Eruditorum Press

Gaze not into the abyss lest you accidentally write a book

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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.

21 Comments

  1. Grant, the Hipster Dad
    September 28, 2011 @ 12:43 am

    Actually, The Tomorrow People does get considerably better in season two, for exactly one story, "The Blue and the Green," which is incredibly weird and interesting. After that, it's back to being ridiculous and unwatchable. I made it through three seasons before giving up.

    "Slaves of Jedikiah" does have one sublime moment, when Francis de Wolff says, now that he's back on his spaceship, he can rid himself of this ridiculous human form, and transforms into one of the two or three silliest and most ungainly robots ever seen on TV. That was much more entertaining than anything that happened on Peladon, ever.

    Reply

  2. elvwood
    September 28, 2011 @ 2:48 am

    Very interesting. Being older and British I grew up watching Jon Pertwee regularly, and followed Chris Claremont's X-Men as much as I could. American comics weren't readily available, but would appear randomly in newsagents; so every time we went to a town or city I would scour every newsagents I could find to see what they had. The first X-Men I got was #97, but I didn't find a regular source until the early 80s, so – like you – I was reading a scattering of issues; but unlike you, they were at least in the right order!

    I actually enjoyed the Tomorrow People, too, though it wasn't much of an influence on me – certainly not a "rabbit hole" – and I've never felt a need to revisit it.

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  3. Spacewarp
    September 28, 2011 @ 2:57 am

    I have memories of watching The Tomorrow People in 1973, very probably because bits of it took place in underground tunnels and being a Who fan I already had an affinity for the London Underground.

    There is a school of thought that kids don't like watching TV programmes featuring other kids, but I'm not sure that's right in this case. Certainly The Tomorrow People was popular, and a cast of children never did Grange Hill any harm.

    Even though TP didn't clash with Who (it was on Mondays after school), I only watched the first story because I do remember being acutely embarrassed by the poor acting of the cast – made all the more obvious by the fact that Jon and Tim obviously could act.

    And I was prepared to dismiss your comment about the gay subtext…until I thought back to my memories of the show and realised to my horror that you were right.

    It was certainly a more fashion-conscious show than Doctor Who, with everyone in flares and bat-wing collars. In fact Jon doesn't look that much different from Sarah Jane in The Time Warrior!

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  4. talestoenrage
    September 28, 2011 @ 5:27 am

    Why, how could a comic about oppression started in 1963 by two Jewish men (never the targets of any discrimination themselves) be a metaphor for civil rights?

    I kid, I kid. I understand what you mean, that it's not a very good metaphor for civil rights. Though I've always seen it less about homosexuality than just sexuality in general, considering puberty is the usual trigger for mutant powers in the X-men.

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  5. Marin Running Company
    September 28, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    Just as the writing of Neil Simon resonated with the 1970's in a way that it never did again, so did Claremont's X-Men. Partly, of course, because it changed the way that team comic books were written for the next 20 years or so. It was impossible in the 1980's to have a superhero team that didn't echo the Claremont dynamic. It took Grant Morrison to really reinvent that in the 1990's once he brought his Doom Patrol experimentation into the mainstream.

    It is a measure of how flexible Doctor Who is that it can encompass all the different eras that it runs through. Obviously fiction is at its most effective in holding a mirror up to society and taking another look at the zeitgeist (in a subtle way obviously: literally all the science fiction attempts in the late '60's to look at the Hippy movement are beyond embarassing). I like your tracking the music along with the show, it makes Micky's comment that K-9 looks "disco" certainly relevant when we get to see what is on the charts at The Invisible Enemy.

    Reply

    • Elton Townend-Jones
      September 15, 2021 @ 11:57 am

      Claremont’s astounding retooling of former set-decoration Jean Grey into a bleak, black tragedy of cosmic proportions – to say little of his Day of the Daleks inspired post-apocalypsisation of the mutants’ imminent and immanent future basically invents the milieu and method of Alan Moore.

      And I’m thoroughly glad of that.

      Reply

  6. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    September 28, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    "literally all the science fiction attempts in the late '60's to look at the Hippy movement are beyond embarassing"

    Ah, but what about the brilliant, gripping social drama that is Star Trek's "Way to Eden"?

    Reply

  7. Jesse
    September 28, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Philip K. Dick was pretty good at writing about hippies, though his best hippie characters didn't appear until 1977. If you were limiting yourself to televised science fiction, then…well, The Prisoner didn't do so bad.

    Reply

  8. Dougie
    September 28, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    All the Tomorrow People observations are spot on. The Blue and the Green does have some effective moments but most episodes of the first two series are very poor: patronising, cheap and silly. The second tie-in novel Three in Three was a bit more gritty.
    As a kid, I loved the Thomas/Roth X-Men but I fell completely for Cockrum's mutants in issue 97. That affection never expired until the mid-90s!
    I don't believe Claremont is an ex-pat, however; more an Anglophile. Or am I mistake?

    Reply

  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 28, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Claremont was born in the UK, but grew up in the US.

    Reply

  10. Abigail Brady
    September 29, 2011 @ 1:54 am

    Ah, that would explain his sometimes hilarious miswriting of British locations in Excalibur.

    I've been trying a reading of X-Men as a metaphor for trans, which fits quite well at times (puberty, "passing", tiny minority).

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  11. Seeing_I
    September 29, 2011 @ 4:52 am

    I really quite enjoyed The Tomorrow People when they showed it on Nickelodeon back in, oh, 1981 – 83 or so. I knew it was bad – as a Homo Superior myself, I have always had an affinity for camp – but I loved it anyway. When I first saw Doctor Who (The Sontaran Experiment to be precise) in my innocence I thought it might well be some kind of Tomorrow People spin-off.

    But I am not totally deluded – check out that amazing title sequence by Bernard Lodge, and the music by "Deadly" Dudley Simpson! As crap as the show itself might have been, that opening out-spooks and out-psychedelics even Doctor Who. Great stuff.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0TbYo3GVLM&feature=player_detailpage#t=105s

    Reply

  12. Spacewarp
    September 29, 2011 @ 6:27 am

    Agreed about the opening credits of Tomorrow People. It somehow seems to encapsulate everything about the 70s view of the human condition. You've got an embryo, a flower, a galaxy, a maze, and (inexplicably) lots of scaffolding, all in grainy b&w, flying at you almost too fast to register, while that pulsing music hammers it's way into your brain.

    The music was actually reused a couple of years ago for an afternoon quiz show on UK TV, and just didn't work without the TP graphics!

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  13. inkdestroyedmybrush
    September 29, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194 said…
    "literally all the science fiction attempts in the late '60's to look at the Hippy movement are beyond embarassing"

    Ah, but what about the brilliant, gripping social drama that is Star Trek's "Way to Eden"?

    somehow we had a mindmeld and we thinking of the same gripping "going into eden" fiction. Not sure how that could have happened…

    Look, as a professional comic artist, and one who grew up buying those X-Men off the stands in the 19770's, 77-81 were the X-men's Hinchcliffe years… it was the best comic on the stands. A 5 year long roller coaster rider of great stories and great characters. It was and is the last great Marvel Comics property in the post-Lee/Kirby/Ditko years. And i always thought that the metaphor for puberty was intentional, the mis-understood teen years, oh! the angst!

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  14. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    September 30, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    At least we can be grateful that they didn't try to remake "Way to Eden" as, say, Star Trek V.

    Reply

  15. Henry R. Kujawa
    April 2, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    I always thought they remade "THE WAY TO EDEN" as "STAR TREK: INSURRECTION" (which also was a semi-remake of "THE OMEGA GLORY"). 2 bad stories redone as 1 not-bad one.

    Reply

  16. SpaceSquid
    August 9, 2012 @ 5:52 am

    It's interesting so many people put Claremont's peak at 1981. I'd definitely put it somewhere later. Certainly no earlier than 1983, which is where my re-read has reached.

    Reply

    • Elton Townend-Jones
      September 15, 2021 @ 12:07 pm

      1983 and 1984 are great, though it’s hard to top Dark Phoenix and Days of Future Past for being new and incredible ideas you Must Read (at the time; though Miller/Janson’s Daredevil and Stern/Romita Jr’s are great runs later in that era).

      I think X-Factor pretty much kills the version/idea of The X-Men we’re talking about here.

      Reply

  17. David Gerard
    November 29, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

    I saw Tomorrow People as a kid, first time around.

    … it was terrible. I remember thinking "this science fiction stuff should be better than this is."

    Reply

  18. chuck
    October 20, 2020 @ 10:08 am

    Wow. Most of you seem to have no imagination or taste for something that obviously has flaws (and you point out all of them) but that inspires creativity and a spring board for new outlandish and fun adventures for young people. This review looks at things from a harsh realm of realism and not from the idea that the TP sparks a fun and imaginative, if sometimes dark, side of wonder, awe, and a whole new set of worlds and universes. This review is a huge downer. Oh and the TP only wore skin tight spacesuits but not all the time so your gay thing is not really totally correct on that level. What a downer of a review.

    Reply

    • Elton Townend-Jones
      September 15, 2021 @ 2:13 pm

      Having watched The Tomorrow People in the last few years, I found it woefully poor and yet another marker on the road that reveals why it is that Doctor Who is so well regarded and well remembered (see also Out of the Unknown which is the Troughton and Pertwee years without a modicum of humour or heart).

      That said, the Russian spies one was good and the one with that Bannister bloke out of Are You Being Served? as a Colonel Masters (or am I misremembering?) is also great – and has me imagining that guy playing OUR Master after Delgado’s death.

      What I’d love to see in 2021 is IDW or somebody getting the rights to The Tomorrow People as it was in the ’70s and handing it over to John Byrne to see what he might do with it…

      Reply

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