Welcome to the 1632Verse!

Elevator Pitch

The 1632 alternate history universe (1632verse) is where a rural town (Grantville) goes from 2000 West Virginia to war-torn 1631 Thuringia, Germany. As of 2024, novels are published through Baen and magazines through 1632 & Beyond.

Assiti Shards are related alternate history universes.

Novels are available through Baen Books and all major book retailers.

The Grantville Gazette is available through 1632Magazine.com.

Eric Flint’s 1632 & Beyond is available through 1632Magazine.com and all major book retailers.

More Details

It’s an alternate history universe created by Eric Flint in the late 1990s with the first book (1632) published in 2000. Alternate history is when a story has something happen differently in the past so our history changes. In this case, some careless alien artists cause a six mile sphere from West Virginia in April 2000 to be swapped with an equally sized sphere from May 1631 in Thuringia, Germany.

To answer the obvious question we all have: Eric thought 1632 was a stand-alone novel. His publisher, Jim Baen, had noticed that books with even numbers sold better than ones with odd numbers, so they named it for the year the book ended instead of the year it started.

Once they arrive in Thuringia and realize they are in the middle of the Thirty Years War, the up-timers (the people from 2000) decide they can help improve the lives of the down-timers (everyone already in 1631 when they arrive). The two primary keys to this are widely disseminating virtually all of their knowledge and pushing religious toleration hard.

(This isn’t a spoiler because it happens in the very beginning of the first novel.) They quickly decide that they need to gear down to make the tools to make the tools to make the tools, instead of trying to make things they need, and the best way to be successful in this is to work with the down-timers and share all their knowledge. (There are a few bits of military knowledge and tech they keep secret, but it’s really quite minimal.) In particular, they work hard to spread medical knowledge as far and wide as possible to save lives.

As of now, the entire universe is in the written word (books and magazines), with some of the books also available as audio books. No movies or TV shows. No soundtracks, although there are some YouTube videos of Eric Flint and various authors at conventions.

A (Somewhat) Brief History

As noted, for some unknowable reason, Eric thought 1632 was a stand-alone novel and Jim Baen apparently agreed. Fourteen million plus words, dozens of novels, more than a hundred magazine issues, and over 200 authors later, they were clearly wrong. Very, very wrong.

And we couldn’t be happier about it.

Part 1: 2000-2022

Eric Flint was an amazing and giving human being. He collaborated on his second novel with David Weber. Since it was both a David Weber novel and a Baen novel, it ended up being too long and split into two different novels. Eric decided that he wouldn’t limit his collaborations or his universe to only established authors, like David and S.M. Stirling, but threw it open to everyone.

Nearly twenty-five years later, 175 writers have had their first professional publication in the 1632verse thanks to Eric’s generosity of spirit. Many of those were short stories. Initially, the best short stories posted to Baen’s Bar (an online forum for fans of Baen Books) were put together in anthologies published by Baen. After a few years and five anthologies, there were too many good short stories and Eric started “The Grantville Gazette”, an online magazine separate from Baen. It ultimately published 102 issues, with the final three available in paperback as well as digitally.

Some of these stories were serialized and continued through multiple gazettes. Eventually, some were turned into novels, also published by Baen, but in time there were more than Baen could publish. Eric started “Ring of Fire Press” for these books.

When Eric died in July 2022, both The Grantville Gazette and Ring of Fire Press closed. Neither is anticipated to begin operations again, but that is not the end of the story, merely of Part 1.

Part 2: 2023-The Future!

Baen has not wavered in their continuing publication of 1632verse books. They had two books Eric himself signed off on shortly before he died, and several more he was collaborating on that were contracted for and largely outlined while he was still alive. There were others in progress where the author and Eric had agreed on the general plot. Those have continued to move forward.

While we cannot and do not speak for Baen Books, no one directly connected to Baen or to Eric’s family (the owners of the 1632 IP, or Intellectual Property) has ever, at any point, publicly stated anything to the effect that the 1632verse is dead, nothing further will be published, or anything that can reasonably construed to mean that. Yes, things have slowed down and everyone needs to be sure it makes solid business sense to continue, but that is a world away from “it’s done” and the books released since Eric’s death have done quite well.

In short, news of the death of this IP have been greatly exaggerated. Since late summer 2023, barely a year after Eric’s death, new material has been coming out at least every other month!

Ring of Fire Press Novels

In addition to their normal workload, Baen also agreed to take on many of the Ring of Fire Press novels and re-release them. Because they are going through another round of reviews and getting new covers, this is not a fast process. (Some authors are taking this opportunity to review their novels to polish them more or make small tweaks to improve them.) The first set of re-released novels are coming out in January-April 2024, including the April release of an all-new novel by Bjorn Hasseler.

The fate of some RoFP novels is still being determined.

The Magazines

The Grantville Gazette was published on the first of every odd-numbered month, for six issues per year, and was available in six-issue bundles.

In August 2022, The Grantville Gazette website was taken down and it was removed from sale via Baen Books and Amazon. While it has not returned to either Baen or Amazon, all the issues are now for sale again on 1632Magazine.com either individually or in bundles.

In June 2022, the launch of an all-new magazine was announced at LibertyCon. The first issue was released September 1, 2022 during DragonCon. Like The Grantville Gazette before it, Eric Flint’s 1632 & Beyond is released on the 1st of odd-numbered months. In addition to bein available as a subscription and single issues through 1632Magazine.com, single issues are available at all major online book retailers, and print-on-demand paperbacks are available through Amazon.

Where do I Start?

Reading in the 1632verse

First of all, you don’t have to read them all. Even those of us who have read all of canon look at that massive list of books and feel overwhelmed. There are a lot of books (most of canon, really) set in Grantville and the towns near it, but not all of it. Reading Order: Small Bites puts all the books into sections of no more than seven books, with most less than seven.

These lists are primarily geographical. Given the size of the series, if you read straight chronologically, it can be hard to remember what happened in the first Russia novel by the time you get to the second one, and so on. The biggest exception to that is the mainline novels, which follow high politics in 1632verse Europe. That also means they follow the big armies.

So, where do you start? 1632 for sure, but then we recommend reading Ring of Fire, 1633, and 1634: The Baltic War. After that, pick an area that interests you and dive in. If you aren’t sure, go with the anthologies or pick up issues of the Gazette or the new 1632 & Beyond magazine. If you subscribe to 1632 & Beyond on the 1632Magazine.com website, you also receive online access to read 12 back issues of the Grantville Gazette, with one issue going down and a new one going up every month.

Writing for the 1632verse

Everything published is canon, with the caveat that some thing take precedence. If a novel published by Baen says Princess Kristina was in Magdeburg on March 23, 163X and a short story says she was in Grantville, she was in Magdeburg. Baen novels have precedence in establishing canon. Magazine stories do not. However, they are still canon.

If you are interested in writing in this universe, everyone involved is extremely supportive of Eric’s goal of helping new writers become published authors. The primary venue for that is short stories in the 1632 & Beyond magazine, and the place to join in is Baen’s Bar, an online forum with 1632 Slush (for proposed stories), 1632 Slush Comments (for comments on things in 1632 Slush), and 1632 Tech (for discussions of all sorts related to 1632).

There is also an entire website filled with information for authors at author.1632magazine.com.

What about Conventions?

We love going to conventions! Unfortunately, we can’t go to them all. But if you watch 1632Con.com, we will post our plans to attend cons there.