RogerBW's Blog

No Time Like the Past, Jodi Taylor 30 April 2021

2015 science fiction, fifth in the Chronicles of St Mary's series. Max tries to get down to the business of investigating major historical events in contemporary time (don't call it time travel), but old enemies are an ongoing problem, even out of order.

As so often with this series, the pacing is strange: there's no gradual ramping-up of tension, and the major confrontation is about half-way through. It's all interspersed with historical observation missions, as well as artefact recoveries (you can't bring things back in a time machine but you can hide them somewhere to be dug up later).

It seems to me that an enquiring historian would notice just how neatly everything seems to work out and stop worrying about paradoxes, since this increasingly seems to be the sort of universe in which things always were that way (so even if changes are happening nobody has any memory of the world without those changes). Still, that would remove some of the tension; what do you do when you've accidentally knocked out Ephialtes just before he leads the Persians round the back of the Spartans at Thermopylae?

The individual episodes are enjoyable, though sometimes a bit heavily foreshadowed. And there's progress in the overall long-term plot (though as an experienced reader of time travel stories I am well aware that just because you've killed an enemy that doesn't mean they won't show up again). They just don't fit together in the middle layer, the glue between individual episodes that makes a book rather than an anthology. A Trail Through Time was unexpectedly solid; this one's back to the recipe as before.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Previous in series: When a Child is Born/Roman Holiday/Christmas Present/Ships and Stings And Wedding Rings/The Very First Damned Thing/The Great St Mary's Day Out/My Name is Markham/A Perfect Storm | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's | Next in series: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1