An Argumentation of Historians (A Reassuring Author’s Note)

When we put together The Long and Short of It, I thought I’d write an introduction to each story, telling how and why it came about, what was the thinking behind it and the circumstances under which it was written.

I personally thought this brief glimpse into my thought processes would frighten the living daylights out of normal, intelligent, charming people – i.e. my readers – but not so. The intros proved to be nearly as popular as the stories themselves, and that’s not hurtful at all, is it?

Anyway, I was struggling away at the typeface when the command came down from the cloud-cloaked Accent Press penthouse.

‘The intros went quite well. It might be a good idea to do one for the next book. Only a suggestion, of course.’

As an author, I know on which side my bread’s buttered. As an Accent Press author, I know on which side the electrodes are lubricated, and made haste to comply.

‘Oh, and for God’s sake make the book a bit more cheerful this time,’ was the supplementary command, relayed by a sweating minion. ‘Your last effort traumatised so many readers we had to set up a counselling group.’

While on this subject, I’ve been asked to say that for anyone still suffering the after-effects of that fine book And the Rest Is History, a few places still remain on the Accent Press sponsored Oh For God’s Sake Get Over It and Stop Being Such a Baby Support Group. Sessions are held every Wednesday and are open to all. To enrol, please bring either the deeds of your house or your first-born – whichever can be most easily translated into cash.

So, here it is, the next Chronicle. An Argumentation of Historians – and yes, it is, I think, a little more light-hearted. There are no fewer disasters, but everyone is very cheerful about them because, of course, I’m not lulling you all into a false sense of security at all, am I?

Anyway, to bang on with the intro: there are certain time-travel scenarios I never wanted to get involved with. For instance, the one where the heroine goes back in time and is swept off her feet by a handsome contemporary who, inexplicably, falls in love with a woman with no land, no fortune, no skills and no important male relations either to protect her or give her status. Never mind that she looks strange, speaks even more strangely, is entirely ignorant of the world around her, and seems not to have any idea of her proper place in it. Despite all that their love would cross time itself – she would abandon everything for his sake – and they would live happily ever after.

No heroine of mine – I said – would ever fall in love with a contemporary and, inexplicably, abandon hot baths, chocolate, antibiotics, dentists, central heating, universal suffrage, contraception, tea, Toad-in-the-Hole, bras, soap that doesn’t strip your skin away, Lycra, books, and the safe removal of a volatile appendix, to live in a cold, damp, draughty castle with no plumbing – indeed no comforts of any kind – no matter how handsome and romantic the hero.

And then I thought: well, what if the hero wasn’t romantic at all? In any way. And neither was the heroine. What if they could barely communicate? What if their mindsets were worlds apart? What if he found her behaviour inexplicable?  What if, despite all her best efforts to fit in, she lurched from one crisis to the next, astounding and frightening those around her? How long would she last?

Everyone has their own place in time. They may not like it. It might not be pleasant. But it’s their place and it fits them perfectly and to leave it is always to court catastrophe.

An Argumentation of Historians is available to pre-order on audible now here.

And is available for you American audible-ers here.

42 thoughts on “An Argumentation of Historians (A Reassuring Author’s Note)

  1. Considering Mrs Partridge is Cleo, we are left with a dilemma : are you, Jodi dearest, channeling Calliope, Melpomene or Thalia ? Or are you the fighting ground of three of the Muses, beloved by each of them, and each of them jealous ?

    Watching (well, reading) from the sidelines, I would say the mix is as exhilarating as it is explosive. I am on tenterhooks waiting for the release of your new opus – I mean, I would even pre-order your shopping list, convinced it would be full of thrills and tribulations !

  2. Morning Jodi. Quick question – for those of us who bought all the short stories individually, is there any way of getting hold of your introductions to them without having to buy The Long and Short of it?

  3. …and THAT, Ms Taylor, is the best “tickle” you’ve ever done. I was feeling a pleasant sense of anticipation as regards ‘An Argumentation of Historians’; I’m now feeling positively rabid!

      • Also feeling rabid !!
        What an introduction – Jodi, you probably aren’t old enough to remember a pop song “How Do You Do It?” – but that’s what I want to know. How DO you do it – every time, without fail, producing books – and precursors to books – without which we simply are not living, just existing.
        Thank you 🙂
        Tina J.

      • Oh dear…well…this is awkward. Rabid readers will require a series of shots, but don’t worry..if you were a dog we’d insist on your head on a platter…my, my that really sounded so much funnier in my head.

        Ahem…’scuse me, must go tend my turnips-or-something….

  4. As always I’m laughing out loud! Can’t wait! I’m thinking that it can only be Ms. North – she’s the only one St. Mary’s would willingly get rid of to another time!

  5. I experience trauma while reading just about everyone one of your books. But I get over it! No support group needed. Next book please!

  6. Jodi, Every time I read your blog, I wish we could chat over the fence every day. What a bright spot you are for me 🙂 Thanks for that, and let me know if the place next to you comes up for sale. This country is giving me hives, any way. I just bought both. I’m not a fan of short stories for the most part, and so didn’t immediately grab Long&Short, but I have it now, because I can’t imagine not having it. My plan is to read through your books from the beginning, starting with the Chronicles, which should get me to book 9 about on time. Then of course Nothing/Something/Little Donkey and etc. Thank you for being a bright spot for me

  7. Personally I would not give up chocolate or proper underwear for any man…who could be sweaty and as handsome as the day is long, no no no, unless he looked like Cary Grant in his heyday maybe. Jodi, I have had the pleasure of meeting you but cannot decide if you are a very youthful sixty or a well worn 50, or somewhere in between, but I expect you know of Cary Grant’ s chiselled good looks.
    A heroine arriving by pod inside a shoe factory making kinky boots, now that might be a tale for the telling, perhaps by Miss Lingoss!
    I will cease my ramble now before the predictive text really takes over….
    Can’t wait for the new book and short story!

  8. I do hope you aren’t talking of our intrepid Max, who I’m quite certain would never give up hot baths, chocolate and soft soap. MIss Lingoss, most likely wouldn’t give up chaos– oh, I mean R and D. So who does that leave? Someone who likes breath defeating corsets? Wow, the mind boggles…staggers even. Can’t wait to dive into the new book.

  9. Jodi, thanks for the actually useful information on Audible, US. Used your HTML linkage to FINALLY get Audible to accept my pre-order of “An Argumentation of Historians” . Still getting blank states from them on the subject of “The Battersea Barricades”, but every little bit helps!

    BTW, but who will be narrating “The Battersea Barricades” ?

        • Hmmm! Only Jodi’s linkage got me to the right place in Audible (US) so I could pre-order “An Argumentation of Historians”. I’d been banging my head against a wall trying to get satisfaction from Audible prior to that getting only vacant states in return.

          They have NOW confirmed my pre-order, but the web site still doesn’t acknowledge the future existence of “The Battersea Barricades”. I only know about it from Facebook postings on the fan site. I do enjoy Zara Ramm’s narrations.

  10. Pre-ordered on the US Audible site today, and I daresay I think you’ve already come up with the title to the next one:

    “Oh For God’s Sake Get Over It and Stop Being Such a Baby”

    In which Max is beset by all manner of childish whining on the part of everyone at St. Mary’s. So much so, that she figures anywhere-in-time is better than here having to listen to them all. She gets into a POD, the world goes white, and she realizes that in her anger and frustration she didn’t a) tell anyone where she was going b) left in Leon’s secret POD, and c) opens the door on a world she doesn’t even recognize as Earth…even though it is, it must be…right?

    I may suck at a LOT of things, but writing synopses and piggybacking on others’ brilliance certainly aren’t among them. 😉

    • Actually, I’m thinking of calling the next one ‘Hope For the Best …’ and the one after that ‘… Plan for the Worst.’ But I expect Accent will have something to say about that. They usually do.

      • I expect Accent have entirely too much to say about everything. They really should leave you alone. You did quite well without them enforcing names like Argumentation. What else are they messing with, I’d like to know.

        • Actually, with hindsight, I think they were right about AAOH. It was an improvement on my original. This is quite normal behaviour for publishers – I actually think I have quite a lot of say regarding titles and covers. I don’t always get what I want but I do know they wouldn’t do anything I didn’t like.

          • Just so long as your original title wasn’t: “Don’t eat the yellow snow!” Save that one for a Markham short story! 🙂

          • My first short story – When a Child is Born – was originally entitled ‘Don’t Eat Yellow Snow.’

  11. Okay, now I’m getting worried. I’ve seen a couple of comments that (seem to) refer to stories I haven’t seen, and that are presumably on e-readers, which I don’t do, and don’t want to do. Am I missing out? Are they going to be printed? Am I getting frantic? (At last something I can answer! Yes, I most certainly am!) are there more short, or even, long stories in the offing? Good grief. Another rabid fan. Quick, the antidote!

  12. Aaaaarrrrggggghhh! Just read your intro to “An Augmentation….” and I now have to wait until April?!?! I can’t, I simply can’t!!! Now I am going to have to start at book one and read vvveeerrryyy slowly until the new book arrives! Wicked woman!

    You’re the best!!

  13. Okay, the world has stopped spinning around, I checked the Long and the Short of it, and now I can name the cause of my (brief) meltdown. There was a reference to the Battersea Barricades (battle of, I presumed) and then a reference to Nothing/Something/Little Donkey, all of which sounded intriguing but may not refer to anything that was ever written. But since I don’t read anything not on actual paper, I, well, basically I panicked. Are they stories I haven’t read? Or just some in joke I out of? I can live with that….

    • Hi Glen, welcome back. The Battersea Barricades is the next short story due out in April. It won’t be available in paperback because it’s only about 20K words which is too short for a printed book. The Nothing Girl and The Something Girl are available in paperback. Little Donkey is a short story again only available as an ebook. Hope this helps.

    • I concur. The astrolabe was as distinctive as a Jules Verne Hetzel edition cover!

      However, you’ll notice there is some burning building on the cover, as usual…

  14. Hey there, I followed your link to pre-order every one of these signed books for my wife (she loves all the books – I don’t see her for days at a time when she gets a new one). I live in America and was going to be charged over 100 pounds for shipping, the books themselves only came to 75 pounds. Look I realize I live in the old colonies, but is this some sort of taxation without representation? Do I have to go to Boston and look for a library near the harbor?

    (But all kidding aside, is there a way to combine shipping as this seems outrageous and probably an issue with the website?)

      • Goodness gracious! ( a comment never said by me out loud!) I live in America. Bought all the books a BArnes and Noble. Granted, I had to order all but two of them, but still. And the covers appear to be the same as the British covers (not always true) so they ARE available here. And probably faster than ordering from England…..

  15. I am a rabid fan. Which surprises me at my age — 64 — but . . . what the hell, right? And I felt an overwhelming urge tonight to tell you how MUCH I enjoy your work, Ms. Taylor. So . . . yeah. Thank you so much.

  16. What has your age to do with enjoying excellent writing and exciting stories. I am now 75 – though obviously I was younger when I first found Jodi.

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