Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
Taylor has been writing these stories for while, self-published at the start. JODTAA is just now appearing as a paperback in the US, which brings it onto the radar of stone age readers such as myself.
This is the story that introduces Madeleine Maxwell to St Mary’s institute of Historical Research. St. Mary’s is a plucky group of action nerds, equipped with time travel machines which they use to do some serious freaking historical research, thank you very much.
Somehow St. Mary’s is a secret, and is not controlled (or even known) to the powers that be. Implausibility number uno, wouldn’t you say?
So this bunch of academic goofballs is bebopping up and down the timeline, trying to avoid interacting with History, because History kills anyone who messes with her. They supposedly worry about disease and such, but somehow don’t worry that the first time they exhale they expel microbes from the future, along with skin flakes, etc. How they manage to not wipe out everyone in the past with their much longer evolved microbe loads, I can’t say. Implausibility numero two.
With all the risks, they also have no time police. The main protection for the timeline is the secrecy surrounding St. Mary’s, which is implausible in the short run, and impossible in the long run. There are sure to be lot’s of time travellers in the future, including bad guys. But St. Mary’s doesn’t seem to worry about that (at least at the beginning).
Anyway, the point isn’t to make sense, it is to have adventures, don’t you know, with some romance and maybe a bit of actually scholarship along the way.
The story moves along briskly enough, with some witty dialog and fun events. The characters aren’t especially complicated, and their motives are shallow and silly, and, as already noted, many aspects of the plot make little sense.
It all kind of comic book-y, without the artwork.
Which is to say, it’s fine, and fun, as long as you don’t expect more than it is.
There are another half dozen books that may appear soon in the US.
- Jodi Taylor, Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, New York, Night Shade, 2013.
Sunday Book Reviews