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1632, the first novel in the series.
|Author||Eric Flint and others|
|Published||February 2000 – ongoing|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)
|No. of books||15+|
The 1632 series, also known as the 1632-verse or Ring of Fire series, is an alternate history book series and sub-series created, primarily co-written, and coordinated by Eric Flint and published by Baen Books. The series is set in 17th-century Europe, in which the small fictional town of Grantville, West Virginia, in the year 2000 was sent to the past in central Germany in the year 1631, during the Thirty Years' War.
As of 2015, the series has five published novels propelling the main plot and over ten published novels moving several subplots and threads forward. The series also includes fan-written, but professionally edited, collaborative material which are published in bi-monthly magazine titled The Grantville Gazettes and some collaborative short fictions.
- 1 Series overview
- 2 Series
- 3 1632 plot threads
- 4 Collective collaborative effort
- 5 Literary significance and reception
- 6 1632-verse glossary of terminology
- 7 Fictional characters
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The 1632 series began with Flint's stand alone novel 1632 (released February 2000). It is, excepting the lead novel and the serialized e-novel The Anaconda Project (2007), virtually all collaboratively written, including some "main works" with multiple co-authors. However, Flint has mentioned contracts with the publisher for at least two additional solo novels he has in planning on his website. Flint, whose bibliography is dominated by collaborative work, claims that this approach encourages the cross-fertilization of ideas and styles, stimulating the creative process and preventing stale, formulaic works.
1632 occurs in the midst of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). The plot situation allows pragmatic, American, union-oriented, political thought to grind against the authoritarian, religion-driven societies of an unconsolidated Holy Roman Empire barely out of the Middle Ages. Flint explores examples of suffering due to the petty politics of self-aggrandizement and self-interest on the one hand, and the irreconcilable differences of the schism in Christianity such as the Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation on the other. Despite the fact that the shift puts Grantville in May 1631 initially, because of the ongoing war and the primitive transportation networks of the day Grantville's arrival has something of a delayed impact, so the bulk of the book's action takes place in 1632, hence the name.
The series was initially continued with two collaborative works that were more or less written concurrently: 1633 (with best selling novelist David Weber) and an anthology called Ring of Fire (with other established science-fiction writers, including long, "deep background" stories by both Weber and Flint).
Overall, the narratives are not oriented on one group of protagonists with a strong lead character, but instead are carried by an ensemble cast—though most books or short stories do have several strong characters who carry the action and plot forward. Flint had intended from the outset that the whole town would be the collective protagonist; a reflection of his philosophy that historic forces are not centered in the main on the actions of one or two key individuals, but on the many small independent actions of the many going about their daily lives and coping as best they can.
By late in 1632, the New United States-led coalition of the Confederated Principalities of Europe had become the arsenal and financier (through Jewish connections of real historical interest) for Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus. This leads the scheming Cardinal Richelieu, who'd been previously financing him to spite and weaken the Habsburgs, to turn on the Swedes. Various books from up-time Grantville, especially history books, had found avid readers amongst Europe's ruling elites, changing the plans and strategies of major players of the time. The readers, not understanding the chaotic nature of events (i.e., trivial-seeming changes can have large effects, and vice versa), often believe that these histories give them a strong idea of how they can guide events in a different direction. The "players" sent back through time have no intention of strongly guiding events, but understand how key forces (democracy, sanitation, medicine, egalitarianism, etc.) affect things in the long run to the betterment of mankind, and intend to promote and spread those even if they themselves are not "in control" of what results.
Richelieu forms a four-way alliance, the League of Ostend, to oppose the New United States, Gustavus' expeditionary army, and allied princes of the German states. After the first book, the series begins multiple plot lines or story threads reflecting this independence of action by a multitude of characters. The sequel 1633 spreads the Americans out geographically over Central Europe. Next, the novel 1634: The Galileo Affair, and the first of the anthologies called the Grantville Gazettes introduced new strong characters. The former begins what is called the South European thread, and some of the stories in the latter and Ring of Fire began the Eastern European thread (Austria-Hungary northwards to Poland).
Co-author of 1633 New York Times best-selling author David Weber was contracted for no less than five books in the series in what is called the Central European thread or Main thread of the series, but there was a delay before the two authors synchronized their schedules to write that next mainline sequel, 1634: The Baltic War, released in May 2007.
Without waiting for Weber, other sequels such as 1634: The Ram Rebellion, 1635: The Cannon Law, and the Grantville Gazettes continue in one thread or another with in-depth looks at societal ramifications from technology, religion, and social unrest as Europe deals with the outlandish ideas of Grantville's influential presence, to machinations of Europe's elites trying to maintain their hold on power, or leverage off of Grantville-triggered events or knowledge for reasons of self-interest.
|1632||February 2000||Eric Flint||0-671-57849-9||This is the first work in the Assiti Shards fictional universe and the 1632-verse|
|Grantville, West Virginia, in the year 2000, is transposed within an area of southern Thuringia of Germany in the 1630s. Grantvillers subsequently take on the Holy Roman Empire's troops in the Thirty Years' War, in order to maintain their own town's integrity.|
|1633||August 2002||Eric Flint||David Weber||0-7434-3542-7||This is the direct sequel to 1632|
|Grantville joins sides with Gustavus Adolphus, and tries to recreate the Germanies in the image of the United States.|
|1634: The Galileo Affair||April 2004||Andrew Dennis||Eric Flint||0-7434-8815-6||First book of the South European thread|
|A diplomatic and trade mission to the Italies goes awry when youngsters attached to the mission decide to rescue Galileo from the Inquisition, and end up in a plot to assassinate the Pope. The plot is hatched by a French operative turned rebel, who wishes to destroy France to allow the rise of the Huguenots.|
|1635: The Cannon Law||October 2006||Andrew Dennis||Eric Flint||1-4165-0938-0||This is the direct sequel to The Galileo Affair|
|Cardinal Borja, incensed with the behavior of Pope Urban, decides to assassinate the Pope and his political allies and to have himself declared the new Pope. Though Borja manages to take over the Vatican and establish quorum with cowed Cardinals, the old Pope escapes.|
|1634: The Baltic War||May 2007||David Weber||Eric Flint||1-4165-2102-X||This is the direct sequel to 1633|
|Western Europe maneuvers to contain Gustavus Adolphus, resulting in a naval battle in the Baltic, and the conquest of Denmark by Sweden, and victory for Grantville's navy of ironclads.|
|1634: The Bavarian Crisis||October 2007||Eric Flint||Virginia DeMarce||978-1-4165-4253-7||This is the direct sequel to The Baltic War|
|The Prince Cardinal Infante of Spain takes on vice-regal duties in the Spanish Netherlands, then decides to separate from Spain and declare himself King. With the aide of Grantvillers, he acquires a bride in the rebellious daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Duchess Anna Maria.|
|1635: The Dreeson Incident||December 2008||Virginia DeMarce||Eric Flint||1-4165-5589-7||This is a sequel to The Cannon Law|
|The French Huguenot rebel plots to destroy Grantville, by assassinating the heads of Grantville. This leads to plots to oppose vaccination and destroy the Jews, as covers for assassination, which ends in the deaths of two of Grantville's leaders, and a violent purge of all anti-semitic forces in the area controlled by Grantville's allies.|
|The Anaconda Project||2008–2009||Eric Flint||–||Serialized publication in Grantville Gazette volumes 12–21; this is a direct sequel to the novelette "The Wallenstein Gambit" by Eric Flint, as found in the anthology collection Ring of Fire I.|
|This serialized novel covers the plot by Wallenstein, King of Bohemia, to acquire an empire in Eastern Europe, by the conquest of Ruthenia with Ashkenazi and Cossack help. Episodes five and six of The Anaconda Project were incorporated into chapters four and five of 1635: The Eastern Front.|
|1635: The Eastern Front||October 2010||Eric Flint||1-4391-3389-1||This is a sequel to The Baltic War|
|Sweden and USE invade Poland, Gustavus Adolphus is seriously injured, and the invasion comes to a halt.|
|1636: The Saxon Uprising||April 2011||Eric Flint||978-1439134252||Direct sequel to The Eastern Front|
|Oxenstierna usurps the power of USE parliament, sides with the nobility, and forces the country into a civil war which is ultimately won by supporters of FoJP and CoC led by Mike Stearns.|
|1636: The Kremlin Games||June 2012||Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett||Eric Flint||978-1451637762||Novelization of the Butterflies in the Kremlin stories|
|Bernie Zeppi takes a job as technical adviser to the Russians' attempt to bootstrap themselves into an industrial revolution.|
|1635: The Papal Stakes||October 2012||Charles E. Gannon||Eric Flint||978-1451638394||Direct sequel to The Cannon Law|
|The Pope is pursued across Italian countryside by assassins sent by Borja, while the USE mounts commando raids to rescue Frank Stone and his wife from Spanish captivity.|
|1636: The Devil's Opera||October 2013||David Carrico||Eric Flint||978-1451639285|
|A semi-detective novel set in Magdeburg, from December 1635 to March 1636.|
|1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies||June 2014||Charles E. Gannon||Eric Flint||978-1476736785||Start of the naval thread|
|Eddie Cantrell and Anne Cathrine marry and are sent by Admiral Simpson to Caribbean to secure access to the Jennings Oil Field. Naval battle ensues with the Spanish and settlers which ends in a standoff.|
|1636: The Viennese Waltz||November 2014 ||Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett||Eric Flint||978-1476736877||Sequel to Barbie Consortium stories, continues directly with some characters from Saxon Uprising|
|The Barbie Consortium through industrial production and financial dealings props up and saves the Austro-Hungarian Empire from bankruptcy.|
|1636: The Cardinal Virtues||July 2015||Walter H. Hunt||Eric Flint||978-1476780610||A sequel to the Baltic War and Commander Cantrell in the West Indies|
|The French Civil War |
|1635: A Parcel of Rogues||January 2016||Andrew Dennis||Eric Flint||978-1476781099||Sequel to The Baltic War, following characters left in Britain|
|1636: The Ottoman Onslaught||January 2017||Eric Flint||978-1476781846||The Ottomans attack Austria. Direct sequel to both 1636: The Saxon Uprising and 1636: The Viennese Waltz|
|Mike Stearns is sent to capture Bavaria. Vienna falls to Ottoman forces. USE fights a two front war with Poland and Ottoman Empire and is able to just hold off both.|
|1636: Mission to the Mughals||April 2017||Eric Flint||Griffin Barber||978-1476782140||Grantvillers sent to India to obtain saltpeter and opium from Shah Jahan of the Mughal Empire.|
|1636: The Vatican Sanction||December 2017||Charles E. Gannon||Eric Flint||978-1481482776||Sequel to The Papal Stakes|
|Urban VIII pulls together a consistory as a mini-Vatican II and is then assassinated. Cardinal Bedmar is elected as the new Pope but Borja still occupies the Vatican. Results in an incredibly deep divide within Catholicism; Spain, Poland, Bavaria go for Borja in Rome, deep division within Austria.|
|1637: The Volga Rules||February 2018||Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett||Eric Flint||978-1481483032||Sequel to The Kremlin Games |
|1636: The Atlantic Encounter||TBA||Walter H. Hunt||Eric Flint||TBD||Novel set in French North America, former working title was 1636: Drums Along the Mohawk|
|1636: Stoned Souls||TBA||Mercedes Lackey||Eric Flint||TBD|
|Ring of Fire I||January 2004||Eric Flint||0-7434-7175-X||Sequel to 1632 and prequel to 1633|
|1634: The Ram Rebellion||May 2006||Virginia DeMarce & Eric Flint||1-4165-2060-0||This is called a melded novel|
|Several intertwining short stories combine to form a narrative that covers the overthrow of the ruling order by the common people, in a democracy drive, led by a political newspaper featuring a political cartoon starring a ram.|
|Ring of Fire II||January 2008||Eric Flint||1-4165-7387-9|
|1635: The Tangled Web||December 2009||Virginia DeMarce||978-1-4391-3308-8||This is called a melded novel; it is the sequel to The Ram Rebellion|
|Several intertwining short stories combine to form a narrative that covers the development subsequent to the Ram Rebellion in Franconia.|
|Ring of Fire III||July 2011||Eric Flint||978-1439134481|
|1635: Music and Murder||September 2013||David Carrico||978-1625792143||Collection of stories previous published in the Gazettes and also Ring of Fire II & III; prequel to 1636: The Devil's Opera.|
|1636: Seas of Fortune||January 2014||Iver Cooper||978-1451639391||Composed of two novellas, Stretching Out and Rising Sun|
|1636: The Barbie Consortium||November 2014||Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett||978-1625793584||E-book novelization of the Barbie Consortium stories, prequel to The Viennese Waltz|
|The story of the Barbie Consortium, from its origins in competition with the Sewing Circle, to just before the climax of The Viennese Waltz|
|Ring of Fire IV||May 2016||Eric Flint||978-1476781242||Includes a short story by Hugo and Nebula awards winning author David Brin.|
|1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz||August 2016||Kerryn Offord & Rick Boatright||978-1476781600||Book is about a character that was first developed by Offord and Boatright and includes some material that was previous published in the electronic version of the Grantville Gazette plus additional new material.|
|1635: The Wars for the Rhine||December 2016||Anette Pedersen||978-1476782225||Book is about a few characters which Pedersen introduced in the Ring of Fire I anthology and is also a sequel to 1635: The Tangled Web|
|Eric Flint's 1632 Resource Guide and Role Playing Game||2004||Jonathan M. Thompson||0-9721419-4-4|
|Time Spike||May 2008||Marilyn Kosmatka & Eric Flint||9781416555384||Sequel to 1632|
|This novel deals with events in the timeline that the timeshifted Grantville left behind.|
|The Alexander Inheritance||July 2017||Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett||9781481482486||Sequel to 1632 and Time Spike|
|Another novel that deals with events in the timeline that the timeshifted Grantville and a timeshifted Illinois state prison had left behind.|
1632 plot threads
1632 plot threads refers to the overall story arcs or sequences within the 1632 series. Flint has pointed out that he thinks in terms of plot threads, not of major protagonists. But most web chatter revolves around geographical "spheres of influence", locations, or where protagonists have a general effect. As a series focused on displaying a believable neohistory given the series beginning—of being as realistic as possible given the initial series premises—the two approaches both fail equally in covering all the cases by any strict measure, because the character set who is starring in one thread will almost invariably appear in one or more other story lines as a personal departure point for that character's personal biographical history, or as a supporting role for events depicted in a book mainly covering events in another thread.
"Real history is messy," Flint has written in the foreword to Ring of Fire in explaining why he took the unusual step of opening a universe consisting of a single novel at the time into a shared universe. A former union organizer and a socialist, Flint disdains the Great Man theory of history, where big figures of heroic scope define events, but instead lays claim throughout the entirety of works in the series, that history is the small actions of common men acting in their own self-interest who in the aggregate determine historical forces and force events and responses from those in power, who might lay some claim to being a giant of history—the statesmen and power brokers who dot the Is and cross the Ts and add occasional curlicues to the historic march of events—riding the torrent far more often than leading it in Churchillian or Rooseveltian fashion. That some persons of that mold have existed is not disputed, but that the narrative report that makes up historical reporting tends to overstate their impact and role, is Flint's theme.
No matter what approach one takes to classifying a plot sequence in the series—be it geographical or character-based—the key element of the series to comprehend is that the events depicted in its now voluminous works are not taking place in a vacuum, but in most cases are concurrent with developments in other parts of the European center.
Main/North-Central and Western European thread
The Central European thread or more correctly, the Central and Southwest Central European thread, is the main plot thread of the series. It concerns events in the region from west to east of the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland, Northern France, the Spanish Netherlands, French Netherlands, and the Dutch Republic, and the whole of western Germany eastwards to Brandenburg and the Electorate of Saxony, and southerly to the northern reaches of Bavaria. Bavaria proper, Switzerland, Austria, Bohemia, and points easterly and north are properly geographically part of the Eastern European thread.
- Novel: 1632 (February 2000)
- Novel: 1633 (August 2002) with David Weber
- Anthology: Ring of Fire (January 2004), includes "The Wallenstein Gambit" with Mike Spehar which begins the Eastern Europe thread, "In the Navy" by David Weber, and other stories antedating 1633 in the neohistory.
- Novel: 1634: The Ram Rebellion (April 2006) with Virginia DeMarce, crafted as a collection of related "key developmental events". This is structured more as an anthology and includes substantial material from Paula Goodlett and other authors, but classed as a novel by the publishing trade since the stories all come together as having a related overall story arc (theme).
- Novel: 1634: The Baltic War (May 2007) with David Weber, the direct main thread novel sequel to 1633.
- Novel: 1634: The Bavarian Crisis (October 2007) with Virginia DeMarce, chronological sequel to 1632, but continues the Eastern European thread.
- Anthology: Ring of Fire II (January 2008)
- Novel: 1635: The Dreeson Incident (December 2008) with Virginia DeMarce
- Novel: 1635: The Tangled Web (December 2009) by Virginia DeMarce
- Novel: 1635: The Eastern Front (October 2010)
- Novel: 1635: Music and Murder (December 2013) by David Carrico
- Novel: 1636: The Saxon Uprising (April 2011)
- Novel: 1636: The Devil's Opera (October 2013) by David Carrico
South European thread
The Southern European thread, or Western South Europe and South Central European thread, or perhaps more appropriately, the South-Central and Southwestern European thread, involves characters introduced in the short story "To Dye For" by Mercedes Lackey but the thread plot action proper continued in the second published novel sequel of the series, the best-selling 1634: The Galileo Affair and its direct sequel, 1635: The Cannon Law, both co-written by Flint and Andrew Dennis. The main characters are, in part, Lackey's The Stone Family, combined with Flint's Sharon Nichols and Larry Mazzare.
- Novel: 1634: The Galileo Affair (April 2004) with Andrew Dennis
- Novel: 1635: The Cannon Law (September 2006), sequel to The Galileo Affair.
- Novel: 1635: The Papal Stakes (October 2012) with Charles E. Gannon, sequel to The Cannon Law.
Eastern European thread
The Eastern European thread is taken to be east of the East Central European thread, the latter of which may be understood as the baseline through eastern parts of modern-day Germany, Austria, and western Hungary. The first fiction written within this thread was the novelette "The Wallenstein Gambit" and the prequel short stories leading up to it, all published in Ring of Fire, but subsequent long fiction planned in the setting had to await authors' scheduling issues.
- Novelette: "The Wallenstein Gambit", continues from two plot lines suggested in "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "A Lineman for the Country" in the same anthology.
- Serialized novel in progress: The Anaconda Project by Eric Flint, directly continues "The Wallenstein Gambit" and follows the establishment of a new empire with its capital at Prague.
- Novel: 1636: The Kremlin Games (serialized as Butterflies in the Kremlin) by Paula Goodlett and Gorg Huff
David Weber and Eric Flint in 2002 (writing 1633 and Ring of Fire) originally contracted together and with Baen's Books to co-write five "main series" books—the first two and perhaps some as yet unrevealed others being known as the naval thread. When working on the long-delayed 1634: The Baltic War novel and with the prolonged and ongoing demand for the series sequels, and considering the already-experienced delays imposed by the difficulty of getting schedules between themselves synchronized (it took three planned "windows of opportunity" before one worked in The Baltic War) well enough for the two to have the three to six months or so needed to collaborate successfully, the two decided to alter their original planning and spin off a new thread—one based on the United States of Europe as a naval power. The thread is continued in 1636: Commander Cantrell in the west indies. The story is about naval force projection in the new world.
The Americas and Asia thread
This agreement for Weber to leave aside European threads likely will follow up foreshadowings of overt dislike evinced by various Grantville natives for both the African slave trade and the Amerindian encounters with colonizing Europeans—and Flint has already written a very sympathetic, two-volume alternate history from the American Native's viewpoint in his Arkansas Wars series—and he'd written similar foreshadowings into the series' earlier works that were spun into pro-democracy and anti-anti-Semitic social themes now manifesting in the series in the Eastern Europe thread in particular, as well as an overall, muted sub-theme. This revised author's decision released a logjam of backup of other novels in the series, so that since rehashing their arrangement, 1632 series books have been released regularly every 4–6 months.
Stories in 1632 Slushpile regarding obtaining strategically important materials and some which have reached publication in regard to the Essen Steel Corporation and Essen Chemical are foreshadowing activities (mining chromium for one) in North America, and others are pursuing latex rubber in South America. In addition, the three books contracted between Flint and David Weber will in part involve expeditions sent by Gustavus and Mike Stearns to American shores.
Two novels focused on the Americas were initially serialized in The Grantville Gazette magazine:
- Serialized novel: Stretching Out by Iver P. Cooper, exploration and colonization for rubber in South America.
- Serialized novel: Northwest Passage by Herbert & William Sakalaucks, French takeover of British North America and Danish colonization of Newfoundland and Hudson Bay.
The first full novel in the Americas and Asia thread was published in 2013: 1636: Seas of Fortune (December 2013) by Iver Cooper.
- Stretching Out: the United States of Europe seeks out oil, rubber and aluminum ore. Pioneers cross the Atlantic and found a new colony in South America.
- Rising Sun: the changes caused by the Ring of Fire are reaching Japan. The Shogun, impressed by samples of up-time technology and influenced by information about Japan's possible future, decides to end a policy of isolation and change his country's fate forever.
Collective collaborative effort
Fans are encouraged to contribute to the series though an online message board known as Baen's Bar. The entire Grantville Gazette and large portions of the Ring of Fire anthology, both of which are considered canonical, are paid, fan-written (albeit edited by Flint) works, and have directly contributed material to the main novels. The author also worked with other established authors to develop new stories and plot lines for further novels which are also published in the two Ring of Fire anthologies.
Ring of Fire has several levels of meaning: First it is the eponymous reference to what the townfolk themselves (and the few outside German witnesses) have come to call the observed phenomenon of their time-space juxtaposition. Secondly, it is a disparaging reference to the effects on the population of Germany at large, suffering under the war's environment outside American-controlled territory, used by Mike Stearns addressing a town meeting:
|“||Then to the crowd: "According to Melissa Mailey, we now live in a world where kings and noblemen rule the roost. And they've turned all of central Europe—our home, now, ours and our children's to come—into a raging inferno. We are surrounded by a Ring of Fire. Well, I've fought forest fires before. So have lots of other men in this room. The best way to fight a fire is to start a counterfire. So my position is simple. I say we start the American Revolution—a hundred and fifty years ahead of schedule!"||”|
1632 is the first novel in the alternate history 1632 series. It is a science fiction novel originally released in November 2000, but atypically, continues to actually increase in quarterly sales, as do most of the sequels. Originally a single stand-alone story, the novel is now the first of an open-ended series with over twenty-six works of all kinds including e-published only works (e-books) of which twelve are standard trade printed books. Three (of eighteen of the bi-monthly Gazettes, and counting) are the printed canonical Grantville Gazettes (I, II, and III, the first of which is almost entirely longer fiction Flint couldn't put in the already lengthy Ring of Fire shared universe collection, the de facto first sequel antedating collaborative work on 1633, and of which two have been best sellers), published in print, and an additional, rapidly growing number of related Grantville Gazettes e-books or e-zines (not in print).
In writing 1632, Flint's web forum Mutter of Demons at Baen's Bar was soon taken over by exploratory posts as captivated readers commented on the E-ARC released book, creating a ground swell of interest ("Internet buzz") in the months before its hardcover release. So strong was the response, especially after the release of the printed work, that a new 1632 Tech Manual sub-forum was created for discussions about it in early 2000, for the discussions had also spilled over into Weber's Bu-ships tech forum, and Weber joined the bandwagon by suggesting a sequel was in order. In the event, the two co-wrote 1633 and collaborated further on integrating the short fiction (much of it unsolicited) into the de facto Ring of Fire sequel. It was followed by two other related forums: 1632 Slush and 1632 Comments, within the next two years.
The Grantville Gazettes are a series of short stories in the collaborative fiction experiment, which started life as an online serialized magazine with an inconsistent and sporadic publication history. After the death of Jim Baen and with the publication of Grantville Gazette X by Baen Books, the last under contract with Baen, the Gazettes were again reconstituted as a subscription e-zine, now published regularly at six per year (bi-monthly) and paying above standard rates for submissions. They are a "boiler room" powering the collaborative synergy by the people involved with the 1632 Tech Manual and have developed into a repository for new ideas and themes in the series, although most explore the personal experiences of minor characters in the series or examine in depth some aspect (e.g. a multi-part serial explores and details Grantville's impact on public health in general, and the establishment of twin teaching hospitals as a joint project of the University of Jena and Grantville's new hospital, the Lahey Clinic). In general, the anthologies in the series depict deep background canonical to future tales, but which are not in the mainstream "action" of the novels focus. A group of stories have on several occasions produced a new plot thread. As of the end of 2012, there are now 42 volumes of the Grantville Gazettes, most of them available in Amazon Kindle editions as well as some other electronic formats.
The Gazettes began as an experimental, semi-professional, online magazine featuring fan fiction and nonfiction edited by Flint and (eventually) a volunteer editorial board. At the time of Jim Baen's death in the summer of 2006 ten Grantville Gazettes were under contract and they had (with some fits and starts) settled into a new version roughly and irregularly three times a year. Baen's production staff was somewhat overworked by the deadline and the serialized magazine gave way to an e-book release from the sixth volume onward—though this was explained by Flint as primarily being due to Flint's other commitments, such as editing the new science fiction magazine Jim Baen's Universe. Earlier on, he'd explained the production delays in terms of overworked proofreaders, executive editors, and so forth. Issues VI through X, after being released as e-books, seem unlikely to see print; whereas Jim Baen has been releasing (all but the first) issues some months later as hardcover books, the last he bought has yet to appear. Flint has explained that the market for anthologies is always very soft, no matter the genre, and it seems likely that any new print version from the Gazettes will be a Best of The Grantville Gazettes.
In the meanwhile, Grantville Gazette X was jointly published as an e-book by Baen, but also as the first foray of Eric Flint Enterprises at grantvillegazette.com, which looks to be a joint venture of Baen Books and Flint, where the new incarnation of the e-zine also pays SFWA rates and maintains a bi-monthly (six per year) publishing schedule. It is modeled very much on the same lines as Jim Baen's Universe, which is edited by Flint.
Beginning in early 2007, the Gazette's publishers added an online, web-based edition published quarterly and moved the paper series to an annual "best of" volume. Additionally, the publishers moved to paying full professional rates instead of the semi-pro rates that had been paid. The Gazette is an SFWA-qualifying market.
Short fiction in the series
When the novel 1632 was written in 1999, it was conceived as an experiment in the literary genre alternate history by Flint, without intentions of writing any immediate sequel. He had, in fact, several other years of writing projects planned, which subsequent developments were to delay as late as publication in 2006–2007. Flint—as a relatively new writer at the time, following the popular demand for a sequel, elected to invite other established authors in the Baen's stable of writers to share the universe in order to rapidly develop its potential—in this he traded on his experience as an editor. This went on concurrently with a great deal of reader input in what became the 1632 Tech sub-forum on Baen's Bar. In this initiative, he became the editor (he was already a Baen editor for the Baen Free Library) and together with fan input on Baen's Bar, and collaboration with established best-selling author David Weber on the first long sequel, 1633, concurrently put together the Ring of Fire anthology to inaugurate the short fiction in the series.
The novel and anthology shaped one another, all filtered through and also shaped by the discussions on Baen's website. This process continues to this day, primarily in the form of The Grantville Gazettes. Initially an experimental e-magazine of fan fiction, the first volume was successful enough to be released as a paperback. Subsequent Gazettes have also been released in print form.
Flint, as editor of all the short fiction, also maintains the series canon (co-ordinated by the 1632.org website) and all copyrights to the alternate history universe per se, and with Flint as the controlling editor, the consequence is, semi-pro or professional payment rates aside, Baen doesn't publish anything in the series which is not canonical.
In point of fact, the short fiction in the series frequently provides a more in-depth background and foreshadows larger events that are the meat of the long fiction in the series. The longer works are replete with mentions to events covered in the shorter works, and with characters and the history and events unfolded in such materials. Flint always publishes one of his own stories within the short fiction collections, or in the case of 1634: The Ram Rebellion, considerably more, as it introduces several important background factors that are central to further series developments as the altered history is to unfold to the reader.
The Ring of Fire Press
In June 2013, the Ring of Fire Press was created to reissue certain materials originally published online in the Grantville Gazette. First, it would publish certain stories that were serialized across several issues of the Gazette, so they can be read without hunting through the various Gazette issues. Second, it would publish several themed collections of fact articles. Five Ring of Fire Press volumes are presently available through Amazon as Kindle editions.
- Essen Steel by Kim Mackey
- The Danish Scheme by Herbert Sakalucks and Eric Flint
- Second Chance Bird by Garret W. Vance
- Joseph Hanauer by Douglas W. Jones
- No Ship for Tranquebar by Kevin H. Evans and Karen C. Evans
Literary significance and reception
As of 2014, four books in the series had significantly large number of sales of hardcover editions to become eligible for the New York Times Best Seller list. 1634: The Galileo Affair was on the best seller list for hardcover fiction for two weeks during April 2004 while reaching number 27. 1634: The Baltic War was on the same list for two weeks during May 2007, peaking at number 19. 1634: The Bavarian Crisis was on this list for a week in October 2007 at number 29. The most recent book, 1636: The Kremlin Games was on the NY Times list for a week during June 2012 at number 30.
Almost all of the books in the series 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.
1635: The Papal Stakes is the first book in the series to get listed on the Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Books list.
1632-verse glossary of terminology
- Flint, Eric (March 2006). "forward and afterwords". In Eric Flint. Grantville Gazette II. 1632 (1st, Hardcover ed.). afterword: Baen Books. p. 324. ISBN 978-1-4165-2051-1.
pp316-317 beginning with "Which is the way I intended things, from the moment I decided to turn 1632 from a stand-alone novel it was originally written to be into a series." ... through "where revolutions have typically been depicted as the product of magical hand waving by a handful of big-shot heros. They decree, and therefore it is done."
- Flint, Eric (March 2006). "afterword". In Eric Flint. Grantville Gazette II. 1632 (1st, Hardcover ed.). afterword: Baen Books. p. 324. ISBN 978-1-4165-2051-1.
pp316: "...which has to do with the way I see this entire story in the first place—and did from the beginning. 1632 was written as much as an American novel as a science fiction or alternate history novel. More precisely, as a novel that fits within that loosely defined literary category known as Americana. In particular, it was written from a desire on my part to make a relatively ordinary small American town the collective protagonist of the story. And then, as the story unfolded, to keep the focus as much as possible on what you might call the level of the common man and woman—understanding that, as the story unfolded, more and more seventeenth-century Europeans would become an integral part of that collective protagonist." (hyper links added herein)
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 28 November 1999. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2 August 2002. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2 February 2004. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 6 August 2006. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- Forthcoming | The official home page of author Eric Flint
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- EricFlint.net | Forthcoming | The official home page of author Eric Flint | Herb Sakalaucks | November 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2015-05-09. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
- Eric Flint (10 November 2014). "Eric Flint Newsletter – 7 NOVEMBER 2014". Eric Flint.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2016-06-25. Retrieved 2016-06-25.
- Weber Forums • View topic - A New World Rebellion
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- "1637: The Volga Rules (publisher information)". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Publishing Schedule". Baen Books. Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
- Flint, Eric (December 2009). "Aftwerword". In DeMarce, Virginia. 1635: The Tangled Web. Baen Books.
- Flint, Eric. Grantville Gazette II. Baen Books, 2005, Afterword.
- Flint, see footnote table in Eric Flint
- Flint, in "Editors Forward" to Ring of Fire
- R Boatright, "Ring of Fire Press - Formal Announcement", posted June 19, 2013 to the 1632 Tech forum on Baen's Bar, bar.baen.com; search for "Ring of Fire Press" on www.amazon.com.
- "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. April 18, 2004.
- "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. April 25, 2004.
- "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. May 13, 2007.
- "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. May 20, 2007.
- "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. October 21, 2007.
- "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. June 24, 2012.
- "Locus Bestsellers, July 2004". Locus Magazine. July 2004.
- "Locus Bestsellers, November 2005". Locus Magazine. November 2005.
- "Locus Bestsellers, December 2005". Locus Magazine. December 2005.
- Official 1632 Fan Site
- Eric Flint's website
- Assiti Shards series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- 1632Tech Wiki
- BAEN Free e-library
- Grantville Gazette Volume 1 free e-book
- 1633 free e-book
- 1632 free e-book
- 1632 series reading order
- 1632 series reading order flowchart