Eruditorum Press

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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.

13 Comments

  1. overflowontology
    July 20, 2013 @ 12:35 am

    Last War in Albion is fabulous! Whatever flaws you might have as a writer, you're one of the best I've read in recent memory.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any criticism, but I was wondering if you'd be experimenting with the structure of Last War in Albion like you have been with Tardis Eruditorum?

    Reply

  2. timber-munki
    July 20, 2013 @ 2:12 am

    Re Last War in Albion, could the low numbers be down to the time period it's currently focusing on, and the relative lack of availability of the Morrison & Moore's material from that time. Personally I'm loving it and so salute your stubbornness!

    It should pick up when you get to the more readily available work from all involved, speaking of which the Best Of Milligan & Mcarthy from Dark Horse looks nice.

    As to improvements/suggestions, all I can think of is having the images opening in a new tab when you click on them – it's minor & I know I can just right click and use the menu but it does let the art be accessed more 'immediately' and allow easy switching between the text & images. I've no understanding of web page design so if it's unfeasable no worrys.

    Reply

  3. Darren K.
    July 20, 2013 @ 7:01 am

    I am enjoying Last War very much, though from my perspective it has some knocks against it and some elements that can use refinement:

    1) Viewership of Doctor Who: 10 million +. Dedicated readership of American comics: probably under half a million. Readership who then care about the British Invasion of the eighties, its sources and its fallout: a lot less than that. (Watchmen has had a lot of readers, but it is an outlier).

    2) Absence of real, long form academic comics criticism on the web. The Last War has no real precedent online. In some respects, neither did the Eruditorum, but Doctor Who criticism is at least a great deal more sophisticated than most comics criticism, which is usually even worse than video game criticism online.

    3) Format: the blog hasn't been divided into daily/weekly chunks. It is much more like a bande dessinée or manga serial, where this is what you are getting this week and next week we will pick up from here, regardless of how appropriate the break is. The blog does break down better than that, but it violates how people expect to read blogs, where there is a title at the top and the post references that, that is what the post is this week, and at the end of the post, the post is finished, rather than an extract from a larger chapter. I would suggest that for easier readability you adopt a clearer, "blogier" style, though that is a violation of what you are setting out to do. But if you want more readers, the readers should have a better idea what they are getting

    3a) Additionally, this might encourage more comments, as there is a concrete unit to post on, rather than a fragment and a complaint that next weeks post on Moorcock (or whatever) isn't in this post. Or perhaps add a "next time:" at the end, to then prod discussion in that direction.

    4) Subject matter: Grant Morrison's juvenilia is never going to attract a huge audience. The comics have been little read, pretty much unavailable, and the quality is … well, it is juvenilia. Literally, as Morrison is just 17 for a lot of what he does here. I'm sure once you move into the early hits of Alan Moore, readership will pick up. The problem is that you are setting up the influences and arguments to come, the things that are in some way going to form the spine of the blog and the critical approach, but you are burying them in 17-year old Grant Morrison's admitted Mary-Sue Moorcock in Ballard adventures. In a book, this is not an issue, but in a blog whose readership will grow, there is perhaps a worry here that too much important stuff might get covered before the critical mass of readership joins.

    5) Images: there has been a lot more worthwhile in the way of images since the first post (and the "Heroin" image was hilarious), and I definitely don't think you should shy away from posting whole pages or even more as needed. You clearly have no intention of posting entire stories but as you move into wider read works, I don't think a series of pages would be that much of an issue if the commentary makes it necessary. I am interested to see where you take the use of images, as Morrison and Moore are primarily writers working in collaboration. Even working full script – which are generally lost or unavailable – the collaborating artists will bring a lot to the table, but I don't know how much of what they bring is what you are interested in.

    I think you will gain readers as you move into wider read territory, but as a once a week addendum to a Doctor Who blog, it may take some time to find its readership. Perhaps it needs its own heading at the top of the page for a dedicated readership. But I also think the format you are playing with is going to play against you in the long run. You aren't playing by blog rules, which is fine, as long as you recognise that that is going to count against your readership in the long run, for better or worse.

    Anyway, I always look forward to the next post and I hope I have been helpful in some way and not a whiny know-it-all pedant.

    Reply

  4. Pen Name Pending
    July 20, 2013 @ 7:44 am

    I honestly haven't been keepin up with Last War because it's not something I'm familiar with and I kind of got lost.

    Speaking of comics though, I just read about this:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/07/17/idw-and-bbc-end-doctor-who-deal-with-the-50th-anniversary-comics/

    It sounds like something you'd be interested in covering: the Doctor realizing he's fictional? The Doctor meeting the actor who plays him?

    Reply

  5. Matt Michael
    July 20, 2013 @ 9:21 am

    Like Pen Name Pending I kind of got lost on the Albion entries having struggled through the first couple. I'm not only unfamiliar with the material itself, but many of the allusions too (I've never read Moorcock, for example) so I'm afraid my own ignorance was a stumbling block. Coupled with the idiosyncratic format of the posts, I have to admit I bailed partway through post three.To me, it looks the absolutely the kind of thing that ought to gather a readership and deserves persevering with and I wish you all the best. In the meantime, I'm holding on for my thrice-weekly Who fix!

    Reply

  6. Daibhid C
    July 20, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    I just wanted to note that I'm finding Last War in Albion fascinating, even if I don't have enough insight to make sensible comments most weeks. I think the first Morrison book I read was JLA, and the first Moore book was Watchmen … in 1994. I was already aware of them, though, as "the people who used to write Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol, who everyone seems to agree were better than the people writing it at the moment".

    Reply

  7. Mark Johnson
    July 20, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    I am enjoying the LWIA posts, I read some Ballard and Moorcock in the 80s, but I know next to nothing about comics. It is still interesting and I use google to fill in any gaps I have. I may not be a typical reader though.

    I don't have a trouble with the style or format. It is atypical for a blog, but in general that is a good thing. I am not sure if you dumped a 20,000 word essay on me in one chunk that I would get through it.

    Reply

  8. BerserkRL
    July 20, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

    Some of the material I know a lot about (Moorcock) and some I know close to zero about (early Morrison), but I find it all fascinating. Though I reckon I'll be on Team Moore once we get there.

    Reply

  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 20, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

    I don't know. I haven't seen an obvious way to yet, but there also hasn't been a post that calls for it. In some ways I designed Last War in Albion to be experimental in its overall structure instead of its micro-structure.

    Reply

  10. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 20, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

    Very possibly it is just because it's starting with obscure material. In which case it'll hopefully pick up when we get to Marvelman and V for Vendetta, which isn't actually too long away. (I mean, months, given that I'm doing it weekly, but.)

    And images are handled by Blogger's software, and I don't think I can hack that.

    Reply

  11. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 20, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

    Full pages will surely happen – actually, I did at least one with Luther Arkwright.

    The format is probably a bit off-putting, yes. I imagine I'll get better at it – I have started adding the topics of the posts to the subject lines, which hope helps, though they are a lot of characters in. But yes, the format is… I wanted something that felt very different from the episode guide structure of Eruditorum.

    And a tab on the top is coming.

    Reply

  12. Anton B
    July 23, 2013 @ 4:46 am

    Just adding my vote for the continuation of 'Last War in Albion'. Keep going! Readership will spiral upwards when when you get to the less obscure stuff.

    Reply

  13. Daru
    July 28, 2013 @ 11:43 pm

    Hiya Phil – not much to add to those above except that I have in a way been grabbed by your recent Doctor Who posts and been following that narrative. So I think when I read the recent Albion posts I may do that it one chunk – they all look superb though and I am a familiar with the material mostly.

    Reply

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