, people have been asking me about this anthology, where my first ever short story published But I can t write an honest review of it yet, as I haven t had a chance to read it all the way through I can say that what I ve read so far, I ve really liked In addition to that, I did write the introduction to the book, and since that explains what the anthology is all about, I m going to put that up here so people can see it Can I be honest here I don t read forewor Over the last couple weeks, people have been asking me about this anthology, where my first ever short story published But I can t write an honest review of it yet, as I haven t had a chance to read it all the way through I can say that what I ve read so far, I ve really liked In addition to that, I did write the introduction to the book, and since that explains what the anthology is all about, I m going to put that up here so people can see it Can I be honest here I don t read forewords Can I be painfully honest I don t even know what forwards are for Am I supposed to somehow convince you to buy this book Are you even now standing in a bookstore, reading this, your gut roiling with indecision That doesn t seem to make sense to me For one thing, you can see the folks in this anthology You ve read their names on the cover It couldn t beimpressive if it included Lord Krishna and Optimus Prime If those names didn t convince you, what could I possibly say that might tip you over the edge I mean, it is true that owning this book will make you roughly 38%attractive Its mere presence on your shelf boosts your metabolism, too And there s the fact that touching it on a daily basis is proven to cure scrofula and reverse baldness Seriously, what do you expect I m in the book And I m a professional liar You can t trust my opinion on this matter Of course I d like you to buy it Maybe you ve already bought this book, and now I m supposed to somehow reassure you, make it clear you ve spent your money wisely Is that the point of a foreword Am I just trying to help you stave off the chilly hand of buyer s remorse It seems to me that in both those cases, you d be better served just reading the book rather than looking here for answers I mean, honestly We re 200 words in at this point If you d just skipped this foreword you d already be on the second page of one of the stories Well fine If you re here, I guess you want something else And given that I don t know what I m supposed to write in a foreword, I m just going to tell you a story Back in 2007, my first book was published Also in 2007 my mom died of cancer In 2007, I also met Shawn Speakman I found out that he d had cancer in the past and beaten it My thoughts at the time were an odd mingling of confused What You can do that and thrilled Yeah Take that, goddamn cancer When he contacted me in 2011 and told me that he d gotten a new cancer It s hard to describe how I felt Pissed off sums it up fairly well But there was also a sense of unfairness to it all Nobody should have to deal with that shit twice When I asked for details, I was glad to hear that it was very treatable Very beatable I think I said something like, Damn That s really awful but congrats on getting a really good cancer Those of you who have had personal brushes with cancer will understand this statement The rest of you probably not so much But there was bad news Shawn couldn t get health insurance because he d had cancer before That meant his treatment was probably going to bankrupt him When he told me about his plans for an anthology to raise money for his bills, I said I d be happy to give him a story It was a no brainer for me, as it allowed me to, if not spit directly into cancer s eye, then at least to glare at it angrily from across the room The fact that other authors have joined this anthology in such numbers shows what good folks sci fi and fantasy authors are I have a grudge against cancer It was an easy choice for me But a lot of them are merely doing this to help out a friend in a tight spot And by buying this book, you ve helped too Thanks for that You re a good person Alright, I ve wasted enough of your time here On to the stories Pat Rothfuss, May 2013 If you d like to order a copy of unfettered, you can order one directly from Shawn over here There are also links to e book options on his site Or you can order a copy from The Tinker s Packs where I ll sign it, and money will go to Shawn and Worldbuilders tooLater space coyboyspat Yes, I have a story in this anthology so my rating comes from all stories except The Jester I ll leave it to others to say how well I did on that particular piece I am going to provide the brief intro to my piece, though, in the hopes that finding out what my story is about will help others take a look The characters of Royce and Hadrian came to me during my self imposed ten year hiatus from writing After crafti Yes, I have a story in this anthology so my rating comes from all stories except The Jester I ll leave it to others to say how well I did on that particular piece I am going to provide the brief intro to my piece, though, in the hopes that finding out what my story is about will help others take a look The characters of Royce and Hadrian came to me during my self imposed ten year hiatus from writing After crafting twelve novels and spending a decade getting nowhere, I had determined that publication was hopeless, and I had vowed never to write creatively again But they kept invading my mind, and as hard as I tried to silence them, I finally gave in, on one condition that I would write a book that I wanted to read and forgo any thoughts of publication What a fun time I had bringing these two rogues to life My wife decided to circumvent my plans and got the books published, and hence Riyria was born The six books of The Riyria Revelations were released by Orbit in three two book omnibus volumes, and while I thought that would be the end of Royce and Hadrian, readers clad forBecause I didn t want to tack on to a carefully choreographed ending, The Riyria Chronicles were born to explore adventures that occurred during the twelve years the pair were together before Revelations began.The short story I ve provided is a Chronicles tale It takes place after the events of The Rose and the Thorn and before those of Theft of Swords Even so, it s a stand alone story and no prior experience with any of my books is required to enjoy it to its fullest Crafting a work for Unfettered was quite a daunting experience I wanted to help Shawn and his cause, but how could I not be intimidated by the esteem of the authors I d be sharing the pages with Like Riyria, I hope that I rose to the challenge, and that you ll be entertained by The Jester, a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find I m going to also provide the first paragraph to The Jester as that is sometimes a good way to get people interested in a story.Hadrian discovered that the most fascinating thing about plummeting in total darkness wasn t the odd sense of euphoria instilled from the free fall or the abject terror derived from anticipating sudden death, but that he had the opportunity to contemplate both The drop was that far Unfettered is the brain child of Terry Brooks who wanted to find a way to help out Shawn Speakmanhis website designer who racked up 200,000 in uninsured medical expenses while fighting Hodgkin s cancer Terry donated a short story, and other fatnasy authors followed suit No one is taking an compensation from their stories, all money will go paying off Shawn s bills, and if there is any left overhe ll start a fund to help other authors as well.The line up for this project is legend It includes Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik, Brandon Sanderson, R.A Salvatore, Tad Williams, Jacqueline Carey, Daniel Abraham, Peter V Brett, Robert V.S Redick, Peter Orullian, Todd Lockwood, Carrie Vaughn, Blake Charlton, Kevin Hearne, Mark Lawrence, David Anthony Durham, Jennifer Bosworth, Lev Grossman, Michael J Sullivan, Eldon Thompson, and Shawn Speakman.In addition to donating a Royce and Hadrian short story, I also helped Shawn with formatting the ebook This gave me a sneak peek at all the stories and while they are all good, I told myself before I started reading that I would choose 10 as my favorites Here is the list presented in order of where they appear in the book Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn Mudboy by Peter V Brett Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton 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 Unbowed by Eldon Thompson The Duel by Lev Grossman Update 6 21 2013 So yesterday I completed my proofing of the ebook version of Unfettered and the book is now back in the hands of Shawn for posting I must say there is a wide variety of stories in here and I think you d be hard pressed not to find something that tickles your fancy One thing that I found most remarkable, is even books that were part of a franchise that I haven t read I still found them extremely enjoyable and engaging.Still debating the ethics of giving a rating as I have a story in this volume, but if I were to rate it, the marks would be high indeed Update 6 27 2013 The following would be considered spoiler material please don t read this portion until after you finish the story view spoiler I m not really known for writing short stories I write novelsI think in terms of novelsEverything I do comes out at 100,000 words The first real short story I ever put out there was The Viscount and the Witch To make it I cheated Basically I wrote what I would consider the start of a story and just made sure that it wrapped up and had a complete ending.For The Jester I applied the same cheat but in reverse order I decided to write the end of a story and could keep the word count down by referencing what would probably be a full book s worth of mayhem that had occurred up to the point of the climax It was a fun way to write it I m sure that given it s construction, some might wonder if I ll ever put the front end on it Who knows I certainly don t I have ho plans of doing so at this point, as I have so many other projects awaiting my attention, but it was an awful lot of fun coming up with the snippets of what happened before page one of this story hide spoiler I admit it.I m biased.I think Unfettered isbadass than Patrick Rothfuss s beard.That said, I am a fantasy fan first I always will be And I am perhaps evenjudgmental of projects that I am working on than those I m not So when I say Unfettered is a solid fantasy anthology and deserves to be read, I mean it.There are several short stories in here that should be nominated for Hugo Awards No joke And the rest are solid entries There are two I d love to see grown into full length nov I admit it.I m biased.I think Unfettered isbadass than Patrick Rothfuss s beard.That said, I am a fantasy fan first I always will be And I am perhaps evenjudgmental of projects that I am working on than those I m not So when I say Unfettered is a solid fantasy anthology and deserves to be read, I mean it.There are several short stories in here that should be nominated for Hugo Awards No joke And the rest are solid entries There are two I d love to see grown into full length novels one day And I m even happy with my own short story, something I don t say too often about my own work.If you love fantasy and love what these writers do, Unfettered is a great place for you You will read stories from some of your favorite writers you will read and hopefully fall in love with some new writers That s the point To be a great sampling and promote reading of the fantastic.I hope you love Unfettered as much as I enjoyed putting it together Thank you to you all And I m happy to give a HUGE thank you to my writers Without you, this wouldn t have happened.Cheers S