1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 16

1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 16


This time Karl checked into his hotel and sent a note to Sarah asking when she could see him. Then he cooled his heels for a while and occupied himself with paper work.

It was the next day at noon when he met Sarah at the American Cafe. “So what’s so important?” Sarah asked, before they had even ordered.

“Let’s put in our orders first,” Karl said. It wasn’t like they were going to wait long for service. He was Prince Karl Eusebius von Liechtenstein and she was the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury. Their waitress was there before they sat down. And they knew the menu.

“Burger and fries,” Karl said. “What about Sprite?”

The waitress gave him a sad look and shook her head.

“Doctor Pepper then.”

“I’ll have the same, but make mine a wine cooler,” Sarah said.

The waitress went off to inform the chef, a German who had spent two years in Grantville learning to make hamburgers and other “fast” foods.

“Well, we’ve ordered. What’s so important?”

“The latest note from King Albrecht. I’m not going to be able to put it off much longer.”

“This is so unfair,” Sarah said. “Everyone gets to go off and have adventures in the world and I am stuck in an office, calculating the mean income distribution for the USE. And developing a standard market basket when the stuff that goes into it is changing faster than it did up-time.”

Karl looked at her in surprise that turned rapidly into shock. Sarah meant it. She was really angry and he didn’t have a clue why. Not knowing what to say, he opened his mouth and blurted the first thing that came to mind. “Come with me, then.”

It was the right thing to say. Or, at the very least, it wasn’t a totally wrong thing to say. Sarah had stopped her litany of complaint and her mouth was hanging open. Then it snapped shut. “I can’t!”

Never one to lose an advantage, Karl shot back, “Why not? It’s not like you actually need the job at the Fed.” Then, seeing her expression, he backpedaled fast. “I’m sure we can come up with a good reason for you to go. Certainly good enough so they won’t fire you for it. You can go to study economic trends in Bohemia. They have a market basket too and they probably have even less of a clue what goes in it than you do here.”

Sarah’s expression had gone thoughtful and Karl heaved a very well-hidden sigh of relief. A mine field had been crossed, and he hadn’t even known it was there.

“I’ll think about it. In the meantime, why does King Al want you to sign on the dotted line now?” Sarah asked, then dipped a cottage fry into something that claimed to be ketchup, but wasn’t. They had discussed the very polite and vague letters that Karl and the king of Bohemia had exchanged before.

Karl’s relations with King Al, as Judy the Younger had christened him, had been by mail. Before Wallenstein had become King Albrecht, Karl had made a whirlwind trip to take the oaths of his people. That gave Karl quite a lot of legitimacy and made it difficult for King Al to go all Capone on him unless Karl did something serious.

In spite of the fact that several people thought he had bent the knee, Karl hadn’t quite done so. He paid his taxes on time, while his uncles were paying the same taxes to Ferdinand II. “I don’t know. It may be that the railroad makes him nervous.”


“Your American Civil War probably,” Karl told her. “They were used quite extensively to move troops and supplies.”

Sarah nodded. She wasn’t, Karl knew, all that conversant in military history.

“Well, the railroad will help your lands a lot,” Sarah said. “How bad is it going to be?”

“I don’t know.” Karl shook his head. “I know that the up-timers, and the USE in general, don’t have any great affection for the Holy Roman Empire, but it’s Christianity’s shield against Islam and has been for centuries. It’s my country. My father and my uncles fought and bled for it and I expected to do the same when my time came. Now it’s disappearing before my eyes. There is no way that Prince Ferdinand will get the votes to become emperor, and less chance that someone else would get those votes.”

“I know,” Sarah said. “I wonder how I would feel if I had to watch the up-time United States slowly disintegrating before my eyes.”

Karl looked at her, and felt himself starting to smile. As he’d said, Sarah Wendell wasn’t overly fond of the H.R.E. Nor did she have a lot of reason to be. But it was very . . . encouraging . . . the way she was trying to see things from his point of view. Even if the situations weren’t quite parallel.

His smile died as he thought about the reality of the situation. The H.R.E. had indeed been the shield of Christianity for over eight hundred years. Protecting Christian ideals from Islam while Europe grew strong and wealthy . . . was that enough to justify the Edict of Restitution? Well, maybe, at least in that other time-line. But the shield was coming apart, whatever he thought about it, and there was nothing — nothing at all — that he could do to prevent it.

Besides, Karl wanted that railroad. It was necessary to the improvement of his lands. That had to be his first priority.

“So how long is it going to take?” Sarah asked.

“A small troop with good horses, but bad roads,” Karl thought allowed. “Avoiding Saxony. I don’t want to be John George’s ransom to bring the H.R.E. in on his side. Figure twenty-five miles a day on average. A week to Prague. And while I’m at it, I should visit Aunt Beth. So that’s another week. Plus whatever time . . .” Karl paused not at all sure whether to say “I spend” or “we spend” and settled on “. . . it takes to negotiate with King Al and my aunt. So at least a month, probably a month and a half.”

Now Sarah was looking distressed. “I’ll have to talk to my boss. That’s a long time to be gone.”

Wendell House, Magdeburg

“Are you nuts!” Fletcher Wendell didn’t quite bellow. Not quite. “Karl, you at least, ought to know better. Two hundred plus miles over rough country, with either one of you a bandit’s dream come true. What’s your ransom value, Karl? Half of Silesia? And you, Sarah? Half a million shares of OPM? You would have to take a flipping army with you just to fight off the bandits.”

“I’m not insensitive to the situation, and the newspapers make it much harder to get where you’re going before the bandits know about the trip,” Karl agreed. “On the other hand, King Albrecht is insistent that I go.”

“And my daughter? Is King Albrecht insisting that Sarah go with you?”

“No. But I’d rather tell King Albrecht no than tell Sarah that. If you don’t want her to go, then you get to try and convince her she can’t.” Karl couldn’t keep just a touch of smugness out of his voice as he said that and it clearly didn’t please Herr Wendell.


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44 Responses to 1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 16

  1. So . . . maybe Ken Doll and Sarah can convince King Al to make Sarah a countess or duchess or some such . . . whatever it takes to avoid a morganatic marriage?

    • Xellos^_- says:

      i think Aunt Beth might be of help here.

    • And, if Al says they can get married in Prague, then they can get married in Prague, Uncle Gundakar and Uncle Max1,000,000 and HREmperor Ferdie to the contrary notwithstanding!

    • Hans Rancke says:

      It would have to be a powerful duchess or a princess. Marraiges between royal and mid-level nobles tended to be morganatic as well. The salient point is the discrepancy in importance between the husband and wife, and it’s not something the royal decides, it’s something his or her peers decide.

  2. Lyttenstadt says:

    ““Burger and fries,” Karl said. “What about Sprite?”
    The waitress gave him a sad look and shook her head.
    “Doctor Pepper then.””

    Oh, c’mon! Are you even trying, book? What is with all this product placememt?! As was seen in first chapters – in 1634 they can’t make Sprite! There was a reason why Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Cola, Mirinda et al were not invented in 17th centaury!

    Burger – it’s okay, everyone can do that. But fries? Like, made from potatos fries? In 1634?!

    Did the authors study the history of potatos (and tomato, see my previous commentary on Snippet 14) to the European agriculture? It was “uneasy”, to put it mildly. Do they have any idea at the amount of fresh potatos and tomatos required to the restaurants daily? This is 17th centaury – so they don’t have fridges! The only known way to preserve food effectively in that time was to salt it!

    • Chris says:

      Fries perhaps – potatoes were pre-existing and can be stored in root cellars.
      Tomatoes – maybe for the very very rich (which all the people eating them in this book are) a way could be found to allow for fresh tomatoes to be eaten (say lots of large greenhouses along the railway).

      I doubt that fresh tomatoes in any quantity are plausible – especially when you can preserve them so easily.

      • Lyttenstadt says:

        We are talking about “American Cafe” here. It means, that they make fries regularly for its patrons. It’s not some kind of expansive one of the kind, like Escargot de Bourgogne. That means that “Cafe”
        A) Needs a safe storage for a large quantity of potatos
        B) A reliable source of large quantities of said potatos. In 17th c. Germany, or, to be more precisely – Magdeburg’s rural area. So, they need an entire village (or 2) worth of potato patches not far away from Magdeburg, ’cause potatos had to be delivered by carts driven (if peasants are luky) by horses.

        Finally – this all “Amrican food” brand must be profitable for the owners of “American Cafe”, i.e. they must have enough customers willing to pay for “American food” AND they must have enough money to grow/buy from the local farmers all products necessary to make “American dishes”.

        Now, remember all those stories how much trouble it was to make European peasants grow potatos. I thinks “up-timers awe” is over-rated as the explanation for the “downtimers” to do what they are told.

        • Xellos^_- says:

          the introduction of potatoes was covered in one of the earlier short stories. It had to do with Larry Wilde, Eddie Cantrell and jimmy Andersen making potate chips.

          • Lyttenstadt says:

            It was not an “introduction”, more like “we are making chips out very limited amount just to entertain ourselves” kind in the 1st RoF anthology:

            [i]The first requirement was potatoes—although as Larry found, the first problem was rationing. “Sorry,
            son. They’ve all been collected to make a seed crop. Mister Hudson’s orders.” He wasted an evening
            going from store to store; and it seemed the only variety left now in stores was in the way that their
            owners told you no[/i].

            Later, Hudson explains to Larry, that back up-time it was possible to have a large yield only with:
            “… fertilizer, irrigation, and spraying Lorox twice a week. Here, we’d be lucky to get two, three
            tons an acre. This is farming, not agribusiness….But there’s no point anyway,” Hudson continued. “Sure, it’d still be a good yield, but we can’t get ’em to
            grow the damn things. The locals think ‘taters are animal fodder—or worse… We need to keep the potatoes we have to plant
            ’em as cuttings, so we can grow more potato plants. Otherwise, the only potatoes around are somewhere
            in the Andes, and we aren’t goin’ there anytime soon.”.

            I’m not arguing, that there is some potato-farming, but even in 1634 it must be still very small scale. And, if I was the guy in the “Grange” responsible for introduction if up-time potoes in the 17th century Germany, I’d save maximum of harverst for the future planting, and not vasted it on some nostalgic teenagers with too much money on their hands and their posh down-time aristocratic B/G Fs.

            • Doug Lampert says:

              You can’t simultaneous argue that they can’t get anyone to grow potatoes and at the same time that they have to save all the potatoes for planting.

              Saving large amounts for future planting makes sense only if the “get people to grow them” is SOLVED. And solving “get people to grow them” REQUIRES having a market or use for them, which in fact exactly means having places that serve American cuisine serve potato products as a status item.

              • Lyttenstadt says:

                RoF1 present situation with pototoes “as is” for the late 1632. Flash forward just 1.5 years to VW – and (suddenly!) there are a heaps of spare potatoes as far as Magdeburg. Which is quite unbeleivable, if you ask me – see my quotes about the potential potato yield in the 17th century.

                So, the only place that
                a) Can grow potatoes in more or less large quantities
                b) Has a market for such product

                is still only Grantville and nearby villages, that were “indoctrinated” in accepting up-time ways. But nowhere else.

        • Chris says:

          Say 250 uptimers in Magdeburg, plus a couple of thousand people for whom “eating American” is prestigious (and can afford to do it) and you have a pretty good market. Enough to get a venture capitalist – which the 17th had before the RoF – to offer to buy a potato crop before it’s planted.

          No farmer will say no to a guaranteed income stream.

          • Lyttenstadt says:

            250 is way too many. 100 tops. Some of them in the military and soon (as of 1634) to be out of town. What it “fancy up-time food” for some is a “junk food” for people like Bitty Matowski, admilar Simpson and his wife, Marla Linder and many. many others. I haven’t found anywhere in published fiction about Magdeburg resident up-timers eating that kind of food up untill now.

            Magdeburg’s population is stated to be c. 50 000 although, it was never explained how exacltly they managed not only to replenish the original poulation, but even surpass it in just a couple of years! Magdeburg was sacked in the spring of 1631, its reconstruction started only after Gustav-Adolf pwned Tilly (second half of 1631) but the proper rebuilding with application of up-time knowledge started only in the late 1632/early 1633.

            For simplicity sake, lets assume that in 1634 somehow Magdeburg managed to replenish it’s population fully, i.e. it’s now about 30 ooo. “Couple of thousands” then would constitute its entire rich class – city patricians, nobles, administatorsm military, merchants – 95% of them downtimers.

            Meanwhile, CoC members are really numerous and influential on the city streets, it is them who are enamoured with all things “American”, and like to hang out in “Freedom Arches” of their own. The trouble is – besides some burghers and salads, this downtime McDs has nothing to offer, simply because niether their clientele or thier owners have enough money to spend on growing “fancy food”.

            You memntion “venture capitalism” that “existed” in the 17 century! Fine! Can you provide any examples? Besides the East-Indian Company, of course.

            And I must repeat myself – there were no farmers in 17th c. Germany! Only peasants!

      • Lyttenstadt says:


        RE: Greenhouses.

        From Wiki:

        “The concept of greenhouses also appeared in Netherlands and then England in the 17th century, along with the plants. Some of these early attempts required enormous amounts of work to close up at night or to winterize. There were serious problems with providing adequate and balanced heat in these early greenhouses”

        Up-timers are not wizards. They can’t “make things better” for every single peasant in Europe.

        • cka2nd says:

          Also, don’t forget that in five-year spanning “1636: The Kremlin Games” Boris’ family is freeze-drying food on an industrial scale as an alternative to trying to develop a canning industry.

    • Terranovan says:

      I’m thinking that the Sprite and Dr. Pepper might be some of the last soft drinks left transported in the RoF, and the waitress shaking her head was her saying “Sorry, we’ve run out of that.” If so, Karl is spending a LOT of money for his drinks, which makes this theory unlikely.

      • Drak Bibliophile says:

        Earlier in the book Karl is thinking that the “down-time” version of “Sprite” wasn’t that good.

        Now this was in Grantville so it is possible that Grantville has ran out of the “up-time” Sprite and people are attempting to make substitute versions of it.

        Now Karl might have had the chance of drinking some of the original up-time Sprite but by “now” the up-time stock has run out.

        • cka2nd says:

          I think we’re talking about downtime substitutes here. Any of the uptime sodas not consumed shortly after the RoF have probably already been sold at utterly astounding prices to downtime collectors.

  3. daveo says:

    It’s at least possible that what are called Sprite and Dr Pepper are flavored small beers, analogous to alcoholic Root Beer. It wouldn’t be the first time a name was taken over for a new use.

    Ketchup is a preserved tomato product. It doesn’t matter whether fresh tomatoes can be stored or not. By the way, home made versions of Ketchup are very different in taste and texture from the commercial product.

    • Lyttenstadt says:

      “It’s at least possible that what are called Sprite and Dr Pepper are flavored small beers, analogous to alcoholic Root Beer. It wouldn’t be the first time a name was taken over for a new use.”

      Then why not call them like that? Or, what, did CocaCola paid for it’s product placement in the book?

      • cka2nd says:

        For the same reason that an up-timer came out with Burma-Shave in one of the early Granville Gazette stories. Up-time cache for the downtimers and nostalgia for the up-timers. Not to mention that for the up-timers visiting the “American Café” the old brand names immediately tell them what flavor to expect, citrus (Sprite), cherry cola (Dr. Pepper) or whatever.

        “Seinfeld” made it a point to use brand name products instead of coming up with phony ones out of fear that the big boys would sue them. And really, has Eric Flint – longtime socialist and labor activist Eric Flint! – given you any real reason to believe he would accept product placement money from PepsiCo or Coca-Cola?

        • Lyttenstadt says:

          Eric Flint may even have a life sized statue of Lenin in his house for all I care – he is using some very mediocre authors writing series of fillers for his series in the last years. And, so far, I haven’t read even a single snippet in this new book that might be penned by him. Money is money – and they “don’t smell”.

  4. daveo says:

    Ways to preserve food in the 17th century. Salt of course. Also, smoke, pickle, and dry. Not to mention that canning which uptime was started in the late 18th. early 19th century is being developed downtime according to the canon.

    • Lyttenstadt says:

      Ummm, where exactly? I can’t remember anything “canon” about canning being developed.

      • daveo says:

        Convenient of you to ignore my main point. What about pickling etc? And where exactly is Asutria?

        • Lyttenstadt says:

          It’s “Austria” – no need to nitpicking here.

          My point is still walid. In Snippet 14 they are eating fresh cherri tomatoes in their salad. How is that possible? See my arguments about potato cultivating and use for the “Amercian Cafe”.

          If (and this is a very big IF!) all these kind of fancy “delicatesses” were only awailable for the few rich and famous families of the up-timers, that managed to earn tonns of money in the brave new world of the 163x (while their less fortunate original Grantvillers had to adjust their diet to the 17th century norms) – I won’t argue. But we are talking about restraunt here.

  5. Tweeky says:

    ” The H.R.E. had indeed been the shield of Christianity for over eight hundred years. ”

    Ahem! He very conveniently forgot to mention the Byzantine empire and the empire was really only weak after a) losing the battle of Manzikert in 1071 AD and b) fatally wounded by the 4th crusade in 1204 AD.

    • Lyttenstadt says:

      Ninja’d here!

      Habsburgs became “Shield of Europe” only when after they have “acquired” Hungary, thus starting to sahre border with the Ottoman Empire.

      I really don’t know, who’s spwaking here – Karl’s Asutrian chauvinism or Authors lack of knowledge.

      • Xellos^_- says:

        probably the first,

        no different then Americans say they “save” Europe form Germany in WW1 or Christopher Columbus discover America.

        • cka2nd says:

          I don’t know. I might be willing to criticize Eric, here. Yes, the Holy Roman Empire joined in or contributed troops to some of the crusades and the Serb, Croatian and Hungarian wars against the Ottomans but it really didn’t become a full-scale replacement for the Byzantine Empire as the “Shield of Christian Europe” until the Habsburgs succeeded in taking over the Kingdom of Hungary in 1527 and shared a border with the Ottomans from the Adriatic to the Ukraine.

  6. zak ryerson says:

    The three questions are.

    1. Will Tomatoes grown from whatever seeds that “came through the ring” breed true?
    2. Exactly how difficult would it be to build some expansive greenhouses within the ring wall or close to the ring wall?
    3. Is it possible to CLONE a tomato forom a stem of a tomato plant?
    I will note that I am using the word CLONE in its original meaning of “Twig!”

    • Lyttenstadt says:

      1. I’m not even sure how much in such a small (and not farming) town as Grantville were cherry tomatoes seeds (see Snippet 13).

      2. Within the Ring – probably, not too difficult. But we are talking about Magdeburg and the rest of Germany here. How would peasants build and maintain one? We are not talking about plastic cover, no – glass, lots and lots of glass! An expense, that average village (or even several villages) just can’t afford. Plus – people here just don’t know how to build them.

      3. Yes, it’s possible. But there are very little people in the entire world who knows how to do that in 1634, and, probably, all of them – in Grantville, employed by the Grange.

      • Cobbler says:

        But we are talking about Magdeburg and the rest of Germany here. How would peasants build and maintain one? We are not talking about plastic cover, no – glass, lots and lots of glass! An expense, that average village (or even several villages) just can’t afford. Plus – people here just don’t know how to build them.

        The rest of Germany is one story. Magdeburg is another. Magdeburg is a large industrial city. It was rebuilt with universal indoor plumbing. It was also rebuilt with lots of window glass. We can see that in cannon.

        The industrial capacity to accomplish that—plumbing, glass, concrete, factories—is certainly capable of knocking together some greenhouses. people here just don’t know how to build them. So what? People here didn’t know how to build airplanes, either. How to Build a Greenhouse is not exactly the Manhattan project. Grantville is sure to have that information, if only as USDA pamphlets.

        It would take some entrepreneur’s front money. Or a corporation. Make a deal with local landlords. Someplace close to the railroad by Magdeburg. Set up villages specialized in truck farming. Potatoes, tomatoes, other produce. Lots of orangeries. Modern improvements in the villages. Run a spur from the railroad for fast transport. Why do all this work? Mutual profit. Even with all that specialization, up time veggies will be expensive. Up time cachet, delicious, expensive, all mean fashionable with the rich, famous, and noble.

        By Magdeburg standards, such a scheme is—ahem!—small potatoes.

        • Lyttenstadt says:

          “It was rebuilt with universal indoor plumbing. It was also rebuilt with lots of window glass. We can see that in cannon. “

          Mmm, where exactly? I find it very, very unrealistic.

          Magdeburg was burned to the ground and sacked in 1631. Authors most of the time just handwaved the process of rebuilding. What I find more plausible, is that the so-called “Downtown” Magdeburg , where there are a lot of rich nobles, merchants and up-timers to have in-door plumbing (up-time style) and glass windows. For the rest of the Magdeburg (like, 80%) it’s in best case some kind of Elisabethean toilets (a things right out of horror movie, if you ask me) and either some mica/low grade glass – or no glass at all for the more or less well to do people (there was a reason for making windows so small in that period). And nothing at all for the rest.

          In one of the recent “Ein Festr Burg”‘s there was an example of what kind of glass they produced in that time – and how much it costed. Greenhouses require the best grade glass, i.e. the one that is most transparant and “clear”, while even in citites even the rich merchants had to use the lower grade ones.

          Next. Even in the unlickly situation, that, out of nowhere, some entrepreneur decided to
          a) Grow lots of solanaceaes for food
          b) Cover the enormous expensives in acquiring the materials and very tight-fisted “Grange” (they have barely avoided famine!)
          c) Find or educate a large number of specialists in the matters how to plant, take care of these new plants and how to build and maintain the grennhouses (both of which reqiures something more than reading a couple of pamplets)

          said daredevil must somehow find peasants to do that. Yes, peasants – there are no “homesteaders” or even “farmers”, just peasants with ties both to their land and to their lord. Yeah, sure, 30 year war uprooted a lot of people, including an entire villages. But if presented with the God-send opportunity of the potential peace, they’d rather return to their ancestral homes then go gallivanting through the Germanies and planting something totally unknown.

          And even if (big IF!) that said risk-taking enterpreneur (and up-timer, I guess) manages all of that, there is still a little problem like land ownership. Even if they want to build their village (from a scratch!) near a lonely railroad that in that time exists in Germany, the lans is still owned by the local noble, who would be already pissed with all that up-timers for their corrupting influences and railroads, and now he is facing an invasion of squatters. Naturally, he would oppose such hostile takeover of his land and/or demand his rightful feudal tribute of their products or exorbitant rent. Yep, just because there are some uptimers here and there nothing is cancelling feudalism of the 17 century.

      • Sheila says:

        Yes, the tomatoes will breed true (or true enough if you using heirloom verities) Tomatoes grow like weeds. Will reseed volunteers on their only which produce good fruit. They also produce lots of seeds. It is not hard to can, make ketchup or dry tomatoes, I have done all of the above. Any of the more quickly maturing verities should grow in Germany during the Little Ice Age without greenhouses.

        As for were they get the seeds. I have seed packs for over forty verities of tomatoes purchased for my backyard garden. (yes, I am a sucker for seed catalogues) By the way I have no problem growing tomatoes from seeds up to ten years old.

  7. Positroll says:

    I’ll just repeat my comment from an earlier thread:

    1. Check the current Gazette, “Occupied Saxony”.

    April, 1633 – Kleinjena, Saxony
    … She sniffed. “The Olbrichts should have fled to Leipzig with us instead of running all the way to Grantville. Then you could have come back last year. Some people did not return until after planting, so the crops were barely half what they should have been. The same will happen this year, too, because after the rent and the tithes and eating enough to stay alive through the winter, we do not have enough seed to plant every field.”
    Heinz shrugged off the homemade backpack he was wearing. “That is okay. I have brought seed.” “You have!” “But not grain—vegetables.”

    … I learned a job in Grantville that I could bring back.” “What’s that?” “They call it master gardener.” Peter closed his eyes and shook his head. “They have a guild for farmers?” “No. Meister does not mean the same thing to them. They taught me how to grow vegetables from when they came from. There is not enough room in the Grantville area, so they are sending their seeds across the Germanies with people who know how to grow them. We have some.”

    2. The Barbies are RICH …

    • Lyttenstadt says:

      They taught me how to grow vegetables from when they came from. There is not enough room in the Grantville area, so they are sending their seeds across the Germanies with people who know how to grow them. We have some.”

      “Some” =/= “Enough to kickstart a Grange of your own”. And this is 1633, so even in one year time they won’t have any surplus – only barely enought to plant and feed themselves.

  8. Stewart says:

    I love watching a good p1$$1ng contest. It’s so illuminating.
    Yes — this is a alt-history / science fiction “what if” series. There HAS to be a LOT of hand-waving (alternate Thursday theorem) explanations.
    All the same, knowing something CAN be done, and having inventive people figure out how to do it is one of the draws of this series.

    — Stewart

    • Lyttenstadt says:

      The only “handvawe” that can be rightfully justified – is the ASBs that caused all this mess in the first book. After that, series must obey the laws of logic, historical accuracy and physics. After the moment of “transportation” this should become an “up-time Robinzonade in the time of D’Artangan”

  9. Bibliotheca Servare says:

    “Must comply…”

    Lyttenstadt…I hope you are stating that as your OPINION, yes, rather than as a rule of your sacred unacceptable to disobey holy law, yes? Because it REALLY sounded like the latter. You see my megalomaniacal-sounding friend, to start with, Mr Flints universe is his own. Not his readers. Not the real world. It is his copyright on it, and he can do and say whatever is true in it he darn well pleases. As he is more than capable of telling you himself should he for whatever reason feel the desire, and much more ably (and politely, I expect) than myself. To move on, accepting that point as truth, we will now observe and consider one of your statements of truth (if-then statements. We’re looking at your “if” ) and examine it’s accuracy and logical vigor. You said, “the only handvafing (handwaving) that can be justified is the ASBs that caused this whole mess in the first book” now, we’ve been over the “can” and “justified” statements incompatibility with reality in the form of Mr Flints ownership of the world. Now, let’s examine what they imply. As for ASBs…no clue. I assume you refer to scientifically implausible events such as the time spike. So: if time spike, then ? Or something similar is the essence, per logic, of your statement here. In full it is IF time spike, THEN rational universe that obeys the laws of science as I see them. So, to analyze your if…you are basically saying the utterly impossible, laws of physics defying and warping thing that began the series…cannot affect the series in any way other than magically transposing grantville from now to then. Because science. And science. Intellectual vigor seems absent. To move on. You stated multiple times, with impressive certainty, that what happened in this, and quoted, snippets/parts of books was utterly impossible/ridiculous. Rather than continuing to dissect and lay bare the fallacies and inaccuracies inherent in your statements, I’ll simply ask you this question: How. Do. You. Know? How do you know? Are you there? Or rather were you there? Do you know every detail of that universe, which we’ve clearly established is explicitly NOT our own? The answer, friend, to every one of those questions, and all the others I could pose should I so choose, is, unquestionably, unceasingly, and emphatically no. Of course not. But for Eric Flint? The answer would always be yes. And Eric has final say on all books published in his universe. And he is ANYTHING but complacent. So, no. The things you say are impossible are not. And dogmatic demands just pi$$ people off. Even relatively even keeled folks like me. (Heh…I joke) French fries may be improbable, but I’ll bet you fifty bucks there’s a grantville gazette covering EXACTLY that food item, and if not, they will be out of the final version.
    Ciao, ami. Dio ti benedica. ;)

    • Lyttenstadt says:

      You know, all your angry (and I mean REALLY ANGRY!) rant directed at me is easily refuted with one sentence:

      Eric Flin is no longer the sole owner of his “Universe”

      The day “GGs” started to appear, the moment the number of co-authored books became more numerous than the ones written all by himself – this all “Asiti Shards” Universe became a “Shared Universe” for a number of authors – with the predictable consequences.

      I have no trouble with Eric Flint’s “part” of said universe. No, I actually prefer it to everything else written and consider the only true “canon”. When “Gazettes” publish stories, where up-time flack jacket, SMGs and autopistols (even bloody “skyscrapers”!) are routinely built using down-time technologies – I tend to consider this a very bad fiction, that goes not only against logic but also against the original idea. So, when I read in the “1635 Eastern Front” that Jeff Higgins is armed “only” with a wheellock (and nobody – even Mike Stearns) is wearing any “up-time” armor – I do not protest. This makes more sense for me, so I won’t cry “Hey! This contradicts stuff written in Gazettes!”. I have very low opinion about the stories published in the “GG” lately, but, seeing as the editorial board (which includes, surprise-surprise, Paula Goodlet) is not eager to severe ties with the authors writing sub-par fiction, I guess, we have to agree to disagree.

      In the latest books of the “163x” series Eric Flints input is either negligible or nonexistent. My critique is centered on his “co-authors” Goodlet&Huff, writing implausible stuff and handwaving everything they don’t like (or, more likely, don’t know). You’d probably know that, if you read my first commentary here, not just the last one.

      Also, it appears you don’t know that ASB stands for “Alien Space Bat”, a catch-all terms for the “Deus Ex Machina” ways of transporting (often large) amount of people to another worlds/time periods. A lot of “163x”-verse fans know that terms.

      Finally, but most importantly. One sci-fi/fantasy assumption that is allowed to exist in the fictional world does not negate the basic laws of physics and logic. If we assume that in “Eric Flint’s” Universe (that is no longer Mr. Flint’s) potatoes are super-duper high-yielding ones (despite all that was said in books penned by him personally, or edited by him, as is the case of “Ring of Fire 1”); that German peasants are magic… erm “scientifically” transformed into free farmers eager to learn a completely alien ways of growing unknown plant and building something called “Gewächshaus” (which they have no idea at all how to build and maintain); that the local nobles would be totally ok with the masterless pro-uptimers squatters on their land wasting good soil groving something suspicious; that some risk-taking entrepreneur would open an “American Cafe” in Magdeburg selling up-time junk food, hoping that his clientele of the resident super rich uptimers (that can be counted on the fingers of one hand) and a number (not very big, really) of eccentric rich downtimers would make this all enterprise somehow profitable… then, why not assume something else equally improbable? Like, I dunno – “all uptimers possess an X-ray vision”. Makes equal sense!

      And please, could you find me a quote (by Eric Flint himself, if possible), that states that “163x”-verse has a different laws of physics, logic, mechanics and all that jazz?

      • Bibliotheca Servare says:

        Why hello there! I see you saw my reply! I must tell you that your impression was mistaken. Had I been REALLY angry, I would have abstained from writing anything at all. I was merely rather mildly pi$$ed as I believe I put it. Irritated is another word. You are correct, however, in your statement that I did not recognize ASB as standing for alien space bat. I am aware I said as much in my reply, but that is neither here nor there. (-ASB…no idea- was how I put it there) I did however recognize what you must have meant by it. I simply did not know what a misspelling of the acronym for Oriented Strand Board had to do with sci fi. Heh. On your other points, I am afraid I have nothing to say that would either please you or end this conversation on a pleasant note. The sole exception perhaps being that I, too prefer Mr Flints works in his universe to others, with some few exceptions for spectacularly skilled collaborators. Also David Weber. But Eric remains always the master scribe of 163x. I responded to you, not because I disagreed necessarily, but because the way you stated your opinion was almost literally, “the laws of logic and science say I am right, and everyone else is just moronic”. (Not a quote) That, in fact, is what got me pi$$ed. Because that was obviously inaccurate, and arrogant, meant to shut down all disagreement via intellectual shaming, something I cannot abide leaving unchallenged. If you felt insulted, I understand, and apologize, I was attacking the essence of your ideas and statements, their intellectual vigor as I put it, but I did call you “my megalomaniacal-sounding friend” at the start, as a consequence of my failing to sufficiently detatch your statements and ideas from yourself as an individual prior to beginning my response. Apologies. As for a continuation of this discussion, I feel it would be unproductive, and unhelpful. I believe the points I made stand on their own merit, and require no quotes from Mr Flint to prop them up, as I was not attempting to prove that the physics etc WERE different…simply that we couldn’t know that they WEREN’T. And that we couldn’t and can’t know what affect several hundred or more modern american citizens dropping into the laps of 17th century Germans might have on that time period and on those Germans. A simple, and inarguable point, I should think. Perhaps French fries ARE unlikely to the point of it being ridiculous to have them in the book. Or perhaps they aren’t what you and I would think of as French fries. Either way, my point stands, absent any quote. I hope you are well, and accept my apology for any ill feelings my reply might have engendered in you. Ciao! Dio ti benedica!

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