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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. Jesse
    February 4, 2013 @ 5:48 am

    Question: Has Miles ever commented directly on Magrs' work, or vice versa?


  2. Seeing_I
    February 4, 2013 @ 6:45 am

    I found this book quite a bit less satisfying than "The Scarlet Empress" but I'll have to go back and re-read them both. As always, I must urge readers of this blog to search out the two films, starring Marlene Dietrich and directed by Josef von Sternberg, which lend their titles to Magrs' books.


  3. Phil
    February 4, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    Miles has very pointedly avoided commenting on Magrs' work at least once that I can remember. I got the impression that he liked and respected Magrs, but didn't really enjoy his writing.


  4. Dr. Happypants
    February 4, 2013 @ 9:14 am

    I've had some scattered comments about the EDAs I've been wanting to make, but never quite found the right time or place for, and this is as good as any…

    On the one hand, I'm so glad you aren't covering more of the range; yet at the same time, because you skip over so many of the novels, it's very hard for the blog to convey a real sense of the experience of reading the line at the time. Both of these are because the bulk of the EDAs were so…routine. Not…egregiously awful, but not particularly interesting either. Just…there. Fairly generic stories for the most part, with (outside of the OrmanBlum books) a generic characterization of the Doctor, and for that matter the companions as well. Sam was always hopeless, but Compassion never really ends up fairing much better, and whatever people find so appealing about Fitz must've mainly come up after I gave up reading the books regularly.

    It was a line that kept floundering about in search of a direction, one that nobody really seemed to know what to do with.

    That's why the War ended up using up so much of the books' oxygen: at least it was something that seemed big and exciting and new, in a line that was struggling to rise above "meh".

    And of course it all ended disastrously. Partially because the story of the War could never be told inside of Who, yes. But also partially because, across all of its editors and phases, the EDAs never, never, never learned the trick of making anything stick. The characterization of Eight from "Vampire Science" wasn't consistently picked up by later authors. The whole Faction Paradox/War/etc. thing was flubbed by everybody but Miles and Bucher-Jones. Magrs' ideas never migrate outside his own books. And the themes that do seem to pop up repeatedly are things like reacting against the Virgin line (as Philip mentions above), which at this point in the EDAs is an idea well past its sell-by date.

    The EDAs are trying to be post-Who, and particularly post-Virgin.

    They're too captured by the narrative gravity of their predecessors to develop their own distinct and vivid identity as a line.

    To me as a non-scholar of literature, there's something weird about the whole idea of "post" anything; it seems like in the wrong hands it can easily turn into just picking over a corpse and missing all the things that used to give it vitality and relevance. To be honest, that's how I feel about Magrs, and especially "The Blue Angel".


  5. Daibhid C
    February 4, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    I'm not sure if popular perception of the EDAs is even that the Faction Paradox story stops after Ancestor Cell. The War arc stops, more or less, but the Amnesia Arc is … well, if it was a DC Comics miniseries it would be called The War Arc: Aftermath. And then the next arc features Sabbath, a Miles creation who was subsequently made a Faction Paradox agent in the spin-offs and is therefore easy to subsume as "more Faction stuff".


  6. Phil
    February 4, 2013 @ 11:44 am

    "Sabbath, a Miles creation who was subsequently made a Faction Paradox agent in the spin-offs"

    Apparently, that was a different, completely unrelated guy called Sabbath. Miles has never explained why he thought this was a good idea.

    The Sabbath from the EDAs does feature in the Faction Paradox material though, and the abortive Faction Paradox comic series looked as though it was eventually going to form a prequel to the Adventuress of Henrietta Street.


    • Aquanafrahudy
      September 9, 2023 @ 9:39 am

      I believe Miles was trying to play off the “there are never two characters with the same name in a single book/series/episode” trope with the two Sabbaths.


  7. Phil
    February 4, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    I'm not sure I entirely agree with you that this phase of the EDAs didn't have coherent themes, though I'm having a hard time articulating why. Which is probably appropriate, because the books had trouble articulating them as well.

    There was definitely some stuff about environmentalism, a deep ambivalence over Doctor Who's past and future (which of course bled in to the past and future of the Doctor himself), and a generalised erosion of certainty.

    I think the main problem isn't that the thematic content isn't there, it's that most of the books were so badly written, and the writers who were actually any good all had radically different interests (though I'd argue that some of the same themes did show up in their work as well).


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