The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The first story in The Fantasy Worlds of Peter Beagle is “Lila the Werewolf.” It might be called either a short novella or a lengthy short story. It follows the brief relationship between Joe Farrell and Lila Braun. Shortly after Lila moves into Farrell’s apartment, Farrell begins to notice that Lila acts strangely during a certain part of the month. He soon discovers the reason for this behavior: Lila Braun is a werewolf. Although their relationship continues for a short time, it finally disintegrates when Farrell and Lila’s mother follow Lila, who is in wolf form, as she makes her rounds of New York City. Years later, Lilas mother calls Farrell to inform him of Lilas wedding to a research psychologist, whose interest in Lila is both romantic and professional.

The next story in the collection is The Last Unicorn. This novel focuses on the adventures of a female unicorn who leaves the safety of her forest in order to find others of her kind. Along the way, she gains the companionship of Schmendrick the wizard, whose success at wizardry is sporadic at best, and Molly Grue, a tender-hearted but tough-speaking woman. Their search leads them to the heart of the kingdom of King Haggard, a monarch whose desire to possess beauty and immortality led him years before to imprison unicorns within the waves of the sea. When confronted by King Haggard’s mighty Red Bull, the unicorn almost meets the same fate as her kindred, but Schmendrick...

(The entire section is 560 words.)