You Were Expecting Someone Else: UNIT Assembled

It’s been nearly five years since I last wrote about Big Finish on this site. Much of this gap is due to the fact that it’s only fairly recently that Big Finish’s license was expanded to cover the new series, so there’s been pretty slim pickings post-McGann. But in 2015 Big Finish released their first Torchwood and UNIT audios, and since then new series-adjacent material has been a mainstay of their increasingly bloated line. To date there’s nothing that directly ties into the Capaldi era, but as all of Osgood’s stories and all but one of Kate Stewart’s have Capaldi in them, this seemed the line to check back in on the company with.

It’s no secret to anyone who reads my social media that I’m hostile to Big Finish of late. But I haven’t really talked about that in long form. So instead of beating around the bush and coming to a conclusion that Big Finish is in much the same boat as the novel line in terms of its complete failure to do anything of worth with its license, let’s just start up front with the litany of problems this set has. Its hook is compelling enough—the surviving ...

Fatherlands

The Nazis won the war.  They invaded and colonised the Western consciousness.  They marched into, occupied, and restructured our heads.  They redrew the maps in our minds. They razed and rebuilt our perceptions.  They re-engineered our entire civilisation.  They purged the libraries of our brains of the books they didn’t like, and convinced many of us to burn those books, happily, with smiles on our faces, certain that in so doing we were fighting intolerance and tyranny.  They wrote new books, and we filled the shelves with them.  They rewrote our entire story, and we still live in their unfolding plot.

*

The counterfactual genre tends to imagine that, in a victorious Nazi state, the Holocaust would be a dark secret. 

In reality, if Germany had won, today the Holocaust would be known about in Germany. 

It would be part of public consciousness - a small part.  It would even be studied, talked about, theorised - by a few. 

The twenty-first century Nazi state would be perfunctorily apologetic, and claim moral superiority anyway.  Indeed, the 'mistakes' of the past would be one way in which that state, that society, comprehended and oriented its sense ...

Power of the Book Relaunch

Eruditorum Press is pleased to announce the reissuing of TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 2: Patrick Troughton, the second book in the TARDIS Eruditorum series, a sprawling history of modern Britain through the idiosyncratic yet productive lens of Doctor Who. As the name suggests, this volume covers the Patrick Troughton era, with essays on every televised story from The Power of the Daleks through The War Games, along with side jaunts into a myriad of spinoff media both contemporary and anachronistic, as well as essays on other cultural events such as You Only Live TwiceThe PrisonerBatman, and the Summer of Love. 

This newly released edition features rewritten essays on The Underwater Menace, The Enemy of the World, and The Web of Fear to reflect the ten previously missing episodes that have been recovered since the book's initial publication in 2012, as well as an essay on the Telos novella Wonderland. There are also, in the paperback edition, various typesetting adjustments to bring its design up to the quality standards set by other Eruditorum Press books. 

The book is available at the following links in both paperback and DRM-free ebook editions. 

Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords ...

Come Out Onto the Balcony and Wave a Tentacle (The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion)

One of the things you notice a lot more when watching television as a girl is how fundamentally ludicrous a lot of characters' "no makeup and looking slightly ratty" looks are. 

It’s October 31st, 2015. Adele has debuted at number one with “Hello,” just ahead of Justin Bieber’s also new to the charts “Sorry,” a situation that persists through both episodes of this story. Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Mnek & Zara Larson, The Weeknd, and Drake also chart. In news, hundreds die in Pakistan and Afghanistan after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, Paul Ryan becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives, and a Russian plane flying from Egypt to Saint Petersburg is blown up shortly after takeoff, killing 224.

One ought never look a gift coincidence in the mouth when doing psychochronography, so let’s start with the cliffhanger, in which the Doctor’s plane is shot down by a group consciously made to parallel ISIS. On the one hand this is an eerie coincidence, but it’s also the sort of thing that happens when you ostentatiously position your story to be rooted in current events. Comment not on the abyss, as I’m sure someone or other said once ...

The Gateway Drug

Paleolibertarianism was a consciously devised mutation of Austrian-influenced libertarianism, concocted by the late-20th century’s most prominent devotee of Austrian dogma, Murray Rothbard (and his fawning cohorts).  

Libertarianism today draws on several sources.  Ayn Rand is the best known, but the more influential is arguably Murray Rothbard.  (Rothbard’s attitude to Rand fluctuated.)  Rand is more influential for her ‘ideas’.  Rand is more accessible, despite putting up a superficial show of intellectualism.  Rothbard is harder to get a handle on.  Unlike Rand, he is a genuine intellectual – which is often a question of how one couches ideas rather than the ideas themselves.  And he develops.  And he writes long, involved, serious articles (though they get less serious-minded as he gets older).  I would argue that his influence is less in actual ideas and more in the surrounding spheres of aesthetics/style and tactics/strategy.  After all, in fusing libertarianism with conservatism to create paleolibertarianism, the libertarians consciously submerged certain libertarian ideas.  What succeeded – from the libertarian point of view - was arguably less the fusion than the style: the strategic attempt to use populist reactionary politics to further the ...

A Rather Egotistical Young Lady (The Woman Who Lived)

Me takes poorly to the Doctor's "Varys is a mermaid" theory.

It’s October 24th, 2015. KDA with Tinie Tempah and Katy B are at number one with “Turn the Music Louder (Rumble).” One Direction and Sleepy Tom & Diplo enter the top ten, while Bieber, The Weeknd, Drake, and Ellie Goulding are still around. In news, Hurricane Patricia, the most intense tropical storm ever to hit the western hemisphere and the second most intense ever, strikes Mexico and deals nearly half a billion dollars in damage. The Tories change rules to weaken the power of Scottish MPs by ruling that laws affecting only England must have a majority vote of English MPs. Hillary Clinton spends eight hours testifying in front of the Benghazi Committee, while Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb both drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination. 

On television, meanwhile, the two-part structure of the season begins to break down with an episode by a completely different writer than its nominal part one. Let’s set aside my decision to cover them separately, which is really a decision about how many words I think I can spend on them and not about them per ...

Summing Up, Part 1

As we know, the Austrian School is - but is not limited to - a heterodox branch of bourgeois economics.  It is, however, founded upon a more-or-less explicitly political project.  And this project continues to animate its zombie, and its zombified victims, infected by its bite.  But then the Austrians’ iteration of the new (in the 1870s) bourgeois economic doctrine of marginalism was always a political project, even in its dry theoretical basis. 

Marginalism itself arose as a way to escape the increasing obviousness of the fact that capital exploits labour.  This was a necessary project as capital spread across the globe.  It took the conscious form of an attempt to address genuine weaknesses in the classical labour theory of value.  These weaknesses were interpreted as evidence that the theory needed to be discarded precisely because the class position/alignment of the theoreticians addressing the issue pushed them towards a view of value which did not derive from labour.  It became an even more necessary project after the Paris Commune scared the shit out of the bourgeoisie. 

The Austrian School, in the person of Menger, helped create marginalism.  But it continued to ...

You Were Expecting Someone Else: The Legends of Ashildr

For all that we’ve been picking on the inadequacies of the standard book line, there had been efforts in the background to try new things. For a variety of reasons we didn’t cover efforts like Summer Falls and The Angel’s Kiss in the late Matt Smith era (actually just one reason, which was me saving things for the book), but they certainly represented one effort to change what the book line can and should do. The Legends of Ashildr represents a stab at another possible shape the books could take—anthologies of several short stories. Obviously there are some constraints around this. Just dumping a couple Doctor Who short story collections a year is an invitation for mediocrity with no obvious sales hooks. Whatever one might say about Big Bang Generation, it at least has a hook you can sell it with in a way that wouldn’t be true of a straightforward collection of shorts.

But what does work is grabbing gaps in the series and filling them with anthologies. So, for instance, when you have several hundred years of Ashildr/Me growing and developing as a character between the two halves of her debut you drop a collection of four ...

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