Flint, Eric 1947–

views updated

Flint, Eric 1947–

PERSONAL: Born February 6, 1947, in Burbank, CA; son of Knute (in business) and Mary (a charity fundraiser) Flint; married Linda May, 1976 (divorced, 1983); married Lucille Robbins (a laboratory technician), February 4, 1984; children: Elizabeth Robbins-Davis. Ethnicity: "White." Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1968, M.A., 1976. Politics: Socialist.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—4202 Baring Ave., East Chicago, IN 46312. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Baen Books, P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. During early career, worked as a longshoreman, truck driver until 1974, then more than twenty years as a machinist; has also worked as a glass blower, meat packer, and automobile forge worker. Ran unsuccessfully for City Council in Birmingham, AL, 1979; full-time freelance writer, 1999–.

MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: First place in Writers of the Future contest, 1992, for short story "Entropy, and the Strangler."

WRITINGS:

SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FICTION

Mother of Demons (novel), Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 1997.

(With Dave Freer) Rats, Bats, and Vats, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2000.

The Philosophical Strangler ("Joe's World" series), Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2001.

(With Dave Freer) Pyramid Scheme, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2001.

(With David Weber) Changer of Worlds, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2001.

(With Mercedes Lackey and Dave Freer) The Shadow of the Lion ("Heirs of Alexandria" series), Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(With David Drake) The Tyrant, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(With David Weber and David Drake) The Warmasters, edited by Bill Fawcett, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(With Richard Roach) Forward the Mage ("Joe's World" series), Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

Foreign Legions, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(With Mercedes Lackey and Dave Freer) This Rough Magic ("Heirs of Alexandria" series), Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

(With K.D. Wentworth) The Course of Empire, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

(With David Weber) Crown of Slaves, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

(With Mercedes Lackey and Dave Freer) The Wizard of Karres, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

(With Dave Freer) The Rats, the Bats, and the Ugly (sequel to Rats, Bats, and Vats), Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

The Grantville Gazette, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

(With David Drake, Henry Kuttner, and Ryk E. Spoor) Mountain Magic, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

The Rivers of War, Del Rey/Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to anthologies.

"THE ASSITI SHARDS" SERIES; SCIENCE FICTION

1632 (novel), Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2000.

(With David Weber) 1633, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(With Andrew Dennis) 1634: The Galileo Affair, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

(Editor) Ring of Fire: Sequels to 1632, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

"BELISARIUS" SERIES; WITH DAVID DRAKE; SCIENCE FICTION

An Oblique Approach, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 1998.

In the Heart of Darkness, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 1998.

Destiny's Shield, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 1999.

Fortune's Stroke, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2000.

The Tide of Victory, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2001.

The Dance of Time, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2006.

EDITOR

(With Guy Gordon) James H. Schmitz, Telzey Amberdon: The Complete Federation of the Hub, Volume 1, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2000.

(With Guy Gordon) James H. Schmitz, T 'n T Telzey and Trigger: The Complete Federation of the Hub, Volume 2, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2000.

(With Guy Gordon) James H. Schmitz, Trigger and Friends, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2000.

(With Guy Gordon) James H. Schmitz, The Hub: Dangerous Territory, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2001.

(With Guy Gordon) Randall Garrett, Lord Darcy, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(With Guy Gordon) James H. Schmitz, Eternal Frontier, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

Keith Laumer, The Lighter Side, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(And compiler) Christopher Anvil, Interstellar Patrol, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

Tom Godwin, The Cold Equations and Other Stories, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

Keith Laumer, Future Imperfect, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

Keith Laumer, A Plague of Demons and Other Stories, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

(With Guy Gordon) Howard L. Myers, The Creatures of Man, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

Murray Leinster, Planets of Adventure, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

James H. Schmitz, Witches of Karres, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

Keith Laumer, Legions of Space, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

(With David Drake) The World Turned Upside Down, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2005.

Keith Laumer, Imperium, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2005.

(And compiler) Christopher Anvil, Interstellar Patrol II: The Federation of Humanity, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 2005.

WORK IN PROGRESS: More novels in the "Assisti Shards," "Joe's World," "Belisarius" and other series.

SIDELIGHTS: Eric Flint is a prolific author of science fiction, alternative history, and fantasy novels. He has found great success in these genres, despite beginning his writing career fairly late in life. Until he was in his forties, Flint worked a variety of jobs, including about twenty-five years as a machinist, and spent much of his time as a Socialist activist who even ran for public office once. "By 1992 …," he related on his Web site, "I decided it was time to forgo my political activity and try my hand at writing. After more than twenty-five years as a political activist, I figured I'd paid my dues and I could in good conscience spend the rest of my life trying to see if I could succeed at what had been my original daydream as a young man—write science fiction and fantasy."

His debut novel, Mother of Demons, was published the next year. Although this was a fantasy novel, Flint soon found himself drawn to science fiction. The editors at his publishing house, Baen Books, saw much promise in Flint, and teamed him up with a variety of established authors, such as David Drake and Mercedes Lackey, to write series and stand-alone titles. Flint has an educational background in history, including a master's degree in the subject from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he also did graduate work toward a Ph.D. This knowledge has lent itself well to his many titles set in alternative histories.

Among his alternate histories are the novels in the "Assiti Shards" series, including 1632, 1633, and 1634: The Galileo Affair. The premise in these books is that, somehow, a black hole has transported a six-mile-square area of modern-day West Virginia back in time to Germany during the Thirty Years War. After the initial shock, the modern Americans begin to not only adapt to the situation but also try and assert their contemporary ideas of freedom and justice. This helps establish the seeds of a democratic republic in Germany long before its time. Bringing modern technological warfare to seventeenth-century Europe, as well as other twentieth-century innovations, also leads to plenty of action and battles in the series. Although some critics of the series felt it is not quite as strong as the alternate history novels of Harry Turtledove, there was nevertheless considerable appreciation for Flint's work. In a review of 1632, a Publishers Weekly critic wrote that the author handles the situations in the book with "painstaking care and wit," and Jackie Cassada asserted in a Library Journal review of 1633 that Flint and coauthor David Weber "take historic speculation to a new level."

Other alternate histories that Flint has written or cowritten include the "Belisarius" series, a lengthy collaboration with David Drake. Here, instead of modern Americans, a creature from the distant future interferes with history. The "Aide" as the alien is known as, has come to help the Roman Empire avoid its collapse and defeat the rival Malwa of India so that the people in the Aide's time will avoid enslavement. This premise is only the background story that helps set up the plots in the novels, however, which tend to emphasize action. As a Publishers Weekly contributor pointed out in a review of Destiny's Shield, "the authors neither address the larger implications of time-travel paradoxes, nor reveal any of Aide's deeper motives."

Other alternative history books with which Flint has been involved include the "Heirs of Alexandria" books, written with Mercedes Lackey and Dave Freer, and The Rivers of War, which is the first book in a duology. "Heirs of Alexandria," which begins with Shadow of the Lion and This Rough Magic, is set in sixteenthcentury Italy but includes a generous dose of magic. The Rivers of War, on the other hand, is a much more fact-oriented alternate history set in early nineteenthcentury America. In fact, Flint adheres so closely to actual historic events in the War of 1812 that critics of the book thought that only readers familiar with U.S. history would notice any difference. A Kirkus Reviews contributor characterized it as merely a "pleasant diversion for military history buffs" that might actually turn off those audiences who do not care for military fiction. However, a critic for Publishers Weekly concluded: "Fans will cheer … if this outstanding start turns out to be the first of a long saga."

In addition to his many alternative history works, Flint has written everything from space opera to fantasy, often including generous doses of humor in the mix. For example, he partnered with Freer and Lackey again to write a sequel to James H. Schmitz's The Witches of Karres titled The Wizard of Karres. A humorous science fiction adventure that includes everything from aliens to pirates and a traveling circus, the novel was welcomed by critics as an accomplished sequel to the original Schmitz tale published some forty years earlier. "Fans of humorous science fiction will enjoy this outing," concluded School Library Journal contributor Christine C. Menefee. Tongue-in-cheek adventure can also be found in Flint's Rats, Bats, and Vats and its sequel, The Rats, the Bats, and the Ugly, which include intelligent rats and bats in a "zany tale of the planet Harmony & Reason," as Roland Green characterized it in his Booklist review.

Although Flint has only been publishing since 1997, he already has dozens of written, cowritten, and edited books to his credit, with many more in the works. "In short, I'm busy," the author admitted on his Web site. "Too busy, I sometimes think—but then, when I grumble to my friend Dave Drake about it, he laughs and reminds me of the most fundamental piece of wisdom for an author: There are only two states of existence for a freelance fiction writer—too much work, or too little. Which would you prefer?"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2004, Roland Green, review of The Rats, the Bats, and the Ugly, p. 215.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of The Rivers of War, p. 518.

Library Journal, August, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of 1633, p. 151.

Publishers Weekly, June 21, 1999, review of Destiny's Shield, p. 61; January 24, 2000, review of 1632, p. 296; April 25, 2005, review of The Rivers of War, p. 43.

School Library Journal, November, 2004, Christine C. Menefee, review of The Wizard of Karres, p. 176.

ONLINE

Science Fiction and Fantasy of Eric Flint, http://www.ericflint.net (January 11, 2006).