A Novel of an Alternative 1985 in the History of the United States
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.