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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. Sheโ€™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. Daibhid C
    September 5, 2013 @ 1:11 am

    Oddly, I have no memory of Starblazer. When I was a kid, I used to accumulate Commandos, despite war stories never being my thing, because hey, they were comics and what was I supposed to do, not read them? But even as a sci-fi geek who loved Dr Who, 2000AD, etc., I didn't even know Starblazer existed until just a few years ago, by which time it didn't.


  2. Iain Coleman
    September 5, 2013 @ 1:13 am

    But the chief engine of the narrative was the cliffhanger. [continued]

    I see what you did there.


  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 5, 2013 @ 3:30 am

    I gather it had very little distribution outside of Scotland.


  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 5, 2013 @ 3:30 am

    Sometimes the obvious joke really is the correct one.


  5. Iain Coleman
    September 5, 2013 @ 4:57 am

    I vaguely remember Starblazer – that is to say, I remember its existence, the actual stories evidently made no impression – and indeed I grew up in Scotland.

    Commando was much more popular, and I do have memories of that. Not actual stories, but the general tenor of cheerful brutality and xenophobic stereotyping. In my mind, all Commando stories basically go like:

    Die, Tommy schweinhund!

    No sausage-swilling kraut's gonna get me!

    [grenades, explosions, bayonets etc]


    for 64 pages or whatever it was. They just don't tell 'em like that any more.


  6. BerserkRL
    September 5, 2013 @ 5:44 am

    Algol's spaceship looks a lot like a certain Battlestar (albeit with Enterprise nacelles).


  7. BerserkRL
    September 5, 2013 @ 5:51 am

    But sometimes the best way to build suspense is to break off right in the middle of the


  8. BerserkRL
    September 5, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    Also, re Cosmic Outlaw: if the spacecraft really is doomed, how can anyone save it?


  9. Eric Gimlin
    September 5, 2013 @ 9:38 am

    As much as I'm enjoying the series, it seems like your coverage of the pulps is losing something in the compression. I can't spot any one statement that's incorrect, but as a whole some of it seems misleading. This is entirely possibly because I do collect at least some pulps, and am too close to the subject for something that's only a few paragraphs in your overall work.

    For example, GALAXY was a digest that came along in 1950 and, while it is one of the most important books of the late golden age of SF it didn't come along until at least 10 years into said golden age. And only a handful of the pulps were weekly; Astounding SF and Weird Tales were never better than monthly.

    This is minor at best, but it did catch my attention and throw me somewhat. I'm probably part of a diminishing group that would notice, and like I said no individual statement was wrong that I could see. I'm happy to help if there's anyway I can; but be warned I'm far from an expert myself.


  10. Nyq Only
    September 5, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    Likewise – I feel like something was hidden from me ๐Ÿ™


  11. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 5, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    That's fair. I may tinker this installment before I get the next one up – I had an idea for an illustration I should have done and didn't as well.


  12. BerserkRL
    September 5, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Burroughs does have a way with opening lines. For example:

    TARZAN OF THE APES: I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.

    PIRATES OF VENUS: If a female figure in a white shroud enters your bedchamber at midnight on the thirteenth day of this month, answer this letter; otherwise, do not.

    LAND OF HIDDEN MEN: “My Lord, I may go no farther,” said the Cambodian.

    BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR: I was shot down behind the German lines in September, 1989. [written around 1942]

    BEWARE!: A small pane in the leaded glass of the window tinkled to the study floor, as the bullet embedded itself in the ebony paneling behind the Emperor.

    TARZAN AT THE EARTH’S CORE: Pellucidar, as every schoolboy knows, is a world within a world, lying, as it does, upon the inner surface of the hollow sphere which is the Earth.

    THE LOST CONTINENT: Since earliest childhood I have been strangely fascinated by the mystery surrounding the history of the last days of twentieth century Europe.


  13. Daibhid C
    September 5, 2013 @ 11:01 am

    The reply button doesn't seem to be working, so imagine this comes straight after Nyq Only's comment.

    Yeah, like Iain, I seem to have missed out on Starburst despite growing up in Scotland.

    I would add that while Iain's dialogue sums up about 95% of Commandos, I was always fascinated by the rare exceptions. Stories where the baddies were greedy and fanatical officers on both sides, and Jerry and Tommy realise they have more in common with each other than with their superiors. They weren't common, but they did exist. I always imagined them being written by writers who just couldn't face writing the same old thing for the millionth time, and who probably weren't xenophobic themselves but knew what Commando was supposed to be like.

    Thinking about it, I wonder if what Morrison learnt from "the expert editors at Thomson" was how to stick strictly to the letter of chafing editorial constraints, while at the same time actually doing whatever you felt like.


  14. timber-munki
    September 5, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

    Strange that there's been no reprint collections of anything from Starblazer. Given the success of the various Commando nostalgia collections that have been put out in recent years. I suppose it's down to the poor sales/recognition south of the border wouldn't make it viable.

    BTW will you be covering Morrison's Zoids work?


  15. drjon
    September 5, 2013 @ 11:35 pm

    Strangely enough, we had Starblazer on the newsagency shelves here in Australia…


  16. Mazz
    September 6, 2013 @ 5:21 am

    I lived just outside London when these came out and remember them being fairly easily available, I know I got them from a couple of my local newsagents.

    I think I had about the first 100 issues or so, yet another piece of my childhood that has disappeared over the years. I occasionally consider picking up old copies, but tend to be put off by the worry that they probably weren't much good…


  17. Katherine Sas
    August 19, 2014 @ 6:26 am



  18. Daru
    February 15, 2015 @ 6:15 am

    I have wonderful nostalgic memories of Starblazer, rekindled only recently by this blog. Thanks Phil.


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