The Unicorn Girl

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The Unicorn Girl
The Unicorn Girl Cover.jpg
Author Michael Kurland
Language English, French, Italian, Portuguese
Series Greenwich Village Trilogy
Genre Science fiction/fantasy
Publisher Pyramid Books
Publication date
1969, 2002
ISBN 978-1-58715-420-1
Preceded by The Butterfly Kid
Followed by The Probability Pad

The Unicorn Girl is a science fiction novel by Michael Kurland, originally released in 1969, that follows the adventures of two men from San Francisco in the 60s after they meet a mysterious young woman looking for her missing unicorn. This novel is the second installment of the Greenwich Village Shared World Trilogy, with Chester Anderson writing the first book (The Butterfly Kid) and the third volume (The Probability Pad) written by T.A. Waters.[1] Kurland, Anderson, and Waters wrote themselves as characters in each book.

Plot summary[edit]

Micheal is watching Chester’s band performing in San Francisco in the 1960s, where he meets the girl of his dreams, Sylvia. She tells Michael she needs help finding her unicorn. After Michael and Chester get to know her, Sylvia explains that she lost her unicorn after she had gotten off of the train. Chester and Michael remember that the last train in their area ran 6 years ago.

Sylvia explains that she is from the circus and her crew is looking for the missing unicorn. She got separated from them after she took a winding road. Sylvia asks Chester to play “Barkus is Willing” while she calls Adolphus because he is fond of woodwind music.

When Sylvia sees cars, she doesn’t know what they are. Chester and Michael start to wonder if time travel is involved in how Sylvia came to be with them. While searching by a forest, they meet Sylvia’s circus friends - Ronald, Arcturian, and Dorothy. The groups decide to split up to search for Adolphus.

Sylvia reveals she is from 1936. While in the forest they see a UFO. As it's beginning to move closer, they run away. The UFO disappears in sections and the whole group goes through a blip.

They leave the woods they were in and appear in another forest, where they discover a yellow brick road. Sylvia starts crying because going through the blip made her sick. Sylvia reveals that she has been through a blip before, when she was on the train in her own time, that's how she ended up in Michael and Chester's time.

Sylvia hears Dorothy signalling her with a whistle, and whistles back to alert Dorothy of where they are. Dorothy reunites with the group after she hears Sylvia's response. They decide to follow the yellow brick road, where Chester notices the deliberate order of the nature around them and realizes that they're in a garden. A horse drawn carriage approaches them, and a man named Robin gets out of the to speak with the group. Chester assumes they've been transported into Early Victorian Era. Robin’s Aunt, who is traveling with him, and Robin offer the group a ride. (This universe was inspired by Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy)

On their journey with Robin, they run across an orgy in the grass alongside the road, but unlike Sylvia, Michael, Dorothy, and Chester, Robin and his aunt cannot see the it. They reach a town called West Mutton and Robin and his aunt offer them a place to stay at the suite they reserved. They have dinner and get introduced to many Victorians, and all the maids begin to take off their clothes. None of the guests notice the maids, even when they steal jewelry from them. The Victorians accuse the group of stealing the jewelry, so the group begins to flee. They realize that if they remove their clothes, no one can see them, so they do so. Sylvia ends up kissing Michael, and they run to the train to escape the angry mob.

Another blip happens while they're on the train, jumping them into another time. In this world, they get stuck with an army troop that demands that Michael and Chester leave Sylvia and Dorothy behind, or else they'll kill them. Sylvia jumps on the commander and kills him, urging the others to launch an attack on the rest of the troop - killing all of them. After looking at the troops, they realize that they've been transported again, this time into a Nazi war zone. Chester and Dorothy are killed by a Tiger tanks in the fight.

While trying to escape the Nazis, Sylvia and Michael are blipped to a circus, where they run into Tom. After Sylvia and Michael explain what's happened, Tom realizes they blip in moments of crisis. They proceed to crash a circus performance and blip over a lake.

Once they get out of the water, they're summoned by soldiers to meet Lord Gart. The New England government is suspicious of all the travelers coming to their area and want to learn more about it, so the group decides to meet with them so they can trade information. They're asked to record all of their travels and then meet with Lord Gart for dinner. They learn that, in this universe, magic is real.

They are asked to do experiments to recreate the feeling of blipping with Sir Thomas. New England is experiencing an exponential increase of visitors from other worlds and the government is worried that an ending is coming. They finally find Sylvia's unicorn, Adolphus, in this world when he is brought to them. Chester and Dorothy, no longer dead, find Michael. After talking about their experiences, the group concludes that Chester and Dorothy didn't actually die - the Chester and Dorothy of that other world did.

After two weeks, Sir Thomas discovers that all worlds from all universes are merging into one. He tells them they have to destroy a machine to stop the blips and everyone will return back to their original world. Michael and Sylvia learn that if they tightly hold hands, they may be able to return to the same world. They blip again to a world filled with dinosaurs, but Chester falls into a beam of light in the process. Reality begins to break apart and Sylvia yells for her and Chester to hold hands, but they don't make it in time. Chester, Tom, and Michael are transported back to their timeline without Sylvia, Dorothy, and Adolphus.

Back in his own time, Micheal Kurland asks Sir Thomas to contact him through his website or email.[2]

Main characters[edit]

  • Michael Kurland - Protagonist and author who is helping Sylvia find her missing unicorn
  • Chester Anderson (based on author of The Butterfly Kid, the first book in the Greenwich Village Trilogy) - Michael’s friend. Travels with Sylvia and Michael to find Sylvia's Unicorn
  • Tom Waters (based on author who writes the next book in the Greenwich Village Trilogy, The Probability Pad) - Professional magician, friend of Chester and Michael who had disappeared prior to the events of the book
  • Sylvia - The Unicorn Girl. The girl of Michael's dreams who is looking for her lost unicorn.
  • Dorothy - A tall, beautiful, red-haired girl; a member of the circus

Minor characters[edit]

  • Ronald - A centaur, a member of Sylvia's circus crew
  • Arcturian (Stage name Giganto) - a cyclops from the circus
  • Adolphus - Sylvia’s unicorn
  • Sir Thomas - A man in New England researching to find the source of the blips and how to end them
  • Robin - A man who offers them a ride and place to stay in the Victorian Era
  • Lord Gart - Ruler of New England, trying to find the source of the blips

History[edit]

This book was published in 1969 after Kurland met Chester Anderson, who wrote the first novel in the Greenwich Village Trilogy The Butterfly Kid.[3] Anderson was a poet in the Greenwich Village and Kurland had just returned to the states from traveling in the United States Army in Europe. After meeting each other, they decided that, instead of becoming an American playwright or whatever previous career goals they had, they were going to write Science fiction. Kurland was influenced by his group of friends because they all had very unique names such as Bob “The Pope” Silverberg and Willy “The Professor” Ley.[2]

Anderson and Kurland wrote the first book 10 years to Doomsday and published it with Pyramid Books. Ed Emshwiller illustrated the cover. Kurland and Anderson worked really hard to portray the style of Poul Anderson. After the book was published, Kurland said, “Without even trying - well, that's not true, we tried real hard to write a good book - but without even knowing we were doing it, we had achieved the style of one of the heroes whose residence in the van Hala reserved for great writers was already assured.”[2]

Then Anderson wrote The Butterfly Kid. He based the hero and the sidekick off of himself and Kurland and told the story as if it was from their point of view. After the success of The Butterfly Kid, Anderson suggested that Kurland write the sequel. Instead of writing a direct, narrative sequel to The Butterfly Kid, Kurland wanted to rewrite it in the point of view of the character Michael, whereas The Butterfly Kid was in Chester's point of view. But as Michael said in a letter, “[he] cowardly chose instead to tell what happened after” because he didn't want to make fun of his friend Chester.[2]

Reception[edit]

James Nicoll reviewed the book, stating that it was "exactly the cheerful light comedy it set out to be" and noting that "Somewhat atypically for the time, the two women in the group—Sylvia and Dorothy—manage to kick serious ass."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Title: The Unicorn Girl". www.isfdb.org. Retrieved 2018-03-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d Michael,, Kurland,. The unicorn girl. Hofmann, William,. New York. ISBN 051503391X. OCLC 2216457. 
  3. ^ 1932-, Anderson, Chester, (1980). The butterfly kid. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 9780671832964. OCLC 9653209. 
  4. ^ Nicoll, James. "Psychedelic SF Revisited". James Nicoll Reviews. Retrieved 2018-04-18.