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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. elvwood
    April 11, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    Take your time – I'm in no hurry to leave Hartnell behind, and one of the things I really like about your blog is the way you provide the background to understand what's going on. I may not always agree with your conclusions, but you give me the tools to see why you've reached them (and to take my own thinking past nostalgia and gut feelings).


  2. Jesse
    June 10, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    Quatermass II comes a year after the first publication of The Body Snatchers in the US, but a year before the movie.

    Note, though, that it's four years after The Thing from Another World, which plays with the Enemy Within concept on a more intimate scale, and 17 years after the story that inspired The Thing. So there's other models out there. There's even an Oz book that transposes to the Body Snatchers plot to the Emerald City — in 1946. (But I doubt anyone involved with Quatermass read that one!)


  3. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    July 16, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

    To Philip Sandifer: earlier you called the Doctor "anarchic," but now you align him with "liberal politics." Aren't those different concepts? (Speaking as an anarchist myself.)

    To Jesse: yes, but the Howard Hawks Thing, unlike the Carpenter version, wasn't a bodysnatcher or shapechanger. It was just a guy in a suit.


  4. wwhyte
    July 23, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    To 7a1ab: "anarchic" and "liberal" mean different things in the UK than in the US. The Liberal Party in England is (was) associated with religious Non-Conformists: their fundamental ethos is to be concerned about concentrations of privilege anywhere, be it in organized labour, in existing class structures, or in commercial wealth. This is much more associated with eco-anarchism than American "liberalism", which is focused more on individual rights and labour unions. The Liberal stereotype in England is the slightly otherworldly, beards and sandals, deeply caring guy who's unaccountably upset about a particular aspect of society that seems innocuous to you. That's very much in tune with the psychedelic era and with Doctor Who-like impishness.


  5. tantalus1970
    January 22, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    The thing with Nigel Kneale is, before he created Quatermass, he famously adapted 1984 for the BBC in 1954 (which starred Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasance and Andre Morell, is still in existence and, although dated, is very good). But when it was first shown, it was excoriated by the media ie the newspapers.

    Then, the story goes, Buckingham Palace leaked that the Queen had quite liked it. Cue huge 'about turn' by the papers. At least one paper famously had to publish a second, more positive review following the repeat performance a few nights later. It was remade as a movie in 1956 or 57 with some of the same cast but different leads (an American I can't remember the name of and Michael Redgrave), which is very hard to find now.

    The question is, if the Palace hadn't leaked that the Queen was a fan, would Kneale ever have worked for the BBC again, never mind been allowed to create Quatermass? And if there was no Quatermass, would there ever have been a Doctor Who?

    Who says the British Monarch has no real power?


  6. Katherine Sas
    December 9, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    "It's thus far taken the mundane and dropped it off in the fantastic. Quatermass does the exact opposite – it takes the fantastic and drops it into our world. Which is closely related to the observation I already made – that Quatermass is about a scary universe that might eat us, and Doctor Who is about an amazing universe we can explore."

    It reminds me of Farah Mendlesohn's distinction in "Rhetorics of Fantasy" between portal-quest fantasy and intrusion fantasy. Portal-quest (Doctor Who) has everyday people entering into the fantasy realm; Intrusion (Quatermass) the fantastic invades the everyday world. DW occasionally has intrusion fantasy episodes, but its default setting is portal-quest.


  7. David Cook
    February 7, 2024 @ 12:31 pm

    It’s been over 30 years since watching the TV II so I have hazy memories of it. But the movie version ends with Quatermass leading an uprising of the workers against the alien controlled establishment (and it’s a working class MP who is murdered after discovering the plot.

    The three fifties serials (and their movie adaptions) reflect a lot of contemporary concerns, such as an uneasy relationship with the “scientific” expert ( atomic fear and the concentration camps vs shiny modernity), “New” towns which are soulless and alienating, and the Notting Hill riots.


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