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«1634: The Ram Rebellion», Eric Flint

Assiti shards

 

This is something of an oddball volume, so it’s perhaps fitting that it has an oddball history. Many of the stories contained herein first saw life as stories intended to be published in the electronic magazine devoted to the 1632 series, the Grantville Gazette. (Of which, seven volumes are now published, and the first two in a paper edition as well.)

As I watched these stories being written, however-originally with no overarching framework-it occurred to me that, willy-nilly, the writers were in fact shaping the way in which the revolution begun by the Ring of Fire was starting to have an impact on central Germany.

Once I realized that, this volume was born. I had long intended to write a companion volume to 1632, 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War, that would depict the same events covered in those novels but with a focus that you might call closer to ground level. (1632 and 1633 are already in print. David Weber and I are now close to finishing 1634: The Baltic War.)

It’s in the nature of fictional narrative that an author tends, whether he agrees with the Great Man theory of history or not-and I happen to despise it-to write stories that focus on “great heroes.” It’s simply hard to avoid that, given the dramatic imperatives of story-telling.

But such stories give a skewed view of the way human events unfold. People in their great numbers are creators of their own history, not simply the passive material from which history is shaped. The purpose of this book, more than any other, is to depict that in the form of fiction.

It’s an oddball volume, as I said, something of cross between a traditional anthology and a novel. There are many different stories in these pages, written by many different authors. At the same time, all the stories share not only a common setting but a common story arch and a common plot thread-as obscure as that may seem to the reader in the first two parts of the book.

Virginia DeMarce and I provided that, partly in stories we wrote separately, but especially in the short novel we co-authored that concludes the volume and shares the same title: The Ram Rebellion. All the separate threads that are first introduced in Parts I and II begin to come together in Part III, and reach their final culmination in Part IV.

So what to call it?

I don’t know, to be honest.

Let’s just settle for “a 1632 book,” and I hope you enjoy it.

PART I:

RECIPES FOR REVOLUTION

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”

Ezekiel 37:1-3

Cook Books

Eric Flint

June, 1631

After Melissa Mailey ushered Mike Stearns into her living room and took a seat on an armchair facing him, she lifted her eyebrows. The expression on her face was one that Mike still remembered from years earlier, when he’d been a high school student and Melissa had been the most notorious teacher in the high school.

Which she still was, for that matter.

For the adult population of Grantville, Melissa’s notoriety stemmed from her radical political opinions. For her students, however, that notoriety had an entirely different basis. Whatever flamboyantly egalitarian views Ms. Mailey entertained regarding society as a whole, there was not a shred of evidence for them in her classrooms.

The students who thought she was basically okay-Mike himself had been one of them-called her either The Schoolmarm from Hell or Melissa the Hun. Behind her back, of course. The terms used by other students went downhill from there. Very rapidly downhill, in many cases.

Granted, all of her students would admit that she was fair. But fair is not actually a virtue admired in a schoolteacher, by her students, especially when it was almost impossible to slide anything by her.

Merciful, yes; easy-going, yes; absent-minded, best of all.

Fair, no.


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