Thursday, July 28, 2011

05: Peter Beagle Short Stories

The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances
The Line Between

Peter Beagle
Published: Various

Why?: Though Beagle is most famous for a novel, his short stories are often wonderful. Beagle’s poetic style works extremely well with his odd sense of humor and quirky characters. Each story has a twist of characterization that makes it a fun read, while the language takes it a step up from basic humor or fantasy. Most of the stories in these collections are older, collected from various SF and fantasy magazines.


The Line Between contains the award winning short story “Two Hearts.” It’s not actually my favorite from the collection, but it’s well-known because of its connection to his novel The Last Unicorn (which will appear on this list later!). My fave is "Gordon, the Self Made Cat," which is the hilarious story of a mouse who decides he wants to be a cat. Also included are "Four Fables" (also great fun), "El Regalo," "Quarry," "Salt Wine," "Mr. Sigerson" (a Sherlock Holmes story), and "A Dance for Emilia."


Of his collections, this is my favorite. My favorite story is “Come Lady Death,” which has a taste of “The Masque of the Red Death,” but with a much more gentle and creeptastic death character. Other stories include "Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros," "Lila the Werewolf," "Julie's Unicorn," "The Naga," "Telephone Call," and "My Daughter's Name is Sarah." There are also several essays: "Pittsburgh Stories," "Learning a Trade," "My Last Hero," "D.H. Lawrence in Taos," and "The Poor People's Campaign."

Beagle also released We Never Talked About My Brother, but the included stories were newer and seemed more rushed than the two I’ve suggested here.

Gist: These collection includes stories about unicorns (who look like rhinoceri), werewolves, an extraordinary mouse, and normal kids in their neighborhoods. Each introduces a character you’ll come to care about, and is a quick read when time is tight and the imagination needs some exercise.

Perfect For:
Ages 16+, Quirky types

My roomie's cat, Fred, is the snootiest looking feline in history.

Genres: Fiction, Short Story
Keywords: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Humor, Horror

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