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Get Off the Unicorn (The Talents Universe)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  5,244 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Open these pages and discover 14 remarkable stories of fantasy by a grand master of the genre. A wonderful writer, as well as successful and beloved by fans across the world, Anne McCaffrey has created an exciting collection of telepaths, secret gifts, dangerous missions, dragonriders, and more.

Lady in the Tower.--A Meeting of Minds.--Daughter.--Dull Drums.--Chang
Paperback, 303 pages
Published May 12th 1987 by Del Rey (first published 1977)
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The Rowan by Anne McCaffreyThe Demolished Man by Alfred BesterDragonflight by Anne McCaffreyDamia by Anne McCaffreyCatspaw by Joan D. Vinge
Best Novels About Telepaths
37th out of 189 books — 119 voters
The Demolished Man by Alfred BesterTo Ride Pegasus by Anne McCaffreyDeadlocked by Charlaine HarrisTelzey Amberdon by James H. SchmitzOpen Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
Telepathy - fiction - part 1
8th out of 110 books — 15 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I've always been ambivalent about McCaffrey. I gave up on the Pern books fairly far into the series, because the elements of sadism and rape I'd had trouble with earlier became, in my opinion, the predominant elements. I'll probably never know if I should have given up on only that particular book.

The sex life of dragons is a disturbing but small part of their lives, and the use of the mating flights to overcome the wills of the riders (to celibacy, for example, or to other priorities, some wort
Mar 02, 2015 kat rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2015
The usual collection of rape, slut-shaming and misogyny from an author I used to think was pretty cool.


Not Terrible: Horse From a Different Sea, The Great Canine Chorus, Finder's Keeper, Apple.
Avoid At All Costs: A Meeting of Minds, The Thorns of Barevi, Honeymoon

Lady in the Tower: This later became part of the novel The Rowan. It's actually less terrible on its own, but still kinda cringe-y.

A Meeting of Minds: In which the daughter of The Rowan eventually realizes the dude who was formerly
Sarah Sammis
Jun 21, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it it was ok
Shelves: released
In an effort to clear my shelves I am "forcing" myself to read books I've had for just about forever. Take for instance Get off the Unicorn, I think I've had this copy for 20 years! That would have made me 13 or 14 when I bought it — right at the peek of my love for Anne McCaffrey's books. I should have read it back then; I would have enjoyed it more.

This book contains a dozen short stories, many of which exist in the worlds of her various series. Of her series I've mostly read the Pern books s
Aug 11, 2014 Terri rated it really liked it
I first read this collection of McCaffrey short stories when I was a kid, and, having devoured both the Dragon Rider series and the Brain Ship series, I wanted more of her work. I loved it then, just for giving me another visit to Pern and the Federated Planets. I also loved it for clearly being something I probably "shouldn't" have been reading.

Reading it now, almost 40 years after its original publication, I still love it, but more for McCaffrey's notes before each story. The stories remain fr
Dec 05, 2012 WillowBe rated it it was ok
Yes, this is how far I have sunk- reading McCaffrey books, which I read as a virgin teen. This stuff I wouldn't recommend bec it was written way before "women's lib" and the sexism and racism is so casual and endemic, it's rather chilling. Actually what's shocking is her seeming lack of recognition that there are extremely sexist and even anti-female elements in some of the stories. I mean, sure, your Dad (Daughter, et. al.) is a big sexist asshole, but the number of times one female protag is g ...more
Gere Lewis
Nov 07, 2012 Gere Lewis rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2013 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 8, sf, reread, anthology, 2013
I rather suspect I liked the same stories this time round as when I first read it.

I've often reflected that over the last decade that Nora's analysis of people in the early 21st century and their online data store use (in Dull Drums) was eeireely accurate. On rereading it, I definitely think so and I suggest anyone interested in cases where the SF author pretty much got the future right (in the concepts rather than the specifics), take a read of this 1973 short story.

My favourites remain:
Lady in
Aug 21, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it
Man, I am utterly incapable of being objective about Anne McCaffrey. I read her work at an impressionable age, and now it's just comfort reading to me. Do some of the stories feature outdated views about gender? Yes! Does the 70s soft-core porn story have strong overtones of rape-but-she-secretly-wanted-it? It sure does! Some of the stories are better than others, I guess is what I'm saying, but I love them all. Can't help it.

There's a very wide range of stories in here, and I suspect that indi
Oct 11, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes short stories, Dragons, Pern, and associated elements
Hopefully you don't mind a side story instead of an objective review.

I still remember my mother coming into my 6th grade English classroom, talking about our library of over 500 books at home, and reading The Girl Who Heard Dragons to our classroom. Everyone was rapt (though of course, I'm sure some were just being polite), but I was never more proud of my mother, nor more excited about reading, than at that moment.
I remember asking my mother if I could read that book, and while I think The Gi
Stephen Dole
Feb 22, 2015 Stephen Dole rated it it was ok
A strange little book from a generally great author. Some good stories in here (The Littlest Dragonboy stands out for me, for all its simplicity) but there is a large amount of sexist behaviour which simply wouldn't be tolerated today. One story, 'Thorns if Barevi', made me particularly uncomfortable with its depiction of a woman enjoying being raped. I also felt the Talent stories (later developed into The Rowan and Damian) did not work very well outside the context of their later expanded stor ...more
Douglas Milewski
Jun 07, 2015 Douglas Milewski rated it it was ok
Get Off the Unicorn, published in 1977, collects some of Anne McCaffrey's short stories into a single collection. If there is any work by Anne that you want to start with, this ISN'T the one. By all means, judge Anne by a different book.

This is a book that I often debated reading back in high school, and I may even have checked it out of the library. Even so, I have no memory of its contents. On reading it, I see why I would never have read it, or even persevered reading it. The stories in this
Octavia Cade
Jun 02, 2014 Octavia Cade rated it liked it
The problem with assessing short story collections is one of averages. I quite enjoyed some of the stories in here, though they're clearly a product of their time. Taken together, it's come out as an ok collection for me. Glad to have read it, but I wouldn't reread.

Bar the utterly distasteful "Thorns" which relies on the ever-offensive "rape as turn-on" trope, it's the stories that seem to have spun off into series that got the most reaction from me. In two cases (Pern and the Tower series) thi
It's interesting to go back and read a very early work by a person whose later works defined much of one's youthful reading. Especially when many of these stories became the seeds for those later works. The stories in here seem to vary in quality, with those being set in McCaffrey's pre-established worlds being strongest and most "solid." I had a bit of trouble with other stories, in large part due to values shifts in the intervening decades ("Dull Drums" and "Changeling" being most difficult/pr ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I feel weird about not loving this, since Anne Mccaffrey is usually one of my favourite authors. Some of the stories where very good; a few where too confusing and strange to form an opinion about; and far too many where so horrifically sexist that I had to do a double take to see if I had really just read what I thought I had. There is a certain amount of sexism (or racism) in fiction that I'm willing to attribute to "that was the era it was written", but this went far beyond the worst that I e ...more
Kirsten Simkiss
Sep 06, 2016 Kirsten Simkiss rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. TERRIBLE. You may not think so - maybe nostalgia for her books has clouded your mind - but these stories are boring, offensive, and frankly have characters in them that seem incomplete and wooden. Dear God, save yourself. I got to page 120 and stopped. I don't know what the next story was about, but it was boring me to death.

Allow me to display the thing that I read that bothered me the most. "How could she have blundered around so, looking for a mind that was superior to
This collection of short stories from Anne McCaffrey is almost like an excerpt compilation from her other works. The Rowan & Damia from The Tower & The Hive, The Catteni Series, The Pern Series, The Talent Series, and The Ship Who Sang are all represented here, along with a few others. I normally do a review of each story when I review an anthology, but in this case I won't since these are all (to me) just parts of other works. I have not read The Ship Who Sang series, so the last story ...more
Apr 12, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
Along with most of her other books I read this in my "Anne McCaffrey summer" between leaving high school and starting college. Skip forward a decade or more and I had half a memory of a story involving a water world and people stealing some sort of "whale juice" (just tapping them not killing them!). Luckily I picked up a copy of this 2nd hand and rediscovered the story Weather on Welladay. To be fair its not her greatest story but something about it means I keep picking up this book just to rea ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is an enjoyable collection of 14 of McCaffrey's short fiction. Six of the stories are set within the universes of popular series she created. "The Smallest Dragonboy" is set in her popular Pern universe--it's an enjoyable, even if not outstanding story. Three of the stories are set in the "Talents" universe concerning psychics of To Ride Pegasus, The Rowan and Damia. "Lady in the Tower" (1959) was actually McCaffrey's first published story and I enjoyed the follow-up "Meeting of the Minds." ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Sam rated it liked it
This is a collection of short stories by Anne McCaffrey, spanning her entire career. The earlier ones are quite good, very interesting, and at times excellent: I am thinking in particular of "Lady in the Tower", "Daughter", and the remarkable "Changeling". These stories and some of the other similar stories are very revealing about McCaffrey's views on women, feminism, and sexuality: they seem quite dated nowadays, but perhaps ever more daring for this reason. There are several stories in the mi ...more
Mar 10, 2011 Katrina rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I've just started reading this as an interim book until I can start Ship Breaker, but I really like it so far. It has been many years since I have read Anne McCaffrey's works and now I remember why I loved her so much. This is an older collection of stories I picked up at an Oxfam in Reading. Two things caught my eye to buy it: 1) It is Anne McCaffrey and 2) It includes the short story "The Smallest Dragon Boy". #2 is significant because I read this story in elementary school and LOVED it but co ...more
Chadwick Saxelid
Nov 23, 2014 Chadwick Saxelid rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Fourteen stories of the future and the fantastic from the mind of McCaffrey. Anne, that is.

Just a book or so down the Science Fiction Book Review thread I mentioned the nibble factor. Anthologies are great nibble books, especially if the anthology is a themed one and the reader finds himself or herself reading story after story on the same subject matter.

While that is certainly not the case with Anne McCaffrey's Get Off the Unicorn - while some of the stories do have some very strong connective
A marvelous selection of short stories that introduce you to some of the other works of Anne McCaffrey.

Lady in the Tower - 4 stars, I just love a good parapsychic romance. The story was later expanded into The Rowan
A Meeting of Minds - 3 stars, another parapsychic romance. Later incorporated into the book Damia.
Daughter - 3 stars, future society & education.
Dull Drums - 3 stars, same character and topics as Daughter.
Changeling - 1 star, alternate family of the future, just weird.
Weather on
Aug 11, 2015 Cresta rated it it was ok
Was completely excited to find a copy of this book years ago. The smallest dragon rider was my first glimpse into the pern world and I was thrilled to finally have a copy of it for my shelves.

Sadly I find the rest of the stories off putting and kind of lack luster. I understand the author was not as established as she was when I stumbled upon her, but the rest are pretty forgettable with plots and characters that are just plain odd or behave in an off putting manner.
Sep 21, 2014 Kathleen rated it liked it
I found this book in a comic store in London for a pound. The store didn't even know they had books, I don't think.

The book itself is eclectic and more like little glimpses into other worlds that McCaffery has created rather than standalone short stories. I was almost relieved when one was set in Pern because it was so familiar, but my favorite would have to be Weather on Welladay though.
Nov 30, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
These short stories, all by McCaffrey were fascinating to me when I found this book. I had previously only read her Pern books, and seeing her write about different worlds and times was eye-opening. (As was the sex in a couple of the stories- I was probably only fourteen at the time!) One of her more memorable collections of short fiction.

By the way, there is no unicorn in any of these stories. The original title was Get OF the Unicorn, as in "offspring" of the unicorn, meaning that these storie
I remember this book and a good read. But mostly I recall it because of the title being drawn from a typo on the publishers coming soon list . McCaffrey is always a good read
Candace Smith
Feb 01, 2015 Candace Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: pern-series
I only read the short story, The Smallest Dragon Boy, although several others looked extremely good too. I liked it. It was a simple story that showed how dragons are choosy in a good way.
Ramoths Own
Feb 20, 2014 Ramoths Own rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago but having recently read Anne McCaffreys biography it was fun and interesting to read the stories that she talked about writing and when she wrote them. I read each story with new eyes. I am now getting ready to re-read some of the earlier stories connected to the novella's in this book. My awe in her talent is just increased in that I can never read a Pern story that deals with impression and fail to cry.

Reading all of the other tales were wonderful and sent me
Mar 05, 2016 Adessa18 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories. Ms. McCaffrey gives a wonderful introduction with colorful comments on writing and life!
Joy Smith
Jul 13, 2014 Joy Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-favorites
I read this years ago and enjoyed it. I remember that it was supposed to be titled Get of the Unicorn, but there was a typo.
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Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two brothers: Hugh McCaffrey (deceased 1988), Major US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.

Anne was educated at Stuart Hall in Staunton Virginia, Montclair High Scho
More about Anne McCaffrey...

Other Books in the Series

The Talents Universe (8 books)
  • To Ride Pegasus (The Talent, #1)
  • Pegasus in Flight (The Talent, #2)
  • Pegasus in Space (The Talent, #3)
  • The Rowan (The Tower and the Hive, #1)
  • Damia (The Tower and the Hive, #2)
  • Damia's Children (The Tower and the Hive, #3)
  • Lyon's Pride (The Tower and the Hive, #4)
  • The Tower and the Hive (The Tower and the Hive, #5)

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