24 October 2006

The Line Between by Peter S Beagle

This is a collection of short works. I normally stay away from these, but Beagle is such a good author I decided to give it a read. The cover blurb focuses on the fact that it includes a story that is a sequel to The Last Unicorn. This, however, is one of the least interesting stories in the collection (it's still good, but it feels like no more than an epilog for the other book).

Most of the stories are fantastic, and several hilarious. A couple of examples, to whet your appetite:
- Gordon, the Self-Made Cat is a fairy-tale style story of a mouse who - upon hearing of the ecology of cats and mice - decides he is damn well going to become a cat instead. So he goes off to cat school determined to be the best cat in the class...
- El Regalo is a story about a 12 year old girl who finds out that her 8 year old brother is a witch. It's a nice, modern, fantasy tale. And, unlike Harry Potter, they act like kids really might when they get to do magic stuff.
- Mr Sigerson is a story Beagle wrote for a collection about Sherlock Holmes' missing years. It works due to the narrator - the conductor of a small town orchestra that Holmes joins while incognito. They end up solving a mystery (of course) but what makes it work is the narrators instant and total dislike for Holmes. They are intentionally similar dry intellectual types, and their interaction is wonderful.
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