THE RAVEN: January 13, 2007

THE RAVEN is a free email newsletter dedicated to Peter S. Beagle and his work. It comes out whenever Peter has news worth sharing and we have time to pull an issue together. (Time? What's that!?) Please send any comments, questions, suggestions, or news to either or



Back in April 2004, The Last Unicorn was finally released on DVD in America for the first time...and it was terrible. The picture and sound were awful, the image was fullscreen instead of widescreen, there were no extras, and the cover art made the unicorn look like a mutant escapee from My Little Pony. Hard to imagine it being any worse.

Despite all that (and despite zero advertising and promotion), it went on to sell more than 530,000 copies. Wow!

But it was really, really bad...

Well, that's not a problem any more. Thanks to a lot of hard work by Peter and Connor, and a great crew at Lionsgate Entertainment, on February 6th there will be a brand-new 25th Anniversary DVD edition of The Last Unicorn...and this time it is gorgeous: digitally remastered video, digitally remastered sound (with available 5.1 audio track), widescreen picture, extras that include a featurette with a video interview of Peter, greatly improved packaging in a shiny printed-foil slipcase (click the cover image to see a bigger version of the artwork)...a terrific improvement in every way. Here's the official press release with all the details (pdf).

BUT PLEASE NOTE: Granada Media (the English company that owns The Last Unicorn) is still not paying Peter anything from this film. Not a cent. And he won't get anything from the new DVD, either, except for copies purchased through Conlan Press.

A hearty thank you to the folks at Lionsgate, who are as upset over Peter's situation as we are. To help him out they set up Conlan Press as a special sales outlet. If you buy the new DVD from anywhere else, Peter gets nothing. But if you buy it from Conlan Press, more than half the money goes straight to Peter and his of which is the legal fight to force Granada Media to pay the nearly half million dollars in royalties that they owe him. (And isn't that wonderfully appropriate.)

So here are some important requests, as plain as we can make them.

  • If you want to get the new DVD, buy it through Conlan Press. Two versions are available: an unautographed copy for $14.98 (same as Amazon!), and a personally autographed copy (signed in three places) for $24.98.

  • Buy it soon, please, because Peter definitely needs the help right now.

  • Spread the word! If you know anyone who loves the movie — or who you think might love it, now that there's finally a good version they can see — make sure they know that only Conlan Press purchases will help Peter.

There are slightly more than 5,700 people getting this newsletter. Some of you have bought the DVD already, for which Peter sends his personal thanks. If all the rest of you reading this were to click on the link below and buy the new DVD, then Peter's very serious personal and family financial problems would vanish overnight. Every one of them. So please give it some thought. Through this simple action you could get something to treasure and completely change Peter's life, ending his troubles and making it possible for him to focus completely on just writing more wonderful books and stories for the world to enjoy.

Order your copy of THE LAST UNICORN 25th Anniversary Widescreen DVD today!


The manufacturing problems that delayed the Conlan Press CD audiobook editions of THE LAST UNICORN (and the free illustrated hardcover collector's edition of TWO HEARTS) have now been solved, and all orders should be shipping by late March or early April.

v There are still around 1100 of the 3000-copy collector's edition of TWO HEARTS that aren't yet reserved through pre-order. After Conlan Press ships the existing orders, any copies still left will go on direct sale at $40 each — the same price that right now will buy both TWO HEARTS and the 8-CD audiobook (which all by itself is a $40 value). If you haven't yet made your reservation, time is running out on this great deal. You can make an order here.


To Peter's complete shock, last September "Two Hearts" won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette. (His essay about that experience can be found at the end of this newsletter.) Then it got nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction, but unfortunately lost to George Saunder's "CommComm."

Now "Two Hearts" has made the Preliminary Nebula Ballot for Best Novelette, which means it is one step closer to possibly winning a Nebula Award from the assembled members of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The way it works is that the list of eight preliminary nominees will be whittled down to a final set of five, which should be announced in March, and then after another vote a final winner will be announced at the Nebula Awards Weekend in NYC this May 11-13.

Here are the Nebula novelette nominees. Fingers crossed for Peter!

  • "The Language of Moths," by Chris Barzak (Realms of Fantasy, April 2005)

  • "Two Hearts," by Peter S. Beagle (F&SF, Oct/Nov 2005)

  • "A Key to the Illuminated Heretic," by Alyx M. Dellamonica (Alternate Generals III, 2005)

  • "Second Person, Present Tense," by Daryl Gregory (Asimov's, Sep 2005)

  • "Do Neanderthals Know?" by Robert J Howe (Analog, Dec 2005)

  • "Little Faces," by Vonda McIntyre (SCI FICTION, 23 Feb 2005)

  • "Journey into the Kingdom," by M. Rickert (F&SF, May 2006)

  • "Walpurgis Afternoon," by Delia Sherman (F&SF, Dec 2005)


THE LINE BETWEENLast summer Tachyon Publications put out Peter's new story collection, The Line Between. It was his first collection since 1997, and only his third, ever...and except for about 400 words, everything in it was written after 1999. It included "Two Hearts," which was great, but it also had several new things that were showing up in print for the first time.

Well, all of those new items have now been selected for one or more of the major "Best Fantasy of the Year" anthologies. Which means that every single eligible fantasy story in the book has earned that distinction: "Two Hearts" and "Quarry" prior to the collection's release, and "Salt Wine," "El Regalo," and "Four Fables" afterward. (The other big fantasy story in the book, "A Dance for Emilia," was originally released in 1999 as a small book, and is too long to have been considered for any of the "Best of" sets.)

Peter thought The Line Between was a pretty good set of stories, but how many other collections have ever pulled off this particular distinction? There can't be many.

If you want a copy, you can buy it from Amazon, or get a personally autographed copy from Conlan Press.


Recent & Upcoming

Four items to report. (Click on any of the pictures above to see a bigger image.)

v "Chandail," an Innkeeper's World story delving into the early history of Swordcane Lal, is now available in Salon Fantastique, a trade paperback edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, You can buy it from Amazon here.

v This week Subterranean Press is shipping its signed-and-numbered limited edition hardcover, The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version. This limited hardcover edition (only 1000 copies) brings to print for the very first time Peter's incomplete and extremely different first attempt at his classic story, and includes a context-setting introduction and afterword written by Peter just for this book. You can order it from Subterranean here.

v On May 1st, "Barrens Dance" — another new Innkeeper's World story — will appear in Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy, a Berkeley Books hardcover edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann. You can pre-order it from Amazon here.

v Also in May, Tachyon Publications will be bringing Peter's first novel, A Fine and Private Place, back into print. This new trade paperback edition contains the definitive text of the book, as edited and adjusted by Peter (finally fixing errors introduced by the first publisher that have been bugging him for 47 years). It also features a lengthy new afterword, and a gorgeous photographic cover by Ann Monn, who traveled from California to New York so she could take her pictures at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, the actual place that inspired Peter to write the book in the first place. You can either pre-order at Amazon or reserve an autographed copy from Conlan Press.


v Peter recently sold a short story to Ellen Datlow's and Terri Windling's untitled Fairy Tale Villains anthology, which will be published by Viking in May, 2008. The story's full title is "Up the Down Beanstalk: A Wife Remembers - Special to the Cumulonimbus Weekly Chronicle, as recounted by Mrs. Eunice Giant, 72 Fairweather Lane, East-Of-The-Bean, Sussex Overhead."

v He's also working on two new books, about which much more next time: I'm Afraid You've Got Dragons, a YA novel for Firebird; and Sweet Lightning, a 1950's baseball fantasy for Tachyon Publications.


v There's a ton of feature film discussion on three fronts — The Last Unicorn, Tamsin, and Peter's not-yet-released novel Summerlong — but nothing settled enough to make any public statements about. Say tuned.

v Negotiations with Granada Media regarding the problems with the animated version of The Last Unicorn are ongoing. We'll make an announcement as soon as we can. In the meantime, please check out the details at Conlan Press's YouCanHelp page and, if you feel like it, join the people from 36 different countries who have expressed their support for Peter.


  • 1/20/07, 10 am — Oakland, CA
    Events Loft, Barnes & Noble, Jack London Square
    98 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
    (510) 272-0120

  • 2/9/07-2/11/07 — Arlington Heights, IL
    Sheraton Chicago Northwest
    3400 West Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005

  • 3/11/07, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm — Mission Hills, CA
    Conference Center of the Guest House Inn
    10621 Sepulveda Boulevard, Mission Hills, CA 91345
    The time of Peter's specific signing slot hasn't been
    announced yet, but he'll be at the show all day.

  • 4/29/07, 10:00 am to 5 pm — Seattle, WA
    "Dialog Says It All"
    1634 11th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
    (206) 322-7030

  • 4/30/07, 7:00 pm — Seattle, WA
    FANTASTIC FICTION SALON at the Richard Hugo House
    1634 11th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
    (206) 322-7030

  • 5/25/07-5/28/07 — Baltimore, MD
    Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn
    245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, Maryland 21031

  • 8/31/07-9/3/07 — Atlanta, GA
    DRAGON*CON 2007

  • 10/12/07-10/15/07 — Kansas City, MO
    DARANACON IV (Peter is the Author Guest of Honor)
    Hyatt Regency Crown Center
    2345 McGee Street, Kansas City, MO 64108

  • 11/1/07-11/4/07 — Saratoga, NY
    Saratoga City Center & Saratoga Hotel & Conference Center (formerly the Prime Hotel)


Finn has gotten a lot bigger, and considers both the bathroom sink and tub to be his personal playgrounds.

Finn Now

by Peter S. Beagle

Peter and his prize

Nominated is good. Been publishing stuff for forty-five years, more, and never been nominated for a Hugo until now. What do you want, egg in your beer? Okay, so Cory or Howard wins it, so big deal. "Two Hearts" is one of the best things you ever wrote — especially considering that you never wanted to write any sort of sequel to The Last Unicorn, and wouldn't have done this one if you hadn't been possessed by the voice of a nine-year-old girl named Sooz, who had a story to tell you. Sooz is what's important. For the rest, take what comes and do your work.

I really do know people who use Hugos as bathroom doorstops, Nebulas and World Fantasy Awards as paperweights. Ursula and Harlan (not to mention my dear gone Poul) must spend a fortune just having the things buffed and polished, or whatever you do. However you look at it, these are the Oscars, the Tonys, the MVPs of the fantasy/science-fiction universes, and it's no good telling yourself that it doesn't matter — that you're not jealous — that people like Robert Sheckley and William Tenn never won any of those gewgaws. Of course it does, and of course you are, and if those guys never got one, what chance do you have? Do your work.

And it's been a really nice Worldcon, hasn't it? You've met personal heroes like Janis Ian and Jane Espenson — utterly unpretentious delights, both of them — and you hadn't seen your blessed Star Trek: TNG guide and guru Melinda Snodgrass in thirteen years, and you finally got to meet Gordon Van Gelder — and Betty's here somewhere, Betty Ballantine! What do you want, for God's sake?

I want a Hugo!

Damn, I want one stinking, lousy Hugo!

And I shouldn't even be thinking like this — not when I'm going to have to get up early tomorrow morning and catch a flight back to the Bay Area, arriving in time for my mother's memorial. She died on 24 June, at the age of 100, and if I admit she's gone, I'm going to have to admit how horribly I miss her, so I'm putting that off until the convention's over. I'll get to grieving, when it's time.

I was fine through the whole weekend, and I made it most of the way through the awards themselves. Calm, funny, modest, gracious (I do gracious the way Mariano Rivera does the cut fastball), happy to be here...hell, I believe it myself, that's how slick I am. I don't know how many times I told how many people what a thrill it was just to be nominated. And it was, and I meant it, and I wouldn't have missed Worldcon for anything, and everyone's being so nice to my girlfriend and me, and I want a damn Hugo!

The drinks at the pre-awards reception were appallingly overpriced for the minimal alcohol involved, but the munchies were quite good (for anyone's future reference, there's very little I won't do for smoked salmon). Peggy and I sat with my Tachyon publisher, Jacob Weisman, who spent a good deal of time warning me very precisely about specific things not to trip over on the way to the stage — cables and tricky steps and odd humps in the floor. I didn't pay a lot of attention: what for, when a nominee's reserved seat is as close as I'm going to get to the stage? That's all right, I'm cool — just being nominated is good. Keep saying it.

Wow, it really is like the Oscars — an MC (Connie Willis is charming — Harlan's doing the Harlan Show — wish I could get my beard like Bob Silverberg's); presenters, envelope and all. Best New Writer...Best Fan Artist...Best Fanzine...Best Semiprozine (where does Charlie Brown put them all?)...Best Professional Artist...It's going to be a long night. Wish those drinks hadn't been so expensive.

And there, suddenly onstage to accept an award for a lifetime's work as editor and publisher, looking the way queens are supposed to look, her white hair set off by her gold lame dress — there's Betty Ballantine, nearly 87 years old and quite possibly the most beautiful woman I ever knew. I haven't seen her since Ian's death, and as I stare at her now I'm flooded by memories of the hilltop house in Bearsville, manuscripts stacked everywhere...the mark of the ball-lightning that rolled through the kitchen...Ian's eyebrows...a poet reading us a story in the swimming out to the raft in the pool, holding a glass of champagne for someone...another century, another world.

Best Professional Editor...Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form...Long Form...Best Related Book...

Getting scary now.

Not that I care, since I'm not going to win, but suppose I do, and it turns out to be a sort of Pity I've been around all this time, let the poor old guy have one — he's probably got six months to live anyway. Would I hurl it scornfully back in their faces, I wonder? Probably couldn't lift it to throw, old and frail as I am. Just have to accept it — not that it's going to happen. That's a good story of Howard's.

Best Short Story...Best...

Oh, God, here it comes. Not that I care...

And then it's the envelope, and my name being read out, but I was braced for another name, so it doesn't make sense, and I'm on my feet, but I'm frozen, and Peggy is screaming, "You won! You won! He won!" and trying to shove me forward and hug Jacob Weisman at the same time, and all I can think, starting toward the stage, is, don't trip, don't you dare fall on your ass, take it slowly. Everyone in that auditorium was a lot older by the time I got up there. Me included.

I actually remember what I said, pretty much, clutching that beautiful aluminum suppository to my bosom. My voice may have been a little wispy, but I do think my diction was pure Masterpiece Theatre. "My publisher gave me excellent directions about getting up here without tripping over stuff, but he didn't tell me anything about how to get back down, so I guess I'll just have to wing it." Then I added, from the bottom of an overflowing heart, "I can think of only one thing I'd rather have around the house than this wonderful award...and that would be the wonderful Betty Ballantine." I'm old. I can say stuff like that and get away with it. There are, after all, compensations.

After that, it was all embraces — including one from my old Berkeley bookstore friend Tom Whitmore, the only one who predicted the triumph of "Two Hearts" — and a lot of phone calls from people kvelling in distant places (to kvell, in Yiddish, is to celebrate another person's success), and almost enough sushi and sake, courtesy of the Japanese group who will be hosting Worldcon next year. And in time it was a matter of getting back to the hotel room and packing for the flight home to Berkeley...and the memorial.

I got through it. That's all.

But a couple of days ago I went to have my car's emissions valve tested, and to get the Little Old Lady herself registered. The sprightly young woman who ran the test herself turned out, in conversation, to be a lifelong fan of The Last Unicorn ("I've read it to pieces — it's been my favorite book since I was little and hated to read!"); and the young man in the office, who'd looked me up on the Internet while we were settling the bill, came running out yelling, "Jesus Christ, you won a Hugo!"

See, some days I know I'm good, and it doesn't take a trophy to remind me. Trophies are a fine thing, and I'm proud — and still breathless — to have this one; but it's moments like that that make you feel, in the words of Jean Hagen's klaxon-voiced screen siren in Singing In The Rain, that "it ain't all been in vain fer nothin'." Moments like that are to save for those other moments when I don't know whether I'm any good at all.


You can write to Peter directly, by sending email to him via