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Black Hills

Science fiction and history mingle in this novel about a native American who travels from 1930s Mount Rushmore back into America’s past.

Black Hills
By Dan Simmons
Little, Brown and Company
496 pp., $25.99

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Though a worthy backdrop for the final chase scene in “North by Northwest” and the victim of unfriendly aliens in “Superman II,” Mount Rushmore looms larger in America’s cinema than in its cultural consciousness. The granite visages of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt adorn postcards and bumper stickers and draw millions to South Dakota’s Black Hills every year, but, unlike the National Mall, serve no purpose beyond patriotic landmarkship. In person, they seem small, insignificant, an artificial asterisk among majestic mountains. As a monument, Mount Rushmore’s just not that monumental.

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