Eric Flint

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Eric Flint
Eric Flint.jpg
Born 1947
California, U.S.
Occupation Novelist, short story author, editor, e-publisher
Genres Science fiction, Fantasy, Alternate History
Notable work(s) 1632

www.ericflint.net

Eric Flint (born 1947) is an American author, editor, and e-publisher. The majority of his main works are alternate history science fiction, but he also writes humorous fantasy adventures.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1947 in California, Flint worked on a Ph.D. in history specializing in southern African history. He left his doctoral program in order to become a political activist in the labor movement and supported himself from that time until age 50 in a variety of jobs, including longshoreman, truck driver, and machinist, and as a labor union organizer. A long-time leftist political activist, Flint worked as a member of the Socialist Workers Party.[1]

Career[edit]

After winning the 1993 Writers of the Future contest, he published his first novel in 1997 and moved to full-time writing in 1999.

Shortly afterwards, he became the first librarian of the Baen Free Library and a prominent anti-copy protection activist.[2][3] He has edited the works of several classic SF authors, repackaging their short stories into collections and fix-up novels. This project has met commercial success, and has returned several out-of-print authors to print.

In 2004, faced with a persistent drain on his time[4] by fan-fiction authors seeking comment on the four years old 1632 Tech Manual web forum focused on his 1632 series, he suggested[4] to Jim Baen the experimental serialized fan-fiction e-zine The Grantville Gazette which also found commercial success.[4] Four of the Gazette magazine editions were collated into anthology formats, bought by Jim Baen and brought out in either hardcover or paperback or both formats, though the last purchased[5] remains unpublished. Subsequently, Flint became editor of the new Jim Baen's Universe science-fiction e-zine while concurrently remaining a creative writer bringing out three to five titles per year. After the death of Jim Baen due to a stroke and after completing the contract for the tenth Grantville Gazette, Flint founded a new website "grantvillegazette.com"[6] which is not only continuing to bring out The Grantville Gazettes, but increasing the publishing rate from four per year to bimonthly while paying better than standard magazine pay rates and is modeled on the JBU e-zine.

As of October 2007 he lives with his wife Lucille (also an ex-labor organizer) in East Chicago, Indiana.

In 2008, he donated his archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.[7]

Flint is the author guest of honor for the 2010 NASFiC, ReConStruction.[8]

He is also participating in the The Stellar Guild series published by Phoenix Pick. The series pairs bestselling authors like Flint with lesser known authors in science fiction and fantasy to help provide additional visibility to them.

Electronic publishing[edit]

Eric Flint is noted as the editor of the Baen Free Library which is an ongoing experiment in electronic publishing (e-books in multiple unencrypted formats) where Flint and the late Jim Baen convinced authors 1 to post entirely unprotected free copies of various works for download over the internet. One early goal was to see if the release of free electronic content would increase the sales of their traditional print or (for-pay) electronic editions. As part of the initial phase, Flint has published a series of essays that in form have been part blog and part letters to the editor tracking the experiment and championing the practice.

Financially, it seems to be working out for publisher Baen Books, as they have embraced unencrypted e-book publication for all their works available in a variety of common formats. Usually eighty to a hundred titles are available in the Baen Free Library at any given time. In most cases, the works involved are the early volumes in continuing series, appetite whetters, where readers might be likely to purchase later works in the same series.

All new Baen Books can also be purchased as e-books in the same unencrypted formats as the free library through Baen WebScriptions. As an added wrinkle one can purchase a monthly collection of five bundled works in the release stage of publication at Baen's. Once the bundle reaches four months from its scheduled release date in print, about half of the work is serialized and available to readers purchasing the advanced peek. A month later, the next quarter, followed by the last quarter, available about a month on average ahead of any printed work. The last delivery contains the copyedited e-book version of the book.

One can also purchase electronic Advanced Reader Copies (or eARCs) which are not a part of the foregoing monthly bundle, but are individually available for purchase. These followed a successful experiment with an online eMagazine, called the Grantville Gazette (More below—see 1632 series). The eARCs is an unproofed manuscript and is guaranteed to be full of typos and errors. It is pretty much raw from the author's word processor; however, they are fully available even before the first part of the monthly bundles. eARCs do not include the final proofed version. For the final version you would have to buy the single or monthly bundle for that book. In March 2007, Flint began acting as publisher of a for-fee web-access version of the Gazette.

Flint also helmed Jim Baen's Universe (JBU), an e-zine published from 2006 until 2010.

Published works[edit]

Flint (left), with author David Drake and artist Gary Ruddell

Belisarius series[edit]

Main article: Belisarius series

Written in collaboration with David Drake, the series features historical characters, including Roman general Belisarius, whom the authors present as possibly the best general to ever walk the earth.

Novels in the series include:

  1. An Oblique Approach (1998)
  2. In the Heart of Darkness (1998)
  3. Destiny's Shield (1999)
  4. Fortune's Stroke (2000)
  5. The Tide of Victory (2001)
  6. The Dance of Time (2006)

Assiti Shards universes[edit]

The Assiti Shards refers to a literary mechanism which exchanges one volume of space-time with another. This manifests as both a time-swap and place-swap for the two places affected—and more interestingly for the people occupying such real estate. The literary technique can be read about in detail in Assiti Shards effect, but when it first reached print in 1632, the technique spawned a huge surge of fan interest which is continuing to grow[9] now well over twelve years later. Flint had at least two other milieus planned utilizing the mechanism in 2000, but because of demand for works in the 1632 universe, he temporarily shelved them through the period 2001–05. They were known to be in production for some intervals in some part and manner in 2005–06, but the death of Jim Baen or other projects has apparently delayed them.

A 1632-style work titled 1781 featuring both George Washington and a Roman Legion and a more traditional science fiction work which will include Shakespeare as a character, By Any Other Name are now in the long production process at Baen Books. A book normally takes nine to twelve months after the author completes it to reach print at Baen Books. These (two known to be under contract) are inexplicably delayed and overdue by that measure. A fourth Assiti Shard effects tale, Time Spike was published in 2008.

In the late winter of 2005–06, Baen started listing all the 1632-verse books under the umbrella series title Assiti Shards series and continues to do so,[10] after previously listing them under Ring of Fire, for the only series thus far published, so 1632 (numbering 10 works in print, thirty Gazettes (XXX came out in October 2010[11]) and climbing rapidly bi-monthly) is currently listed on Baen's under the pseudo misnomer Assiti Shards series, of which there are (will be) four milieus planned, not just the original. Yet Amazon and Barnes and Noble lists "Ring of Fire" for some books in the series, and "Assiti Shards series" for others. As of early October 2007, the series name of the 1632 books is still confused; Barnes and Noble has seemingly grouped them under Ring of Fire series, Amazon and other web sellers are mixed, and the book covers of the last six hardcover releases avoid the question entirely on the dust jacket and artwork. At the moment, we use the term 1632 series, and other books in the series can be reached via that main article or by the navigation strip at the page bottom.

The 1632 series[edit]

Once also known on the internet as the 163x series, Baen for a time called the Ring of Fire series, and it is as frequently called the 1632 Universe or 1632verse; however it is named, it is a best-selling success. The alternate history series starts when the inhabitants of a small town in the United States find themselves transported back to Central Germany ... in the late spring (May) of 1631 with no way back. The first book title results because while the tale builds in 1631, the climax occurs when events in the Thirty Years' War nearly overrun the town in 1632.

The Grantville Gazettes began as an experimental (eMagazine) collated as an anthology featuring primarily fan fiction and non-fiction background essays similar to encyclopedia articles. These fact articles, which include reference sections, were developed by the various sub-committees of the very informal 1632 Research Committee and the input (feedback and criticisms) received on the internet web-forum 1632 Tech Manual which is part of Baen's Bar. These essays and the feedback were pertinent to the developing milieu along with input from other established authors—a massive case of collaborative fiction writing—the foundation for which was in turn in part being developed on Baen's Bar by those same fans commenting, manning the committees, doing research much like contributing to a wiki, and then submitting the results to Peer review and criticism on 1632 Comments or 1632 Tech Manual. This is an ongoing process, as is the mining of said research and the primarily fan writing which is still ongoing.
The self-funding eMagazine Gazettes were edited by Eric Flint up through issue six (VI), who along and a volunteer Editorial Board, many who have been assisting him closely in designing the development of the milieu, building and running the canonical website 1632.org and the many research topics leading to decisions within the whole collaboration. While now using his assistant and direct employee Paula Goodlett as an assistant editor, Flint retains full editorial control of the 1632 milieu and all its intellectual property rights.
The Grantville Gazette anthologies are also published by Baen, beginning with an initial publication as a serialized eMagazine over three months, followed by an e-book release (downloadable in various electronic formats) at Webscription.net, but a mass market trade paperback edition of the first issue was published as an experiment in November 2004. The first printing sold out, and reprintings followed. The second issue was released in a Hardcover Edition in early March 2006, and also sold well. Beginning with Issue 11 the Grantville Gazette has gone pro. It did go to a bimonthly schedule starting at May 1st 2007 and pays pro rates.
  • Grantville Gazette I, Issue 1 (Electronic edition Nov 2003, paper edition November 2004, both published under the title The Grantville Gazette)
  • Grantville Gazette II, Issue 2 (Electronic edition Mar 2004, hardcover edition March 2006)
  • Grantville Gazette III, Issue 3 (Electronic edition October 2004, hardcover edition January 2007)
  • Grantville Gazette IV, Issue 4 (Electronic edition mid April 2005, hardcover edition June 2008)
  • Grantville Gazette V, Issue 5 (Electronic edition August 2005, hardcover edition August 2009)
  • Grantville Gazette VI, Issue 6 (Electronic edition March 2006)
  • Grantville Gazette VII, Issue 7 (Electronic edition April 2006)
  • Grantville Gazette VIII, Issue 8 (Electronic edition July 2006)
  • Grantville Gazette IX, Issue 9 (Electronic edition September 2006)
  • Grantville Gazette X, Issue 10 (Electronic edition December 2006)
  • Grantville Gazette XI, Issue 11 (Electronic edition May 2007)
  • Grantville Gazette XII, Issue 12 (Electronic edition July 2007)
  • Grantville Gazette XIII, Issue 13 (Electronic edition September 2007)
As of June 2014, the bimonthly schedule is still going on and the last published is Grantville Gazette 53 (Electronic edition May 2014).

Other Assiti Shards universes[edit]

Other "Assiti Shards" universes which share only the time travel mechanism, but not the setting of the 1632 universe include two novels:

  • Time Spike (May 2008) with Marilyn Kosmatka.[14]
  • By Any Other Name—being co-authored by Sarah Hoyt (First draft complete and his part of the writing scheduled in Oct 2007 by Eric Flint for sometime the coming year; Publication date unknown, but no earlier than very late 2008).[15]

Heirs of Alexandria series[edit]

(with Dave Freer and Mercedes Lackey) Set in an alternate "Venetian Empire" in which magic thrives. (Note, a significant amount of text, and a couple of major characters in this work are adapted from stories written by Lackey in the Merovingen Nights shared universe series. That series was started by C. J. Cherryh in her novel Angel with the Sword.)

  1. The Shadow of the Lion, March 2002, Baen Books, ISBN 0-7434-3523-0
  2. A Mankind Witch, July 2005, Baen Books, ISBN 0-7434-9913-1
  3. This Rough Magic, December 2003, Baen Books, ISBN 0-7434-7149-0
  4. Much Fall of Blood, 2010, Baen Books, ISBN 978-1-4391-3351-4
  5. Burdens of the Dead, 2013, Baen Books, 978-1-4516-3874-5

Jao Empire series[edit]

Joe's World series[edit]

  • The Philosophical Strangler (2001)
  • Forward the Mage (2002 with Richard Roach)

Karres series[edit]

  • The Wizard of Karres (2004 with Freer and Lackey; a sequel to Schmitz's Witches)
  • The Sorceress of Karres (2010 with Dave Freer)

Pyramid series[edit]

Rats, Bats and Vats series[edit]

  • Rats, Bats and Vats (2000 with Dave Freer)
  • The Rats, the Bats and the Ugly (September 2004 with Dave Freer)

Boundary series[edit]

Further collaborations[edit]

Solo novels[edit]

Trail of Glory series[edit]

Collections[edit]

Short fiction[edit]

  • In the Honor Harrington Universe
    • From the Highlands (short novel), in More than Honor #3: Changer of Worlds with David Weber 2001
    • Fanatic (novella) in The Service of the Sword, 2003
  • Other Stories

Classic SF reissues edited by Eric Flint[edit]

  • Works of Christopher Anvil
    • Pandora's Legions (2002)
    • Interstellar Patrol (2003)
    • Interstellar Patrol II: The Federation of Humanity (2005)
    • The Trouble with Aliens (2006), collection
    • The Trouble with Humans (2007), collection
    • War Games (2008)
    • Prescription for Chaos (2008)
  • Works of Randall Garrett
    • Lord Darcy (2002), co-edited with Guy Gordon
  • Works of Tom Godwin
  • Works of Keith Laumer
    • Retief (2002)
    • Odyssey (2002)
    • Keith Laumer: The Lighter Side (2002)
    • Future Imperfect (2003)
    • A Plague of Demons (2003)
    • Legions of Space (2004)
    • Imperium (2005)
  • Works of Murray Leinster
    • Med Ship: The Complete Stories (2002), co-edited with Guy Gordon
    • Planets of Adventure (2003)
    • A Logic Named Joe (2005)
  • Works of Howard L. Myers
    • The Creatures of Man (2003), co-edited with Guy Gordon
    • A Sense of Infinity (2009), co-edited with Guy Gordon
  • Works of James H. Schmitz co-edited with Guy Gordon
    • Telzey Amberdon (2000)
    • TnT: Telzey & Trigger Together (2000)
    • Trigger & Friends (2001)
    • The Hub: Dangerous Territory (2001)
    • Agent of Vega & Other Stories (2001)
    • The Witches of Karres (2003)
    • The Eternal Frontiers (2002)
  • Works of A. E. van Vogt
    • Transgalactic (2006), co-edited with David Drake

Reception of his published works[edit]

To date, six of his books have been included on the New York Times Best Seller list. These books are 1634: The Galileo Affair (2004),[16][17] 1634: The Baltic War (2007),[18][19] 1634: The Bavarian Crisis (2007),[20] 1636: The Kremlin Games (2013),[21] Torch of Freedom (2009),[22] and Cauldron of Ghosts (2014).[23]

1635: The Papal Stakes (2012),[24] The Crucible of Empire (2010),[25] and Threshold (2010)[26] were listed on the Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Books list for Hardcover Science Fiction.

Cauldron of Ghosts (2014)[27] was listed on the Washington Post Best-Selling Books list for Hardcover Fiction.

Almost all of Flint's books sold well enough to get listed on the various the Locus (magazine) Bestsellers Lists with some titles listed multiple times and a few even reached the top spot for the month.[28][29][30]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Flint, Eric. "Eric Flint’s place on the web: biography". Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "Introducing the Baen Free Library (and other columns in the collection)". 
  3. ^ "The Editor's Page October 2006". Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b c Flint, Eric, ed. (2004-11-01). "Preface" (Baen Free Library (various digital formats, unencrypted); and MMPB). The Grantville Gazette (I). 1632 series aka Ring of Fire series. Thomas Kidd (cover art) (1st, (pb) (e-book reprint plus additional content) ed.). Riverdale, NY: Baen Books. p. 2. ISBN 0-7434-8860-1. Retrieved 2007-10-17. "But, in the meantime, the fan-fic kept getting written, and people kept nudging me—okay, pestering me, but I try to be polite about such things—to give them my feedback on their stories. ... Once I realized how many stories were being written—a number of them of publishable quality—I raised with Jim Baen the idea of producing an online magazine which would pay for fiction and factual articles set in the 1632 universe and would be sold through Baen Books' Webscriptions service. Jim was willing to try it... (more)" 
  5. ^ Flint, Eric and various others. "Preface". Grantville Gazette III. Thomas Kidd (cover art). Baen Books. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-1-4165-0941-7. ISBN 1-4165-0941-0. "Jim Baen died a month ago. I suppose... All things considered, I'm glad the last book I ever sold my friend and publisher Jim Baen was one of these." 
  6. ^ "grantville-gazette-on-line-going-pro-going-bi-monthly/#more-317". Retrieved 2007-10-17. "The Grantville Gazette, which Jim Baen and I began as an experiment, has proven to be a very successful venture in electronic publishing. Successful enough, in fact, that beginning with Volume 11 we will doing the following: 1. We’re raising the pay rates for the authors. Up until now, the pay rates for the Gazette have only been semi-pro rates. Beginning with Volume 11, we’ll be paying rates that meet—exceed, in fact—the minimum rates set by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. SFWA is and has been for decades the recognized professional association for science and fantasy authors. 2. We’re moving to a regular bi-monthly publication schedule. Up until now, the Gazette has been published on an “occasional” basis—meaning whenever we had enough good stories in stock to put out another issue. In practice, for the past year and half, we’ve been maintaining a quarterly schedule, and we’re now at the point where we have more good stories and articles than we can handle without shifting to a bi-monthly publishing schedule. Beginning May 1, [2007] therefore, the Gazette will now be published regularly on the first day of the following months: May, July, September, November, January and March." 
  7. ^ Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Collection, Northern Illinois University
  8. ^ Silver, Steven (August 11, 2009). "Worldcon 2009, NASFiC 2010, Worldcon 2011". SF Site News. SF Site.com. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ Oct 2007 issue of JBU: The_Economics_of_Writing "Column: Salvos Against Big Brother; article: 'The Economics of Writing'". Retrieved 2007-10-17. "One note of explanation. I'm only using the paperback royalty figures because, for our purposes here, it's the paperback figures that are critical. A book that comes out first in a hardcover edition, followed by a paperback reissue, sees an almost complete stop to hardcover sales once the paperback appears. So you can't use hardcover royalty figures to gauge a book's longevity.
    Royalty period: Total net sales Sell-through Period Sales
    Dec-01 31237 85% 31237
    Jun-02 31776 90% 539
    Dec-02 41066 87% 9290
    Jun-03 47535 87% 6469
    Dec-03 54511 88% 6976
    Jun-04 62306 89% 7795
    Dec-04 67035 88% 4729
    Jun-05 72071 88% 5036
    Dec-05 77351 89% 5280
    Jun-06 83437 89% 6086
    Dec-06 94582 89% 8145
    " 
  10. ^ "Baen Book's online series lists for Eric Flints by series". Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  11. ^ http://www.grantvillegazette.com/
  12. ^ Amazon.com [1] (accessed 25 July 2010)
  13. ^ Amazon.com, "The Saxon Uprising" (accessed 25 July 2010)
  14. ^ "Forthcoming" at ericflint.net (accessed 26 October 2007). "May 2008 will see the publication of TIMESPIKE by Eric and Marilyn Kosmatka, a different branch of the “Assiti Shards” universe."
  15. ^ "Known scheduled for writing during 2007". Retrieved 2007-10-26. "First drafts in Eric’s hands from Collaborators... By any other name (with Sarah Hoyt)" 
  16. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. April 18, 2004. 
  17. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. April 25, 2004. 
  18. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. May 13, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. May 20, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. October 21, 2007. 
  21. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. June 24, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. December 6, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. April 27, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Best-Selling Books, Week Ended Oct. 28; With data from Nielsen BookScan". Wall Street Journal. November 3, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Best-Selling Books, Week Ended Feb. 28; With data from Nielsen BookScan". Wall Street Journal. March 5, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Best-Selling Books, Week Ended June 20; With data from Nielsen BookScan". Wall Street Journal. June 25, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Michael Lewis's 'Flash Boys' remains at No. 1, Lee Child's 'Never Go Back' also at No. 1". Washington Post. April 21, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Locus Bestsellers, July 2004". Locus (magazine). July 2004. 
  29. ^ "Locus Bestsellers, November 2005". Locus (magazine). November 2005. 
  30. ^ "Locus Bestsellers, December 2005". Locus (magazine). December 2005. 

External links[edit]