Crash log of the Singularity

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. BatmanAoD
    April 27, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

    I'm intrigued by your comment that the death of the Daleks in the episode involves "explosions of horrific viscera." How graphic is their demise?


  2. inkdestroyedmybrush
    April 27, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

    Its always interested me that primarily people have remembered the "clowning" part of Pat's persona, and completely missed the grinning maniac who does tend to laugh it up when the big explosion has happened. He alternately appears to gain control in stories and then have it slip through his hands in a flash… so his level of unpredictability is pretty damn high. He does come across as the mad clown, not the clown, and it certainly is a very big difference.


  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 28, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    BatmanAOD – Tough to say, given that it's a reconstruction. More visceral and biological, though, than they had been of late (save for their regression in Daleks Master Plan), but not moreso than modern standards.


  4. landru
    May 12, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    I just finished the reconstruction last night. This review is pretty accurate in as far as it can be. I think the lack of moving images make the beginning and ending difficult to judge. The "renewal" sequence of events are hard to understand. There is a very strange moment when the Doctor keeps saying to concentrate on one thing and then the Tardis stops making a very irritating sound. Then, and I think it's sort of confirmed, the Doctor pics up Dalek metal and puts it in his pocket. Almost as if the Tardis knows the Doctor needs to go to Vulcan and fight the Daleks to get his wits back. Odd.

    The ending chaotic and reminds me a lot of the end of Genesis of the Daleks … at least in terms of the random chaos going on.

    I'm sad to say that, since it is such a great story, I find it hard to get anyone to sit through the recon. If any story is a blue print of things to come (at least the really good things to come) than it is this one. Playing to all the strengths of the show.


  5. Henry R. Kujawa
    August 6, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Philip Sandifer:
    "But that was always a part of the Doctor – the anarchic spirit and slight revelry in chaos. It's just that now those aspects of him seem wholly unchecked. The fear at this point is not that this isn't the Doctor. It's that maybe we never really knew who the Doctor was."

    Since I take most of what The Doctor says about his past adventures on face value, I tend to assume that he had a lot of adventures before we ever met him. And, that somehow he got distracted from them when he & Susan decided to come to Earth (perhaps the Hand of Omega was involved– heh).

    On that score, I therefore tend to feel that "The Doctor", as we saw him as William Hartnell, while he may very well have been "the original" (I believe it) was NOT the way he'd always been. Because he'd gotten old and weak and frail and was starting to go senile.

    And so when Patrick Troughton arrives, we may well be seeing the "real" Doctor, as he may have been in his prime, for the very first time.

    I got such a huge charge when I first read that, in the wake of Colin Baker, JNT decided to find a "Patrick Troughton type". And BOY, did he ever. It amazes me how he lucked out the way he did. Sylvester McCoy was apparently the first (and only) person he interviewed for the part. And despite having seen every previous Doctor before him, McCoy became MY favorite Doctor. I only wish he'd done as many episodes as Troughton had. (Maybe more.)


  6. orfeo
    January 4, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

    "This isn't about the Doctor trying to maintain the integrity of what a Doctor Who story is against an onslaught of Daleks. It's a story about the Doctor trying to create a Doctor Who story in the face of a story where the Daleks have won."

    Indeed, one of the things I really enjoyed about this story(having just watched it over the last few days) was that when the Doctor, Polly and Ben arrive in the colony, there is a very strong sense of a full story that is already going on which neither they nor the audience understand at first. It's very quickly apparent that there are plots and factions going on, before there is enough information to work out who we should side with.

    Which makes what follows, with various characters trying to use the Daleks as a tool for their own strategies, all the more satisfying. Not least because while the characters are focused on their own machinations, the audience knows that they have missed the important strategy: that of the Daleks in using the humans as tools.


  7. Holly
    September 15, 2014 @ 8:59 am

    I'd be really interested to see what you make of the Power of the Daleks audio reconstruction narrated by Tom Baker. As a reconstruction, it's a miserable failure – it doesn't bother explaining very much of what's going on, so you get blocks of 90 seconds of just vague ambient sounds, and the audio quality of the recording itself, is pretty bad, and the main creative decision is so transformative as to completely change the mood of the story – but Tom Baker narrates it in character as his Doctor and spends the regeneration scene moaning in second-hand embarrassment about how stupid he looked, and inserting funny little Pescatons-style asides to the audience. It seems like something you'd find interesting.


  8. John
    September 8, 2015 @ 12:44 pm

    I think there's a method to the Doctor's madness here, causing such chaos at the very end after seemingly failing to accomplish much of anything prior. Thing is, he could've destroyed the one Dalek in episode two or three. But he correctly suspects that Lesterson has another Dalek or two in hiding, and would've kept on tinkering. And so I suggest that he deliberately lets things get out of hand, permits the Daleks to decimate the colony, and then not only destroys the Daleks but also the colony's power supply,so the survivors learn a very harsh lesson: Don't Fuck With The Daleks. Or the Doctor.


  9. DM
    April 5, 2021 @ 10:26 am

    I found it interesting that the seizure of power from the governor was not just depicted as a coup where a group of officials (usually military) within an elite overthrow the ruler simply out of personal ambition – though there is of course that aspect – but it is actually described and to some degree depicted as a rebellion and revolution that has broad popular support. However, the governor is depicted as not some sort of despot or incompetent but as benign and hardworking – if somewhat bureaucratic – and while we are told there are rebels and shown they have popular support we are given no indication of any cause of discontent, any grievances or demands the rebels have or any political or social programme. Nor is there any sort of social or ethnic (or species) distinction drawn between the rulers and the populace – this isn’t a colony where a small number of Earthers are seen to be dominating or exploiting an indigenous species for instance).

    Power of the Daleks was written in 1966 and I think it reflects how colonial (and Commonwealth) conflicts were seen by many people in Britain – as disruptions caused by locals who have unclear or unimportant or even non-existent reasons for complaint against a well-meaning and decent government and led and manipulated by an individual or individuals who are really only seeking personal power and have no interest in the common people.

    Also interesting is that in that in later (and modern) Who, the Doctor often lands on a planet where there is some sort of dispute and sympathizes or aids the rebels or even plays a key role in the rebellions victory but here the Doctor has no real interest in the rebels or their complaints (he doesn’t even inquire as to the reasons for the rebellion) and helps restore order, even if only incidentally as a byproduct of defeating the Cybermen.


  10. John Binns
    November 29, 2021 @ 12:28 pm

    My new thought having watched this the other day is that this is Whitaker’s retort to the notion (which I’d previously considered very reasonable) that the original Dalek serial saw the Daleks definitively killed off before they’d ever left Skaro. The (superbly scary) idea here is that all it takes is a handful of Daleks in a small ship (perhaps representing a very rudimentary space programme) to spawn a ‘new race of Daleks’ (which is what the new-borns say as they roll off the production line). Note that these Daleks, like those in the original serial, are largely reliant on static electricity, but are adapting (in a different way to the travel discs in The Dalek Invasion of Earth). This gives one reason why they are never defeated – one little ship, or one Dalek ‘falling through time’, is enough to re-spawn – and why they present such a problem for the Time Lords, so that they had to resort to an attempt to avert their original creation.


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