Ring of Fire

Interesting series of books. What would happen if a town in West Virginia got popped back to the mid 1600s. I like it, I really do – but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to whack Eric Flint and David Weber upside the head with a clue by four sometime. The issue in the book is how to bootstrap a tiny group of uptimers back to the 20th century.

They do understand the lack of resupplying the modern supplies like lightbulbs, tires for vehicles, fuel for vehicles and *toilet paper*. Perhaps they didn’t bother asking anybody, or hitting Google, but toilet paper is the easiest thing to produce. It is the nice smooth paper for printing upon that is  the pain in the rump to produce. Paper is wood pulped, then floated onto a screen to form the thin layer that is then dried, burnished and trimmed.. If you skip the burnishing [which compacts the surface fibers into the smooth writable surface needed to keep the ink from soaking in and making a blurry mess.] If all you want is a soft absorbant paper, skip the burnishing step and cut to sheets. I know they only had the books that were in town when they were moved – but with 3 machine shops, a coal mine and a power plant, they could bootstrap themselves back into making steel fairly quickly. *cough* open hearth furnace *cough* There is a lot of tech that is older than most people think and was available. I know it is silly to expect modern authors to know industrial history but all they need to do is *ask* their fans. Lois Bujold uses her fans as researchers. Fans have a wide range of interests, and I am not the only person in fandom that has friends doing research into medieval metalworking.

Turning the rails from train tracks into armor for an ironclad? Dudes – that was a serious waste of perfectly good train tracks. The bloomeries of the time could produce iron and steel that would have been perfectly suitable for making the sheets for cladding the ships. That would have left the rails to be repurposed for more local rail projects. They could also make more rails. Trip hammers were not unknown, and there were waterwheel driven trip hammers in use in Europe of the time. Though I do love the mental visual of an ironclad going up against the sailing war vessels of the time.

All things considered, it is actually an enjoyable series, a ‘popcorn’ read if you will. No deep inner meaning, lots of action, adventure and hot spy on spy action. I think it would be an interesting cable series. You can get the first couple of books in the series at Baen Books Free Library and give it a read.

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