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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. Bob Dillon
    September 7, 2012 @ 12:26 am

    I always saw the Gun vs Frock distinction to be more important than Rad vs trad, for the reasons you've enumerated above.

    Always been more of a Frock person myself.


  2. 5tephe
    September 7, 2012 @ 3:57 am

    "… and if you give people shat they like…"
    That either needs to be "what" or "shit".

    Not entirely sure which I prefer, actually.


  3. Henry R. Kujawa
    September 7, 2012 @ 7:02 am

    Philip Sandifer:
    "Czechoslovakia ceased to exist, splitting into the Czech Republic and Slovakia."

    My mother's parents came from Czechoslovakia. And I have no idea which half. Then again, my Dad's parents came from Poland. It's no wonder I cracked up so much when I first watched the 2nd episode of "TO THE MANOR BORN". The scene where Audrey Fforbes-Hamilton met "Mrs. Pouloveska" (actually Richard Devere's mother) was a riot.

    "Roberts is, by his own open admission, most at home in the Graham Williams era."

    On the other hand, I loved "PARADISE TOWERS" and "THE HAPPINESS PATROL". When you watch the whole series in sequence, it's kind of a shock when HUMOR finally finds it way back on the show– where it belongs.


  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 7, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

    You know, I'm not sure either.


  5. Adam Riggio
    September 7, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    When I get the chance in situations like this, I quote Malik B. "Because you grandiose motherfuckers don't play the shit that they like. If you play the shit that they like, then the people will come."

    Seriously, though, I found the essay very intriguing, another element of how Doctor Who has, from its beginning, used humour as a subversive method, in ways that have grown more and more metatextual over time. The climax probably was the punkish gleam of the Williams era, where Roberts got so much of his Doctor Who inspiration. But this is the first account I've read of The Highest Science that really takes the book seriously as trying to make a point about the problems Doctor Who can encounter when it grows too self-serious. Roberts' point, as I take it you understand him, is that the Doctor (and Doctor Who itself) is most powerful not when he openly operates in an epic register, but when he deflates himself from it with laughter, taking the whole story and setting with him and making the otherwise epic into a manageable problem.

    I wonder — Do you plan to cover Cold Fusion again when we get to the point in the McCoy Doctor's era when it occurs? Given what you've written about the relation of the Davison Doctor to the whole show (especially in Timewyrm Revelation), I'd be interested to see how you think the Fifth-Seventh relationship plays out through the perspective of the Seventh.


  6. Matthew Blanchette
    September 7, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    "a galactic wanted man around whom it turns out that an elaborate hoax involving a fake ancient civilization was built in order to trap him."

    …Pandorica, anyone? 😉


  7. Ununnilium
    September 8, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    And here's another shout-out for his adaptation of the Shada script. He really manages to make his narration work with the dialogue, as well as fix plot holes and characterization slips in the original. Funny and solid.


  8. Ununnilium
    September 8, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    Hm! So what's this one about?


  9. Aaron
    September 8, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Phil PH, over at Gallifrey Base, put it far better than I could when he explained the distinction: ""Frock" stories are self-aware, self-mocking, witty, flamboyant, colourful and just the tiniest bit homosexual. Quintessential "frock" stories on TV would be The Gunfighters, The Androids of Tara, The Happiness Patrol and Partners in Crime. "Gun" stories are dour, earnest, gritty, sober and far too tough to be interested in girls. The Keys of Marinus, Genesis of the Daleks, Earthshock and 42 are archetypal TV "gun" stories."

    I'm definitely in the frock camp too. David McIntee, Jim Mortimore, and Lance Parkin tend to fall on the gun side of the spectrum in the NAs, while Paul Cornell and Kate Orman fall on the frock side of the debate. Ben Aaronovitch is weird, because while Transit has a lot of trappings of a "gun" story, both Transit and The Also People have a focus on the characters, and a witty self criticism of themselves that put them into the frock side of the spectrum in my opinion.

    Orman, in SLEEPY, makes a really meta comment about the whole debate. I'm paraphrasing, but at the end of the book, Roz and Benny are looking through a closet, and Roz explains that she feels uncomfortable without her gun. To which Benny replies by taking a dress out, spinning it around, and explaining, "But Roz! Frocks are what make life worth living!" Or something to that effect.


  10. elvwood
    September 8, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    I reckon easily-distracted people like me would pay more attention to this distinction if it had a more memorable name, using rhyme of some sort (not necessarily perfect – alliteration or assonance would do).

    Hmm… how about "Frock or Glock"?

    Whatever, I'd tend towards "frock" without it being totally clear-cut.


  11. Ununnilium
    September 8, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

    Interesting. Methinks any attempt to boil Doctor Who stories down into two categories is going to fail. (I mean, where do you put something like Midnight, which is a very dark story but doesn't have any of the above traits? Or, on the other side, The Twin Dilemma, which wants so hard to be gritty but is neither sober nor earnest?)


  12. John Seavey
    September 12, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    I said over in my blog that it's not that he wants to write exclusively fluffy Doctor Who, it's that he's trying very hard to make this "fit" with the stories around it and you can see the seams where he's adding "dark" stuff. He gets better, I think, at interlacing the comedy and horror elements as he goes on.


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