Eric Flint: Grantville Gazette.Volume XVI

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    Grantville Gazette.Volume XVI
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Eric Flint

Grantville Gazette.Volume XVI

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

Duty Calls

Karen Bergstralh

March, 1634

The room was packed with villagers happy to see visitors and hear the latest news and gossip. Rob Clark, stretching his legs, found two young boys under the table. It seemed to him that every inch of space was crammed with people. Some youngsters sat the edge of an unfinished staircase, legs hanging, eyes and ears wide open. One boy, after losing his balance, had literally hung from the rafters.

It was a party and a feast with the villagers bringing out what food they had. The town mayor and his son-in-law squeezed through the door, each carrying a keg of beer. Rob and his friends had food presented to them from all quarters. Now, after three winters in the seventeenth century, Rob understood how little food must remain in the village larders. When Dieter Wiesskamp reached for his pack, Rob whispered, "Can we give 'em everything except what we need to get home?" Dieter nodded and began emptying his pack. Sausages hit the tabletop and were followed by a sack of rutabagas and carrots.

When Dieter hauled out the two slabs of bacon Wilf Jones winced. With the bacon gone the group's rations were down to a couple of slabs of salt pork and a handful of sausages. Rob smiled back and mouthed 'Hearts and Minds' at Wilf. That got him a grimace in return. Reichard Blucher smiled from the far end of the table, obviously distracted by the two young women hovering over him.

Rob realized that Wilf had been right to insist that they not wear their militia uniforms or tell anyone what their real purpose was. This area was just regaining population and rebuilding the villages. These people had little reason to trust any military-both sides had pillaged them and burned their villages while foraging.

"We're a small party," Wilf had stated. "If we go up there in uniform we're more likely to wake up one morning with our throats slit than find the bandits Major Stieff wants us to look for. Best go as a simple group of horse traders checking out the market for our stock. Naturally we're interested in any rumors about robbers."

The previous fall a Grange-sponsored group came up here to help the villages with their harvest. Rob had come with them. The army platoon that came along to guard the machines had been forced to camp outside the villages. Even those of the soldiers who joined in the heavy labor had been greeted with silence and suspicion.

Rob reached into his pack and took out a Walkman radio. He brought out a pair of battery driven speakers and plugged them in. When Wilf nodded Rob turned the radio on and found the Voice of Luther radio station. The party went from raucous to solemn as he dialed in the broadcast. It was the Vespers service from Madgeburg cathedral. Scratchy and static-filled, as it was, the choir's "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost" filled the room. Pastor Borstorf nodded thoughtfully; stroking his chin and mustache while the service rolled on. The miracle of hearing what was being said and sung in that distant city even quieted the children. When the Benediction and the last "Amen" had been said, the villagers slipped out into the cold to their houses and bed. Pastor Borstorf remained behind.

"Many thanks, Herren, many thanks for that. It was fifteen years ago when I last heard that choir. Perhaps, should this year's harvests be good, it may be that the village can afford such a machine. Of course, Herr Bishoff has his eyes on one of the new manure spreaders and so it may come to making a choice between the practical and the uplifting." With a sly grin the pastor added, "I may vote for the manure spreader myself to save my sermons being compared to those from the cathedral."

"Ah, but Pastor, you know it was little Hans that threw his sister's doll in the well and Old Klaus who drinks too much…" Dieter teased gently.

"Oh, yes! I know my flock well enough." Pastor Borstorf grew grave, his voice dropping to a near whisper. "You go to Oberschwartzwald next, don't you?"

"Yes, that is our plan," Wilf replied as softly.

"Do not play your radio for them, especially not a Lutheran service," Borstorf whispered grimly.

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