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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.

15 Comments

  1. peeeeeeet
    September 3, 2012 @ 1:23 am

    I agree with you, though I think you could go into more detail as to why you think it's also wrong that the book is so well-loved by some. For me it would be the proliferation of characters who are little more than nicknames, which makes it harder to engage with; doubly disappointing given that elsewhere Aaronovitch displays a gift for amusing and likeable supporting characters. Leaning heavily on made-up jargon might be another – I can't think of another NA that needed a glossary at the back, though I vaguely think one of Jim Mortimore's might have had one…

    Reply

  2. daibhid-c
    September 3, 2012 @ 5:23 am

    Yeah, the first time I read it I was left with the impression of a fairly good book that I hadn't actually "got". It was like I could see why it was good, but it just wasn't connecting with me, leaving me woefully unqualified to argue with people insisting it was bad. Subsequent rereads helped a lot.

    I particularly don't get the Benny-light criticism. Yes, it is, for the reasons you say, and it still manages to get a character moment like the melted Spacefleet badge.

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  3. Yonatan
    September 3, 2012 @ 5:36 am

    I really loved Transit. Especially the bits with the Doctor sitting in the bar complaining about how old he was. I believe it is in this book that he gets over the 1000 year mark. It is also this that caused my consternation when 10 said he was only 900

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  4. BerserkRL
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:31 am

    Well, a man who can't remember whether he has 13 lives or 507 can hardly be expected to keep track of when he is talking Earth years and when he is talking Gallifreyan years or Tersurus years.

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  5. Ununnilium
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:32 am

    Hm. My problem with your criticism of this one is one that I've had with several of your previous articles. You assert, and quite rightly, that there is nothing wrong with being confusing/violent/sexual/whatnot in Doctor Who – and then just go forward as though that means that there's no problems with those elements in this specific story. Simply put, you spend a lot of time explaining why it's not bad in the general case and a fair bit less explaining why it's good in the specific case, and the latter is generally more interesting (and gives us commenters more to chew on!).

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  6. Ed Jolley
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    As I recall, Sleepy establishes that the Doctor's 1000th Birthday took place during Set Piece.

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  7. Matthew Celestis
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    It's a brilliant novel, though it took me a second read to fully understand it.

    Yes, Neil Penswick fails to do justice to William Blake, but otherwise, The Pit is a good novel.

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  8. Aaron
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Thank for the good review. I love Transit, it got me interested in exploring William Gibson and Cyberpunk, and I've never looked back. I definitely feel that criticisms of Transit tend to come from people who don't read much outside of Doctor Who novels, and are perplexed by a style they're simply not familiar with.

    Also, is it just me, or are these articles getting shorter as we start dealing with the books? Maybe it's my imagination. But do you have a specific reason for them to be shorter? Is there less to say about them because they have less of an impact than the TV show did? Are you afraid the 7th Doctor book will become over 2000 pages? Just curious.

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  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 3, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    I think it's at least partially you. The entries are coming in at the standard 2-3000 word count. I've not had any sprawling 4k monstrosities since starting the novels, but those entries are usually sporadic. Though I admit that I was a bit surprised Love and War wasn't one of them. But those entries tend to pick me, rather than the other way around, so to speak.

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  10. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 3, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    It's sensibility in the specific case is, like the novel's quality, somewhat flat to me. They're sensible because this is a fairly standard bit of cyberpunk. This is also what is good about the book. Much like Earthshock is a fairly solid "Doctor Who does military action sci-fi," a fact that endeared itself to me only mildly, this is competent and solid Doctor Who cyberpunk. I don't find this as mind-blowing as some critics, nor do I find it problematic. It's reasonably good. I probably wouldn't have covered it save for the introduction of Kadiatu and the controversy.

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  11. Henry R. Kujawa
    September 3, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    BerzerkRL:
    "Well, a man who can't remember whether he has 13 lives or 507 can hardly be expected to keep track of when he is talking Earth years and when he is talking Gallifreyan years or Tersurus years."

    "Well I ought to know my own age!"
    "Yes, but I expect after the first few centuries it all gets a bit foggy."

    Reply

  12. Ununnilium
    September 3, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    Now that's what I wanted to hear. Fair enough.

    Reply

  13. Tommy
    September 3, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    "Which leaves the big one – sex and violence. Transit is an exceedingly explicit book by Doctor Who standards, with several uses of the word “fuck,” some sex scenes that might be called explicit if you’ve never actually read or seen any pornography, and a rather infamous bit in which a prostitute eats crackers to get rid of the “taste of semen” in her mouth. And this is a source of massive criticism."

    I was 11 years old when I discovered the show. And when our school gave us WH Smith book tokens, and I realised there were new Doctor Who books I told my teacher that was what I was going to buy with the tokens.

    She was a very old-school matriarchal Christian, and she was quite overjoyed that I was taking such a morally wholesome interest as Doctor Who.

    If only she knew the first book I got with them was Transit.

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  14. Archeology of the Future
    September 4, 2012 @ 9:02 am

    I think that the New Adventures, because of their initial rule of 'no interior thoughts for The Doctor' ended up doing something really interesting that RTD's New Who followed through on: Rather than subjecting The Doctor and his friends to a new world they tended to subject a new world to The Doctor and his friends.

    So, in Transit you have a story which is as much about a world treating The Doctor and his specialness with disdain more than the Doctor standing in judgment about a world and its inhabitants. In some ways that makes Transit the opposite of Warhead. In Warhead The Doctor takes mastery of the world (imperfectly) whereas in Transit the world mostly tries to master him.

    I think it's interesting to see how different New Adventures see the Doctor's role in a narrative. So Timewyrm: Exodus has the Doctor's role is that of a traditional protagonist – go somewhere, be embroiled in something, have adventure along the way. In Timewyrm: Revelation The Doctor IS the setting for Ace's story. In Love and War the Doctor is the author of the story. In Transit he's subject to the story. The story basically happens to him.

    There's also something terribly interesting about Kadiatu as the earth's response to the Doctor, with The Doctor (and by extension the Timelords)being a force that moves through time creating equal and opposite forces as some kind of reaction.

    Casts a very different light on the idea of time agents if we see them as the equivilent of chemical agents, substances that create reactions…

    (have cold so thoughts may be jumbled)

    Reply

  15. Sean Neuerburg
    September 6, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

    Easily my favorite Doctor Who novel. I don't want them all to be this, but this is the best.

    Reply

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