By Alex Wallace
I only ever met Eric Flint once. It was at Capclave, the convention run by the Washington Science Fiction Association in October 2021 at the Hilton hotel in Rockville, Maryland, outside Washington DC. He was on several panels that I attended; after one, I told him briefly that I quite enjoyed the ten books of the 1632 series that I had enjoyed, but was too shy to say anything more. I tried to ask him if Michael Stearns, the protagonist of his greatest series, would have voted for Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders in 2016 had he stayed in our world (a question that has been litigated a number of times in the SLP zoom calls) but, again, I was too intimidated to ask a published author something so frivolous.
And now he’s gone.
From when I met him, and through accounts from others I have known, he was a straight-talking, direct man with a lot of good advice for authors and a deep willingness to support other writers in the business; I remember him talking in detail about the publication process. He founded Ring of Fire Press, a house from which I have reviewed two books for this site, to help authors get their footing in the industry.
He brought many writers to prominence through the 1632 series, including through the Grantville Gazette, which still takes submissions from the public. In doing so, he pioneered a form of collaborative writing that has doubtlessly had influence on the online alternate history community. That series was an immense influence on time travel alternate history, particularly ISOT stories.
Without question, the genre we love would not have been the same without him. In his final illness, he could not write, and this left his wife in difficult financial straits. As such, I encourage any contribution you can to the gofundme for the expenses for his memorial service. I have already donated; it’s the least we can do, I think, as a genre that owes so much to him.
May he rest in peace.
Alex Wallace is the editor of the 'Alloamericana' Anthology