A Birth of a New Freedom: The Visitor
BLURB: There is a niche of science-fiction readers who like alternate-history novels. Within this niche is another small niche of readers who like time-travel stories. And within this niche is yet a third small niche of readers who like first-contact fiction. Well, that’s where my book, A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor has its home.
It’s a rather small home perfectly suited for any and all visitors from these three niches...at one time.
EXCERPT: (the opening paragraphs)
(March 20, 1849)
The passengers boarding the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad coaches struggled to drag their luggage through the narrow passageways, puffing clouds of white breath in the chilly air. Screams of excitement came from a gaggle of children chasing one another around the piles of chests and satchels.
The chill in Washington City was unexpected, since it was, in fact, the exact day of the vernal equinox. Winter was supposed to be finished, yet it lingered. Edwin Blair, however, anticipated the chill. Having done the research, he gave it little notice.
Aside from surveying the antics of the overly rambunctious children, Blair also carefully observed a tall, gangly man with unruly black hair who looked to be about his age, signaling for help. No sooner had the man arched his brow, accompanied by a sweeping gesture toward several well-worn bags, than two of the non-company black men scattered about the platform leapt into action. How am I going to refer to them? Blair tried not to panic. I’m not going to use the slavers’ term! ‘African-American’ won’t work. He tried to reorient his thinking and adjust his speech patterns to the time. There was that 1844 newspaper article about a “colored” man stopping the runaway carriage of President Tyler. And eventually the War Department’s going to create the Bureau of Colored Troops. He shook his head in resignation. ‘Colored’s’ going to have to do.
Edwin Blair, sporting a newly grown blonde, well-trimmed beard, and carrying nothing but a shiny metallic valise that he held closely by his right side, boarded several moments after the tall traveler, catching the eye of virtually everyone he passed. The perfectly polished surface of the valise seemed more like mirrored glass than metal, and his black leather jacket flapped opened in the cool breeze, revealing a black cable-knit pullover sweater. This, together with his dark blue denim trousers, his shoes made of indeterminate material, and his gleaming valise, were the source of near universal curiosity. Several of the young children skipping along beside him pointed and laughed. Their parents offered barely-hushed admonitions: “Behave yourselves! You know you mustn’t stare at strangers. It simply is not polite.” Yet they, to a person, failed to follow their own advice.
Blair held nothing in his left hand, yet he clenched it so tight that his nails dug into his flesh, his teeth clenched every bit as tight as his hand. No one mentioned the word “LEVI’S” burnt into a small leather patch on the back of his trousers, but several men did wonder aloud about the word “NIKE” on the side of his black and white shoes.
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