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Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn, Vol. 2
     

Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn, Vol. 2

by Peter S. Beagle, Janet Berliner (Editor)
 
Let Your Imagination Run Free

Peter S. Beagle's international classic The Last Unicorn has captivated readers for three decades. Now Beagle is back, with the help of co-editor Janet Berliner, with this magical volume of legendary stories that capture the essence of this best-loved mythical creature of all time and explore its immortal allure.

In

Overview

Let Your Imagination Run Free

Peter S. Beagle's international classic The Last Unicorn has captivated readers for three decades. Now Beagle is back, with the help of co-editor Janet Berliner, with this magical volume of legendary stories that capture the essence of this best-loved mythical creature of all time and explore its immortal allure.

In this second volume of tales from Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn are fifteen more astonishing, delightful, and breathtaking stories by today's top fantasy authors—including a story original to this paperback edition by Peter S. Beagle himself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Beagle's 1968 novel, The Last Unicorn, is a benchmark of contemporary mythic fantasy; here, Beagle and Berliner present a noteworthy anthology of original fiction featuring unicorns. In general, the 27 stories are satisfying and often strikingly well-written. Some horror authors are represented (including Lucy Taylor and Melanie Tem), and many stories have grim and horrific elements. Science fiction concepts work well in stories by Judith Tarr (``Dame la Licorne'') and Susan Schwartz (``The Tenth Worthy''). Many of the tales also demonstrate the virtues of realistic fiction, with well-drawn characters in settings from the familiar to exotic cultures-remote Alaska, the Mongolian empire, the Chinese ghetto in post-Gold Rush San Francisco. Yet all are also mythic in the best sense, including Beagle's bravura performance in his own new story, ``Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros.'' (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061059292
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/19/1999
Pages:
431
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.78(h) x 1.27(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The note came with the entree, tucked neatly under the zucchini slices but carefully out of range of the seafood crepes. It said, in the unmistakable handwriting that any graphologist would have ascribed to a serial killer, "Tanikawa, ditch the dork and get in here." Julie took her time over the crepes and the spinach salad, finished her wine, sampled a second glass, and then excused herself to her dinner partner, who smiled and propped his chin on his fingertips, prepared to wait graciously, as assistant professors know how to do. She turned right at the telephones, instead of left, looked back once and walked through a pair of swinging half-doors into the restaurant kitchen.

The heat thumped like a fist between her shoulder blades, and her glasses fogged up immediately. She took them off, put them in her purse, and focused on a slender, graying man standing with his back to her as he instructed an earnest young woman about shiitake mushroom stew. Julie said loudly, "Make it quick, Farrell. The dork thinks I'm in the can."

The slender man said to the young woman, "Gracie,tell Luis the basil's losing its marbles, he can put in more oregano if he wants. Tell him to use his own judgment about the lemongrass—I like it myself." Then he turned, held out his arms and said, "Jewel. Think you strung it out long enough?"

"My dessert's melting," Julie said into his apron. The arms around her felt as comfortably usual as an old sofa, and she lifted her head quickly to demand, "God damn it, where have you been? I have had very strange phone conversations with some very strange people in the last five years, trying to track youdown. What the hell happened to you, Farrell?"

"What happened to me? Two addresses and a fax number I gave you, and nothing. Not a letter, not so much as a postcard from East Tarpit-on-the-Orinoco, hi, marrying tribal chieftain tomorrow, wish you were here. But just as glad you're not. The story of this relationship."

Julie stepped back, her round, long-eyed face gone as pale as it ever got. Almost in a whisper, she asked, "How did you know? Farrell, how did you know?" The young cook was staring at them both in fascination bordering on religious rapture.

"What?" Farrell said, and now he was gaping like the cook, his own voice snagging in his throat. "You did? You got married?"

"It didn't last. Eight months. He's in Boston."

"That explains it," Farrell's sudden bark of laughter made Gracie the cook jump slightly. "By God, that explains it."

"Boston? Boston explains what?"

"You didn't want me to know," Farrell said. "You really didn't want me to know. Tanikawa, I'm ashamed of you. I am."

Julie started to answer him, then nodded toward the entranced young cook. Farrell said, "Gracie, about the curried peas. Tell Suzanne absolutely not to add the mango pickle untiI just before the peas are done, she always puts itin too early. If she's busy, you do it-go, go. " Gracie, enchanted even more by the notion of getting her hands into actual food, fled, and Farrell turned back to face Julie. "Eight months. I've known you to take longer over a lithograph."

"He's a very nice man," she answered him. "No, damn it, that sounds terrible, insulting. But he is."

Farrell nodded. "I believe it. You always did have this deadly weakness for nice men. I was an aberration."

"No, you're my friend," Julie said. "You're my friend, and I'm sorry, I should have told you I was getting married." A waiter's loaded tray caught her between the shoulderblades just as a busboy stepped on her foot, and she was properly furious this time. "I didn't tell you because I knew you'd do exactly what you're doing now, which is look at me like that and imply that you know me better than anyone else ever possibly could, which is not true, Farrell. There are all kinds of people you don't even know who know things about me you'll never know, so just knock it off." She ran out of breath and anger more or less simultaneously. She said, "But somehow you've gotten to be my oldest friend, just by goddamn attrition. I missed you, Joe."

Farrell put his arms around her again. "I missed you. I worried about you. A whole lot. The rest can wait." There came a crash and a mad bellow from the steamy depths of the kitchen, and Farrell said, "Your dork's probably missing you too. That was the Table Fourteen dessert, sure as hell. Where can I call you? Are you actually back in Avicenna?"

"For now. It's always for now in this town." She wrote the address and telephone number on the back of the Tonight's Specials menu, kissed him hurriedly and left the kitchen. Behind her she heard another bellow, andthen Farrell's grimly placid voice saying, "Stay cool, stay cool, big Luis, it's not the end of the world. Change your apron, we'll just add some more brandy. All is well."

It took more time than they were used to, even after more than twenty years of picking up, letting go and picking up again. The period of edginess and uncertainty about what questions to ask, what to leave alone, what might or might not be safe to assume, lasted until the autumn afternoon they went to the museum. It was Farrell's day off, and he drove Madame Schumann-Heink, his prehistoric Volkswagen van, over the hill from the bald suburb where he was condo-sitting for a friend and parked under a sycamore across from Julie's studio apartment. The building was a converted Victorian, miraculously spared from becoming a nest of suites for accountants and attorneys and allowed to decay in a decently tropical fashion, held together by jasmine and wisteria. He said to Julie, "You find trees, every time, shady places with big old trees. I've never figured how you manage it."

Meet the Author

Peter S. Beagle is one of the world's best-loved fantasy authors and screenwriters. His best known book, The Last Unicorn, was published in 1968 and was made into a popular animated film in 1982. Beagle also wrote the screenplay to the 1978 animated The Lord of the Rings movie and others. He has written and contributed to more than 30 novels and story collections, including his first book A Fine and Private Place and well-received The Folk of the Air. In 2011 he was presented with the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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