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Tanatra
01-19-2007, 10:17 AM
I'm sure many of you are familiar with this author. He's nowhere near as obscure as I thought he was.

After seeing the animated adaption of "The Last Unicorn" last month for the first time since ~1990, I bought the book last week. This is something I've NEVER done before as seeing the films first usually ruins reading the book for me. Even though the film is almost verbatim with the book aside from a few things being left out for run time, it's not a purchase I regret making at all. In fact, I'm going to hunt down his short story collection "The Line Between" next week. It contains "Two Hearts" which is the sequel to TLU and recently won the Hugo Award I believe.

As for his writing style itself, TLU has the most extensive (and impressive) use of prose out of anything I've ever read. Stylistic devices are used almost exclusively for descriptions and almost every line of dialogue sticks with you after being read.

This book has actually taught me something about my own writing. Is TLU beautifully written? Absolutely. Does it flow well? Well....in a poetic sense, yes, but not for the purpose of story-telling. All too often I caught myself re-reading sentences and even whole paragraphs multiple times to fully ingest them. Take this excerpt, for instance:

But at night, as some trees hold a living light all day, hold it with the undersides of their leaves until long after sundown - so at night the castle was charged and swarming with darkness, alive with darkness. Then the great hall was cold for a reason; then the small sounds that slept by day woke up to patter and scratch in the corners. It was night when the cold smell of the stones seemed to rise from far below the floor.

The first sentence of this paragraph drove me crazy. The simile was difficult to grasp and is immediately followed by a hyphen that wonderfully corrupts the flow of the text. If I was writing on this matter I'd probably sum up the majority of the paragraph as

At night the castle came alive in the darkness.

(I'm still iffy on the wording and positioning of the prepositional phrase "at night").

In short, I'm no Beagle. If I tried to write in that syle (which I previously wanted to), the abuse of alliterations and similes in my descriptions would get me turned down flat by an agent.

Anyway, enough about my mediocre writing skills (but comment if you wish). I can't believe I'm comparing myself to this guy.

There were talks about a live-action film adaption of TLU, but unfortunately the studio that owns the rights (Continent) is utterly worthless. Beagle has no film rights at the moment, so until he somehow regains that privilege, this film is on permanent hiatus. I'm actually somewhat glad that such a production company isn't making this film, as it may have turned out disappointing due to the decisions of idiot producers.

It's rather sad; Beagle seems to have a history of getting screwed over by film companies and he's ran into bumps in the writing industry as well (maybe they come with the career *shrugs in my inexperience*). He wrote the screenplay for the 1970s animated "Lord of the Rings" film and recieved less than half of the promised pay for that. Also there's a DVD re-release of TLU next month and he won't see a dime of the sales revenues.

Fortunately, his business manager posts regularly at the IMDB board for TLU, so at least we have a reliable source of information on Beagle's future projects.

DragonHeart
01-19-2007, 06:42 PM
I haven't read any of his books but I fell in love with the movie when I was little. I'm surprised my parents didn't buy the VHS for me since it was the only movie I ever wanted to get when we rented a couple every couple weeks. XD I might just be compelled to pick up the DVD release for old time's sake. I can honestly say TLU was my first exposure to fantasy and it's stuck with me ever since.

I've planned on picking up the book version for some time now but alas, I have so many other books to get first.

I am disappointed to hear about the CG/live action version on hiatus, I heard of that a long time ago. Was very excited too, I heard they recruited all the original actors who voiced the animated film to do the new one. That's truly unfortunate.

~DragonHeart~

Jaws
01-19-2007, 08:37 PM
You can order the 25th Anniversary edition of the DVD directly from Conlan Press (http://tinyurl.com/36hm6q). And please do... the material that appears on the Conlan Press pages regarding Peter's problems with film studios is actually a serious understatement of the perfidy involved.

veinglory
01-19-2007, 08:44 PM
One of my treasured possessions is a collected works of Beagle. I would encourage any fantasy writer to get hold of his recently reissued works. He is both a recognised classic and a writer alive today and in need of our financial support.

clara bow
01-19-2007, 08:59 PM
I can't write like Mr. Beagle, but I love TLU so much I ripped off...er, paid homage to his material right and left in the fantasy I wrote.

i had the lucky opportunity to greet him at Comic-Con a couple years ago. I was so tongue tied it was ridiculous. I just stared and stared.

Peter S. Beagle is just awesome!

TheIT
01-19-2007, 11:09 PM
The Last Unicorn is one of my favorite books of all time. My favorite snippet which I memorized when I read the book as a child:

"We are not always what we seem and hardly ever what we dream, still I have read or heard it sung that unicorns when time was young could tell the difference twixt the two, the false shining and the true, the lips' laugh and the heart's rue."

(apologies if I got the punctuation wrong)

The book is so much more complex than the animated movie. If you even remotely liked the animated movie, I highly recommend reading the book. His prose is delicious.

KimJo
01-20-2007, 12:27 AM
I found the book at my church's rummage sale when I was 11. I was hooked; I read it three times in as many weeks. I was thrilled when I found out there was a movie, but honestly, I preferred the book, though I watch the movie whenever I encounter it on cable. (Which is rarely, now... I may have to get the DVD.)

Minister
01-20-2007, 08:12 PM
I shrugged the movie off, mostly because my 4-year-old daughter loved it so much, and my wife said she enjoyed it so much when she was just a few years older. If it appeals to the four to eight crowd so much, I didn't figure it would appeal much to me. Then I read "Two Hearts" in F&SF, and was moved by its deceptively simple beauty. The movie was neat, but I have yet to stumble across the book. We have the DVD now, and it's pretty good. I hear that Beagle is working on a sequel, with the gap having been bridged by "Two Hearts," but haven't heard anything about it lately.

Nyna
01-20-2007, 11:18 PM
I've read 'The Last Unicorn' and 'Tamsin,' and have spent many, many years looking for a copy of 'A Fine and Private Place.' (I have a phobia of buying books online. It is, at times, crippling, and always ridiculous.)

Peter S. Beagle is honestly one of those authors who inspired me to write. He's amazing.

Inkdaub
01-21-2007, 03:34 PM
There is some drama concerning Beagle and The Last Unicorn. Sign the petition and help out a bit maybe...

http://www.conlanpress.com/html/fans_speak.html

and some info about Last Unicorn...

http://www.conlanpress.com/html/granada_f.html

And Lord of the Rings...

http://www.conlanpress.com/html/zaentz_b.html

Rabe
01-21-2007, 07:48 PM
You should also look for and read his "Innkeeper's Song".

It's genius in the way that Gaiman is genius.

And "The Last Unicorn" is *still* a favored movie from childhood. I even have the German soundtrack release because it was the only way to get the "Last Unicorn" fix until the DVD came out.

Rabe...

AndreaGS
01-26-2007, 03:25 AM
*sigh* I love Peter S. Beagle. I checked out The Last Unicorn from the library multiple times when I was a kid and read it ragged. I've also read Inkeeper's Song, which I also adored (though not quite so much as TLU).

He lives in Davis, CA and is in the phonebook. I lived in Davis for six years and was oh so tempted to stalk him!

Rabe
01-26-2007, 06:12 AM
On iTunes there is a podcast featuring an interview with him. It's either Sci-Fi Talk or Slice of Sci-Fi. I'll check.

It's "Slice of Sci-Fi #92"

Rabe...

RainbowDragon
04-29-2009, 08:20 PM
Just thought I'd resurrect this thread in case anyone's interested in the new 52/50 project - for $25 you can receive an original poem or song lyric by Peter every week for a year via e-mail. It just started on 4/20 and they'll send you what you've missed if you join in late. I hope it helps him with his legal woes. He deserves the best. . .

http://www.conlanpress.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc

ElsaM
04-30-2009, 03:18 AM
The 52/50 project sounds really interesting and I was thinking of subscribing until I clicked on the link you provided and discovered all the other stuff I could get as well.

Now I'm trying to decide between a signed copy of The Last Unicorn and one of the art prints.

Shweta
04-30-2009, 03:29 AM
I love Peter Beagle's writing so much. He's one of the people I can't read while writing, because I start wondering why I even bother when such stellar writing is already out there :)

He's also, as far as I can tell from a couple of meetings in a busy location, a lovely lovely guy.

RainbowDragon
04-30-2009, 08:02 AM
I know what you mean Elsa - I got the subscription but will probably get an autographed book soon, too! First 2 installments are interesting. It'll be a nice Monday jumpstart to the week.

Somehow I never read The Last Unicorn in my childhood, I'm on ch. 4 now and the writing is sublime. So far it qualifies as a potential book I wish I'd written but can't say for sure till I get to the end (and I'm a painfully slow reader :) ).

firedrake
04-30-2009, 08:05 AM
I loved 'The Last Unicorn'. I read it as a child.
Last year I read 'Tamsin'....what a masterpiece. Just so beautifully written.
Gorgeous.

tbrosz
05-06-2009, 08:49 AM
I got this as part of Peter Beagle's The Raven e-mail newsletter today:


If you make just one purchase, or convince someone else to do so the same...and if enough of the other readers who get THE RAVEN do likewise...if that happens, then the financial crisis I've been in since my mother died in 2006 will finally be over. If that happens, I'll be able to pay back all the money I've had to borrow to survive. If that happens, the Last Unicorn audiobook and the special hardcover Two Hearts will come zooming out at last from Conlan Press, along with Writing Sarek and the hardcover editions of my two new novels, Summerlong and I'm Afraid You've Got Dragons, and more. Better still, if that happens I'll be able to buy the thinking and writing time I need to tell the rest of Sooz's story — i.e., the full-novel Last Unicorn/Two Hearts sequel that I'm eager to bring to all of you (but which no publisher anywhere has so far been willing to pay me enough to live on while I'm doing the work).

If you can, help out.

eyeblink
05-06-2009, 10:37 AM
I really ought to read his novels, because he's written some terrific short fiction - and quite a lot of that recently too. He wasn't especially prolific for some time (lost to TV and film work apparently) but has become so recently, in his sixties.

If Ellen Datlow's Scifiction site is still online (even as an archive), his story "Come, Lady Death" was up there as a classic reprint.

I had heard he had had financial problems, due to having to look after his mother (who was 100 when she died).

Etola
05-08-2009, 12:05 AM
I love Peter Beagle's writing so much. He's one of the people I can't read while writing, because I start wondering why I even bother when such stellar writing is already out there :)

He's also, as far as I can tell from a couple of meetings in a busy location, a lovely lovely guy.

I've also had the privilege to meet and talk with him at two successive Otakons. He's a really nice guy, and I even told him something similar to what you said above--that his writing is so good that I just wish I could one day write that well. And he told me that there are writers out there about whom he thinks the same way! It was enlightening to discover that even great writers still humbly look up to other writers. Then I don't feel quite so alone :)

RainbowDragon
08-10-2009, 11:10 PM
Newest Raven just came out this past weekend. I don't see it archived online but I think you can sign up to receive them at http://www.peterbeagle.com/raven/

He thanked everyone who has subscribed or purchased books/DVDs/art by name. It's still a good time to help out by subscribing to the 52/50 project and/or ordering from Conlan press: http://www.conlanpress.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc

He's trying to get out of debt so he can focus more easily on getting his newer works out for us all to enjoy.

badducky
08-11-2009, 01:04 AM
My first panel, at my first guest/panelist appearance convention, was with Mr Beagle. My only contribution was "I am on a panel with Peter S Beagle, and that is AWESOME!"

Definite fan boy moment.

Innkeeper's Song is my favorite.

RainbowDragon
08-11-2009, 01:43 AM
What did he do when you said that? :) It's perfectly understandable. The man's a brilliant writer.

Alan Yee
08-11-2009, 02:20 AM
I haven't read any of Peter S. Beagle's novels yet, but I did read "Two Hearts" in the October/November 2005 issue of F&SF. I should probably read The Last Unicorn since everyone but me seems to have read it. Must add it to ever-lengthening to-read list.

bettielee
08-11-2009, 02:27 AM
"We are not always what we seem and hardly ever what we dream, still I have read or heard it sung that unicorns when time was young could tell the difference twixt the two, the false shining and the true, the lips' laugh and the heart's rue."

I have this in the notebook I store my novel notes in for my current WIP because it is the heart of the theme. The fact that a butterfly said it knocks my socks off.

TheIT
08-11-2009, 03:00 AM
I have this in the notebook I store my novel notes in for my current WIP because it is the heart of the theme. The fact that a butterfly said it knocks my socks off.

I think the quote is said by Schmendrick when he's trying to convince the unicorn to trust him. He's trying to get her out of the cage at the circus.

The butterfly spends most of his time quoting show tunes, IIRC. :D

I met Peter S. Beagle at Baycon this year. Very interesting man. BTW, he's got a short story out called "Two Hearts" which is a sequel to The Last Unicorn. It's in an anthology, but I don't recall the anthology's title.

RainbowDragon
08-11-2009, 03:38 AM
Among other places, "Two Hearts" is in the short story collection The Line Between.

RainbowDragon
02-24-2010, 01:16 PM
There's a new Raven newsletter online here:

http://www.conlanpress.com/RAVEN/2010-02-23_RAVEN.html

The Last Unicorn comic books look really great!

Liosse de Velishaf
02-24-2010, 10:37 PM
The Last Unicorn is one of my favorite books of all time. My favorite snippet which I memorized when I read the book as a child:

"We are not always what we seem and hardly ever what we dream, still I have read or heard it sung that unicorns when time was young could tell the difference twixt the two, the false shining and the true, the lips' laugh and the heart's rue."

(apologies if I got the punctuation wrong)

The book is so much more complex than the animated movie. If you even remotely liked the animated movie, I highly recommend reading the book. His prose is delicious.


I've read the book and that line 'sabout the only thing I remember from it. I think I liked it, but I also think I was a bit too young to appreciate it completely.

Etola
02-24-2010, 10:54 PM
I've read the book and that line 'sabout the only thing I remember from it. I think I liked it, but I also think I was a bit too young to appreciate it completely.

If you get a chance, I'd recommend giving it another read now that you're not quite so young :) There's a ton of stuff going on in there that would probably fly over the heads of younger readers. It still remains one of my most favorite books of all time.