Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ring of Fire, edited by Eric Flint

Ring of Fire: Sequels to 1632, edited and created by Eric Flint

This is the most recent entry in the Assiti Shards series. The Assiti are aliens whose favorite art form is to swap sphere-shaped areas from different times and places and watch the resulting chaos unfold. So far the only swapped groups we have seen are centered on a modern West Virginia town sent back to the middle of the Thirty Years War. Apparently there are others planned, but this is the only one we’ve seen to date.

Ring of Fire isn’t a novel, but instead a collection of short stories by various authors. Shared universe yarns are usually reserved for minor characters and back story, and for the most part these are no exceptions. Tom Stone and his family are major characters in 1634: The Galileo Affair, but their introduction comes in the tale To Dye For by Mercedes Lackey in this collection. The navy is a main focus of 1633 and the decision process that resulted in the creation of that branch of the services is detailed in In the Navy by Eric Flint. However, a couple of these tales will have a direct impact on the mainline novels being written. The novella The Wallenstein Gambit is the best example of this: Abrecht Wallenstein (one of the major leaders of the era) moves from enemy to ally of the time-lost Americans. This will have serious repercussions in the fictional future of this universe.

The quality of these stories is much higher than the average anthology, as might be expected with the popularity of the series. The only one I didn’t like was Here Comes Santa Claus by K. D. Wentworth which illustrates the differences in our consumer-driven holiday and how it was celebrated in the 1600’s. When the Chips are Down by Jonathan Cresswell and Scott Washburn (about creating potato chips) was weak as well, but amusing enough.

First Sentence (from the preface):
The stories in Ring of Fire are all based in the alternate history setting I created in my novel 1632, which was further developed in the sequel I wrote with David Weber, 1633.

No comments:

Search This Blog