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The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version (The Last Unicorn)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn has sold at least six million copies around the world since it was published in 1968, and tens of millions of viewers have delighted in the animated film version (for which Peter also wrote the screenplay). But none of the fans of this amazing work have ever known the full story of how The Last Unicorn came to be. In 1962, the 23 year-old ...more
Hardcover, 92 pages
Published January 10th 2007 by Subterranean Press (first published 2007)
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What a treat! I had to request this through interlibrary loan, and the copy I received is a pristine First Edition, number 87 of 1000 signed by the author, with beautifully embossed end papers. I have to admit the thought crossed my mind to "lose" it and pay the library for it, but of course I won't do that! I'm so glad the Abilene Public Library had what Austin did not, and I'll happily keep the good karma going to ensure as many copies of this treasure can be enjoyed by as many people as possi ...more
Wow, I am glad that Beagle rewrote The Last Unicorn. This original unpublished version is missing all the heart. Every so often, as I was reading it, a familiar line will appear that I remember from the published version and it was like seeing a spark of magic in the mud. On its own merit, the parts of this fit together oddly, disjointedly, an ill-mesh of classic and very modern language tones. The juxtaposition of descriptive images worked better than the language tones, but even that was not.. ...more
Lacey Louwagie
It was a real treat to be able to read this, especially after I learned from a friend that there were only 1,000 ever printed, each one signed and numbered (I read copy #263). It is a "rough draft" of what later became The Last Unicorn, and although it bears very little resemblance to the final version we know and love, there are a few haunting fragments -- such as the opening sequence -- that were lifted almost verbatim into the finished book.

In this story, the unicorn journeys with a two-heade
I read some of the reviews for this book, and while I agree that the version that was ultimately published is what this story was really meant to be, I can't help but want to treat this version as its own separate work. Every great story starts somewhere. And I did enjoy a lot of the elements, not just the familiar sections. I enjoyed the dialogue between Azazel and Webster, their dynamic, as well as the modern setting. I think it brought a little more of the unicorn's feelings of loss and being ...more
David Merrill
I haven't yet read the book this became, the Last Unicorn. I liked this first effort by Beagle. It made me want to read the classic.

After I saw this book on for $2000 and $3000, I decided to test the market on Ebay. I suspected these prices were inflated because there didn't seem to be much of a sales history, any in fact. I ran two auctions with a reserve of $1000. One got up to $140, the other to $180. During the course of the auctions, I was offered $500 by two bidders. When it w
Christine Ricci
I don't think I can rate this book. It just wouldn't be fair. However, I would like to comment that I enjoyed the peak into the Beagle's brain about how he wrote The Last Unicorn. This perspective in how a novel came to be was truly an incredible insight. There were more differences than I thought, and Beagle was definitely more satiric in his youth. With age, I think he softened a bit -- or perhaps he merely hides it better beneath polite snips.

I would definitely recommend this book to any fan
Dec 31, 2007 Meredith rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy lovers
(The review below is for the "Lost Version" of this book. The original is one of my all time favorites, and one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written.)

I liked seeing one of my favorite novels in its infancy, though I must say that the final version is much better. The two-headed devil wasn't quite funny enough, or frightening enough, to be a compelling character, and the 20th century as a setting didn't really work for me.
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe marked it as abandoned
Twenty or more years ago I might well have loved this but it's just a little too precious to suit now.

Library copy.
This is the unfinished original version of Beagle's The Last Unicorn. Set in the 20th century, the unicorn leaves her forest in search of her people and discovers the world quite changed in the many centuries that have past her by unnoticed. The roads are paved in black, hard and unyielding. The air is thick with smog. And even the virgins seem quite a bit less virginal than in her memories of old. Rather than Schmendrick the Magician, the unicorn's traveling companion is a two-headed demon rece ...more
Jonathan Scotese
I wouldn't recommend this to people who aren't fans already, but there is no way I wasn't going to love this. I did not know if I'd ever get a chance to read it and am very, very happy that the Evanston Library has a copy.(the internet tells me there are only 1000 copies printed and Amazon and ABEbooks tells me that they currently sell for $2,000)

This book is the unfinished first draft of The Last Unicorn, set in modern day and with the unicorns companion being a two headed demon exiled from He
I don't understand why or how anyone is rating this less than 5 stars, because seriously, it's just great. I mean, even as a draft. The characters of Azazel and Webster definitely require a book all their own. I do agree with Beagle's afterword when he says that "the unicorn's quest and the Webster/Azazel arc... were of nearly equal weight, and clearly pulled in quite separate directions." I felt that too as I was going along. I was thinking, but when is she going to get off the road and find th ...more
Christian Angeles
A unicorn and a demon become friends. Very bizarre but intriguing. A glimpse into the original version of the last unicorn that was altered along the way, probably for the better. None the less, it's enjoyable to see this odd couple journey.
Chanced upon this book at my library and thought it would be interesting to see how The Last Unicorn came about. Was happily surprised later to see it is number 263 of a special signed edition of only 1000. Kudos to my library for that one!

This is Beagle's initial aborted attempt at writing the story we all now know and love. I found it to be a really interesting first idea, and really liked the new character of Azazel /Webster. However I'm glad Beagle stopped when he did, as the balance of the
I had originally thought this was the complete version of the Last Unicorn only to find out it was an unfinished previous draft. It was interesting but I can see why Beagle set it aside as it started to really stop being the Unicorn's story toward the end. Looking forward to reading the complete version and comparing.
If you're as diehard a fan of the original as I am, you'll probably like this just for the alternate glimpses into the unicorn's world. I was also thrilled to see a dragon wander through, early on -- nobody writes about dragons like Beagle as far as I'm concerned. The unicorn's early-draft traveling companions are a pair of exiled demons, though, and while they have a certain snappy rhythm to their dialogue, there's no real heart to it. (Which shouldn't come as a surprise -- they're demons -- bu ...more
I love seeing the first draft of the book (Last Unicorn), and how it evolved into what it is today. Certainly, this isn't the masterpiece, but it's so nice to finally read the version the author talks so much about. I like how some pieces I recognize from the novel, and some are completely new. As someone who enjoys writing, I found it inspiration to see what something started as, knowing what it later became.
Feb 11, 2008 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Bluesimplicity
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Oh, the classics. I didn't even know this was a book until Blue recommended that I read it.

It's kind of the classic fairy tale, which is so great to see when it's done well. This book has romance and fighting and unicorns and everything that you expect in a legend.

Very much worth the read.
I liked this better than the final version. It's funnier and darker. I liked the whole bit about how Hell repackaged itself and is in some ways competing with how humans have decided to live their lives anyways (non-stop pain and suffering with no end in sight).
The Last Unicorn is an amazing book that should be read by everyone! Beagle weaves a tale that is poetic and as mystical as the mythology its self. The movie is also just as magical and closely fallows the novel, pick it up and read it.
Nov 12, 2008 Izlinda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Izlinda by: Bridgett
Shelves: fantasy
As the proto-The Last Unicorn, and without reading the completed version, this one seemed intriguing. The two demons arguing sometimes flew over my head, but it was an interesting look at a different Hell. :-)
The original is one of my fave books of all time, and this is very eccentric, but it's good to see how the story developed and improved. For the devout unicorn lover. :)
The Last Unicorn was one of my favorite movies as a child. I didn't know it was a book until I saw this version on the shelf of the library recently. Can't wait to read it.
I was not aware of the first version of The Last Unicorn, but after reading the lost version I definitely have to check it up.
Not too bad but I'm sure glad that we've got the version that we have; I'm so in love with that story!
Candice H.
interesting, but not better than the original.
May 31, 2013 Julia added it
Interesting companion to the actual tale...

So very satisfying :)
Edalin marked it as to-read
May 02, 2015
Ameya Warde
Ameya Warde marked it as to-read
May 01, 2015
Tyler marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2015
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Peter Soyer Beagle (born April 20, 1939) is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is also a talented guitarist and folk singer. He wrote his first novel, A Fine and Private Place , when he was only 19 years old. Today he is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, which routinely polls as one of the top ten fantasy novels of all time, and at least two of ...more
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