Award winners Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman’s varied and creative THE UNICORN ANTHOLOGY will make you reconsider the unicorn trope
With over a month until publication, reviews keep rolling in for Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman’s recommended THE UNICORN ANTHOLOGY.
At FOREWORD, Meagan Logsdon praises the anthology.
Unicorns in literature are fascinating, evocative, mysterious, and elusive, and with THE UNICORN ANTHOLOGY, editors Peter S. Beagle—himself of unicorn fame—and Jacob Weisman invite continued appreciation of the legendary beast, drawing it beyond its familiar medieval framework.
A particular standout is Beagle’s own contribution, “My Son Heydari and the Karkadann,” which removes the figure of the unicorn from its typical Western context. Bruce Coville’s “Homeward Bound” enters beautiful metaphysical territory in its final scene. And Jane Yolen’s “The Transfigured Hart,” a hermetically inspired call to see with more than the eye, is a lovely end to the short stories. Nancy Springer’s series of unicorn poetry completes the collection as an effective set of word paintings that tie together, with shimmering thread, all that comes before.
The varied and creative stories of THE UNICORN ANTHOLOGY inspire new ways of engagement with an old legend. Across cultures and times, the mystical essence of this beast continues to haunt the forest of the collective human psyche.
FAIRY BOOKMOTHER recommends the book.
This is not an anthology for younger readers, as there are references to bestiality (didn’t finish this story), references to sexual acts, and references to heavy-handed violence to people of all ages. This is a collection of stories that will make you reconsider the unicorn trope, and the collection includes a wide variety of stories to appeal Overall, it’s a solid collection of stories, and I found myself wishing for a few more at the end.
My favorites were “The Maltese Unicorn” by Caitlín R. Kiernan (the lesbian unicorn noir you didn’t know you needed to read until now), “Ghost Town” by Jack C. Haldeman II (brother of Joe Haldeman!, and I also love western-esque stories about rogues being changed by chance encounters in nearly-abandoned towns), “The Highest Justice” by Garth Nix (I love anything Nix writes), “Survivor” by Dave Smeds (a Vietnam soldier gets a unicorn tattooed on his chest and therefore cannot die), “Homeward Bound” by Bruce Coville (he wrote a series of unicorn books for middle grade readers that I thoroughly enjoyed and was happy to see another unicorn story by him!), and “The Transfigured Hart” by Jane Yolen (anything she writes is pure magic and pure joy).
This collection comes with a recommendation from me, especially with the introduction by Peter S. Beagle himself.
Jacob Weisman and Peter S. Beagle at Worldcon 76 in San Jose, CA
INFINITE TEXT enjoys the different look at unicorns.
There are also tales in this collection on the darker more erotic side. I have recently become more acquainted with Cailtín R. Kiernan’s writing style and even so, I can honestly say her story “The Maltese Unicorn” will leave you in a state of shock. There are also more classic fantasy takes like the one found in “The Highest Justice” by Garth Nyx, and “The Transfigured Heart” by Jane Yolen. Far too many in this collection go right for your heartstrings like “Stampede of Light” by Marina Fitch: “Open a child’s mind and heart to the world, and you achieve immortality…whether they remember you or not, you’ll live forever” or a story by Beagle himself about a boy and an injured beast, the brief moments of friendship, and the intricacies of the healing process. There are many others in this collection, and they are all incredible voices contributing on the multi-faceted, and versatile existence of a unicorn in our collective imagination.
The collection ends on a poem written by Nancy Springer capturing the innocence and magic surrounding our fascination with unicorns. Reading this poem feels like walking straight into a Pre-Raphaelite painting. This collection is a great introduction to various authors and a great sample of their writing, in addition to various ways one can look at a unicorn.
For more info about THE UNICORN ANTHOLOGY, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty
Design by Elizabeth Story