Eric Flint: Grantville Gazette.Volume XV

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Eric Flint


Grantville Gazette.Volume XV

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

The Anaconda Project, Episode Four


Eric Flint

Krzysztof Opalinski was obviously puzzled by Morris' reference to himself as Gandalf. But, to Melissa's surprise, his companion Jakub Zaborowsky grinned.

"Not exactly, Herr Roth-at least, not from our viewpoint. You are more in the way of our Elrond. Perhaps Galadriel."

Morris gaped at him. Jakub made a modest wagging gesture with his hand. "I like to read. Although I must say that while I enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, the premises are absurd. In that story, everybody loves the king except the forces of evil-and there are no rapacious great noblemen to be found anywhere. A fantasy, indeed."

Morris was still gaping at him.

"Close your mouth, dear," murmured Judith. She gave Zaborowsky a smile. "I'll admit the image of my husband as an elf is delightful, but… I don't really understand what you mean by it."

Jakub shrugged. "It is not complicated, really. Gandalf was the leader of the active struggle against Sauron. In Poland and Lithuania, at least-and certainly in the lands controlled by the Cossacks-Herr Roth cannot possibly play that role. The Poles are a fractious people, and the Lithuanians even more so. But if Wallenstein makes the mistake of trying to encroach upon their territory, they will unite against him. And they will have Hetman Koniecpolski leading their armies. He is not a general any sane person takes lightly."

Morris had closed his mouth, by now. "Well. No, he isn't."

"To put it mildly," said Melissa. Stanislaw Koniecpolski had pretty much fought the Swedes to a stalemate from 1626 to 1629, after they invaded Polish territory. In the end, Gustav Adolf had decided it would be smarter to sign a treaty than continue the fighting. "I have never been in such a bath," had been his comment after the final battle of the war near Trzciana, which was for all practical purposes a Polish victory. Stanislaw Koniecpolski could say that he had defeated Gustav Adolf in battle, a claim which precious few other men could make, if any.

It helped salve Gustav Adolf's pride, of course, that the ensuing Truce of Altmark was mostly in Sweden's favor. As was usually the case, Poland's strength on the battlefield was not matched by equivalent political cohesion. Koniecpolski himself was reported to have opposed the truce-but he'd been sent to the Ukraine to deal with a Cossack uprising.

For the past year and a half, the hetman had been fighting the Ottoman Turks. Again, Koniecpolski's ferocious skills on the battlefield had driven his opponent to seek a treaty. It has just been signed in September.

"As for the Cossacks," Zaborowsky continued, giving his companion Fedorovych a little nod that seemed half-amused and half-respectful, "I am afraid you cannot take Dmytro here as a valid sample of the lot. He has no animus against Jews at all, so far as I can tell. Not so, for the average Cossack. Even Jewish traders are at some risk in Cossack territory."

Naturally, that set Morris back to glaring. At the wall, however, since he couldn't very well glare at the only Cossack actually present.

Seeing the nod in his direction, Fedorovych asked for a translation. Once he got it, he grunted. Then, jabbered something that had to be translated back.

"What he says," explained Zaborowsky, "is that I am exaggerating some. Most Cossacks have no contact with the Jews in the towns and their villages. All they see are the Jewish rent-collectors and estate managers that exploit the Ruthenian peasants. So they take those as representative of the lot, when in fact they are a small portion. Dmytro's been in the towns, and he knows that most Jews are just as poor as most peasants."

Having finished, he shrugged again. "What is says is true enough. But Dmytro is such a good Christian under the Cossack bandit exterior-you understand, I am being very generous with the term 'Christian'-that I think he underestimates the force of sheer bigotry. Especially when it is reinforced weekly, sometimes daily, by priests of the Greek faith."

Melissa couldn't help but make a face. "The Greek faith" referred to Orthodox Christianity, which, in this day and age, was lagging centuries behind both the Catholics and the Protestants. Where the Roman church and any one of the major Protestant denominations could boast many accomplished and sophisticated theologians, the Orthodox church could count none. Where they were all vibrantly independent churches, even if they often had to tack and veer to deal with powerful secular rulers, the highest Orthodox prelates were under the thumb of either Istanbul or Moscow.

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