Unicorn Mountain, a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award winner for Best Novel, here appears in a re-edited and revised version in Michael Bishop's preferred text some thirty years after its original publication, when it was hailed for its adult focus, its gritty characters and situations, and its imaginative narrative elements, which include ranching in Colorado, Ute Indian lore, a Denver-based advertising firm, Swing Era music, an old Bendix TV set that transmits signals from an askew parallel Earth, and, last but no less disquieting, transdimensional migrations of living unicorns.
These four characters dramatically animate Unicorn Mountain:
* Elizabeth (Libby) Quarrels: a woman struggling to make a go of the ranch that she has won in her divorce from ex-husband, Gary, who perhaps inadvertently pushes Libby to take in and care for a disinherited first cousin of his infected with AIDS.
* Beaumont (Bo) Gavin, the first cousin, a sardonic but brilliant young man working for an independent advertising firm in Atlanta, Georgia, but one whose guilt over abandoning his late partner is as painfully mortifying to him as the disease he harbors.
* Samuel (Sam) Coldpony, a Ute Indian man who is Lib's only paid cowhand because he has a magical way with animals; also, he is perhaps the first resident of Remuda County, Colorado, to spy unicorns on Libby's upland property and to verify their existence in this reality.
* Paisley (Payz or Alma) Coldpony, Sam's only daughter, a young woman determined that her dream-calling to take part in the Utes' Sun Dance outside Ignacio, Colorado, will make her the first female to dance in that annual event.
"Full of the dangerous stuff of life, death, and love [and written] with toughness and compassion and, most miraculous of all, with great joy."
—Michael Swanwick, author of The Dragons of Babel
"Wonderful characters, a thoroughly satisfying plot, an attractive balance between humor and pathos, and plenty of fascinating twists and turns: Bishop's finest work, and unequivocably recommended."
“Bishop documents the pathos and tragedy of the AIDS epidemic on both literal and metaphorical fronts, pulling off both feats with compassion and integrity. His characters are so real that you can see the shadows they cast, and their intersecting stories are as compelling as they are moving.”
—Lewis Shiner, author of Glimpses and Outside the Gates of Eden
“Michael Bishop has pulled off a rare and amazing feat. Unicorn Mountain successfully weaves such traditional fantasy elements as unicorns and Indian lore together with the all-too-contemporary. . . . Bishop’s characters and situations are completely real, gritty as unpaid bills and unmet human obligations—while also shimmering with the mystery behind the grit, the unseen behind the seen. This is a breathtaking book.”
—Nancy Kress, author of Sea Change
“A courageous book. Bishop is at the top of his form.”
—Greg Bear, author of Darwin’s Radio
“In Unicorn Mountain, Michael Bishop dresses the everyday world in a sense of wonder, and he makes the miraculous as real as Marlin Perkins narrating a Wild Kingdom segment about a unicorn roundup. Nobody is better than Bishop at mixing the grittily real and the utterly fantastic.”
—George Alec Effinger, author of When Gravity Falls