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Note: The two main articles covering this large rapidly growing book series and this specific sub-series are kept up to date before publication as new titles are added to this rapidly growing milieu oriented body of works.

In the Ring of Fire series, Grantville Gazette XIII, or Grantville Gazette, Volume 8, is the eighth Grantville Gazette anthology published since February 2003 in the atypical series which consists of a mish-mash of main novels and anthologies produced under popular demand after publication of the initial novel which was written as a stand-alone work. Overall it is the ninth epublished anthology, counting the first eponymously named fiction only anthologies Ring of Fire , which preceded all the Gazettes. The Gazettes and Ring of Fire collections are, like most of the series works, including nearly all the longer fiction, collaborative efforts by more than one author set in the same shared universe created by Eric Flint who controls the series canon with shared resources at Baen's Bar and [http://www.1632.org ]. A gazette story, or ring of fire story, or novel chapter all have equal weight in the canon, and while one can read the longer series and follow major events, the richest detail and the research behind the big stories can only be found in the short fiction, whereas the research is tabulated and promongulated mainly in the Gazettes. The writer's list is open to anyone that cares to try their hand and submissions guidelines are found at the end of virtually all 1632 books, e-zines, and e-books, as well as on the aforementioned website.

The 1632 series in briefEdit

Main article: Ring of Fire series

Eric Flint's novel concept was simple—take a small American town typical of his youth limited in population, stockpiled goods, and manufacturing capabilities— swap them across time and space with an equal volume of real estate in emerging Early Modern Europe in a critical formative time (during the religious strife of the Thirty Years' War)— and extrapolate what a new history might result as the American ("up-timer") capabilities and ideas of democracy, labor, religion, equality of the sexes, etcetera mix with "down-time" European attitudes dominated by established State churches, religion, authoritarianism, and class structures and a nascent university structure. The Gazettes and much of the main series as it has developed, are the results of the nearly quarter of a million posts to the webboard chat forum 1632 Tech Manual on publisher Baen Books website Baen's Bar seriously exploring that premise.

This particular sub-series, the various Grantville Gazettes include encyclopedia grade fact articles by members of the 1632 Research Committee which cover the technological issues faced in fitting 21st century knowledge and base technology to the 17th Century setting of the parallel universe milieu. The internet forum Baen's Bar hosts the 1632verse oriented sub-forums 1632 Tech and 1632 Slush and both forums figure prominently in the background of these works as is covered in the The Grantville Gazettes and 1632 Editorial Board main articles. The series as a whole, and this sub-series in particular are an example of internet-age collaborative writing in the literary field.

Consequently, the Gazettes are mixed-works which include many fact articles initially published in online e-zine format, all set in the '1632verse' parallel universe created by the departure point established in the February  2000 hardcover novel 1632 by author-historian Eric Flint, who serves as editor of the overall mass of works, or co-author of the series. In one volume at least, 1634: The Ram Rebellion he managed both roles at once.

About the GazettesEdit

The bi-monthly Grantville Gazettes nowadays are published with clockwork regularity; all edited by assistant editor Paula Goodlett and vetted by Eric Flint who maintains editorial control over the canon for the series on the 1632.org website. They began quite differently with Flint as sole Editor, as well as keeper of the canon, and were very much an experiment on several levels explaining somewhat their early irregular appearance, that can best be described as "sporadic and haphazard".

After the initial explosive interest in 1632 Flint's first idea was to open the universe to other experienced writers to ride the wave of popular interest and internet buzz, for he had no plans for a sequel and other projects drawing on his time. That solicitation of stories included an invitation to fans of 1632, and generated far too much good "fan" fiction for a single anthology. In the event, best selling author David Weber was also attracted by the opened universe, and contracted with Flint to co-author five novels in the series. The release of any short fiction was held up by Jim Baen while 1633 was written and rushed into production.

Currently, Mrs. Goodlett, in conjunction with the 1632 Editorial Board, nowadays selects groups of stories from those formally submitted on the web forum 1632 Slush put together each volume with regard to length and diversity and the select the various 1632 Research Committees generated period oriented fact articles and essays which also characterize the gazettes, and distance them from the Ring of Fire anthologies. The e-ARC version of Grantville Gazette I followed the hardcover 1633 sequel and antedated the e-ARC release of Ring of Fire by nine months (February 2003 vs. November, 2003), as did Grantville Gazette II (August 2003). Flint then reviews the assembled collection of stories and alternates, and approves them as canon or not. Those he sets aside sometimes find themselves promoted to a prominent place in the series (see 1634: The Ram Rebellion and Ring of Fire II ), or might just be held for canonically compatible developments to be revealed before they are given publication. Others are simply rejected as non-canonical despite the Editorial Boards selection. The Editorial Board and Research Committee members are all volunteers being regular participants to the Baen's Bar web fora 1632 Tech Manual, 1632 Slush, and 1632 Slush Comments.

The earliest Gazettes are technically rated as fan fiction, which means the authors do not qualify as members in the Science Fiction Writers Association, which requires three stories be published in an accredited publication before a writer is eligible—this changed with Grantville Gazette X when the publication became qualified as a SFWA publication and began paying better than usual pro-rates. The gazettes idea began because there was so much good fan fiction submitted for Ring of Fire , which includes half the stories written by established authors. Flint had in fact, solicited input for ideas from fans before setting out to field research the flagship novel in 1999, so fans were involved in discussing the development of the neohistory from the outset. Subsequently, Flint, an experienced editor, suggested the idea of an online magazine to generate some income flow for the work to publisher Jim Baen using a similar concept to that used for Baen's Webscriptions monthly release. Baen, agreed to the experiment, and the Gazettes began as a serialized e-zine produced only sporadically, the segments of which were collected into an then electronic volume marketed as an e-book.

A subsequent experiment by Baen and Flint was to release the e-book version with an additional story by Flint in print as a mass market paperback. The experiment was successful, and Grantville Gazette II and Grantville Gazette III followed, with Grantville Gazette IV under contract as the last sale from Flint to Jim Baen shortly before his death.

In addition to fiction, the Gazettes include fact articles (based on the work output of the informal group, the 1632 research committee, written by one or more of its members) and stories which are initially vetted through a tough peer review on the Baen's Bar sub-forum 1632 Slush, typically requiring several rewrites then are subsequently nominated by the "EdBoard", whereupon Flint chooses the stories for inclusion in the Canon and for each volume based in part how it leads into or integrates with the ongoing main storyline 'threads' in the various novels.

E-book Table of ContentsEdit

Note: In the earliest three Grantville Gazettes, there were differences between the print published version and the original serialized eMagazine, and then again the intermediate e-book as the 'kinks' were worked out of the experiment. Should additional published works differ, it will be noted in the pertinent article.


Grantville Gazette VIII
Table of Contents

  • Assistant Editor's Preface by Paula Goodlett
 
1632-verse Fiction:
•     "Not a Princess Bride" by Terry Howard
•     "The Painter's Gambit" by Iver P. Cooper
•     "Dear Sir" by Chris Racciato
•     "The Sons of St. John" by Jay Robison
•     "Prince and Abbot" by Virginia DeMarce
•     "A Question of Faith" by Anette Pedersen
•     "I Got My Buck" by Barry C. Swift
•     "Capacity For Harm" by Richard Evans
•     "Flight 19 to Magdeburg" by Jose J. Clavell
•     "Rolling On" by Karen Bergstralh
•     "Three Innocuous Words" by Russ Rittgers
 
Continuing Serials:
•     "Joseph Hanauer, Part One: Into the Very Pit of Hell" by Douglas W. Jones
•     "The Doctor Gribbleflotz Chronicles, Part 3: Doctor Phil's Distraction" by Kerryn Offord
•     "The Essen Steel Chronicles, Part 2: Louis de Geer" by Kim Mackey
•     "Butterflies in the Kremlin, Part 1: A Russian Noble" by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett
 
Nonfiction
•     "Refrigeration and the 1632 World: Opportunities and Challenges" by Mark Huston
•     "New France in 1634 and the Fate of North America" by Michael Varhola
•     "Aluminum: Will O' the Wisp?" by Iver P. Cooper

SynopsesEdit

Assistant Editor's PrefaceEdit

Written by Paula Goodlett

And here we go—on time, just as promised. Grantville Gazette Volume 8 is ready for our discerning readers.

Just what is going on in Europe these days of 1632 – 1635 or thereabouts?

Did you ever wonder where some of the old pick-up lines came from? Iver P. Cooper gives us a possible answer for one of them in "The Painter's Gambit." Tsk, tsk. Artists and their etchings . . .

Industrial magnate Louis De Geer finally gives in to curiosity and comes to visit in Kim Mackey's "Essen Steel Chronicles, Part 2." Of course, he does have his own motives. Not that Josh and Colette don't have theirs, for that matter.

Terry Howard's cracker barrel philosopher, Jimmy Dick Shaver, is at it again in "Not a Princess Bride," and you do have to wonder "who was that up-timer" after you read Barry C. Swift's "Got My Buck."

Virginia DeMarce shows us just how complicated things could be in "Prince and Abbot." Fulda will never be the same after that election. Anette Pedersen addresses "A Question of Faith." Has Father Johannes struggled with his conscience for long enough? That’s a question only he can answer.

Richard Evans gives us a slightly darker view of things in "Capacity for Harm," but Russ Rittgers' Chad Jenkins accomplishes a parent's perfect revenge in "Three Innocuous Words."

The rest of the world isn't sleeping during all the changes that are taking place in Germany. Gorg Huff and I figure that something must be going on in Russia, so we told you about it in "Butterflies in the Kremlin," part one of a series. As well, a repressed sect of Christianity finds a new home in Jay Robison's "The Sons of St. John."

Faith in God comes in many flavors. Douglas W. Jones gives us another view of it in "Joseph Hanauer: Into the Very Pit of Hell."

Karen Bergstralh's new-made master blacksmith continues to build his business in "Rolling On," while Dr. Phil falls in love—wonder of wonders, not with himself—in Kerryn Offord's "Dr. Phil's Distraction." And Chris Racciato proves that there's not a new con game under the sun with "Dear Sir."

Our non-fiction in this volume covers a lot of territory, as usual. From "New France in 1634 and the Fate of North America" by Michael Varhola, to the real reason air conditioning was developed in Mark Huston's "Refrigeration and the 1632 World: Opportunities and Challenges." Last, but certainly not least, considering the reception from the Barflies, Iver P. Cooper gives us the rundown on the magic metal aluminum in "Aluminum: Will 'O the Wisp?"

Fire up the coffee pot, stock up on the chocolate and settle in for a nice, long read. We hope you'll enjoy our latest offerings.

FictionEdit

"Not a Princess Bride"Edit

Terry Howard

James Richard, or Jimmy Dick, Shaver (known to his close associates, and almost everyone else, as Dickhead) was in the grocery store. The old drunk was not there buying food. Most of his calories came from beer, followed by pretzels. Yes, believe it or not, despite the Ring of Fire, the Club 250 still sold pretzels. They were much better or a whole lot worse than the old ones, depending on who you asked.

Jimmy Dick gives sage advice to a downtimer about how to break up a teenage romance.

"The Painter's Gambit"Edit

Iver P. Cooper

It is more complicated than that. I have put off telling you about the peculiar courtship and marriage customs of Strobeck. If your art were selling well again, they wouldn't matter so much. But under the present circumstances—I am worried.

This story traces the courtship of Bridget of Stroebeck by a young artist, Felix Gruenfeld of Amsterdam. Along the way, Felix goes to Grantville, learns to play chess and gains some success as an artist. Significant parts of the story take place as a series of letters exchanged by Felix and Bridgit, linking narrative segments from the point of view of one or the other. The adventures of Felix Gruenfeld continue in First Impressions in Grantville Gazette XVIII. The cover art for Grantville Gazette XII purports to be an etching done by Felix.[1]

"Dear Sir"Edit

Chris Racciato

Dear Sir: You do not know me, but a mutual acquaintance has assured me that you are a man of superior integrity and utmost discretion. It is because of this that I approach you in my hour of most desperate need.

The opening quoted above is a rewrite of the classic Nigerian scam, rewritten to dupe a 17th century German investor into helping someone from Grantville. The story is set in the Grantville police station as the victim learns that he has been duped. The humor of this short story comes from the interaction between a hardened 20th century policeman and a minor 17th century nobleman, mediated through an interpreter.

"The Sons of St. John"Edit

Jay Robison

The wind blowing in from the Atlantic was cold. It often was on the west coast of Scotland, even in summer. The crude stone shepherd's hut where Brother Aidan and his three fellow monks sat kept the wind out for the most part, but it was far from warm and cozy.

"Prince and Abbot"Edit

Virginia DeMarce

Maybe they should have held the battle of Luetzen last month after all," Wes Jenkins said. "Just have kept Gustavus Adolphus out of it. Up-time, it seems to have cleared a whole batch of people off the playing board that we could just as well have done without."

"A Question of Faith"Edit

Anette Pedersen

Johannes Grunwald jumped up from the table with a gasp and spun around quickly, sending several maps and notes to the floor. “Sorry, I wasn’t expecting anybody. It’s rather late.” He looked at the elegant young man in the doorway, and relaxed slightly.


"I Got My Buck"Edit

In this short humorous Barry C. Swift tale, the participants are all mercenary soldiers slated to attack the Grantville protected region the next spring after the 1632 Croatian cavalry raid detailed in Battle of Grantville and Battle of Grantville High.

Herman sat at the fire, obviously enjoying its heat. When Wili sat beside him, he looked over at his friend. "What's tomorrow going to be like, I wonder. I hear these Swedes have some help from that Grantville place."


One of the soldiers, disparaged as "the new guy" by a number of scoffers is a survivor of a prior clash of arms with the Americans during the New United States days and encouraged by the "friendly guy" quoted above tells a tale visiting an elderly Grantviller after the conclusion of the flagship novel and being fed by him while passing through the strange town.

The old man had shown him his 22 caliber rimfire rifle and was totally fearless when dealing with the younger man while telling stories of learning to hunt when aged ten. He blows off a bit about rifle calibers and some women who'd advised him to use a bigger gun during the annual two week buck season—many of whom learned to shoot at a similar age. The new guy then told of seeing the mass grave of many of the Croatians as he wandered through the town totally blowing the reigning theory that the rumors of that were just fanciful. Before the battle the next morning, the new guy was missing from the camp, having left only his pike behind where he'd slept. Yet another deserter for the mercenary pike and shot formation to do without.

"Capacity For Harm"Edit

Richard Evans

o, Herr Doctor Lebenenergie. You designed this yourself?" "Not exactly, Commissioner Vaden." Tomas cursed himself for ever thinking that coming to Belfort would be profitable. He knew that Franche Comté was rife with witch hunts again, but he just needed some extra copper wire and plates for his second machine. Those could be made in Franche Comté.

"Flight 19 to Magdeburg"Edit

Jose J. Clavell

Britt Strausswirt was bored. A day after being released from the Leahy Medical Center, she rested her badly sprained left ankle on the ottoman that her host's wife, Gertrude McIntosh, had thoughtfully provided before departing for the market. Her husband, Captain Peter McIntosh, had gone to work and Britt was glad.

"Rolling On"Edit

Karen Bergstralh

Master Ritterhof, Master Eisenbach, may I present my staff?" Martin asked, conscious of the scuffling sounds behind him. He heard Max hiss something at Jakob followed by a 'thwack.' "Certainly, Master Schmidt. Certainly." Master Blacksmith Bruno Ritterhof smiled in return, politely ignoring the apprentices' bustle. "Master Eisenbach and I have been looking forward to this day for some time."


"Three Innocuous Words"Edit

Russ Rittgers

White vapor was blowing out of Hudson's nostrils that frosty mid-morning in late December. Chip Jenkins rode his horse around the small snow-covered copse of trees and saw the von Ruppersdorf manor that Katerina had finally finished building this year.


Up timer Committees of Correspondence organizer Chip Jenkins visits again for another Christmas celebration with his down-time fiance Kristina only to find out his father has gotten revenge for the many hours of Christmases past.

Continuing SerialsEdit

"Joseph Hanauer, Part One: Into the Very Pit of Hell"Edit

Douglas W. Jones

The congregation for the Saturday evening service at the close of the Sabbath filled the small synagogue in Hammelberg. Several out-of-town visitors brought the number well above the minimum of ten men required for the service. It was not a congregation that placed great value on formality or decorum.

A group of Jews heading to Poland stop in Grantville. The story begins before the Ring of Fire, and continues as the travelers are buffeted by rumors of war in the north and the Ring of Fire to the east. This basic scenario was outlined at the end of the nonfiction piece "The Jews of 1632" in Grantville Gazette VI . This is the first of three Joseph Hanauer stories, continued with "Joseph Hanauer, Part Two: These Things Have No Fixed Measure" in Grantville Gazette XIII and completed with "Joseph Hanauer, Part Three: All Creatures Stand in Judgment" in Grantville Gazette XIV .

"The Doctor Gribbleflotz Chronicles, Part 3: Doctor Phil's Distraction"Edit

Kerryn Offord's redoubtable egotistical alchemist, the beloved if unlovable Phillip Gribbleflotz is in danger of falling for an investment scam wherein various down-timers are claiming they've proved a method of smelting aluminum and need only more funds to develop the mine which has already begun low volume production. The up-timer Kubiak family who so humorously manipulate the bombastic Dr. Phil in their four year partnership revealed in this running soap opera are seeking to protect the good doctor from his passions—and coming up blank.

Yesterday I helped Stepmama turn Papa's old Geneva gown. We unpicked the seams, darned threads to reinforce the worst worn spots and re-dyed the fabric before hand sewing it back together, with what was formerly the inside now out. With a new detachable linen clerical collar, Papa will be set for another year or two.


A happy accident intrudes as Dr. Phil visits Ruldostadt and meets the dour Pastor Kerstenmeir's youngest daughter adding a true love story into the mix of developed characters in this comical series of canonical "Dr. Phil" soaps.

"The Essen Steel Chronicles, Part 2: Louis de Geer"Edit

Kim Mackey

Louis de Geer refolded the letters from his niece in Grantville. Interesting information, he thought. But he was a powerful and busy man, much like a four-masted battleship. Battleships do not change course easily or on a whim. Verification of Colette's claims was the first order of business.


"Butterflies in the Kremlin, Part 1: A Russian Noble"Edit

Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett

Boris Ivanovich Petrov pulled the horse to a stop and looked around. "This place is almost worth the trip. See the cuts in the earth where the land was changed. Look at these hills. The structure is different from those outside the ring. Everything inside this Ring of Fire is different."


NonfictionEdit

"Refrigeration and the 1632 World: Opportunities and Challenges"Edit

Mark Huston

While putting this article together, I have learned more than just the basic history of refrigeration, which by itself is fascinating. (In fact, I knew quite a bit to start before I started this, but that is another story.) I have learned much more about how truly complex life really is.


"New France in 1634 and the Fate of North America"Edit

Michael Varhola

1634 was a pivotal year for the indigenous peoples of North America. It was in that year that the French Jesuit missionaries, in spite of their highest motives, set in motion a series of events that led ultimately to the destruction of those whom they came to both civilize and save for the greater glory of God.


"Aluminum: Will O' the Wisp?"Edit

Iver P. Cooper

There is no doubt that aluminum is a wonder metal. Pure aluminum has a density only about one-third of iron, it is as reflective as silver, and a good conductor of heat and electricity. When exposed to air, it quickly acquires a protective coating of aluminum oxide, which shields it from further corrosion. Alloys of aluminum are extensively used as structural materials in the construction of buildings and vehicles.



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ReferencesEdit

  1. "Grantville Gazette, Volume 8". http://www.grantvillegazette.com/issues/Volume_08. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "Imagecaption: "The discussion about Volume Eight wasn't that long. Considering the many mentions of the Thuringen Gardens, Jan Steen's " The Picnic" was an obvious choice. It's a little late, painted sometime after 1665, but the flavor should be right. Can't you just see the Gardens in this?" -- Paula Goodlet, Assistant Editor" 

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