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Eric Flint

As you can perhaps deduce from the simple existence of a paper edition of the second volume of the electronic magazine the Grantville Gazette, the first issue—which we did as an experiment, to see if there would be enough interest in such an oddball publication—proved to be successful.

Quite successful, in fact, better than either I or my publisher, Jim Baen, had expected. The magazine's been doing well, also. Five volumes of the Gazette have been published thus far, with more issues in the works.

Now that I know the Gazette will be an ongoing project, at least in electronic format, I've got more leeway in terms of the kind of stories I can include in the magazine. A number of the fiction pieces being written in the 1632 setting are either long or are intended as parts of ongoing stories. There are two examples in this issue: Danita Ewing's "An Invisible War"and Enrico Toro's "Euterpe, episode 1."

In terms of its length, "An Invisible War" is technically a short novel. In the electronic edition, it was serialized over two issues of the magazine, the second half appearing in Volume 3. Since that wouldn't be suitable for a paper edition, I included the entire novel in this volume.

Enrico Toro's story is somewhat different. Neither he nor I know what the final length of this story will be. Not to mention that in later volumes of the magazine, his story begins to intertwine with a series written by David Carrico. "Euterpe" is written in the form of episodes, each told in epistolary form by the narrator. I wanted to include it because (along with Gorg Huff's story, "God's Gifts") Toro's piece approaches the 1632 framework entirely from the angle of how seventeenth-century people react to the events produced by the Ring of Fire.

Most of the stories that appeared in either the first volume of the Gazette or the anthology Ring of Fire approached the situation either entirely or primarily from the standpoint of American up-timers. What I especially liked about the stories by Toro and Huff is that up-timers are never the viewpoint characters. In the case of "Euterpe," Toro is using an actual historical figure and trying to imagine how a young musician of the time would react to the sudden influx of music written over the next several centuries. In the case of Huff's story, the character is a fictional Lutheran pastor trying to grapple with the theological implications of the Ring of Fire.

Given that there are a few thousand up-timers in the 1632 setting and tens of millions of down-timers, it seemed about time to me that we started getting more of their view of things into the series.

Although not quite to the same degree, Chris Weber's short novella "The Company Men" also approaches the setting primarily from the standpoint of seventeenth-century figures. In the case of his story, which is an adventure story, that of two mercenary soldiers of the time. And in John Zeek's murder mystery "Bottom Feeders," we get a nice mix of viewpoints.

There's a nice mix of stories in this issue, I think, in more ways than one. They range from military stories like Mike Spehar's "Collateral Damage" through stories involving the struggle to establish modern medical care (Ewing's "An Invisible War"), and everything in between. The same is true for the factual articles, where you'll get a treatise on seventeenth-century swordplay as well as a discussion of the practical challenges posed by geology and mining in the context of the technical resources available to the characters in the series.

There are a number of questions readers have asked me concerning where the 1632 series is going, the status of various novels in the series—especially 1634: The Baltic War, which is the direct sequel to 1633—and how and where the Gazette fits into that. Since answering those questions takes a fair amount of space, I'll deal with them in the Afterword at the end of the book. I think prefaces are best kept short and sweet.

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