Michael Flynn: “Eifelheim” (c) 2006.
Michael Flynn is a science fiction writer whose stories are often about space-faring. He won the Prometheus Award, for his novel “In the Country of the Blind”, and also for the novel “Fallen Angels”, co-written with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. He won the Theodore Sturgeon Award in 1998 for the story “House of Dreams”. He has also been awarded the Robert A. Heinlein Medal, for his sci fi writings.
His novellas and novels have been nominated for the Hugo Award multiple times.
The 2006 novel “Eifelheim” is based on the 1986 novella “Eifelheim”.
Eifelheim is a fictitious medieval village in the Black Forest region of Germany. The village is abandoned in 1349, when the Black Plague spreads to it. But it is not resettled again, and the area around it, Hollenthal (Hell’s Valley) is avoided by all travelers.
Using nonfictional historic figures, events, places, and scientific theories, Michael Flynn has created a very imaginative and compelling fictional story that has the elements of historical fiction and science fiction.
I found the story fascinating from a number of perspectives — the historical facts; the fictional characters — the contemporary ones, the medieval ones, and the aliens, the Krenken, from another star system; the different world views — those of the medieval times and those of the Krenken; and there is also the advanced science technology the Krenkens have developed, including space travel in “one great leap” across star systems.
So, here is how I’ve organized my write-up:
A summary of the overall story.
Quotations from Flynn’s introduction, and from the history and physics notes at the end of the novel: about the historical facts –people, times, and places — that provide the framework for the novel. I’ve added brief notes about the connections to the story.
The characters. I’ve added more details about the story here. It will make for a rather convoluted summary of the story, rather than a chronological one.
The conclusion of the story in the “NOW”: to the medieval graveyard of the Krenken whom the last Pastor of Eifelheim, Dietrich, had called “Johann von Sterne” or Johann of the Stars.