Eric Flint: Grantville Gazette.Volume XII

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Eric Flint


Grantville Gazette.Volume XII

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

The Anaconda Project, Episode One


Eric Flint


Chapter 1. The Map

"This is absurd," said Morris Roth, as forcefully as he could. He had a bad feeling that wasn't very forceful at all, given that he was wearing an absurd costume-he thought it was absurd, anyway, although it was just standard seventeenth century courtier's clothing. The entire situation was absurd.

A bit desperately, he repeated the statement. "This is absurd." After a couple of seconds, he remembered to add: "Your Majesty."

Fortunately, Wallenstein seemed to be in one of his whimsical moods, where the same possible slight that might have angered him at another time merely seemed to be a source of amusement. General Pappenheim-damn his black soul to whatever hideous afterlife there might be even if Morris didn't believe in hell in the first place-was grinning outright.

"Ah, Morris. So modest!" Pappenheim's scarred face was distorted still further as the grin widened. "How can you claim such a complete absence of heroic qualities? You! The Don at the Bridge!"

Morris glared at him. "It was just a job that needed doing, that's all. So I did it. But what sort of lunat-ah…"

Calling the King of Bohemia a "lunatic" to his face was probably not wise. Morris was nimble-witted enough even under the circumstances to veer in midstream. So to speak.

"-what sort of misguided and misadvised person would confuse me with a blasted general? Your Majesty, General Pappenheim, I am a jeweler. "

"What sort of person?" asked Wallenstein, chuckling softly. "A lunatic, perhaps. The same sort of lunatic who recently proclaimed himself King of Bohemia despite-yes, I will say it myself-a claim to the throne that is so threadbare it would shame a pauper. But who cares? Since I am also the same lunatic who won the second Battle of the White Mountain."

They were in the small salon in the palace that Wallenstein favored for intimate meetings. He planted his hands on the armrest of his rather modest chair and levered himself erect.

"Levered" was the correct term, too. Wallenstein's health, always delicate, had been getting worse of late. Morris knew from private remarks by Wallenstein's up-time nurse Edith Wild that she was increasingly worried about it. Some of the new king of Bohemia's frailty was due to the rigors of his military life. But some of it wasn't. Wallenstein, unfortunately, was superstitious and still placed great faith in the advice of his new astrologers-including their advice on his diet. Morris had once heard Edith mutter that she was this close -a thumb and fingertip indicated perhaps an eighth of an inch-to getting her revolver and gunning down the astrologers.

It was not an inconceivable thought, actually. Edith was quite ferocious, in her own way, as she'd proved when she'd shot dead the assassination team sent to murder Wallenstein a few months earlier. The reason Wallenstein had "new" astrologers was because they'd replaced some of the old ones who'd been implicated in the plot.

"A jeweler," Morris repeated. Even to his ears, the words sounded like a whine.

Pappenheim waved his hand airily. "And what of it? Every great general began his life as something else. Even a baker, perhaps."

Morris glared at him again. "'Began his life.' I am in my fifties, for the love of God."

"Don Morris, enough," said Wallenstein firmly. "Your reluctance to assume the post of general in my army simply reinforces my conviction that I have made the right decision."

"Why, Your Majesty?" demanded Morris, just as firmly. One of Wallenstein's saving graces was that the man didn't object to subordinates challenging him, up to a point, provided they were polite about it. "My military experience is limited to that of an enlisted soldier in the American army of another universe. What we called a 'grunt'-with exactly the connotations you'd expect from the term. To make things worse, I wasn't even in a combat unit. I was essentially a quartermaster's clerk, that's all, keeping military supply records."

Smiling, Wallenstein looked at Pappenheim. For his part, Bohemia's top general still had the same wolf-like grin on his face.

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