Eric Flint: TITLE: Grantville Gazette.Volume XVIII

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    TITLE: Grantville Gazette.Volume XVIII
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Eric Flint


TITLE: Grantville Gazette.Volume XVIII

What is this? About the Grantville Gazette

Written by Grantville Gazette Staff

The Grantville Gazette originated as a by-product of the ongoing and very active discussions which take place concerning the 1632 universe Eric Flint created in the novels 1632, 1633 and 1634: The Galileo Affair (the latter two books co-authored by David Weber and Andrew Dennis, respectively). This discussion is centered in three of the conferences in Baen's Bar, the discussion area of Baen Books' web site. The conferences are entitled "1632 Slush," "1632 Slush Comments" and "1632 Tech Manual." They have been in operation for almost seven years now, during which time nearly two hundred thousand posts have been made by hundreds of participants.

Soon enough, the discussion began generating so-called "fanfic," stories written in the setting by fans of the series. A number of those were good enough to be published professionally. And, indeed, a number of them were-as part of the anthology Ring of Fire, which was published by Baen Books in January, 2004. (Ring of Fire also includes stories written by established authors such as Eric Flint himself, as well as David Weber, Mercedes Lackey, Dave Freer, K.D. Wentworth and S.L. Viehl.)

The decision to publish the Ring of Fire anthology triggered the writing of still more fanfic, even after submissions to the anthology were closed. Ring of Fire has been selling quite well since it came out, and a second anthology similar to it is scheduled to be published late in 2007. It will also contain stories written by new writers, as well as professionals. But, in the meantime… the fanfic kept getting written, and people kept nudging Eric-well, pestering Eric-to give them feedback on their stories.

Hence… the Grantville Gazette. Once he realized how many stories were being written-a number of them of publishable quality-he raised with Jim Baen the idea of producing an online magazine which would pay for fiction and nonfiction articles set in the 1632 universe and would be sold through Baen Books' Webscriptions service. Jim was willing to try it, to see what happened.

As it turned out, the first issue of the electronic magazine sold well enough to make continuing the magazine a financially self-sustaining operation. Since then, nine more volumes have been electronically published through the Baen Webscriptions site. As well, Grantville Gazette, Volume One was published in paperback in November of 2004. That has since been followed by hardcover editions of Grantville Gazette, Volumes Two and Three.

Then, two big steps:

First: The magazine had been paying semi-pro rates for the electronic edition, increasing to pro rates upon transition to paper, but one of Eric's goals had long been to increase payments to the authors. Grantville Gazette, Volume Eleven is the first volume to pay the authors professional rates.

Second: This on-line version you're reading. The site here at http://www. grantvillegazette. com is the electronic version of an ARC, an advance readers copy where you can read the issues as we assemble them. There are stories posted here which won't be coming out in the magazine for more than a year.

How will it work out? Will we be able to continue at this rate? Well, we don't know. That's up to the readers. But we'll be here, continuing the saga, the soap opera, the drama and the comedy just as long as people are willing to read them.

– The Grantville Gazette Staff


FICTION:

Gifted with Pascal


Tim Roesch

Mary Timm hated church steeples.

There was no glass in them. They blocked the light in odd ways, cast shadows where shadows had no place being. They stabbed the sky and mocked the sun. They interfered with her art.

Having a boy hanging from one didn't help either.

"Boys!" Mary snarled as she marched into the fire department.

Mary couldn't help but pause a moment when she walked inside. Now here was a place that was worth coming to. There were bright colors and shiny pieces of metal and reflections and windows. She would very much like to linger on this late fall morning but she knew she couldn't. Whatever Blaise was screaming from up there, hanging from the steeple, it would have been cruel to leave him.

"Shouldn't you be in school, Mary?" one of the firefighters asked. Though Mary was only eleven, she had a look of frustration and forbearance of one much older.

"There is a boy hanging from the church tower."

The five men standing in the large garage stopped and looked at her.

"What?" one asked in English.

"There is a stupid boy hanging from…"

She jumped when the alarm went off.

"Just got a call!" Another man ran into the garage. "Some crazy kid is hanging from the steeple at the Catholic church!"

"That's what I was trying to tell you!" Mary yelled.

The small garage erupted into activity and Mary fled to a corner to stay out of the way. With an explosion of noise and activity the fire trucks raced out of the garage.

In the quiet after the last truck drove off Mary glanced up at the windows high on the walls then at the nice, neat squares of light on the clean floor of the garage.

"What a waste of light." she muttered to herself. With a sigh she turned and walked back to the church with the crazy boy hanging from that stupid, light-blocking steeple. If God truly loved her, He would have Blaise Pascal knock the steeple down so that at 9:30 in the morning the light would hit the window of that nice building a block over and…


***

Julie Drahuta hated mornings.

Mornings should be calm, pleasant times. If she had her way, the day would begin slowly, comfortably. There would be time to sip some coffee, read a newspaper, have a nice quiet breakfast.

"But no! I have to be here asking myself why a smart boy like you was hanging from a church steeple! Jesus God! What were you thinking?" Julie tried to calm herself. She glanced up at the steeple then back at the tear-stained, rope-burned, bruised, angry boy before her. In her admittedly grumpy opinion, he was being tended to much more carefully than he deserved.

"It did not work! It did not work!" Blaise waved a plastic ruler at her. Then he threw it on the ground and stamped on it.

"Hey! Stop that!"

"It didn't work!" Blaise shouted. Julie pulled him away from the object of his tantrum. The rest of his comments were muffled and in French; a very foul French one might not expect to hear coming from the mouth of an eleven year old. She wrapped him up in a hug.

To a casual observer it might appear that Julie was trying to suffocate the boy.

"Should I call a child protection officer?" a firefighter asked as Blaise screamed, muffled by Julie's hold on him.

Julie turned with a slow, reptilian grace that wiped the smile from the firefighter's face.

"That will be all, Gus," Julie chirped with her best brutal, violence-promising smile.

"You know…" Chief Matheny scratched his head then replaced his helmet as he looked up at the steeple then around the base. "I've seen kids do the oddest things and get themselves into situations the experts can't write about in textbooks because no one would believe the book. Gus, look around for any loose equipment."

"I'm sorry you had to go to all of this trouble, Chief Matheny." Julie sighed as Blaise Pascal, the world's greatest mathematician, sobbed and cursed in her arms.

"This beats all. Wiley Coyote couldn't have done better with two credit cards and a direct number to ACME. What's worse, the darn thing almost worked. The crossbow worked, the block and tackle worked, even the attempt to counterbalance his weight with that bag of rocks worked. The harness slipping up around his neck was a mistake anyone could have made. That definitely didn't work."

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