Fantasy Reviews Fantasy Short Stories

‘The Unicorn Anthology’ Review: Modernizing a Fantasy Classic

The Unicorn Anthology is full to the brim with unicorns aplenty, following them as they gallop through a series of stories that are fresh and cutting-edge. Unicorns may seem like a played out fantasy trope, but this collection proves otherwise. Many of the stories bring unicorns into the modern world, creating a fascinating dynamic against the expected medieval setting. The collection brings unicorns firmly into the twenty-first century, and it was a delight to read.

The Unicorn Anthology

Ed. by Peter S. Beagle &
Jacob Weisman
Tachyon Publications

I was most impressed by the modernization displayed in the stories. We see unicorn riding akin to bull riding, with young girls competing against each other for fame and glory. We see poachers stalking after a lone unicorn who accidentally stepped into the world through a rip in the multidimensional fabric. I was continuously surprised by the originality and imagination on display.

A couple of favorites:

  • The Magical Properties of Unicorn Ivory, by Carlos Hernandez: A tragic tale of poaching with a bittersweet ending and a fascinating explanation for why unicorns are in this version of the world.
  • Falling Off the Unicorn, by David D. Levine and Sara A. Mueller: It’s wild to imagine unicorn riding becoming the new bull riding, especially with the added terror of a huge horn flying at you.
  • The Maltese Unicorn, by Caitlin R. Kiernan: A brilliant usage of detective noir fiction that was unexpected and expertly done.

Overall, The Unicorn Anthology is a multi-layered collection that adds depth to the typical unicorn tales. It’s an excellent fantasy anthology that shows how fascinating these mythical creatures can be.

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

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