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Long Story Short, Jodi Taylor 08 March 2024

2019 science fiction anthology collecting stories mostly in the Chronicles of St Mary's series (time travel).

As before, these can stand alone, though they each have a bare introduction so that the thoroughly new to the series shouldn't be too confused. (They're St Mary's. They observe history via time travel.)

"Christmas Past" has the traditional illicit Christmas jump, this time to give a feast to a couple of Victorian chimney-climbing boys. (See And the Rest Is History for why.) It's a bit cosy and feel-good, but as a coda to that book it's welcome.

"The Battersea Barricades" tells the story of the oppression and revolution that led to the setting of the St Mary's books. For me it's a little disappointing to have it filled in; compared with the events of my imagination, constructed from passing references, it can't help but seem trite. (Not to mention optimistic.)

Mrs Enderby gathered her dignity around her. ‘As I have already explained -- a pub fell on me.'

Mrs Shaw muttered something. I caught only the words ‘usually the other way around'.

"The Steam Pump Jump" has Markham leading a jump to view the first demonstration of a steam pump to drain mines (pre Savery). Of course there's more to be done than mere observation.

"And Now For Something Completely Different" has the Time Police trying to find a reason why St Mary's shouldn't have jumped to view the first Mars landing. I mean, a time machine is of its nature also a space machine…

"When Did You Last See Your Father?" combines, somewhat awkwardly, St Mary's shenanigans with a serious and dramatic introduction to Max's father.

"Dessicated Water" is a short piece with an obvious punch-line, but the scene-setting makes it enjoyable.

"Markham and the Anal Probing" features the sort of casual abuse which to me drops St Mary's out of "fun chaotic workplace" into "you're just waving your bits to prove who's bigger" territory—but clearly I'm not intended to feel that way. Hey ho.

"Little Donkey" is a sequel to Taylor's separate novel Nothing Girl (and now it's a series)… which I'm now quite tempted to read, so there's that.

A very uneven bunch, but Taylor's writing carries me over the rough spots.

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: And the Rest Is History
Previous in series: And the Rest Is History | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's | Next 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
Previous in series: An Argumentation of Historians | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's | Next in series: Christmas Past/The Battersea Barricades/The Steam Pump Jump/And Now For Something Completely Different/When Did You Last See Your Father?/Dessicated Water/Markham and the Anal Probing/Little Donkey
Previous in series: Christmas Past/The Battersea Barricades/The Steam Pump Jump/And Now For Something Completely Different/When Did You Last See Your Father?/Dessicated Water/Markham and the Anal Probing/Little Donkey | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's | Next in series: Christmas Past/The Battersea Barricades/The Steam Pump Jump/And Now For Something Completely Different/When Did You Last See Your Father?/Dessicated Water/Markham and the Anal Probing/Little Donkey
Previous in series: Christmas Past/The Battersea Barricades/The Steam Pump Jump/And Now For Something Completely Different/When Did You Last See Your Father?/Dessicated Water/Markham and the Anal Probing/Little Donkey | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's | Next in series: Hope For the Best
Previous in series: The Nothing Girl | Series: Frogmorton Farm | Next in series: The Something Girl

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