Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn is not just one of my favorite books of all time. It, more than anything else, colored my world.
Before I was even old enough to read, I watched the animated movie obsessively. By the time I was seven, I could quote large sections of it with surprising accuracy, particularly considering the fact I never had a very good auditory memory. To say that it was “my favorite” simply doesn’t begin cover it. Then, once chapter books were finally within in my grasp, I devoured the original. Again. And again.
Before I really even fully understood what it meant to be alive, The Last Unicorn largely informed my perceptions of mortality. To this very day, I am still convinced that there is no immortality but a tree’s love, and I tell my beloved that I will keep the color of his eyes when no other in the world remembers his name.
The unicorn’s sorrow soothed my lonesomeness when I felt there was no other like me in the world.
When I felt like a failure, I would think of Schmendrick, so-called Nikos’s Folly, and remember: it was within his profound ineptitude that slept a greater power than any other magician had ever known. All it took was time, and persistence.
And I certainly have never, ever run from anything immortal.
For as long as I’ve had my own money, I’ve collected the movie and book in multiples. Point in fact? The above image is only a part of my collection. (Missing is the DVD, and I’m pretty positive I have the VHS, a second DVD, and at least one more book in boxes somewhere.)
Without The Last Unicorn, I wouldn’t be the writer I am now. Honestly, I can pretty safely say that, without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am now.
So, when I heard that in 2006 Peter Beagle was barely living above the poverty line because he was not being paid royalties and it took five long years to settle the dispute, my heart broke.
At least now Peter Beagle is getting the royalties he deserves, and has been given permission sell copies of his books, the DVD, and assorted merchandise on Conlan Press, where he’ll be guaranteed his fair cut if you buy from him directly. Not to mention, you can get a signed copy for the price you’d likely pay in a store.
This is a huge opportunity, for both Beagle and fans alike. Not only can we support one of the most influential fantasy writers of our generation, but we have the chance to experience the story as a real community event.
Many of us grew up watching The Last Unicorn, and now we can see it on the big screen for the first time. And did I mention that Peter Beagle himself is going to be at every showing? Because he is!
As a big fan of Peter Beagle, I want to do what I can to get word out, even with my own meager resources. Along with this post, at the end of every month, I’ll put up a notice on my Tumblr and Twitter with a heads-up to where the tour is going next. That way, anyone who’s interested can get a little reminder so they don’t miss a showing.
For any of you in New York state, I’ll see you at a screening in November—with a bit of luck, I should even be in my own Schmendrick cosplay. Because who’s surprised that he’s my favorite.
One last time, here are the official links for anyone interested:
- Conlan Press, where you can buy signed books and DVDs, while making sure Peter Beagle is getting his fair cut
- The Last Unicorn Tour site. All the screenings and tour information will be here, first and foremost.
- Peter S. Beagle’s official Twitter, maintained by his sales director.