Assiti Shards series
The Assiti Shards series is a fictional universe invented by Eric Flint. It is a shared universe open to authors of many calibre levels, concerning several alternate history worlds, related to a prime timeline. The defining characteristic of the fictional universe is the existence of the "Assiti Shards effect", and the impact that strikes by Assiti Shards have on characters in the stories. The series is rather large and expansive, having started publication in 2000, and as of 2008[update], consisting of 15 print books, and 21 e-magazine anthologies, in two different published timelines of the same multiverse (only one work is in the second timeline).
The Assiti Shards work by displacing bits of the world into other times and places, exchanging it with that which was there. These "shards", according to the fictional universe backstory, are waste byproduct of artworks created by the a sophisticated and curious alien race known as the Assiti. The various stories involve shards striking the Earth and timeshifting characters into different periods and places.
Ring of Fire
The first literary work in this fictional universe was 1632 (pub. 2000) by Eric Flint. This work led to a series of works that branched off this, into the Ring of Fire series (aka 1632 series). Most of the works in this fictional universe fall within this particular timeline. This timeline involves the displacement and exchange of a late 1990s West Virginia mining town with a piece of 1630s medieval southern Germany (in Thuringia).
Although 1632 was written as a stand-alone novel in 2000, Flint had planned several other universes using the Assiti Shards story premise. However, the sensation and interest engendered by the 1632 novel's publication subsequently caused the other works to be delayed while the 1632 series was developed.
This timeline was opened up to third-party authors, and open submissions. These are collected and published as the Grantville Gazettes, an online anthology magazine, focused solely on the Ring of Fire timeline. It is similar to Analog Science Fiction Science Fact, in that it publishes fiction and nonfiction. In this case, the nonfiction relates to the Ring of Fire timeline. The best stories, some commissioned, are collected into the Ring of Fire print anthology series.
All the major novels in the series, after the initial one, have so far been collaborations between Eric Flint and other authors. The series is considered broad and expansive.
The second timeline opened up by Eric Flint was the one based around the novel Time Spike, which he co-wrote with Marilyn Kosmatka. It was published in May 2008. This timeline involves several different periods in the history of Middle America, starting with a maximum security prison in the 2000s, along with Amerinds on the Trail of Tears, Spanish Conquistadors, a city of the Mound Builders, and some Paleoindians—all displaced into the age of dinosaurs (several different periods of the age are also jumbled together).
By Any Other Name
The third timeline opened up by Eric Flint is the one around the novel By Any Other Name (forthcoming), co-authored with Sarah Hoyt. By Any Other Name takes place in several different time frames including a transposition of the Assiti themselves into Elizabethan England.
- ‘1632’ fans will enjoy Flint’s latest sequel, Galveston County Daily News, 8 June 2008 (accessed 8 December 2008)
- Fort Morgan Times, Barker on books - 'Ring of Fire II' shows depth of human experience Dan Barker Friday 30 May 2008 (accessed 8 December 2008)
- (Japanese) ZDnet Japan, 小説にも映画にも――広がるオープンソースの世界, Dana Blankenhorn, 2007-7-19 (accessed 2008 December 8)
- BAEN Free e-library
- "Virginia's Grid" of Up-time Characters
- Slush Pile
- Baen's Bar, center of the Assiti Shard collaboration