Grantville Gazette ivsequels to 1632 Edited and Created byeric flint



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Grantville Gazette IVSequels to 1632
Edited and Created by
ERIC FLINT

 


This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
 
Copyright © 2008 by Eric Flint
 
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.
 
A Baen Books Original
 
Baen Publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471
www.baen.com
 
ISBN 10: 1-4165-5554-4
ISBN 13: 978-1-4165-5554-4
 
Cover art by Tom Kidd
 
First printing, June 2008
 
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
 
Grantville gazette IV : sequels to 1632 / edited and created by Eric Flint.
       p. cm.
  ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-5554-4 (hc)
  ISBN-10: 1-4165-5554-4 (hc)
1. Fantasy fiction, American. 2. Seventeenth century—Fiction. 3. Alternative histories (Fiction), American. I. Flint, Eric. II. Title: Grantville gazette 4.
 
  PS648.F3G75 2008
  813'.54—dc22
                                                           2008005953
Pages by Joy Freeman (www.pagesbyjoy.com)
Printed in the United States of America

Baen Books by ERIC FLINTRing of Fire series:1632
1633 (with David Weber)
1634: The Baltic War (with David Weber)
Ring of Fire Ring of Fire II
1634: The Galileo Affair (with Andrew Dennis)
1634: The Ram Rebellion (with Virginia DeMarce et al.)
1634: The Bavarian Crisis (with Virginia DeMarce)
1635: The Cannon Law (with Andrew Dennis)
Grantville Gazette Grantville Gazette II
Grantville Gazette III Grantville Gazette IV
 
Joe's World series:The Philosophical Strangler
Forward the Mage (with Richard Roach)
 
Standalone titles:Mother of Demons
Crown of Slaves (with David Weber)
The Course of Empire (with K.D. Wentworth)
Boundary (with Ryk E. Spoor)
 
With Mercedes Lackey & Dave Freer:The Shadow of the Lion This Rough Magic
 
With Dave Freer:Rats, Bats & Vats The Rats, The Bats & The Ugly
 
Pyramid Scheme Pyramid Power
 
With David Drake:The Tyrant
 The Belisarius Series with David Drake:An Oblique Approach In the Heart of Darkness
Destiny's Shield Fortune's Stroke
The Tide of Victory The Dance of Time
 
Edited by Eric Flint:The World Turned Upside Down (with David Drake & Jim Baen)
The Best of Jim Baen's Universe
The Best of Jim Baen's Universe II (with Mike Resnick), forthcoming
 With Ryk E. Spoor:Mountain Magic (with David Drake & Henry Kuttner)
Boundary (with Ryk E. Spoor) PrefaceEric FlintSome remarks on the contents of this fourth volume of the Grantville Gazette:Once again, I had to go through my usual dance, trying to decide which stories should go under "Continuing Serials" and which should be published as stand-alone stories. This is a dance which, as the Gazette unfolds, is getting . . . Really, really complicated. In the end, I parsed the contents of this volume in such a way that only David Carrico's "Heavy Metal Music" fell into the category of "Continuing Serials." I am even willing to defend that choice under pressure, although—fair warning—my defense will lean heavily on subtle points covered by Hegel in his Science of Logic. (The big one, not the abridgment he did later for his Encyclopedia. So brace yourselves.)That said . . . Well, to give just one example . . . "Poor Little Rich Girls," by Paula Goodlett and Gorg Huff, continues the adventures of the teenage tycoons-in-the-making that Gorg began in "The Sewing Circle" in Volume 1 of the Gazette and continued in the story "Other People's Money" in Volume 3. Eventually, many of these characters will probably appear in a novel that I'm planning to write with the two of them. (As will the characters in David Carrico's story, in a novel he and I are working on.)The same will probably prove to be true, sooner or later, with many of the other stories in this volume. The truth? The distinction I make for the Gazette between "continuing serials" and "stand-alone stories" is pretty much analogous to the distinction the law makes between first and second degree murder. The one is premeditated in cold blood; the other more-or-less happens in the heat of the fray. There are times I think of just throwing up my hands and publishing all of the stories in the Gazette as "continuing serials." And, in my darker moments, contemplate changing the title of the magazine to The 1632 Soap Opera. That's because, like a soap opera, the characters just seem to go on forever and ever in one episode after another. Unless one of them is actually Killed Off—and then, sometimes, you don't really know For Sure—they'll keep re-appearing. Often enough, in somebody else's episode.On the other hand, I'm not a snob about soap operas. I used to be, until many years ago my wife's work schedule required me to tape her favorite soap opera so she could watch it when she got home. Initially, I did so holding my nose—and bound and determined to watch only the first few minutes to make sure it was taping properly. This was back in the early days of VHS when I didn't trust the technology involved. (And still don't, but I admit I'm something of a technophobe.)Before a week had passed, I found myself watching the entire damn episode! Day after day! It was then that I first discovered just how addictive soap operas could be. In defense of the Gazette, I will say that the characters in this soap opera are wrestling with a far broader range of concerns than the usual fare of love pining from afar, emotional misunderstandings that somehow last for years when a simple five-minute conversation could settle it, and, of course, the inevitable jealousies and adulteries. Not that the magazine avoids those, either, of course. But the characters also wrestle with political issues, religious issues, worry about their livelihoods and scheme to make a fortune or at least a decent income. In short, the Gazette is an ongoing chronicle of the way an alternate history would actually evolve, if you looked anywhere beyond the narrow circle of Ye Anointed Heroes and Heroines. The distinction between this and a soap opera—or The World's Great Literature, for that matter—is mainly in the eye of the beholder.Yes, sorry, it is. It is widely known, of course, that only women watch soap operas, just as only women gossip. In my innocent youth, I believed these nostrums, until a quarter of a century working in transportation and factories proved to me how ridiculous they were. You can find no better example in the world of gossip than what machinists are doing standing around the tool crib or truck drivers are doing at lunch tables in a truck stop. Of course, if you ask them, they will insist they are engaged in the manly art of shooting the breeze. Just as, if you ask the electricians and millwrights in the maintenance shop who are watching daytime television while waiting for something to break down that requires their expertise, they will insist they are not actually watching the soap operas showing on the set. No, no. They are merely interested in ogling Whazzername's figure.If this state of affairs irritates you, I can only shrug my shoulders. Don't blame me, blame Homer. To this day, the Iliad stands as one of the world's all-time great soap operas. The much-hallowed "epic" as it exists today is simply a cleaned-up pile of gossip. What it really was, in its inception, were the stories with which bards entertained the courts of Mycenaean kinglets by chattering about which gods and goddesses lusted for which mortals, their mutual jealousies, and what they did to advance their . . . ah . . . "causes."For that matter, blame the Old Testament. Sure, sure, a lot of it deals with Sublime Stuff like the creation of the universe, etc., etc. But there are whole swaths of the books in the Bible that look suspiciously like soap opera plots to me.It's not even peculiar to western culture. If you want to read the Greatest Soap Opera of all time, you can do no better than start the massive Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. I say "start," because you may or may not finish the multi-volume work. (I did finish it, myself. But that was after I'd learned to enjoy a good long-running soap opera.) I believe it is still, to this day, the longest epic ever written. The word "epic," of course, is what scholars call a soap opera that was written a long time ago, which gives it the patina of respectability. They will defend their use of terms by pointing to such episodes in the Mahabharata as the philosophical discourse between Krishna and Arjuna which is separately known as the famous Bhagavad Gita.Very sublime, the Bhagavad Gita; yes, yes, no doubt about it. It's also just one episode out of a multitude which follow (by and large) the adventures of the five Pandava brothers and the wife they share in common, Draupati. (Don't blame me! I didn't come up with the kinky stuff, although it's sure fun to read about.) One of the central adventures of which involves the sublime subject of how the foolish oldest Pandava brother lost their wife in a game of dice. So, I figure the Gazette is in good company. This will be the last paper edition of the Gazette that duplicates in toto the electronic edition (with the inclusion of a new story written by me for the paper edition). Beginning with Grantville Gazette V, which will probably be published some time next year, paper editions of the Gazette will henceforth be selections from several issues of the magazine.The reason for the shift is simply because the publisher for the paper edition, Baen Books, can't possibly maintain a one-to-one ratio of paper-to-electronic editions. That was more-or-less feasible when the Gazette first got started, because it was originally a magazine that was only published occasionally, not one with a regular schedule.Beginning with the eleventh issue of the electronic edition of the Gazette, the magazine's success enabled us to establish it as a regularly published magazine, paying professional rates, and with a bi-monthly publication schedule. That eleventh issue came out in May of 2007. As of the time this paper edition of Gazette IV starts showing up in bookstores, six more volumes of the magazine will have been produced—which is to say, more volumes than have been published in paper over a four year period.Baen is a book publisher, not a magazine publisher. Even before the magazine shifted to a bimonthly schedule, the electronic edition had already gotten far ahead of any possible paper publication schedule. At the rate we were going, the tenth issue of the magazine—which was published a year ago—wouldn't have come out in paper until sometime in the year 2014. And, as I said, six more volumes have been added since then.Being a low-minded author, this naturally leads to a sales pitch. I urge anyone interested in the ongoing 1632 series to consider buying a subscription to the electronic magazine. (See details at the back of the book.) You won't be able to assume, any longer, that whatever gets published will eventually appear in a paper edition. Eric Flint
January 2008 
FICTIONThe Anatomy LessonEric Flint Amsterdam"I've got a headache," Anne Jefferson announced. Her fiancé, Adam Olearius, cleared his throat. "It might be better to say, you have at least two of them."Anne removed the hands rubbing her temples long enough to glare at him. "Oh, very funny. Very, very funny." Then went back to the rubbing."I wasn't actually trying to be witty," he said. "It's just my diplomat's reflexes.""You call piling another headache onto the one I've already got being diplomatic?" she grumbled."Not you, dearest. I was speaking of Europe." Olearius leaned back in the chair in Anne's salon, turned his head, and peered out the window."How shall I count the ways?" he mused. "It's a headache for the king in the Netherlands; for the prince of Orange; for Duke Ernst Wettin, the USE's regent in the Oberpfalz; and . . ." After a pause, he waggled his hand back and forth. "Probably even a headache for Gustav Adolf himself. Or his prime minister, at least.""And me," Anne said forcefully. "Especially me."Her tone was quite surly."And you, of course."Brussels"Yes, yes, gentlemen, I know it would be easiest if I simply forbade the girl and her brother to undertake their proposed change of residence to Amsterdam." Not quite glowering at them—almost, but not quite—Fernando I, King in the Netherlands, stared at the five advisers sitting around the large table in his council chamber. "Unfortunately, the situation is delicate.""The emperor is not likely to go to war over the issue, Your Majesty," pointed out Pieter Paul Rubens. "No, he isn't. If for no other reason than that it's convenient for Gustav Adolf to have the heirs to the Palatinate officially held captive by the Span—by the Netherlanders. It keeps them out of his hair."The near slip did cause the king to glower at his advisers. He still hadn't gotten used to referring to himself as "Netherlander" rather than Spanish. Being, as he was, the younger brother of the king of Spain and having considered himself Spanish all his life until very recently.That was hardly the fault of the advisers, of course. But Fernando figured that being glowered at from time to time was a reasonable part of their duties."At the same time," he continued, "the emperor of the USE—who is also, I will remind you, the king of Sweden and the high king of the Kalmar Union—is officially the protector of the dynastic interests of that family. Being, as they are, Protestant and not Catholic. And being, as they are, the family whose claim to the Bohemian throne was made null and void by the Holy Roman Emperor of the time, my now-deceased uncle Ferdinand II of Austria. And while it could be argued that their claim to the Bohemian throne was . . . what's that American expression?""Dicey," provided Alessandro Scaglia. "Your Majesty."Fernando gave him a thin smile. "You needn't toss in the honorific every two minutes, Alessandro. Thin-skinned, I am not."Scaglia nodded. "Sorry, Your—ah, my apologies. I'm afraid I'm still engrained with Savoyard court custom."Fernando's smile expanded. The two Savoyard dukes whom Scaglia had served as an adviser, Charles Emmanuel and his son and successor Victor Amadeus, had both been notoriously fussy about protocol. Fernando's private opinion was that their prickly attitude stemmed less from personality than from the objective situation of the Savoy. An independent duchy located between France, Italy and Spain—and which controlled several strategic passes through the Alps—had damn well better be prickly about protocol. Fernando's own relaxed attitude was due in no small part to the security of his situation. Given the size of his army, his demonstrated military skill, and the difficulties which the terrain of the Low Countries posed to any invader, he didn't care that much how anyone addressed him, as long as they were polite.All the more so given the influence of his new wife. Whatever Maria Anna's upbringing might have been, in the Viennese court, the former archduchess of Austria was almost shockingly informal. Perhaps that was a residue from her adventures during the Bavarian war, when she'd smuggled herself through war-torn regions with the help of commoners. She exhibited the informality that very moment. Leaning forward over the table and giving Alessandro a rather arch look, she put into words what Fernando himself had left unspoken."Well, of course. If I'd had to do the dance the Savoyard dukes had to do to keep from getting swallowed up over the past few years, I'd be insisting you had to throw in every single title I might have a claim to in every other sentence. And pity the poor chambermaids! 'I shall empty the chamber pot now, Your Majesty and formerly Your Highness.'"She gave her husband a sly smile. "Fine. It's an exaggeration. In the ever-so-modern Netherlands—in the palace, at least—we have actual plumbing."Fernando chuckled. "And very good plumbing it is, too, since I took on the service of the Van Meter woman. Which, oddly, brings us back to the subject at hand. Because we can now toss that item onto the pile, out of which we seek to extract a coherent position. I'm thinking that it would ill behoove a monarch who chose to hire a woman to design and build the plumbing in his palace—""An American woman," Rubens interjected. Fernando gave him an astringent glance. "—to object if another woman chooses to study medicine."He now swiveled to face Rubens squarely. "And I'm afraid your point about the Van Meter woman being an American speaks against your advice, Pieter, not for it. The Americans are the first to insist that they are not entitled to any special privileges." He raised his hand. "And spare me a recitation of the many ways in which, in the real world, they do get special treatment. That simply makes them all the more intransigent on the subject."He leaned back in his chair. "The point being, that if I refuse to let the girl do as she wishes, I will incur the displeasure of the Americans as well as the emperor whom they advise. And, between us, I think I would rather risk Gustav Adolf's ire than theirs. I don't need a Swedish king's advice and assistance. I do need that of many of the Americans.""That leaves the prince of Orange," said Scaglia.The king made a face. "Yes, it does. And who knows what schemes Frederik Hendrik has in mind, concerning this?"It was a rhetorical question, not a real one. Fernando provided the answer himself. "But you can be assured it will be devious."Breda Had Frederik Hendrik heard that last remark, the Prince of Orange would have laughed sarcastically. He'd have appreciated the general sentiment, but would have filled the king's ear with a detailed explanation—nay, lament—concerning the impossibility of coming up with a devious scheme to take advantage of the blasted girl's stubbornness.Not that he hadn't tried. Alas, the situation was too hemmed in by other factors to give him any maneuvering room.You could start with the fact that he was glumly contemplating his options from the vantage point of his library in the House of Orange-Nassau's ancestral estate in Breda, overlooking the gardens. Which, appropriately enough, were rather bleak-looking at this time of year. Instead of being able to contemplate his options from the vantage point of the library in the small palace he maintained in Amsterdam, overlooking the harbor.True, the harbor was an even bleaker sight, this time of year. But it was—even in mid-winter—a much busier and bustling sort of bleakiness. Vibrant with the energy of the Netherlands' largest and most dynamic city. A city which was now, for all practical purposes, terra non grata for the man who was supposed to be its prince, a figure second only to the king in his stature in the Low Countries."Well . . . not that, exactly," Frederik Hendrik muttered to himself, staring at the flat landscape beyond the window. He was exaggerating out of irritation, and knew it. Whenever he visited Amsterdam, which he did quite regularly, the benighted Committee of Correspondence who actually ruled the city were always punctiliously polite. Gretchen Richter, for a marvel, was even cordial and friendly. But velvety as its cover might be, it was still her fist and not his that held the power in Amsterdam. And the woman was not hesitant to remove the glove when she felt it necessaryAs had been very forcefully demonstrated to the burgomasters and patricians of the city less than two months earlier, when they tried to resume their previous positions of authority in Amsterdam after returning from their exile during the cardinal-infante's siege. Their self-selected exile, as Richter had bluntly pointed out. She and Amsterdam's commoners had remained in the city throughout the siege, after all. It was thanks to them—not the patricians and burgomasters residing comfortably elsewhere—that Don Fernando had never been able to take the city and had eventually agreed to the current settlement of the war."So you can go fuck yourselves," had been her final words, according to the many indignant accounts which Frederik Hendrik had heard from the patricians afterward. "You can have your property, and that's it. Your posts and positions are either gone—and good riddance, since half of them were useless—or someone reliable and worthy now sits in your place."He'd had little sympathy with the complaints. He'd told them they were fools to think they could march into Amsterdam this soon after the siege and get anything but a boot in the ass. And the fact that the boot was a woman's boot didn't matter in the least. She was a big woman and a strong one, and had the devil's fury to tap when she chose to do so."Well, not that, exactly," the prince muttered to himself. As tempting as it was, at times, he didn't really think Richter was Satan's minion. Just someone who had concluded that the near destruction of her family and her own rape and forced concubinage were outrages perpetrated not simply by the immediate parties involved, but by all of Europe's high and mighty. Who would now pay the price, whenever and wherever she could charge it. If nothing else, she owed that much to the young brother who'd been killed in the battle of Wismar.And . . . There really wasn't much anyone could do about it. The one time he'd raised the problem with the king, Fernando hadn't been much less blunt than Richter."It's your headache, I'm afraid, not mine. The displeasure and discomfiture of patricians and burgomasters is not much of a burden for me. Certainly not compared to the alternative. You know perfectly well that the Committee of Correspondence in Amsterdam can choose to secede from the Netherlands, if they feel pressed enough.""They wouldn't dare!" one of Frederik Hendrik's courtiers had exclaimed. One of his soon-to-be-discharged courtiers. The idiot."Oh, wouldn't they?" the king had demanded frostily, giving the courtier in question a look that was downright icy. "As I recall, you were nowhere near the siege of Amsterdam at the time. While I, on the other hand, commanded the army besieging the city. For months, with everything I had—and I still couldn't take it. So don't tell me what Gretchen Richter and her people are and are not capable of daring. And, more to the point, doing."He'd turned away then, and looked out over his own gardens in Brussels. "It wouldn't even be that hard for them. They have enough military strength in Amsterdam to close the city and keep it closed for months. More than they had, in fact, since I caught them off guard and today they are most certainly not. They've made an agreement with me—with us—and they're keeping to it. But Richter, whatever else she is, is very far from a trusting soul. Given her history, it's hard to blame her. So while she's kept the agreement—meticulously, in fact—she's also kept the city militia large and well-trained and has rebuilt and even strengthened the city's fortifications."He shrugged. "Not forever, of course, if I brought the full weight of my army to bear. But they could certainly withstand a siege for as many months as they've already demonstrated they can—and long before then, they would have reached an accommodation with Gustav Adolf. There is no reason, after all, that Amsterdam couldn't become another province in his empire instead of a city in my kingdom. Not if the matter was pressed to the hilt."The same courtier seemed to have no limit to his idiocy. "That's not possible! We've signed a treaty with him."Again, came the icy royal gaze. "So we did. And so what? Treaties can be torn up. And while you may have forgotten that Gustav Adolf has an eye for acquiring new territory, I have not. And while you seem to have missed the sight of Admiral Simpson's ironclads patrolling the Zuider Zee—how did you manage that, by the way? the things are huge—have you even been to Amsterdam since the siege?—I have most certainly not. There is no way, unless you have overwhelming forces—which I do not—that a large port city can be taken by siege if the defenders control the adjoining waters. Only a lunatic would even try."The courtier finally wilted away and the king turned back to the prince of Orange. "Anyway, you have my sympathies, Frederik Hendrik. But my position as king—by the same terms you not only agreed to, but even insisted upon—give me only limited powers within the provinces, and even more limited authority with regard to the affairs of the towns and cities. And what internal powers I do have in the cities are what you might call negative. I can, by law, prevent a church from being suppressed. I cannot, by law, establish a church."That was a major fudge, of course. Nothing, by law, prevented the king in the Netherlands from subsidizing and supporting a church—so long as he did it in his private capacity and using his own resources, rather than those of the state of the Netherlands. Given that the king was far and away the richest man in the Low Countries, the distinction was to a considerable degree a formal one."The burgomasters are therefore your cross to bear, not mine," the king continued. "And I'm not about to run the risk of another war over an issue like this one. Quite frankly, from everything I can see the Committee of Correspondence does a better job of running Amsterdam than the patricians did. The disease problem is certainly much better."So, there it was. And while most of Frederik Hendrik's advisers were well-nigh ecstatic at the recent news that Gretchen Richter would soon be leaving Amsterdam to return to her family in the Germanies, the prince himself did not share their sanguine expectations. Richter was, alas, a superb organizer, not simply a firebrand and agitatrix. By now, the Committee she'd forged was very solid and durable. She'd be gone, but it would remain—commanded by lieutenants whom she'd chosen and trained personally. In a generation, things might change. But they wouldn't change any time soon—and then, for all he knew, the changes would be for the worse. On that, for sure, the king had spoken truly. The committee did run the city better than the patricians had. Even most of the merchants and burghers were now becoming reconciled to its rule, if they weren't highly placed in the patricianate. Business was booming again, and Richter had been very careful not to play favorites.And if that left the Prince of Orange with the awkwardness of having a country whose provinces were dominated by wealthy and conservative patrician families, and whose principal city was the most radical in Europe except for possibly Magdeburg and Grantville itself, then so be it. He'd just have to scheme and maneuver around the situation, as deviously as he could.Which brought him back to the problem at hand. He turned away from the window and picked up the letter from the girl's mother.Written in a very fine hand, on the best paper you could ask for. The hand wouldn't be her own, of course, although the signature was and she'd have dictated the contents. But she'd have employed a secretary who, among other things, had splendid handwriting. In exile or not, officially in the captivity of the Netherlands or not, she was still Elisabeth Stuart. Sister of the king of England, the widow of the Elector of the Palatine and—very briefly—the queen of Bohemia. Among her ancestors she could name another king of England, a king and queen of Scotland, several kings of Denmark and Norway, and the Lord only knew how many dukes and duchesses. Among the latter of whom could be counted the redoubtable Marie de Guise, another woman who'd plagued the counsels of Europe's rulers in her day.He sighed and dropped the letter back onto the table. Given that she'd written it, there was no longer any point in trying to persuade the mother to dissuade the daughter. She wouldn't have written the letter at all if her daughter hadn't talked her into it. And, that done, the matter would no longer be of concern to Elisabeth. By all accounts, to use one of those picturesque American expressions, Elisabeth Stuart had the maternal instincts of a brick. Children were a burden and, what was worse, they piled still more burdens atop their mothers. This particular burden having been shifted to someone else, she was no more likely to reconsider the decision than a mule.King Fernando could have forbidden the girl and her brother from making the trip to Amsterdam, of course. He and he alone could even have enforced it easily, since they resided in exile in Brussels, right under his nose and the nose of the many guards he'd placed over the family. From the opposite end, Frederik Hendrik could—in theory—bar them from entering any of those provinces assigned to the House of Orange to supervise. And—in theory—that would apply to Amsterdam as well, since—in theory—Amsterdam was simply one of many cities in the province of Holland. Theory, theory, theory. In practice, the moment he did so the Committee of Correspondence would immediately issue an invitation to the pestiferous girl and her brother. Given Richter, they'd do more than just issue an invitation. They'd personally see to smuggling the two youngsters into the city and keeping them guarded against any attempt to get them out.No, that alternative was just nonsense. Frederik Hendrik disliked the prospect of having two such potentially important figures in European politics rattling around essentially unsupervised in a city like Amsterdam, especially given their ages. The girl was sixteen; the boy fifteen. Both ages at which even the dullest villager could get themselves into trouble.But . . . all the alternatives were worse. Much worse.He turned from the window and summoned his secretary, who'd been standing politely by the door some distance away. "We'll need to write the girl a formal letter of invitation. Her brother also. I leave the wording to you. Just make sure to be polite, if not effusive. I'll sign it when you're done."
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