I am astonished. Amazed. Astounded. Totally stunned.

It seems that Peter S. Beagle has written a sequel story to The Last Unicorn. Called Two Hearts, it is supposed to be published in Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine later this year.

Beagle has also completed a 7-hour audiobook-on-CD unabridged version of The Last Unicorn, read by Beagle himself, and is offering it in both CD (to ship sometime in May) and MP3 formats. To the first 3,000 people to buy a copy, they will send a free, autographed, hardcover copy of Two Hearts. You can bet I’ve already signed up before telling you this. (I wish I’d learned about it before April 10th; people who ordered before then got free shipping and even more bonuses.)

I don’t know how to describe The Last Unicorn to you. It’s one of my favorite books in all the world, for all that I discovered it only a few years ago. People talk about how a story is “magical,” or append magic to some adjective like “the Disney magic.” Well, I don’t know how Beagle managed it, but he captured a piece of real magic in that story. It stands the test of time—a million rereadings cannot wash it away. It even survived the transition to animated form—though perhaps diluted a tad due to the constraints of two hours of time, the magic leaps out at you from the Rankin/Bass animated movie. It cannot help but. Even the soundtrack to the movie, by America, has that magic. (Heck…I named this journal after a line from one of its songs.) Like a unicorn’s horn purifies everything it touches…so does the story of The Last Unicorn make the transition across the media. Hopefully the magic will hold true for the upcoming live-action/CGI movie as well.

The only sad thing is that the American-release DVD of the Rankin/Bass movie is sorely lacking, being a poor quality pan-and-scan-only transfer. Fortunately, I’m able to play multi-region/PAL DVDs, so I was able to order the R2 German version.

Here’s an article about The Last Unicorn that says a lot more stuff about it, and says it well.

Sigh…I so cannot wait to get those CDs…maybe I should go find my own copy of the book and start reading again. Or maybe I’ll just wait so I can have Peter read it to me.