The Coalition of Chaos

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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. Tiffany Korta
    January 17, 2022 @ 6:25 am

    I wonder if the relative chillness of 90s Edgelords has something to do with it being Goths adjacent. As a habit
    the Goth scene didn’t decidedly take itself too seriously. Though this might be a UK /USA thing obs.


    • ObjectiveReality
      January 17, 2022 @ 9:26 pm

      I had a discussion about this in the context of White Wolf in particular on a podcast ep I did about the World of Darkness.

      The conclusion we came to was that one of the key tipping points was from a genuine willingness to offend everyone (manifesting as mostly punching up by accident) into “we offend everyone” as a covering statement for a more pandering offensiveness that tended to come down hard on marginalised people. I think not taking oneself seriously is a component but I wonder if a shift from offensiveness as a component of a creative identity to offensiveness as a selling point of a brand (and thus the thing you need to up the ante on to keep going) is more important.


  2. Nick
    January 19, 2022 @ 7:37 pm

    I’m interested also in the distinction between how edgelording works in comedy (the thing that eventually put me off was people using the defence that they were punching everywhere – punching everywhere can mean you reinforce the existing hegemony because punching down has more impact on a marginalised community than punching up toward people who can soothe their bruises with icepacks of cash and cultural capital) and how it works in fiction.

    The anger/nihilism dichotomy (which feels true to me, though as said, wary of easy binaries) feels easier to pick in comedy.

    Started watching Euphoria recently and had to leave it to my wife because it felt too edgelord, too Rules of Attraction and I just couldn’t trust it.

    Even though it centres trans stories, stories of women of colour, stories of other marginalised people, it felt like I was watching trauma porn. I dunno.

    Maybe it is actually an angry, pretty, flaming pile of poop in a bag?

    It was too close to the edge for me to be interested in finding out (which then makes me terrified I’m only ok with the Marvelisation of fiction, and that skit where Zendaya messes up her hair and eyeliner to transition from MJ to Rue was a little too real).

    All of which is to say, thank you for these excellent, interesting thoughts (I wish I could search for Tor Wave fiction to find my next book)


  3. Doug M.
    January 20, 2022 @ 8:51 am

    I’m not the first person to point out that what happened to the late Isabel Fall was pure Requires Hate, even though Sriduangkaew themself had nothing to do with it. A new, young, recently transitioning writer, obviously talented, writing on queer topics from a queer POV? That would have brought Requires Hate down like the wasp upon the caterpillar. And, as it turns out, at least two of the people leading the charge against Fall online were personally close to Sriduangkaew; one of them was (afaik still is) one of their most ardent online defenders.

    (Requires Hate falls firmly into my personal “life’s too short” file. There’s good queer fiction written by people who aren’t personally loathsome. YMMV.)

    Also, that was /such/ a good story. As soon as I read it, I said “that’s a Hugo nominee”. In the near future, there’s technology to alter gender identity — not gender, gender identity — and of course the US military fucking weaponizes it. That’s exactly the kind of of head-thumping cool idea I associate with the best of the New Wave. In terms of sheer brio it felt like a Thomas Disch story, though without the unpleasantness.

    As to scabpicking… IMS, the protagonist has volunteered for the reassignment treatment, because it will make her a better and more skilled soldier. Okay, volunteering for the military is arguably becoming complicit in oppression, but it’s a lot subtler than, say, Disch’s weaponization of intelligence enhancement in Camp Concentration.

    I did wonder at the time how many of the people screaming about the story caught that aspect: that queerness could be weaponized to make you /objectively better at something/. Yes, that’s a discourse of oppression — you know those people, musical theater is full of them, they’re so good at sports and music — but does it get half-inverted if Those People actually are better? If other people will pay good money (or join the Army) to become like them?

    Point being, if that story was scab-picking, it was doing it with a surgical tool. If Fall had lived, there was a whole cool and creepy world that could have been opened there.

    ISTM this ties to the ongoing debate about disabled characters in settings that are high-tech or equivalent: “representation” vs. “surely they would have fixed that” vs. “being deaf (or whatever) is not a problem” vs “or if it is it’s not your problem to handwave away”.

    Doug M.


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