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Friday, December 01, 2006 

New blog on the scene

We have a new edition to the M-L corner of the blogosphere. Comradely greetings are extended to Jimmy Higgins over at Fire on the Mountain. Nice literary reference for the blog's title and everything. Although I cannot lay claim to having read the book (if anyone wants to send me a copy for a christmas present you'll find no complaints on my end), based on what I understand of the book's premise I think that this blog will have a special place amongst my favorites.

While my late mother would've jibbed at the idea that I was named after anyone but her Aunt Jimmy, I assume you are referring to the Upton Sinclair novel of the same name. Read it once, ages ago, and don't recall it as having been life-changing, but if you can lay hands on a copy of Willam Z. Foster's Pages From A Workers Life , there's a short essay called "Jimmie Higgins" which gives you the essence.

And thanks for the welcome, from the greenest newbie on the block to a blogelder whom I've been reading for some time now and whose inspiration helped set my feet on this dubious path.  

Posted by Jimmy Higgins

No, I meant Fire on the Mountain. Wasn't that a book by Terry Bisson whose premise centered on what if John Brown's Harpers Ferry raid had succeeded? 

Posted by Nelson H.

100% kee-rect. One of my favorite books of all time. I read a review of it in a copy of Analog magazine somebody had left around the postal facility where I was working, and immediately looked up Terry's number and called him to meet and talk and autograph the copy I was about to run out and buy as soon as I hit out that day.

It's in the science fiction genre known as alternate history, in which one thing is tweaked and changes cascade down the timestream, creating a different, parallel world. Example: a storm doesn't blow up, the Spanish Armada kicks Sir Fancis Drake's ass, Britain is conquered and now we have a decent cuisine in North America, instead of one based on English cooking. See?

So what changes history in Bisson's masterpiece is that Harriet Tubman stays healthy in 1859 and joins John Brown for the raid on Harpers Ferry as planned. A better tactician than he, she sees to the burning of the railroad bridge through the town and the band's escape into the Blue Ridge to start a guerilla war.

What a great book. Get it and read it, Nels.

Oddly enough I'm in the middle of a new book on John Brown's theology at the moment.


Posted by Jimmy Higgins

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