It’s a beautiful, lyrical fairy tale about a mythical beast who sets out on a quest to find a world that no longer believes in it, to discover if it really is the last of its kind.
published in 1968, last unicorn Written by Peter S Beagle An animated film has been produced for 40 years and is a cherished novel that appeals to children and adults alike. But it’s no surprise if you haven’t heard of it. It has not been published in the UK for half a century.
This week it’s finally re-released, the latest in the classic fantasy novel series to find a new audience thanks to the genre’s proliferation on TV and the big screen.
with the Game of thrones prefix Dragon House Sky Atlantic hit Monday, as Netflix presents an extra episode of its world-conquering series hypnoticAnd the Lord of the rings Loans rings of strength Streaming on Amazon Prime Video as of September 2, fantasy fans have never enjoyed it.
Increased interest has predictably boosted sales of source materials – DC comics by Neil Gaiman from which hypnotic Amazon novels top the charts, and Tolkien and George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels top the doorstep once again on fantasy lists. But the audience’s growing appetite is also helping to bring some lost classics back into print.
In addition to Beagle’s novel, the works of other writers have been reissued, including the novels of John M. Ford The dragon is waiting And the Growing up weightlessa 1926 fairy fantasy from Hope Mirrlees Load in the Mistand Antonia Barber ghostsWhile he wrote Arab fiction The story of Princess Fatima, the warrior womanThe Japanese writer Yukio Mishima is delightfully weird beautiful star She recently had her first publications in English.
Beagle, 83, fought a six-year battle to regain his business rights in an elderly financial abuse case that was resolved last year. Now, it seems like the perfect time to settle that and republish his book.
“It’s one of publishing’s quirks that a book could be an absolute classic on one side of the Atlantic and almost inaudible here,” said Marcus Gibbs, Gollancz’s director of publishing. “In the United States, this book is a standard of fiction, just as Narnia is to us, but the issues of rights, especially the question of who controls them, were very complex. We all had to wait while the legal discussions continued.”
He said the recent interest in the book has been helped by BookTok, a TikTok corner dedicated to reading. “The fact that generations of predominantly American authors have drawn inspiration from Peter’s work means there are champions across social media to help us spread the word, including Patrick Rothfuss and Neil Gaiman.”
Ruthfuss, author of bestselling fantasy novels such as the name of the windBooks Introduction to the new edition. Jaiman said observer That Beagle had a direct impact on his work, in particular hypnotic.
He said: The first book I read by Peter was the magical imagination in the afterlife. Beautiful and special place. I fell in love with it, and years later, I blatantly stole the idea of a talking crow and introduced it Sandman.
“I really loved last unicorn. I love that Beagle has taken back his intellectual property and that he is there to reach a whole new audience.”
Last Christmas, when Mark Gates wrote and produced a remake of the 1972 fantasy film The amazing Mr. Blunden For Sky, this led to the book being re-issued for the first time in 30 years, with both productions based on, ghosts Written by Antonia Barber, first published in 1969. Donna Konan, an editor at Virago, fell in love with the book a decade earlier, but was unable to justify republishing it until the announcement of the TV movie that heightened interest in it.
Gollancz lost more fantasy classics to their schedules, including Ford’s works.
“Genre representation is great right now,” Gibbs said of the appetite for fantasy on TV. “We all grew up on imagination, from [Enid Blyton’s] the distant tree to Narnia to Middle-earth, but previous generations have largely, with many exceptions, moved away from her as she has grown up. It has always been a popular but specialized publishing genre, which is very popular with those who like it, but doesn’t move to the wider market very often. There is no doubt that fiction has outperformed in other media, no more than it does today, and I am sure that has had an effect.”
Claire Ormsby-Potter is Gipps’ Editorial Assistant at Gollancz, and one of those who have republished last unicorn It was something of a personal mission.
She believes that the enormous production values of the current range of fantasy broadcast shows have helped encourage viewers to seek out novels of the genre that may have fallen by the wayside over the years.
She said, “I think the scope of what studios can do has really proven itself in modern live-action adaptations of fantasy novels. Game of thrones And the Lord of the rings It was so huge in scope and delivery that people were able to imagine epic fantasy in live action as something tangible.
“These massive global franchises have had such an enormous impact that they really opened the door for people to give fantasy fiction a chance when they might have written it off before.”