1637 The Volga Rules – Snippet 21

1637 The Volga Rules – Snippet 21

Chapter 7: Buying Kazan

Kazan

August 1636

Ivan sat in the coffee house and sipped the strong, dark, sweet coffee. It was horrible. Truly horrible. Abdul Azim sat across from him and smiled. Abdul was a business associate of his father’s, and though Ivan had never met him before that morning, he knew that Abdul was a secret Muslim. After Ivan the Terrible had taken this city he had killed, run off, or forcibly converted the populace. The forced conversions had not exactly taken, at least not completely. The same thing had been tried two more times in the last eighty years and until a month ago the Muslims in Kazan had made it their practice to keep their heads down. But, this morning, as he and his guards had been riding into town, they heard the mullah calling the faithful to prayer.

None of them had recognized it, but Ivan had an educated guess. While not of the nobility, Ivan’s father was a wealthy businessman with connections all over Russia.

Abdul put his glass of coffee down and said, “No one is in control right now. There was a strong initial push to declare independence like we did in the Time of Troubles, but seeing the dirigible going by overhead slowed that down. And everyone knows that Czar Mikhail is in Ufa and to get to Ufa, or to get back from Ufa, the armies are going to come through here. Everyone is scared.”

“How do you feel, Abdul? I know Father always respected your judgment.”

“I would declare independence right now.”

“You think you can hold Kazan against Director-General Sheremetev and Czar Mikhail?”

“If we are lucky, by playing them off against each other.”

Ivan tilted his head. He didn’t even realize he was doing it till he saw Abdul’s bitter smile. “I know it’s more likely that we will be ground between you like grain into flour. But it is hard to deny your faith, and it becomes much harder when the hope of freedom is offered.”

Ivan hadn’t told Abdul which side he was working for, or even that he was working for one of the sides. Abdul had probably known that he was studying in the Kremlin and possibly that he had been assigned to the dirigible works at Bor, but nothing more than that. And Abdul hadn’t asked. For the next several hours, Ivan and Abdul talked about the politics of Kazan. That afternoon, Ivan and his guards strolled around the city, noting the placement and height of the walls and by mid afternoon they had watchers of their own. The local streltzi, city guard, were watching them like hawks. Hungry hawks.

That night they rode out of Kazan, thankful that no faction had enough control of the city to order their arrest. And, even more, that none of the factions had decided to act on their own.

Ten Miles From Kazan

August, 1636

“I’m fairly sure we could take the town by allying with one of the groups,” Ivan said as he drew a map on the ground next to the campfire with a charred stick. “Assuming we could get them to trust us, which is by no means certain. All we would need is for one group to hold the gates open, then between us and them. We could almost certainly get control, but it would be control of a powder keg. The arrival of a force of any size and half the population would switch to their side, just to get back at us for backing another faction.”

“So it’s hopeless?” Tim asked, looking at the map of Kazan that Ivan had drawn on the ground. “Why the map then?”

“Because if we could get the support of most of the population and keep it, it would be a very defensible position. We could hold out for months. That overturned-pot-looking hill that the city is built on is a great place for artillery. With the right guns, we would control the whole of the Volga.”

“So what we need is something to bring them together.”

“Something to bring them together on our side, anyway,” Ivan said. “My father’s friend is ready to throw us all out and declare independence.”

“Why?”

“He’s a Muslim. Which, aside from that horrible coffee they drink, I don’t care that much about. My father has always assumed that he was secretly still a Muslim, in spite of the forced conversions after Kazan’s rebellion in the Time of Troubles. They never talked about it, but most of their acquaintance was by mail anyway. Now he’s openly practicing Islam and he’s afraid that whichever side wins there will be a cracking down after it’s over.”

“We ought to introduce him to Bernie,” Tim said, then stopped.

Ivan was still talking. “The only reason his faction didn’t manage to get the city to declare independence was the Czarina flying over.”

“Yes. We ought to introduce him to Bernie and Czar Mikhail, and very much the czarina,” Tim said. “Both czarinas. Ivan, what if Czar Mikhail were to grant Kazan the right of freedom of faith? Make a proclamation? Make a law? What would your friend do then?”

Ivan looked at Tim, at first in shock, then thoughtfully. Tim waited while he worked it out. “I don’t know. There is a great deal of bitterness there, now that it’s out in the open. I don’t know if a proclamation would be enough to rein it back in.”

“We’ll be in sight of the city tomorrow, and we will stop, not try to enter or go around it. I want you to go back, this time officially. Talk to your father’s friend, and to the other leaders too. Meanwhile, the next time that steamboat comes by, I have a new message for Czar Mikhail. If he wants us to take and hold Kazan, he needs to come here and talk to the leaders of the city.”

Three days later, Kazan

Asad Korikov stood on the wall of the Kazan kremlin and watched the great airship float gently toward the ground. It was bigger than any riverboat he had ever seen, and it looked like you could pour a whole army out of it. Asad had no way of knowing that almost all of that space was taken up by lifting gasses, cells full of hydrogen and cells full of hot air. What he saw was just the massive form of a whale that swam through the air. He crossed himself unconsciously, and muttered an Islamic prayer that his grandmother was fond of. He could hear a sound. He didn’t know that it came from the propellers. Then a short, heavy spear was dropped from the front of the behemoth. It fell quickly, pulling a line after it and plunged into the earth.

A rider from Czar Mikhail’s little army rode up to it, then used a hammer to whack the dart farther into the ground. Other men rode up to catch other ropes that were dropped. Once the airship was tied to the ground, a rope ladder was lowered and people started climbing down. Several men and then, surprisingly, three women.

By now the walls on the east side of the kremlin were packed with watchers. Horses were brought and the party mounted.

***

Czar Mikhail glanced around to be sure everyone in the procession was ready. Then, with Tim on his right and Bernie Zeppi on his left, he rode to the gates of Kazan. Not the gates to the Kazan kremlin, which was to the west of where the dirigible landed, but the gates to the city proper to the east. His wife, Princess Natasha, and Anya were riding behind him, and there were other functionaries, as well as officers and soldiers of his small army behind them. This was a diplomatic mission so the guards were — hopefully — just there for show.

Czar Mikhail waved to the guards as he led his party through the gates of Kazan and up the street toward the seat of the local government.

A few minutes later, he and his party were seated in a large hall in what on other occasions would have been the central market of Kazan. They were offered wine, beer or coffee. Bernie took coffee and Mikhail took beer, the rest made their own choices. Then they got down to business, starting with Mikhail asking everyone to speak their minds freely. “I will take no offence nor hold any liable for anything said here.”

They didn’t believe him, of course. They talked around their worries. The questions were there in the background, but all in a way that would let the townspeople backtrack and deny that they meant any such thing. Their concerns were many, but two dominated the discussion. Could Mikhail win? And if he did, could they trust him to keep the promises he made while in need of their help?

Mikhail tried to reassure them without lying outright. But how reassuring he was, he wasn’t sure. He could be firm on the issue of keeping his word, but winning was less certain. “At this point no one knows who will win. Not me, or Sheremetev, or any of the other factions. Kazan, however, is not large enough to survive for long as an independent nation.”

“We could, if you would refrain from attacking us.”

“No. Even if I were to do so, that would only mean Sheremetev would take Kazan. And that means I can’t do it, because it would be giving that advantage to him.”

Mikhail could tell from their expressions that they didn’t like hearing that last part, but they couldn’t deny it. The discussions went on and got around to religion. Bernie argued for religious toleration and Father Kiril, as gentle as the man usually was, argued against it. But, as a pragmatic political matter, it was clear to Mikhail he needed the support of the Muslim factions in Kazan and the surest way to get that support was to give them religious freedom. And Mikhail was insistent that if the Muslims got that freedom, all religions would have the same.

That lead to the question of sharia law. “No. The worst penalty that any church will be empowered to invoke is excommunication. The laws under which our people will live will be civil laws. You can throw people out of your church, refuse to talk to them, but you may not imprison them or impose any physical punishment. Those must be imposed by the civil authority.” Mikhail’s court had worked this out in advance. It was the only way if there were going to be two or more religions coexisting. Anything else led to one part of his people living under one law and another living under another law.

After a long argument with Bernie and Filip on one side — and just about everyone else in Mikhail’s court on the other — it had been decided that religious freedom should be given to Kazan and to Ufa, because for now Ufa was the capital and people ought to be able to practice their faith when they came to the capital to participate in their government. However, it would not be a general liberty. If Muslims in the rest of Rus wanted to practice their religion freely, let them move to Kazan.

“Hey, folks,” Bernie said about that point. “I argued on your side, but in political terms they are right. Czar Mikhail is pushing the politics of this about as far as he can. He’s already facing a backlash from the service nobility over the serfs and if he were to make freedom of religion the law throughout Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church would go over to Sheremetev en masse. As it is now, the great monasteries can look the other way and say it’s only in a couple of places.”

There were looks back and forth on the other side of the table, and then nods. Some reluctant, and some enthusiastic. Mikhail noted the enthusiastic nods. Those were the smart ones and the ones to watch. Those were the ones who had realized that such a law would be a magnet for Muslims.

They negotiated for two days and Mikhail then made a series of pronouncements. Meanwhile, Tim had quietly infiltrated the Kazan kremlin. With some hesitation, the garrison had come over. The garrison soldiers were mostly Russian Orthodox, and not thrilled with Czar Mikhail’s proclamations of religious toleration. On the other hand, Czar Mikhail was right here . . . and the duma was way off in Moscow. By the time Mikhail and the rump court he had brought with him climbed back into the dirigible, Tim was, at least theoretically, in command of the military forces of both city and kremlin.

 

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10 Responses to 1637 The Volga Rules – Snippet 21

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    “Kiedy znalazłem się na dnie, usłyszałem pukanie od spodu” (When I thought I had already reached the bottom, they knocked from there)
    Stanisław Jerzy Lec.

    Ignorance could be forgiven and ameliorated by learning and education. But how can you forgive those, who lie, lie deliberately, lie fully aware of their lying, and who keep lying? What about a lofty ideal of living not by a lie?

    “[H]e knew that Abdul was a secret Muslim. After Ivan the Terrible had taken this city he had killed, run off, or forcibly converted the populace. The forced conversions had not exactly taken, at least not completely. The same thing had been tried two more times in the last eighty years and until a month ago the Muslims in Kazan had made it their practice to keep their heads down. But, this morning, as he and his guards had been riding into town, they heard the mullah calling the faithful to prayer.”

    Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-oh-my-sides-are-aching-ha-ha-ha-you-can’t-make-this-up-ha-ha-stahp!

    In 1552, when Ivan IV took Kazan, there were not that many Tatars left – medieval sieges and city house-to-house warfare, fires and cavalier use of the artillery (plus the heavy resistance with no quarter asked and no quarter given) resulted in that. After the capture of Kazan Ivan IV freed 8000 slaves, some of whom had been in Tatar captivity for 20+ years.

    Kazan khanate had been fully incorporated into czardom of Russia with the institution of the separate Kazan prikaz to rule over its affairs. In order to rebuild Kazan several prominent architects had been dispatched there (e.g. Postnik) and about 7000 Russians from other parts of the realm resettled there. Surviving Tatars were resettled in the so-called Old-Tatar sloboda in the place of the village Kuraish. They lived beyond new Kazan kremlin and were forbidden to settle closer than 25 miles. According to1646 census Kazan’s adult male population amounted to 5432 living in 1652 households.

    Tatars were not forcefully converted – such practice is against the ROC traditions. They were allowed to practice their religion in their sloboda. They could not make a state career without converting (hardly anything unique for the time period anywhere), but otherwise nothing precluded them from engaging in trade, crafts, art or similar stuff. The population of Kazan, ethnically speaking, was overwhelmingly Russian. Compared to what happened to the representatives of other faiths in post-Reconquista Spain, or in Ottoman held Balkans, compared to the Wars of Religion in France and compared to the bloodbath (religion driven in part) of the 30 Years War, Russian policy was the epitome of the toleration.

    “Abdul put his glass of coffee down and said, “No one is in control right now. There was a strong initial push to declare independence like we did in the Time of Troubles, but seeing the dirigible going by overhead slowed that down. And everyone knows that Czar Mikhail is in Ufa and to get to Ufa, or to get back from Ufa, the armies are going to come through here. Everyone is scared.””

    This could not be true. For one – there ought to be (at least) two military governors (“voivodes”) appointed by the czar himself to carry out administrative-police functions in the city. Next – several representatives of the bureaus (“prikazes”) managing the records and assisting/hampering/spying upon voivodes. Third – Kazan is important ecclesiastical center (see Diocese of Kazan, est. 1555). Former Kazan’s Metropolitan Hermogen became a Patriarch and was inspirational and venerable figure during the Times of Troubles. Finally – Kazan had always had a strong streltzi presence in the city (500+ troopers) with their own commanders and officers.

    In short – there is absolutely NO reason for the appearance of the vacuum of power.

    Now, about this silliness of, and I quote, “strong initial push to declare independence like we did in the Time of Troubles”. Ahm, Abdul – “you” (Muslim Tatars) did nothing of sorts during the Times of Trouble. Yu know what happened? Surely, you know – you, probably, was present back then. Not sure if the authors who make you spit silliness like that know though…

    Aaaanyway… During the Times of Troubles Kazan remained the staunch proponent of the central Moscow authority, for a time being exemplified by Vasily “I’m Not A Crook By Today’s Standards” Shuisky. The alternatives at the time were first Ivan Bolotnikov, then “miraculously surviving” False-Dmitry II and then Poles with prince Vladislav. Throughout 1606-10 period Kazan’s ruling elites supported Moscow and Shuisky no matter what (not a mean task). There was no ethnic based pull for independence because, seriously, there was not ethnic based conscious invented yet. The decision to put this or that side of the Civil War were not ethnic based – while Kazan and Siberia remained loyal to Shuisky, Arzamas and Kasimov chose False-Dmitry II. In Tushino’s camp of the pretender there were Mishar Tatars (a distinct sub-ethnos of Volga Tatars), Moksha and mountain Mari people (both are Finno-Ugric), Chuvash (Turkic people) – while on the side of Shuisky were Kazan and Astrakhan tatars, Udmurts (Siberian people) and eastern Mari people. When a small army loyal to False-Dmity II under Mustafins brothers( Kasimov Tatar “princes”) crossed Volga, it were local Mari tribes who began attacking them first, and then arrived Kazan-based streltzi and nobles to drive the invaders off.

    It all changed by late 1610 when two events threw previous loyalties into disarray. One – False-Dmitry II had been defeated, his “camp” in Tushino deserted of all previous supporters and he himself killed in December. Two – Vasily Shuisky himself was toppled in July and forcefully turned into a monk. The plotters who did that invited polish prince Vladislav to the throne, provided he will first convert – thus turning entire Russia not just into a Civil War battlefield, but also into a stomping ground between Sweden and PLC to duke out their differences. Instead of diarchy of Shuisky and False-Dmitry and anarchy ruled from now on. Imagine some post-Apoc fiction – subtract the high tech component. It was pretty much this for the next 2-3 years.

    So the ruling elites in Kazan simply refused to send taxes to the Polish occupied Moscow – as did many other regions, including Ryazan, where the First Volunteer Army under Lyapunov launched its ill-fated march on Moscow in 1611. Meanwhile, Kazan suffered grievous losses among those ruling elites – one of the previously appointed voivodes (Vasily Morozov) decided to join Lyapunov with his soldiers in the summer of 1611, and the remaining (Bogdan Belsky, Malyuta Skuratov’s nephew) was assassinated by the warring parties earlier. Thus the administering of not just city of Kazan, but the entire region fell to the next ranking official – dyak Nikanor Mikhailovich Shulgin (there is strong suspicion that he ordered the “hit” on Belsky), from the middle-to-poor sons of boyars. Before his job was comprised of the day-to-day tasks typical to the head of the regional department, who deals with routine office paperwork, property relations and economic issues. His first act was to issue a proclamation that before the election of the new czar no one has the right to displace and appoint officials on the ground. Pretenders (and there was already yet another “miraculously survived” False-Dmitry III at large) were to be denied entry, those who swore to them fealty – punished severely. Understanding the shakiness of his own legitimacy (he was an appointed bureaucrat and an outsider of fairly low noble pedigree), Shulgin attracted to the work of the city duma members of the regional nobility (both Russians and Tatars), ranking clergy (the Metropolitan of Kazan Yefrem, with the capture of Moscow and Novgorod, became the highest ranking hierarch of the ROC), streltzi commanders, and even representatives of the merchants and tradesmen of Kazan’s posad and tributary tribes of Chuvash and Mari people.

    Shulgin (and, therefore, Kazan) did not support Lyapunov and the First Volunteer army. They argued that they didn’t have enough money (not true) and even tried to conceal the fact that there was such a movement from their subjects. OTOH he supported the Second Volunteer Army under Minin and Pozharsky, which started as the union of the upper Volga city communes, who were tired of impostors, the raids of Cossacks, Polish adventurers and false political alternatives. They did not campaign for any specific candidate for the throne, but for the very principle of legality of the higher power. Later, when a lot of high-borns joined the movement and sidelined the initial goals, Shulgin abandoned the project and even boycotted the “electoral” Assembly of the Land. But at the same time Shulgin remained in communication with the Zemstvo government in Moscow about cordinated military actions against the Cossacks of Zarutsky. For his actions of suppressing bands of Cossacks iduring the winter of 1612-13 he was finally offically appointed as the voivode of Kazan and began to call himself using – Nikanor Mikhailovich.

    Naturally, his autocratic rule (and threadbare legitimacy) pissed off too many members of ruling elites. While he was away campaigning, Mikhail Romanov was elected. Soon Kazan’s garrison began to swore fealty him. During Shulgin’s absence the coup lead by the second city dyak Stepan Duchkov arrested Shulgin’s supporters and took power. Obviously, Nikanor Mikhailovich wanted to regain control of “his” capital. But in Sviyazhsk he was arrested, and at that time there was no one who would support him. Kazan, like other cities, was fatally tired of political struggle. Soon, power passed to the voivode appointed from Moscow. Shulgin spent some time in Moscow under house arrest, and then together with his sons sent to govern Tobolsk.

    Tl;dr – if there were no adventure-minded strong-willed individual in the city administration of Kazan, then there could not be a “pull for independence”. The authors themselves said that “No one is in control right now” (c). Tatar elites and other representatives of the non-Russian ethnicities did not support the idea of independence. I.e. this exchange:

    ““How do you feel, Abdul? I know Father always respected your judgment.”

    “I would declare independence right now.””

    makes no sense. You and what army, Abdul? Are you a noble, perchance? No? Then stick to trade.

    ““I’m fairly sure we could take the town by allying with one of the groups,” Ivan said as he drew a map on the ground next to the campfire with a charred stick.”

    Which groups? We are not told. Maybe because the authors didn’t even bother?

    “My father has always assumed that he was secretly still a Muslim, in spite of the forced conversions after Kazan’s rebellion in the Time of Troubles. They never talked about it, but most of their acquaintance was by mail anyway. Now he’s openly practicing Islam and he’s afraid that whichever side wins there will be a cracking down after it’s over”

    Already discussed why NONE of this makes sense or has any relation to reality.

    “Ivan, what if Czar Mikhail were to grant Kazan the right of freedom of faith? Make a proclamation? Make a law? What would your friend do then?””

    Which would be useless/unnecessary – see above.

    “Asad Korikov stood on the wall of the Kazan kremlin”

    […]

    Just… just… “Asad”? Really? Ugh, this is lazy even for you, dear authors You are not really trying, are you?

    “Czar Mikhail glanced around to be sure everyone in the procession was ready. Then, with Tim on his right and Bernie Zeppi on his left, he rode to the gates of Kazan…”

    The entirety of the next scene is improbable. No, that’s not how a reigning monarch arrives into a city. Simply – NO WAY. Where is delegation from the local administration and clergy? Cheering crowds, church bells ringing, big show and stuff? Riding like he did with all those people in such riding order was simply inappropriate. Who does he plan to impress with behaving not like a czar? These people are not up-timers.

    “Then they got down to business, starting with Mikhail asking everyone to speak their minds freely.”

    And who are these “everyone”? For czar to talk business… with whom? “The people is silent” (c) and all that jazz. That’s not how the reigning monarch would talk with his subjects – and not how his subjects would address him in turn. The authors (once again) rushed the whole scene, killing the mood entirely. Ugh!

    “After a long argument with Bernie and Filip on one side — and just about everyone else in Mikhail’s court on the other — it had been decided that religious freedom should be given to Kazan and to Ufa, because for now Ufa was the capital and people ought to be able to practice their faith when they came to the capital to participate in their government. However, it would not be a general liberty. If Muslims in the rest of Rus wanted to practice their religion freely, let them move to Kazan.”

    The authors made two mistakes – first, created (nonexistent) religious problem, and then offered absolutely lame way to solve it! Hey – what about Astrkhan and local Muslims? What about Tatar slobodas all across Volga? What about Kasimov “khanate” in Ryazan? Ever heard about it? Ever heard about “service Tatars” in Russian military? Ever heard how Russian state (and PLC also) provided safe heaven for various Tatar noble exiles, who set up court there, kept their faith, their servants and subjects in order to return back to the throne? And should they chose to – they might convert and join the highest ranks of the Russian aristocracy (boyarstvo) due to their princely blood.

    The most scandalous suggestion here is not the toleration of religion, but the idea that people can freely move across the country. This is simply… no, no way.

    “That lead to the question of sharia law. “No. The worst penalty that any church will be empowered to invoke is excommunication. The laws under which our people will live will be civil laws.””

    […]

    wat

    […]

    Our dear authors familiar with the civilian law of Russia (or Europe) of that time period? I suspect that not. Even in Swedish Army blasphemy was punishable with death. In “civilian” legislations of European countries blasphemy was likewise punishable with different level of severity. There was no separation of Church and Stat back then. What kind of nonsense are you trying to tell us here?

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    Oh, and one more thing:

    “Ivan sat in the coffee house and sipped the strong, dark, sweet coffee. It was horrible. Truly horrible. Abdul Azim sat across from him and smiled.”

    I think that instead of writing fiction, our dear esteemed authors must switch to history. No, really! This would make them world famous! They just made a tremendous, earth-shattering discovery – that in 1630s Russia there were “coffee houses”! Imagine the acclaim of the international scientific community when they provide the whole wide world with their irrefutable proof of that? Oh, I’d surely like to see this scene!

    Hey, why not take it back to the Tatars? Why not tell them that because someone is Muslim he must “drink coffee”. I mean – who cares about Kazan Tatars cuisine and traditional beverages and dishes (about which our esteemed authors know SOOOOO MUCH!)? Who among them drinks koumiss (soft drink made from mare’s milk), airan (yogurt-tasting drink made from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk), katyk (sour milk drink) boza (lightly alcoholic drink from the cereal flour) or, you know, a herbal tea. Naaaaaah! All Muslims MUST drink coffee, according to our all-knowing authors! Right?

    • Marvin Johnson says:

      I’d love to read one of your stories on the 1632 slushpile. Seriously. With the volume of comments you make and the detailed analysis being made, writing an actual story might even be refreshing and could even be a better critique than trying to point out errors made by other authors.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Dear Marvin.

        I will ever write a story/non-fiction article for RoF-verse only after the following:

        – The people currently in charge of the RoF project (and I have serious doubts that this is Mr. Flint) will agree to read my works.

        – The aforementioned unnamed (yet!) people will agree with my position, that the entire “universe” needs a reboot. Namely – retconning everything happening outside of Germanies and, maybe, Italies. No, seriously – what they’ve done to France, Austria and England is beyond the pale. This is absolutely stupid.

        – There is nothing magic(k)al in my comments. I’m just not an idiot. I’m a historian, yes, but anyone, literally anyone, can use Google, can read source materials, etc. Anyone can employ the formal logic. Why am I the only one who points out absolutely, atrociously, horribly wrong things that, otherwise, would “pass”?

        • Terranovan says:

          With one exception, (Vatican Sanctions snippet 26, November 29), I have never heard anything but the utmost of arrogance from you. Even your comment on snippet 12 of the same novel (October 27) was accompanied by a demand for an apology – undeserved at that.
          Your demanding both that the authors read your work and that the series gets a complete reboot takes the cake. It also gives the lie to your claim on snippet 26 that “I do not hold anyone around me for an idiot.” Although you also contradicted that claim at the end of that comment with “Like, refusing to learn, that a certain ‘power-duo’ of authors writing for the RoF (you know who) are either super lazy, or incapable or don’t caring anymore about writing proper alt-hist fiction.”
          On the other hand, if you got a job as a copy editor at Baen, you would get official authority for requirement #1. And if you submitted for the Grantville Gazette (possibly collating and organizing your criticisms alone could qualify for an article), it would be proof that requirement #1 had been met.
          To answer your question about why you’re “the only one who points out absolutely, atrociously, horribly wrong things that, otherwise, would ‘pass’?” – I would guess that you’re the only one who cares about these alleged inaccuracies strongly enough to comment several paragraphs long.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            Dear Terranovan!

            “I have never heard anything but the utmost of arrogance from you.”

            What do you understand by the term “arrogance”? Is it pointing out mistakes? Is it enLYTTENing others and conveying to them things, they might not know? Is it criticizing the product, for which its makers charge real money, but which is thoroughly lacking in all regards? Or maybe (maybe!) it is thinking that some works of “art” are without reproach, some authors are beyond critique, and that people have no right to express their (supported by evidence and arguments) opinions?

            Tell me, Terranovan – what do you understand by “arrogance”?

            “Even your comment on snippet 12 of the same novel (October 27) was accompanied by a demand for an apology – undeserved at that.”

            Wow. If you are so obsesses with chronicling my activities here in the comment section beneath 1632 snippets, do it at least accurate, Terranovan. In that comment I apologized for being wrong (yeah, that happens). How was my demand of apology for being called a troll “undeserved”?

            “Your demanding both that the authors read your work and that the series gets a complete reboot takes the cake.”

            Dear Terranovan! At first I thought that you were just mistaken – that, for the first dozen of your slandering comments aimed at me. But by now I think you choose to deliberately misinterpret what I post here – aka “strawmanning” me.

            Please, show the appropriate quotation from either of mine comments, where I “demand” for the authors to “read my work” (which one?) and that “the series gets a complete reboot” (c)? I understand full well that the good people in charge of sifting through the works of all those numerous hopefuls, who want to be published by the RoF press have tight schedule and they might simply not want to read anything written by *me*. I understand and I fully accept that, no hard feelings. Next – sadly, after the RoF-verse expanded beyond the “German plotline” and began affecting (and attracting lots and lots of invited authors) writing about lands away from there, the quality slipped. That’s a fact. Moreso – what happens now in these subpar novels affects from time to time even what is happening in the “main plot”. I disagree with that. I can’t write a work of fiction, taking for granted all those questionable choices which by happenstance alone were allowed the legitimacy. As such, I understand that my chances to get published (not great to begin with) are diminished to nonexistent. I understand and I fully accept that, no hard feelings. I was answering, btw, not to you, Terranovan, but to a person, who entertained the thought of reading my works of fiction one day. I responded to that fellow commenters on how unlikely it is. Simple as that.

            “Although you also contradicted that claim at the end of that comment with “Like, refusing to learn, that a certain ‘power-duo’ of authors writing for the RoF (you know who) are either super lazy, or incapable or don’t caring anymore about writing proper alt-hist fiction.””

            I did not contradict myself ;) For them it is still “either – or” situation.

            “And if you submitted for the Grantville Gazette (possibly collating and organizing your criticisms alone could qualify for an article), it would be proof that requirement #1 had been met.”

            Realistically speaking, do you really think that somehow, someone in the GG editorial will agree to publish all my “Reasons why you are wrong and should re-write your (several) books completely” article? Mind you – I won’t be lacking reasons as to why what has been written by Huff&Goodlett (ugh – Racetown’s waterpark!) should receive that treatment. I only doubt that the Powers That Be would ever agree to publish that.

            “To answer your question about why you’re “the only one who points out absolutely, atrociously, horribly wrong things that, otherwise, would ‘pass’?” – I would guess that you’re the only one who cares about these alleged inaccuracies strongly enough to comment several paragraphs long.”

            Which would presume that there are other people knowledgeable of history (see – I’m not even saying historians!) who, despite knowing that all these things are completely wrong, that the writing is shoddy, that the plot is full of holes, they still… “enjoy” it?

            You didn’t answer my comment in the previous snippet – why do you, Terranovan, like the works of Huff&Goodlett? What is good here for you? What are you still reading them?

            P.S. Merry Christmas tp you and your family!

  3. Walt Boyes says:

    It is pretty clear who the “as yet unnamed” people who run the 1632vese are. There is no mystic cabal. If you want to write for the Grantville Gazette, the rules are on 1632.org.

    Walt

    Walt Boyes
    Editor in Chief, Grantville Gazette
    Co-manager, Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press

    • Terranovan says:

      Thank you, Mr. Boyes.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “If you want to write for the Grantville Gazette, the rules are on 1632.org.”

      Uh-huh. Are you jesting, good sir? From Submissions to the Gazette page:

      3. Prior to writing a story and posting it you may send the Gazette Editorial Board a short sketch of your proposed story or article, to make sure that nothing in it conflicts with “established canon” before you start expending the time and effort to write it.

      [Boom! Here you go]

      To make the situation still more complex, the series is set in the actual seventeenth century and so a reasonable knowledge of the history of the period is needed [Judging by some stories that got publsihed – no, not really – Lyt].

      “We have found from experience that if a writer, no matter how well-established, tries to write a story without first taking the time to become familiar with the setting, they will almost invariably write something which we simply can’t accept. Not, at least, without a major and extensive rewrite.”

      Question – how did, e.g., Kerryn Offord managed to get published then?

  4. Stanley Leghorn says:

    I am afraid I am in agreement with Terranovan, there is far to much handwaving. Spreading so much technical equipment (typewriters) so far into the hinterlands is difficult to accept. Steamboats in Europe are still rare compared to the amount of trade needed. The tightly governed nature of a serf economy would make the running of any number of serfs impossible. Today’s Siberia is not a good place to travel once away from the rail lines, it must have been much worse then. The trade was between the owners of villages, not shopkeepers. With whatever excess the serfs had traded among themselves in a black market hidden from the those owners. My personal suspension of disbelief failed early on. I do not believe I will be purchasing this book.
    Sorry…

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