Fire on the Mountain

Terry Bisson et al.

Presenting an alternative version of African American history, this novel explores what might have happened if John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry had been successful.

It’s 1959 in socialist Virginia. The Deep South is an independent Black nation called Nova Africa. The second Mars expedition is about to touch down on the red planet. And a pregnant scientist is climbing the Blue Ridge in search of her great-great grandfather, a teenage slave who fought with John Brown and Harriet Tubman’s guerrilla army.

Long unavailable in the US, published in France as Nova Africa, Fire on the Mountain is the story of what might have happened if John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry had succeeded—-and the Civil War had been started not by the slave owners but the abolitionists.

“You don’t forget Bisson’s characters, even well after you’ve finished his books. His Fire on the Mountain does for the Civil War what Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle did for World War Two.”
–George Alec Effinger, winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards for Shrödinger’s Kitten, and author of the Marîd Audran trilogy.

“McKinley Cantor and Ward Moore move over! The South has risen again–this time as a brilliantly illuminated black utopia. Terry Bisson’s novel touched my heart, brought tears to my eyes, and kept me thinking about it for days after finishing the book. It’s an astonishing feat of rewriting history into something truly wonderful.”
–Edward Bryant, co-author of Phoenix Without Ashes and winner of two Nebula awards for short stories Stone, and gIANTS.

“Few works have moved me as deeply, as thoroughly, as Terry Bisson’s Fire On The Mountain… With this single poignant story, Bisson molds a world as sweet as banana cream pies, and is briny as hot tears.”
–Mumia Abu -amal, death row prisoner and author of Live From Death Row, from the Introduction.

“A talent for evoking the joyful, vertiginous experiences of a world at fundamental turning points.” –Publishers Weekly

Terry Bisson, who was for many years a Kentuckian living in New York City, is now a New Yorker living in California. In addition to science fiction, he has written bios of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Nat Turner. He is also the host of a popular San Francisco reading series (SFinSF) and the Editor of PM’s new Outspoken Authors pocketbook series.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of a police officer. Prior to his arrest he was a Black Panther Party activist, cab driver, and journalist. Since his conviction, his case has received international attention and he has become a controversial cultural icon. During his imprisonment he has published several books including Live from Death Row.

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