Fire on the Mountain


Terry Bisson

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.


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Product ID: 97 SKU: 9781604860870 Categories: , Tags: ,

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 U.S., 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.


  • “History revisioned, turned inside out … Bisson’s wild and wonderful imagination has taken some strange turns to  arrive at such a destination.”
    –Madison Smartt Bell, Anisfield-Wolf Award winner and author of Devil’s Dream

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

  • “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 as briny as hot tears.”
    –Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row prisoner and author of Live From Death Row, from the Introduction.

About the Author:
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 biographies 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.

About Mumia Abu Jamal:
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.

Product Details:
Authors: Terry Bisson with Introduction by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Publisher: PM Press
Published: Oct. 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60486-087-0
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 208
Dimensions: 8 by 5
Subjects: Fiction

See and hear author interviews, book reviews, and other news on the Author’s Page HERE.

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Weight 200 g