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This Day in Science Fiction History: 25 May

Fictional Entry—Sunday, May 25, 1631

Photo with yellow daylilies and the main street of Mannington West Virginia
Mannington Main Street, Mannington West Virginia [Grantville stand-in city] (Photo by unknown person circa 2000)

Article excerpt from Encyclopedia Germanica 1649 Edition


…though due to the roving bands of mercenaries turned bandits, much of the region was depopulated.


On the morning of 25 May in the Year of Our Lord 1631, a strangeness occurred in the region of Thuringia. The town of Grantville appeared in a blinding flash of light. This was witnessed not only by the residents of Grantville itself, but also by several farmers hiding in the woods nearby and a small group of bandits.


The event became known as the Ring of Fire, though other names were assigned at the time by religious and political groups. In Spain and France, it was initially declared the event was the work of the Devil. Soon though, the determination was made by the Catholic church that the event was a miracle from God, inexplicable and unexplainable. This did not prevent Cardinal Richelieu from calling the people of Grantville evil. No one has yet determined the cause of the Ring of Fire, nor why it happened.  


The city of Grantville was moved through unknown means from the continent of North America and the state of West Virginia of the United States of America to Thuringia. Exactly six miles of land, circularly centered on the city, was transported as well. It is believed, though not proven, that the area was moved in a six-mile sphere, resulting in the coal seams below the city moving as well.


Though the city initially lost electrical power, the steam-driven power plant was brought back on-line in a few days, restoring the ability to use electrical-powered technologies. This also allowed the city to restore telephone and radio communications, something that would become increasingly necessary in the following months and years.


Grantville’s arrival changed the course of history for the European continent. The books of history that were available in the city’s libraries and homes showed a completely different route for what was known to them as the “Thirty Year War”. Changes, both small and large, quickly began fanning out from the “up-time” city.


Within months, the city engaged in its first of many battles…




Eric Flint



This Day in Science Fiction History examines notable events, real and fictional, concerning fantasy and science fiction in various media.



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