Shadow Unit shared world book one is free and DRM-free

Elizabeth Bear writes,

Shadow Unit is an ongoing, now five-year-old science fiction web serial about a mysterious "anomaly" that causes affected human beings to simultaneously develop superpowers and sociopathy--and about the law enforcement agents who struggle to contain the crisis.

In more formal terms, it's is a semi-real-time semi-interactive shared-world hyperfiction narrative--which is to say, a story in which you can interact with some of the characters much of the time. It's the brainchild of Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, and is written by Elizabeth Bear, Holly Black, Leah Bobet, Amanda Downum, Sarah Monette, Chelsea Polk, and Stephen Shipman--with art by Amanda Downum and Kyle Cassidy.

Shadow Unit's producers have always made the entire narrative available on a donation model on the website and its associated social media. We've also produced a series of ebooks (available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords)--and the first volume is available as a paper book. For a limited time (We're not yet sure how limited!) we're also giving the first ebook (Shadow Unit #1) away for free.

Shadow Unit 1 (Thanks, Bear)


  1. The series is a LOT of fun and the books integrate stuff from the web like character’s livejournal entries and stuff like that that you might have to search around the site a bit to find otherwise.   There’s a forum where some people have put together chronologies so you can read the stories and extras in the same order that they are in the books.  Anyway, pick up the first one or check out the website at

    No I’m not involved with them…just someone who devoured all 12 ebooks recently :)

  2. Elizabeth Bear wrote one of the best Cthulhu Mythos stories I’ve ever read: “Shoggoths in Bloom”, and I’ve been looking for more of her work. I’ll give this a go based on that!

  3. I had the pleasure of narrating the audiobook versions of “Shoggoths of Bloom” and “Mongoose” so I can attest that anything they write is worth reading! They were two of my favorite short stories I’ve narrated.

  4. Hey, RevRob–Arachne’s versions are awesome, and totally free (and authorized under Creative Commons.) They don’t contain some of the supplemental material that the official ebooks do, however–including blog entries and Kyle’s photo covers.


  5. I’ve not read this (yet) and while I am sure it is very different the synopsis brings to mind the anime Darker Than Black.

    Looking forward to reading. Darn fine writers involved.

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