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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. John G. Wood
    February 22, 2020 @ 2:25 pm

    If there was ever a setting where the more extreme versions of the Gaia hypothesis make sense, it’s the DW universe. It’s already got intelligent stars, after all, so a planet swatting us for being naughty isn’t much of a stretch.

    Thanks for making the connection with the current situation – it’s obvious once pointed out. Next time I watch Inferno I shall view it somewhat differently!


  2. Roderick T. Long
    February 23, 2020 @ 8:03 am

    “Heck, the fact that all of these people are alive and have the same names is pretty stunning—apparently the universes run so similarly that the same sets of people have sex on the same days in each universe, and that the same sperm fertilizes the same egg in each case. This isn’t so much an argument for free will as definitive proof of its non-existence. ”

    Alternatively, there are zillions of timelines, and Eyepatch World is more easily accessible from ours than the others are precisely because those details are the same.


    • Lambda
      February 24, 2020 @ 1:42 pm

      If I remember rightly, the Doctor gets taken off to the parallel world right after giving up on influencing the base world. So in the same way that the TARDIS keeps landing in places where there’s stuff to be done, its console takes him to a nice, similar world in order to show him that it’s actually really important?

      And/or the TARDIS is a storytelling device in this story. Inferno is, after all, big on things which make no sense when you apply logical analysis but are close enough to making sense that you can fill the gaps through associations.


  3. Camestros Felapton
    February 23, 2020 @ 7:33 pm

    //(Indeed, the popular conception still trended more towards global cooling as the direction of the catastrophe.)//

    I think the peak global cooling scaremongering was a few years later in mid 70s (e.g. 1974 https://nationalcenter.org/Time-Ice-Age-06-24-1974-Sm.jpg) Global warming was featured in early 70s sci-fi, the most cited example it’s why Charlton Heston is sweaty all the time in Soylent Green (1973). I think it was more that a climatic shift was covered less in ecologically related fiction than ‘pollution’ more generally.


    • prandeamus
      February 24, 2020 @ 2:31 pm

      Global cooling was often linked to Nuclear Winter hypotheses, wasn’t it? Gigatons of bomb-created ash, low sunshine levels. Or maybe the theories drifted in that direction.


  4. Christopher Brown
    February 24, 2020 @ 1:50 am

    Ironically, it’s here in Dalek Eruditorum that I think you capture a sense of the good reasons people like this one so much 😀 (I’d vote that the best of the season, but I really, really love The Ambassadors of Death and wouldn’t mind anyone arguing that that most underappreciated masterpiece was instead.)

    No one ever mentions the actual reason why the drilling project ends differently in the two universes: in Eyepatch World, the technicians in the drill room are forced to stay in their positions on pain of death, and wind up turned into Primords who then flood the Project. In Eyeball World, the technicians are allowed to leave, meaning only Stahlman transforms. As you demonstrate in your essay above, the differing rules don’t actually reflect a major ideological difference in the two timelines…but the idea that a world where human lives matter more than their labor will survive longer is a very nice sentiment, all the same.


    • Lambda
      February 24, 2020 @ 2:32 pm

      It’s not quite their labour. The brigade leader doesn’t have a clue how important that is. It’s about their obedience, their validation of his authority. It’s along with how there are plenty of warnings about things generally in both universes which get mostly ignored because it’s Stallman who is in charge, (and ruthless about maintaining that state of affairs in sabotaging the computer,) and the scenes with Benton pointlessly ordering his troops around while the world is shaking itself apart, plus the way he gets instantly primord-ified.

      It’s this close association between natural disaster and human behaviour which give the story much of its power. It’s not just imagining a fictional Earth so you can imagine it getting destroyed for the impact. It connects that with the authority figures around our lives, and how they have the potential to destroy our personal worlds.

      As far as liberalism goes, in Inferno, the world gets destroyed because the vast majority of the staff who know there are big problems don’t have enough actual liberty to do anything about it. Which is actually a good criticism of liberal capitalism.


      • Christopher Brown
        February 25, 2020 @ 1:16 am

        Yet another great interpretation! It’s almost like Inferno is a story full of riches far beyond the stupid grimdark stories it’s often lumped with like Pyramids or Earthshock 😉 (Androzani not included in that bunch, of course).

        Random thought: Do the McCoy stories count as “dark” or “grimdark”? Stuff like Curse of Fenric is intense but I’ve never thought of them as being of the same super-serious bunch as Androzani, Inferno, and the not good Gun stories.


  5. CJM123
    February 24, 2020 @ 3:12 pm

    One thing I do like about Inferno is the subtle anti-military message. Every other character in the story is similar to their Eyeball world counterpart, even though they were raised Fascist. Even Jo becomes close to her normal role.

    Only the Brigade Leader is totally Mirror Universe Evil. And that’s because he and the Brigadeer are men defined by their military role. The Eyeball Brigadeer isn’t good in Inferno, he just happens to be on the side of the British government. Different government, he’s evil. Because the military aren’t actually good in the UNIT era. They are just working for someone else.

    Not super left-wing or progressive, but I’m not sure if the Doctor and soldiers work together long-term could go further than a story which suggests it would all be different easily.


  6. Kate Orman
    April 9, 2020 @ 9:42 pm

    It’s only just occurred to me that Eyepatch World is destroyed in a Flood (of magma).


  7. Mike Rooney
    December 4, 2020 @ 5:50 pm

    I am amazed by the way you have explained things in this article. Pelle Pelle Jacket


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