Eric Flint (1947-2022)

SF writer Eric Flint, 75, died July 17, 2022, according to his longtime publisher Baen Books.

Flint was best known for his Assiti Shards Universe, starting with 1632 (2000), in which a modern small town and all its inhabitants are transported back in time. Flint built the series into a sprawling shared universe with books and stories by many authors, including numerous anthologies and the magazine Grantville Gazette. He later founded his own small publisher, Ring of Fire Press, devoted to the world. He was well loved by his peers and the community, and lauded for his generosity in teaching, sharing his knowledge and experience, and collaborating with newer writers.

Flint began publishing SF with “Entropy, and the Strangler” (1993), and his debut novel was Mother of Demons (1997). He wrote or co-authored more than 70 novels and many short stories. Flint frequently collaborated with other authors, including in the Belisarius series (with David A. Drake); the Assiti Shards Universe (with various authors, including David Weber, Andrew Dennis, and Virginia DeMarce); Rats, Bats and Vats (with Dave Freer); and Heirs of Alexandria (with Mercedes Lackey). Notable books include Dragon Award winner 1637: No Peace Beyond the Line (2020, with Charles E. Gannon) and Dragon Award finalists 1636: The Cardinal Virtues (2015, with Walter H. Hunt), 1635: A Parcel of Rogues (2015, with Andrew Dennis), 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught (2016), and The Span of Empire (2016, with David Carrico).

Flint was the longtime editor of the Grantville Gazette (now edited by Walt Boyes) and edited Jim Baen’s Universe from 2006-2010, as well as various anthologies. He often edited volumes of stories by SF writers of the past, including Randall Garrett, Tom Godwin, Keith Laumer, Murray Leinster, and James H. Schmitz. Starting in 1999, Flint was the first editor of the Baen Free Library, which offers free ebooks to readers. He famously said, “The real enemy of authors — especially midlist writers — is not piracy. It’s obscurity.”

Flint was born February 6, 1947 in Southern California. He lived in France from ages five to ten for his father’s business, and spent much of his teen years near Fresno CA. He attended UCLA, graduating in 1968, and spent three years in graduate school working on a PhD in the history of Southern Africa in the 18th and early 19th centuries. He left school with a master’s in History in 1971 after becoming a committed socialist, believing that labor activism was better practiced in the workplace. He was a longshoreman, truck driver, auto forge worker, meat packer, and glassblower, but from 1974 primarily worked as a machinist. He traveled extensively and was an activist in California, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, and Alabama. In 1992, after 25 years as an activist, he decided to turn his attention seriously to writing. By 1999, he was writing full-time. He settled in northwest Indiana.

Flint was a frequent guest of honor at conventions. In 2018 he received a special award from the Sidewise Awards “for his ongoing encouragement of the genre of alternate history through his support of the community and writers developed around his 1632 series… resulting in dozens of stories and novels and helping to launch the careers of many authors.”

He is survived by his wife Lucille, a daughter and son-in-law, and two grandchildren.

For more, see his entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

The Locus 2016 interview with Flint.

6 thoughts on “Eric Flint (1947-2022)

  • July 20, 2022 at 2:07 pm
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    Hell of a good writer. RIP, Mr. Flint. In a parallel universe, you live still.

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  • July 21, 2022 at 4:08 pm
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    How do you praise , a mortal, who create, a whole new universe, that is alive and still growing, actually more than one. I never meet him. But i know his worlds and love them.

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  • July 25, 2022 at 1:04 am
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    Not according to Baen, as report by Baen; otherwise it reads as if the writer thinks Baen are not trustworthy in reporting Eric Flint’s death, which I don’t imagine is the intent of the obituary.

    Eric was a lovely man, and His collaborations with new and unknown writers showed his commitment to lift others up, rather than the current tendency of of some to knock people down.

    He shall be missed.

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  • July 27, 2022 at 9:07 am
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    I’m sorry to hear this news. Eric and I were often on opposite sides in the free-vs-paid discussions in the early days of ebooks, but I always respected him. Despite our differences and his intense passion for his work, he was well-informed and willing to discuss, rather than argue (an important distinction often missing today).

    We’ve lost a terrific writer, a pioneer of a new era in publishing, and an advocate for writers and readers. He will be missed.

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  • August 16, 2022 at 5:55 am
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    Eric Flint’s 1632 novels helped me towards the end of 2021 when I was having a hard time, and while looking up the next novel I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing. Never have I known and perhaps never again shall there be a literary world so dedicated and based not in the mind of a man but of a community. He truly let the world go beyond himself and I hope this series will have graceful end, putting a bow on a masterpiece of a lifetime.

    Likely never to become part of the larger zeitgeist, but for generations to come I know new readers like me will stumble into Flint’s Labyrinth and be in awe of such a massive, strange, flawed, beautiful, and crazy world.

    Rest in peace Eric Flint

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  • August 16, 2022 at 6:55 pm
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    A wonderful talent and teacher of history with the 1632 franchise who will be missed for all the good usual reasons. 1632 so captivated us that readers became authors. In the words of Denise Beasley, “Hows cool is that?”
    But now, who is going to carryon the Ottoman onslaught? How we know where Commodore Cantrell is heading at the end of Gannon’s “No Peace Beyond the Line?” Will Gretchen Richter, the Lady Protector of Lower Silesia continue in her fight to bring democracy to that part of Poland?
    Here is hoping that Georg Huff, Paula Goodlett and Charles Gannon among others continue these storylines.

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