Following the recent publication of Peter S. Beagle’s THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY and the 50th anniversary of the original novel. the internet is all ablaze.
OPEN BOOK SOCIETY praises THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY.
This was a very beautifully written book. From start to end the reader gets fantasy references that bring back memories from our childhood fantasy books, stories, and tales. When the unicorn finds the dragon it is sad to hear how much the world has changed and even his own kind is disappearing. I liked that this book also makes references to modern day technology and devices. The story is first set in the unicorn’s forest and the reader doesn’t notice the time change until the unicorn begins her journey. The reader learns of the changes along with the unicorn.
The characters were all amazing and had great quotes. We have the unicorn, the dragon, the butterfly, the human child with great insight, the human couple of an example of humans nowadays, Azazel, Webster, and even a mention of the Red Bull among others. I really liked this book and it made me remember why I like fantasy novels and why the Last Unicorn story is one of my favorites not to mention Beagle’s writing. You know it’s a good book when you go around telling people about it! If you like fantasy books, THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY is the book for you.
Ceridwen Christensen on B&N SCI-FI & FANTASY BLOG previews the book.
It is the first journey, the first introduction, the first chance meeting on the road, a melding of the immortal world of the unicorn and the brief world of us mortals, the first glimpse of the lilac wood. It is here we glimpse what will come to be, years before it came to pass.
As does Tom Mayer at MOUNTAIN TIMES.
The story you’ve never read and the story you’ve read repeatedly are now one and the same with Tachyon Publications’ beautifully imagined release of THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY.
Issuing a 50th anniversary commemorative edition of Peter S. Beagle’s seminal fantasy novel might seem an obvious way for a publishing house to boost its end-of-year numbers, but not so obvious is putting forth the effort to make that edition “special” by offering the 85-page genesis of the story from a then-23-year-old Beagle. Wrapping this in a package of original illustrations by Stephanie Law and tributes from the likes of fantasy authors Patrick Rothfuss and Carrie Vaughn — with a jacket blurb from Neil Gaiman — does justice to this hardcover edition.
It’s now been 50 years since the novel’s publication, and the unicorn’s journey still captures the minds and hearts of readers. This week marks the release of THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY, a commemorative edition of Beagle’s first draft of the novel. The book’s early popularity was no doubt fueled by the Tolkien boom; J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings found legions of fans in the United States after it appeared in a paperback edition in 1965. But The Last Unicorn has since come into its own. In 1982, the novel was made into an animated film, which has become something of a cult classic. A novelette sequel that Beagle published in 2005 won both the Nebula and the Hugo Awards—the fantasy genre’s two highest honors. After all these years, The Last Unicorn still feels relevant. It’s not an epic fantasy, but a softer tale at the boundaries of magic and reality, that place where one grapples with what it means to be human.
A book like The Last Unicorn is not less significant because it is a pleasure—there is nothing remotely fluff-like about it, and if you read it closely and pay attention, you’ll be rewarded with the revelation of just how perfectly and subtly its form fits its meaning. It is a story about stories, the nature of reality, and how things can be both more and less than they seem, and as you read along you’ll find that its questions have become your own, that every choice that you make about how to feel and react and interpret is a part of the overall tale—not the simple quest that drives the plot, but the underlying story of what kind of world we live in, and what kind of people we really are.
Photo: Rina Weisman
On his eponymous site, Paul Semel interviews Beagle about THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY.
THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY is an early version of The Last Unicorn. But how different is LOST JOURNEY from the finished version?
THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY was my first attempt at telling that story, during the summer of 1962, when I was sharing a cabin in the Berkshires with my closest friend, who is a painter. I never finished that version, but I thought that it might be interesting for fans of The Last Unicorn, as well as for those possibly concerned with the way in which a writer and a story eventually find each other.
Subterranean Press previously issued a limited-edition version of THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY in 2006. But for this one, you swapped out your intro for one by Carrie Vaughn, and added a forward from Pat Rothfuss, an afterward by you, and new illustrations by Stephanie Law. Why did you decide this edition needed those changes?
I actually don’t have a copy of the Subterranean edition of THE LOST JOURNEY, nor of the introduction I wrote for it, which I don’t remember at all. Besides, I wanted to write something at least about that summer, when my friend Phil Sigunick and I were both 23 years old, and knew without verbalizing it that we were never going to die. It’s good to look back at such things when you’re edging up on 80.
As for Pat Rothfuss, who’s an old friend, and Carrie Vaughn, whom I’ve never met, I’m simply honored and grateful that they chose to be involved with this edition. I’ll always treasure their contributions.
For more info about THE LAST UNICORN: THE LOST JOURNEY, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thorsten Erdt
Illustration by Stephanie Law
Design by Elizabeth Story