Grantville Gazette V: The Ring of Fire series
Edited by Eric Flint
Cover Artist: Tom Kidd
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439134221
Date: 22 February 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
This is the fifth collection of short stories set in the Ring of Fire Universe. It is different from the first four. The original collections were exact copies of the materials originally created for the Grantville Gazette with an additional story by Eric Flint. The fifth volume moves away from this formula. There are currently 27 volumes of the Gazette. The hardbound copies took over a year to produce, so if the old formula was maintained, it would be years before some of the stories came out in hard copy. The new model is more of a best of format which doesn’t force older stories to come first.
The stories are by a variety of authors, including some of the more active ones. There are 26 stories in this collection plus a foreword by Eric Flint and the submission guidelines for the Grantville Gazette. There will be something for everyone that likes the 1632 universe.
One of my favorite stories in the 1632 series is in the collection, “A Taste of Home.” Author Chris Racciato explores the palates of Grantville’s citizens. A forgotten batch of sauce leads to a whole new business and gives uptimers something special.
There are also stories that give a little more information about the behind the scenes activities as the main storyline progresses. “Steady Girl” by Eric Flint is part of the Denmark storyline.
When people think about what they would do if they were sent back in time, one of the big things they think of is treasure hunting. It is easy to find treasure when you know where to look. The story of “Treasure Hunters” by Karen Bergstralh explores this theme with a less than honest leader. Along the same lines, what do you do if you are a downtimer and find out that you will be foiled by a particular someone? Get him on your side, as it happens in “On the Matter of D’Artagnan.”
The world isn’t all happiness. “Little Angel” by Kerryn Offord tells the story of how tetanus vaccinations come to the 17th century after a tragic oversight. “Twenty-eight men” tells of a mining tradgey.
There is no single theme to the stories, other than they occur in the 1632 universe. Each adds to the growing body of this shared world. The stories and novels are part of the most detailed alternate universes ever created.
The Ring of Fire Series is one of the most popular Alternate History series currently going. The main stories will continue for years to come, as there are still many stories to tell. In some ways I will miss the old formula, but there is no way all of the back stories would be printed in my lifetime at the rate they are being published.
To see the original issue of Grantville Gazette V, fans should go to www.grantvillegazette.com. There is plenty of fun entertainment and great stories to be found in the Ring of Fire Universe. Fans may want to subscribe so that they can keep up with the stories that are available.