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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. Scott
    October 13, 2014 @ 12:22 am

    Having so many glorious flashbacks to cheap Baen Books paperbacks found in second hand bookshops right now…


  2. Scott
    October 13, 2014 @ 12:23 am

    Although the cover would need a scantily-clad Romana to be 100% accurate.


  3. Lewis Christian
    October 13, 2014 @ 12:44 am

    I haven't purchased any books so far but this one has me sold. (Recently got a job too which helps; only reason I didn't get the previous ones was money.) The Roberts interview sounds like it'll be great, and the cover's fantastic too. I just want to take this opportunity to say thanks, Phil, for all the great work you do – both here on the blog and for the books.


  4. Lewis Christian
    October 13, 2014 @ 12:47 am

    (Just a heads up, over on James' blog, the full cover preview features a typo with "wonderful" at the top of the blurb. Hoping this was spotted/corrected.)


  5. Alex Antonijevic
    October 13, 2014 @ 1:17 am

    The covers you're getting for these books make me wanna buy the print editions so they can sit on my shelf.


  6. Kit Power
    October 13, 2014 @ 1:32 am

    Oh, that is a lovely cover. Looking forward to adding the paperback to my shelf come Christmas.


  7. Lo-Fi Explosion
    October 13, 2014 @ 1:51 am

    My print edition arrived yesterday; the print on demand aspect is truly astounding. Reading mentions of The Caretaker in the interview, two weeks after it aired, in a physical book, is really quite something.


  8. Herms
    October 13, 2014 @ 2:17 am

    Got the Kindle version. These covers really do just keep getting better and better.

    I'm confused by a reference in the Roberts interview to "the second David Tennant". Is this some fandom terminology/in-joke I'm not familiar with?


  9. Frezno
    October 13, 2014 @ 3:19 am

    Never has the "shut up and take my money" meme been quite as appropriate for me.


  10. Tom
    October 13, 2014 @ 3:44 am

    Gorgeous cover – hats off to James.


  11. jane
    October 13, 2014 @ 4:22 am

    The "second David Tennant" is the half-human Doctor who sticks around in the alternate universe with Rose.


  12. matt bracher
    October 13, 2014 @ 4:39 am

    Thank you, jane. That question would have occurred to me, and I'm glad to have an answer before I get to it.


  13. Eric Gimlin
    October 13, 2014 @ 7:55 am

    That cover is absolutely amazing; I've got the kindle version already but will need to snag the print version at some point as well.

    I did take issue with one of the essays: Contrary to what you say, the Hitchhiker's Guide video game has always had a reputation for extraordinary difficulty, even back when we were all playing text games. I vividly remember there were several of us playing it back when it came out, and every couple of days somebody would figure out how to get past something and share it at school. Which almost invariably meant we all had to start over from the beginning, because we needed to have done something hours ago and the problem was now insolvable.

    I will happily concede the reason it STILL has a reputation for difficulty is the fact it's the only text game that still gets played because, hey, it's HHGG. But that's not where it got the rep in the first place.


  14. HarlequiNQB
    October 13, 2014 @ 8:33 am

    Well, that's terribly embarrassing.

    I think it's possible to change the covers after the fact, in which case I'll get Phil a corrected one tonight, but as for the ones already out (which includes mine), well, yeah that error is still there.

    Let's try to think of it as a badge of pride to show you were an early buyer, rather than a symbol of my utter incompetence (which it definitely is).


  15. Triturus
    October 13, 2014 @ 9:00 am

    I'm sure I remember an interview with Douglas Adams around the time the game came out where he said that the game wasn't user-friendly, it was "user-destroying", or something like that. So yes, it's pretty much always had a reptuation for being fiendishly hard.


  16. Lewis Christian
    October 13, 2014 @ 9:13 am

    At least it's not as bad as "the Doctor peeing over a shelf" in the Delta novelisation πŸ˜‰

    Absolutely love the cover design. Can't wait to have it on my shelf.


  17. elvwood
    October 13, 2014 @ 9:43 am

    Congrats to James for a fantastic cover (again)! My instant reaction on seeing the shot at the top of this post was "oh my god, it's Chris Foss does Doctor Who!" – which, on reading, turns out to be exactly the effect aimed for.


  18. Anton B
    October 13, 2014 @ 9:47 am

    Just want to say I am totally in awe of that cover. Excellent work James and of course thank you Phil for writing the words that deserved that artwork.


  19. That Guy
    October 13, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

    So, the book is fantastic so far, but in the epub version, pretty much everything that started on the blog (along with the Gareth Roberts interview) shows up as solid white lines whenever I try to read them in "night mode". This, for instance, is the beginning of the entry for City of Death: http://imgur.com/h8pRvIa

    It reads just fine out of night mode, but there's only so much that I can do that on the late shift before my eyes start hurting.

    Other than that though, brilliant book, and yes, brilliant cover.


  20. Scurra
    October 13, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

    It took me ten years and five different computers (including an Atari ST, an Amstrad PCW, a C64, a Mac and an IBM PC) before I finally finished the HHGTTG computer game. And I still remember the punchline about causal relationships even today because at the time it felt as though it was paying off a ten-year-old joke.
    So yes, I too think it was hard. And that from someone who solved Suspended on my own (which also took me several years!)


  21. Herms
    October 13, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

    They mention the half-human Doctor. Roberts thinks that's what Phil is talking about, but apparently it's something different. Well anyway, here's the relevant bit:

    PS: You've written for all four new series Doctors in one medium or another, so which one–

    GR: All of them, apart from the War Doctor and David Tennant the Second, I think I've written for them all in some medium.

    PS: You've written for both David Tennants.

    GR: No, I mean David Tennant the human Doctor.

    PS. Ah, not the second Tenth Doctor.

    So what the heck is "the second Tenth Doctor"? Does it mean Tennant in his later seasons, like how fans often speak of the second Tom Baker era? Since this book is basically all about that second Tom Baker era, is Phil joking that Tennant is effectively the Tom Baker of the revived series?


  22. HarlequiNQB
    October 13, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    Tennant's Doctor used up a regeneration and remained looking the same as he did before he started. I would guess that after that event he was considered the second tenth Doctor, distinct from the human tenth Doctor.


  23. HarlequiNQB
    October 13, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

    I won't say I wasn't tempted, at least on the back cover, but I'll have to save my "Romana in off the shoulder fox hunting gear and torn jodhpurs" for something less commercial πŸ™‚


  24. HarlequiNQB
    October 13, 2014 @ 6:39 pm

    Thank you. It's not as good as Foss himself could do of course, but he's a little outside the budget for the books I think.


  25. ComMaxil
    October 14, 2014 @ 1:20 am

    Actually, based on that extract that could also be read as David Tennant the Human Doctor from Human Nature/The Family of Blood


  26. ComMaxil
    October 14, 2014 @ 1:25 am

    Kindle copy purchased. I also wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for this wonderful blog and book series. I don't understand everything that is posted here and I disagree with at least half of what I do understand, but nonetheless this blog has given me new perspectives and ways of thinking about Doctor Who which, after more than 30 years of loving the show, I am truly grateful for.


  27. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 14, 2014 @ 1:31 am

    Roberts meant the half-human Doctor left with Rose in Journey's End, yes. (He'd have said "John Smith," I'm sure, if he meant Human Nature/Family of Blood, that being how the character is credited) I misunderstood him and thought he meant something else.

    Of the various hypotheses stated as to what I initially thought he meant, only one satisfies the requirement that Gareth Roberts has to have written for him, namely James's guess of the Tenth Doctor using a regeneration but retaining the same face in the Stolen Earth/Journey's End cliffhanger, with Roberts writing for this second regeneration of the Tenth Doctor in Planet of the Dead.


  28. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 14, 2014 @ 1:46 am

    I have absolutely no idea what would cause this. Well, that's not quite true. I'm sure the issue is that text that originated from the blog (or from Alison's transcription of the Roberts interview) has a text color specified deep in its formatting, in some setting that didn't get overwritten when I imposed a uniform style on it during typesetting. Actually, I remember noticing this on some of the entries – there's a bizarre Word setting that got flagged that's not even the background color, but something about the transparency of the background that, once set, literally cannot be unset anymore. (That is, you can change it to anything from 0% to 100% transparent, but you can't actually make it no longer specified at all.) I could fix it by stripping out all formatting, but then I lose all italicization of titles, and since it seemed to have no effect on how the text displayed, it didn't seem worth doing. Apparently we've found the use case where it actually does matter.

    That said, "night mode" is not a built-in feature of epubs, but rather something implemented on an eReader-by-eReader basis. I just checked it in iBooks on my iPad, for instance, and night mode seems to work fine. Same for the Nook iPad app. Those are the only two things I have that read epubs, so I can't test further, but it looks like the problem is that whatever e-reader you're using has a somewhat poorly implemented night mode that doesn't actually successfully force white-on-black text in cases that other e-readers can handle fine.

    If you want, I can get a print copy sent to you at the reduced price available only to the author – I've not actually priced those, but I'd guess with US shipping it would come out to around $8 instead of the $16 list price. Shoot me an e-mail – snowspinner at gmail – and we can get that worked out. Other than that, I don't think this is something I can easily address.


  29. Dan Abel
    October 14, 2014 @ 3:05 am

    I tested it with the amazon purchased copy on kindle for iPad (I use the white on black mode a lot). It seemed find on my device, for my test. I appreciate that doesn't help everyone.


  30. That Guy
    October 14, 2014 @ 3:48 am

    Thank you for the kind offer, but since the book is still readable, I should be able to make due. It is still a very good read after all, and worst case I can turn on some more lights at the overnight station.


  31. Tymothi
    October 14, 2014 @ 8:15 am

    Book ordered, and you might be interested in this (if you haven't seen it already), Grant Morrison and James Gunn interviewing each other: http://www.interviewmagazine.com/culture/grant-morrison


  32. ferret
    October 14, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

    #1 Bestseller in Literary Criticism & Theory on Amazon Australia πŸ™‚


  33. Unknown
    October 14, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    Phil, if there is any justice, the reason the print book is temporarily unavailable is a horde of readers waving Key to Time tracers (instead of pitchforks) demanding copies!


  34. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 15, 2014 @ 1:08 am

    Alas not. It was due to a customer service person at Createspace giving me bad advice over whether uploading a version of the cover that fixed the "mavelous" typo would cause a gap in the book's availability. I was assured that it would not. It did. Which was a major screwup, since first week sales are a huge deal in publishing, and there's not an author in the world who's blood wouldn't run cold at the idea of their book suddenly going off sale 24 hours after launch.

    That said, Createspace has been very good in their response. Though they couldn't undo the problem and get the book immediately back on sale, they're comping me some author copies I needed to order, which is fair and just recompense as far as I'm concerned. Some customer service guy screwed up, and I kind of feel bad that I probably got him in trouble complaining, but Createspace have really, genuinely been lovely and easy to work with.


  35. Triturus
    October 16, 2014 @ 9:40 am

    Just got my copy today, and would like to echo the many comments praising the cover. Great stuff.


  36. xerofight
    October 16, 2014 @ 10:51 am

    Great, great book. Probably the best in the series so far, with some excellent additional material. And yes, the cover is amazing… as a long standing collector of 70s-style pulp SF paperbacks, the artist has absolutely nailed it. I suggest that the cover for the Davison/C Baker volume should be in the style of the much-lamented "Flexipop" magazine, with accompanying Flexidisc featuring a re-recording of "Doctor in Distress" by Phil himself.


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