The 1632 Editorial Board is a group of established writers and fans that manages the development of the 1632 series shared universe and collaborative fiction project. A related group, the 1632 Research Committee focuses on technical issues (including historical research) likely 'realistic developments' given the resource of one small American town and the era.
The 1632 Editorial Board is chaired by the fictional universe's creator Eric Flint, whereas outside historical research, Flint relies on the technical group for technological premises. The two share a lot of members, and the exact membership is informal and changes. The Editorial Board is more formally organized and collectively decides whether stories submitted to the "1632 slushpile" on the Baen's Bar Web forum are both canonical to the series and of sufficient quality to be published in the sub-series of works collectively called The Grantville Gazettes.
Ten Grantville Gazettes were published in electronic form from 2004 through 2006, explosive production that can be in large part credited to the 1632 Editorial Board. The first Gazette began as an experiment in publishing as a serialized eMagazine. After three installments, the complete work was assembled as an e-book and was subsequently released in print in November 2004. Its successor, Grantville Gazette II, was released in hardcover in March 2006.
Through early 2006, the 1632 series 'in printed form' was split about 50:50 in novels and anthology collections, each enjoying commercial success with a bottleneck in long work production, and intentions were to continue in that manner with due allowance for longer works in progress so long as the collections of shorter fiction keep selling. The longer works were also building apace.
Flint and his assistant Paula Goodlett had put the majority of the time labor into them along with the board, and the new arrangement with the Editorial Boards help has the gazettes coming out much more regularly. Although the Editorial Board can recommend stories to be selected, Flint retains full control over canon and the final selection of stories. The selected stories (see The Grantville Gazettes) were first published as a serialized eMagazine, subsequently as an e-book, and finally (since 2004) as printed anthologies. Jim Baen died suddenly from a massive stroke in July 2006, but his last purchase from Eric Flint was Grantville Gazette IV as a hardcover contract.
Eric Flint initially wrote 1632 as a stand-alone alternate history novel. When 1632 was published in 2000, Flint had been a full-time writer for little more than a year and was a regular visitor to the various online forums on Baen's Bar where the premise and plot of 1632 created a great deal of interest in possible sequels.
Such discussions led to the creation of the "1632verse" forum "1632 Tech", which later became "1632 Tech Manual". Over a period of time, plot lines, technology and historical implications were chewed over, researched and reassembled until Flint committed to the much demanded sequel. In the process, the forum also received fan-fiction, and Eric Flint opened the developing universe to other established authors while agreeing to write the main-thread (focus is on Western and North-Central Europe) sequels with best selling author David Weber.
During the long process, historians, educators, authors, engineers, scientists and others formed into a group of trusted advisors, the informal 1632 Research Committee, which parties have written the various technical essays in the Grantville Gazettes, and a goodly percentage of the The Grantville Gazettes, overall. Baen created the "1632 slush" forum (from slushpile, publisher's name for the stack of unsolicited manuscripts) and the "1632 Slush Comments" forum for peer review of the fan fiction, which are part of the formal process established to . "1632 Tech" officially focused on technical background and plot development. However, Flint and the other established authors found some of the submitted stories to be good plot stimulators, and eventually incorporated them into the 1632 series neo-history and canon.
After the milieu stabilized
As the future of 1632verse began to stabilize in the creators mind, aided by valuable insights from the contributed fan-fic at 1632 Slushpile, he invited a variety of authors that had assisted in generating ideas to contribute stories (See: Ring of Fire) while he began planning with David Weber the writing of the first full novel sequel 1633 (novel). The process also got him to considering the many valuable contributions made by the fans in time and ideas, so he proposed the eMagazine The Grantville Gazette to Jim Baen as an experiment, and so was launched another collaborative first — an author-editor working hand in hand with interested fans to collaborate on canonical fiction that was not somewhere off to the side of the various works, but were instead, to a certain extent its heart and soul. But that was the result, not the start. First the contents of the 1632 Slushpile were picked over by Flint and some were selected for the first anthology, Ring of Fire. Concurrently, many of the 1632 Research Committee were putting together the official 1632verse website 1632.org, which is dedicated to aiding canonical writing within the milieu.
The Grantville Gazette
Once the peer review process had wound down and terminated on 1632 Slushpile various advisors would suggest certain stories as being well developed, at which time Flint would consider them as an editor and the final arbitrar of the 1632verse and so the fan-fic continued and continue to shape the development of the milieu. Such polished stories were selected for the serialized eMagazine in an order and for reasons known solely to Flint. First appearing in the new serialized eMagazine, the purchased fictional works paid only semi-pro rates rather than typical SF magazine pulp fiction rates, but they made the fan-fic a step in the process. As more stories were gathered, picked on, and picked over an informal editorial board came about, was added to and stabilized with membership much overlapping that of the 1632 Research Committee. This unloaded Flint's time and he promptly decided that the eMagazine fiction deserved to be republished as the initial Grantville Gazette e-book, again experimentally.
This step followed naturally as an experiment in on-line publishing underwritten by publisher Jim Baen and edited by Eric Flint, and dove-tailed nicely with some other experiments Jim Baen was conducting with webscriptions.net. The initial experimental publication The Grantville Gazette Issue 1 as an e-book was financially successful and is offered in electronic form at Webscription.net, but a subsequent experiment, a mass market paper edition of the first issue was print published in November 2004 as the slightly different trade title The Grantville Gazette. While not bearing the modified name on its cover, this successful print version is now colloquially called The Grantville Gazette I, as the experimental first printing sold out and continues to sell so strongly that the second issue was released as a hardcover edition in March 2006 by the title Grantville Gazette II. Note that technically, the eMagazine releases were titled somewhat differently such as Grantville Gazette Volume II, in conformance with typical magazine publishing practices.
The authors in these anthologies are principally members of Bean's Bar, which have contributed fan-written-fiction to the peer review process administered as 1632 Slushpile (A slushpile in literary terms is the in-basket of a publisher for unsolicited manuscripts for vetting and processing) on Baen's Bar. After this trial by fire, the manuscripts are nominated for consideration by the 1632 Editorial Board and final selections determined in conjunction with Flint wearing his editors cap. The result is unusually well groomed fan-fiction that is further unique as Flint categorically stated in March 2006 that any and all 1632 materials published in any form by Baen's becomes thereafter canon for the milieu he created and manages. This gives the emagazine an unusual and historic place in literature, as does the fact that published authors also occasionally submit anthologies to this process.
List of Gazettes
Ring of Fire (anthology)
The Grantville Gazettes
Anthologies by Publication Order
The Grantville Gazette
The Grantville Gazettes are all edited by Eric Flint. The first three were assembled with the assistance of Cheryl Detweiler. Beginning with Gazette three Paula Goodlett became assistant editor, assuming the editorial role beginning with Gazette seven with Flint acting as the publisher. Flint maintains editorial control over the canon for the series on the 1632.org website in conjunction with the 1632 Editorial Board, and the various 1632 Research Committees, all being regular participants to the Baen's Bar forum, and in particular the 1632 Tech Manual sub-forum. Gazettes include fact articles (see the research committee) and stories which are initially vetted through a tough peer review on the sub-forum 1632 slush, typically requiring several rewrites then may subsequently nominated by the editorial board, whereupon Flint, and Goodlett choose the stories for inclusion in the canon and for each volume based in part how it leads into or integrates with the ongoing main storyline 'threads' in the various novels.
Notes and references
- Grantville Gazette III was the last book I ever sold Jim [Baen], or ever would. On June 12th he suffered a massive stroke...