Believe it or not, we’ve gotten through another year in the life of the Grantville Gazette. While we are all waiting for the next volume in the mainline of the series, 1637: The Polish Maelstrom, we can look at all sorts of things that are lurking in the corners of the New Time Line. I’d love to tell you what happens in The Polish Maelstrom, but I have a shock collar that Eric has programmed to zap me if I do.

This issue, we have a very strong fiction component, with five 1632 stories, and two stories in the Universe Annex.

First up is “The Vengeful Oath,” by Michael Lockwood. This is the continuation of last month’s story, though not really a serial. What does it do to a peaceable man when the French government kills his brother, oppresses his friends and neighbors, and finally chases him from his home altogether? What will this peaceable man do?

Next is “Botanical Liaisons” by Caroline Palmer. Here’s a man who should be a landscaping genius— but that is all in the Original Time Line. Can he find a new way to use his genius and show what he is really capable of?

“Exemplars” by Bjorn Hasseler is about Christian denominations slowly feeling their way toward ecumenism by means of manuscripts and interpretations. Will these small halting steps grow into a march toward unity?

Natalie Silk’s first foray into the 1632 Universe is “Two Men Walk Into a Beer Garden…” a story of the collision of Jewish cultures and Grantville. We welcome Natalie’s wonderful story.

Iver Cooper provides one of the best stories he’s ever written, “Newcastle’s Call,” about plague and what happens to the town of Newcastle, even though they know from the encyclopedias that the plague is coming. Iver also brings us the third part of his “Secret Communications” article.

Kris Rusch’s “Notes from the Buffer Zone” this issue is a meditation about weather, and what it means to live in different places, and how science fiction writers do not often write about the differences in weather on other planets, but probably should. “I’m noodling about this,” she writes, “and I’ll probably be writing about it.”

Ed Lerner continues his “The Company Mole” and we find out more and more about who the villains are.

Finally, Sarah Byrne gives us a weirdly compelling story about a young girl who can make dolls that would scare Chuckie. The story is called “To Talk With Crowds” and takes place in a sort of alternate British India, where the Raj is still in full control. It knocked me on my rear when I read it, and I hope it does that to you too.

With that, please open the pages of the Gazette, put your hands and feet together and dive in!

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