The Unreal and the Real, Ever After, and The Last Unicorn

NEW: THE UNREAL AND THE REAL, Volume One: Where on Earth by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer Press, 2012)

Winner of the Hugo AwardNebula AwardLocus Award, and World Fantasy Award several times each, Ursula Le Guin is firmly sewn into fabric of American fiction. Fairyroom’s whole editorial staff remembers reading Le Guin during formative years (and we love that she was born near our offices).

Le Guin is best known for her Earthsea series, which debuted with The Wizard of Earthsea in1968. The series is made up of five novels and seven lesser known, but no less wonderful short stories. In a genre filled with epic tomes, Le Guin stands out in short form, and in this new volume of fantasy (Volume Two contains highlights of her sci-fi work), her exceptional talent showcased.

The Unreal and the Real is a major event not to be missed. In this two-volume selection of Ursula K. Le Guin’s best short stories—as selected by the National Book Award winning author herself—the reader will be delighted, provoked, amused, and faced with the sharp, satirical voice of one of the best short story writers of the present day. Where on Earth explores Le Guin’s earthbound stories which range around the world from small town Oregon to middle Europe in the middle of revolution to summer camp.

 

From the reader community:

“Most every serious fan of science-fiction and fantasy is aware of the impact Le Guin’s fiction has had on the genres, but many have not delved further than her classic novels…I would argue that some of her very best, most powerful and imaginative work was in the short form, and these two volumes provide the perfect evidence. The stories found here would serve as an excellent introduction for newcomers to her work, and as a definitive collection of Le Guin’s best short fiction for the more serious fan.” ~Jack (Amazon)

This collection of Le Guin’s short stories is a real treasure…I recommend reading this collection slowly, a story or two at a time. The stories are dense and thought-provoking, and the anthropological ones could too easily blend together, but are in fact each are unique and well-developed.” ~Catherine (Goodreads)

Enjoy an excerpt of The Unreal and the Real when you Look Inside on Amazon. Order the book from these popular booksellers:

 

SOON: EVER AFTER by Kim Harrison, Book 11 in The Hollows series (Harper Voyager, January 22, 2013)

The highly anticipated eleventh book in the Hollows series is almost here! Set in an alternate Cincinnati where all types of magical creatures roam the streets—elves, fairies, trolls, vampires, werewolves, and many others, including witches like Rachel Morgan, the series’ main character. Supernatural species went public after the historical event Harrison dubbed “The Turn”, some forty years earlier in the story’s timeline, when genetically modified tomatoes released a virus that killed a quarter of the human population, making room for some serious magic…

The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing… for the worse.

While saving the world is important, it isn’t Rachel’s only motivation. There’s also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It’s also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He’s already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn’t give herself up soon, they’ll die.

But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn’t going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She’s also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she’s going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones… and prevent an apocalypse before it’s too late. Or, at least that’s the plan…

 

From the reader community:

“I could not sleep until I finished the book. I cried. I laughed. Because even in the worst of circumstances for the characters, Harrison can make you laugh. And there really is a lot to cry about in this book for fans of the amazing characters.” ~Aliza (Goodreads)

• “Is this a good starting point for new Hollows fans? Nope. You really, really need the full back-story to appreciate the book. I was lucky – I started at book #9, Pale Demon. I hunted down the rest, then read 1-8 the same week (one of the least productive 7 days of my life.) My point? Never read a “Hollows” book? Go get them all.” ~Richard (Amazon)

Enjoy an excerpt of Ever After is available on Harrison’s website. Check back on FairyRoom next month for an interview with her! Look for this book on January 22 or preorder:

 

CLASSIC: THE LAST UNICORN by Peter S. Beagle (Roc, 1961)

Readers are likely more familiar with the 1982 animated film The Last Unicorn, staring the voice talents of Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, and Angela Lansbury than with the book from which it was adapted. But the screenplay was penned by Beagle and is, by all accounts, very close to his original work.

The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician–whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended–when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream.

 

 

From the reader community:

“What makes the tale uncommon is the telling. Beagle doesn’t so much tell the story as immerse the reader in it, the entire world shimmering to life around characters that are amazingly real for being so rooted in a world of magic. I consider this an absolute must-read for fans of Beagle, the fantasy genre, or the classic animated movie The Last Unicorn.” ~Chris (Amazon)

“Beautiful prose. Easy to read yet scintillates in its beauty. I could almost hear the gallops, the forest,the wind and the mystical bells every time the unicorn appears and moves. Unforgettable fantasy book. Just unforgettable. Wow.” ~K.D. (Goodreads)

Enjoy an excerpt of The Last Unicorn is available on the publisher website. Order the book from these popular booksellers:

Which Fantastic New, Soon, and Classic books are you excited about?