The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, Episode 201: Peter Beagle
This week, we have the one and only Peter Beagle on the show. Sometimes, we even impress ourselves. Peter is of course the author of The Last Unicorn. Though he has written many other books, it’s this classic that cemented his place among the greatest living fantasy authors.
Originally published in 1968, The Last Unicorn is a fantasy novel about a unicorn who thinks she is the last of her kind and sets out on a quest to discover what happened to the other unicorns. Along the way, she teams up with the magician Schmendrick, gets attacked by the demon Red Bull, becomes human, falls in love, attacks the villainous King Haggard, and saves the kingdom. Not only is it a classic work of fantasy literature, but the 1982 Rankin-Bass animated film solidified its place in popular culture and became a classic for the 80s generation. In 2011, the story came back in yet another form when IDW published the graphic novel version. If you’ve not taken a look at that, you’re really missing out. It’s stunning. Every page is breathtaking. It was adapted by Peter Gillis and stunningly illustrated by Renae De Liz.
This episode is a delight. Peter is a master storyteller and draws from an incredible life to keep you spellbound from beginning to end. If you’re interested in the film Peter mentions toward the end of the episode – The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened – it’s available (somewhat dubiously) on YouTube here. And his time in the Questions from a Kid spotlight with Zoey is here.
On this episode, Shiri and I talk to Peter about his early career, writing and selling A Fine and Private Place, the legacy of The Last Unicorn, why unicorns are so compelling, why he’s returned to the story numerous times over the years, and his other recent work.
Finally, Tachyon Publications has graciously given us a SIGNED hardcover copy of the The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey for one lucky listener. Enter with the widget over on the GBBP site or by visiting this link. We’ll draw a winner at random sometime before the end of November. Good luck!