Eric Flint's Assiti Shards (1632-verse) Series - Reading Order

Bick

Luddite Curmudgeon
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Eric Flint's '1632-verse' series of books describe events in an alternate history of Europe in the thirty years war that occurs after a West Virginia mining town of the late 1990's gets zapped back to central Germany in the year 1632 (as a result of alien tomfoolery).

In reading a few of the 1632-verse (Assiti Shards) books, from Eric Flint, I've come to realise, (a) they are entertaining and rather good, (b) they are numerous, (c) it is hard to know what to read and what might be skippable, depending on likes, dislikes, time available, etc. To aid me in my journey through some of these books, I drew up a chart that shows the order of the books from an internal chronology standpoint, and also records who wrote them and how well they are regarded.

The chart indicates the titles in bold, with sub-series within the 1632 world grouped in a colour-coded fashion. The authors are then recorded, and lastly for each book, the average rating on Goodeads is shown. You start at the top, and time progresses as you drop down the chart, with books that roughly overlap in time shown across the chart left to right.
  • The blue-shaded books are "core" novels and are mainly written only by Eric Flint (two co-written with David Weber). They are generally very well regarded (high scores on Goodreads). I've read the first three of these and can recommend them (albeit with reservations for Parson ;) )
  • The Ring of Fire books in yellow are short story collections. I've not read them, and the positioning in time is roughly accurate, but they can cover a fair bit of ground I believe)
  • The light orange books co-authored by Virginia DeMarce are not "core", but they cover key events. However, they are not so regarded and you could skip through to 1635: The Eastern Front without tackling them if you liked. I'm actually planning on skipping them all.
  • The green shaded titles are the Papal series, set in Rome/Vatican. They are co-authored by Flint and either Andrew Dennis or Charles Gannon. The later Gannon ones are supposed to be better then the Dennis ones, but I'm not sure if you can read these and not the initial ones in the sub-series.
  • The light blue 1635: A Parcel of Rogues carries on a sub-plot directly after 1634, and looks good - I'll be reading in next.
  • From 1636, they all are supposed to be well written and are well regarded.
  • There are a bunch of Grantville Gazette collections of short stories and non-fiction pieces about the times. They occur throughout the timeline but I've not included them here -there are about 80 available to read online or in e-format!
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Now, I realise this will all be of limited interest to most, but I thought I'd post the chart seeing as I'd drawn it up for myself, and now there's a thread for the series, I'll probably post comments on future books here too.
 
Great work, Bick!. It reminds me of the Discworld reading charts I've seen. I've not read any of the books myself, but maybe I should try them. However, I'm almost always of the mind that any series should be read in order of publication regardless of how the plot threads can be arranged.
 
The order of publication isn’t that different Vince and in this case the general advice is to read it chronologically. One of the only large deviations from publication order is Parcel of Rogues and there’s no advantage or sense in waiting until much later to read it - it was written to fit right after 1634.
 
Even book sites have trouble with the order these books. Good Reads and Audible have differences in the order they list. I just make sure to keep the core books in order and do what I can for the rest.

This type of Historical Fiction is probably my favorite niche. If you like these books I recommend The Nantucket Series by S. M. Stirling (my favorite) and The Axis of Time books by John Birmingham.
 
I like the fact that the actual history is so well researched. I've learnt a huge amount about the period in Europe.
 
Bick,

I only joined SFFChronicles today, but I think I have something useful to add.

I like the chart you prepared for this thread, but, as it turns out, I have already created one that is, in my not-so-very-humble opinion, superior.

Back in 2016, I joined Baen's Bar, where, in their "1632 Tech" forum, I introduced a reading order flowchart I had created for Eric Flint's Ring of Fire (1632) series.

The flowchart covers all of the series' novels, anthologies, and collections, except for the stories in the Grantville Gazette e-zine. It also includes the titles that were published by Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press, as well as those published by Baen Books. It even includes a few titles that have been announced, but not yet published.

However, the "Time Spike" and "Alexander Inheritance" stories are not included because, although they are indeed "Assiti Shards" stories, they are not part of the "Ring of Fire" series.

The titles are arranged according to internal chronology. All threads begin with the first

My flowchart is complete and totally accurate, as of January 20, 2021. I constantly keep it updated as new titles are published. It has never been out of date by more than two weeks in the last four and a half years.

The chart in this post will soon be out of date, but I keep the most up-to-date version at my cloud provider, box.com. the URL is:


If you go to that URL, you will always be able to download the very latest version of the flowchart.

For what it's worth, I like your avatar. The one I am using here is the same one I have used at Baen's Bar since 2016.

I hope you all like this flowchart.

Regards,

Mike





Threads03a.jpg
 
Bick,

I only joined SFFChronicles today, but I think I have something useful to add.

I like the chart you prepared for this thread, but, as it turns out, I have already created one that is, in my not-so-very-humble opinion, superior.

Back in 2016, I joined Baen's Bar, where, in their "1632 Tech" forum, I introduced a reading order flowchart I had created for Eric Flint's Ring of Fire (1632) series.

The flowchart covers all of the series' novels, anthologies, and collections, except for the stories in the Grantville Gazette e-zine. It also includes the titles that were published by Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press, as well as those published by Baen Books. It even includes a few titles that have been announced, but not yet published.

However, the "Time Spike" and "Alexander Inheritance" stories are not included because, although they are indeed "Assiti Shards" stories, they are not part of the "Ring of Fire" series.

The titles are arranged according to internal chronology. All threads begin with the first

My flowchart is complete and totally accurate, as of January 20, 2021. I constantly keep it updated as new titles are published. It has never been out of date by more than two weeks in the last four and a half years.

The chart in this post will soon be out of date, but I keep the most up-to-date version at my cloud provider, box.com. the URL is:


If you go to that URL, you will always be able to download the very latest version of the flowchart.

For what it's worth, I like your avatar. The one I am using here is the same one I have used at Baen's Bar since 2016.

I hope you all like this flowchart.

Regards,

Mike





View attachment 76261
Where do you find the info about upcoming books?

I love the chart. Thanks.
 
Where do you find the info about upcoming books?

I love the chart. Thanks.

JMomCC,

Bick is right. One place to learn about upcoming titles in the Ring of Fire (1632) universe is Baen Books' website:


Baen's publishing schedule cannot accommodate all of the new 1632-verse stories that are coming out, even as we speak, so early on, Eric Flint established an e-magazine called The Grantville Gazette. Every two months, the Gazette publishes short stories written by fans and other authors.

Here is a link to the Grantville Gazette's website:


Issue number 94 of the Gazette e-zine came out on March 1, 2021. Issues of the e-zine can also be purchased on Baen's website. Baen Books also publish anthologies of selected Grantville Gazette stories as paper volumes, which can be purchased separately for Baen Books. The paper volumes are distinguished from the e-zine volumes by being numbered with roman numerals, while the e-zine volumes are numbered with arabic numerals.

Around 2010, Eric Flint decided that it would be a good idea to rework some of the better stories from the e-zine that had been published serially over multiple issues, into standalone novels. Since Baen Books could not publish all of these stories themselves, Eric started his own publishing house, called "Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press". Initially, they only republished stories and "fact" articles from the e-zine, but since then they have expanded into also publishing non-1632 stories—mostly by new authors, but some of their books are by well-established authors, as well. Their website is at:


Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press titles are also available for download as Kindle files from Amazon.

Another place where I learned about upcoming titles was Baen's Bar. Baen's Bar was a set of discussion forums hosted by Baen Books for their fans and authors. It was not unlike the SFF Chronicles. I got a wealth of information, usually directly from the authors, at the Bar.

Sadly, the Bar was shut down on February 17, 2021 due to an overblown controversy. I told the whole sad story in the third post of my "Larry Niven's Known Space Reading-Order Flowchart" thread. Here is the link:


I am gratified that you like my flowchart.

Mike
 

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