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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. Alex Antonijevic
    March 7, 2015 @ 1:02 am

    I like this.


  2. prandeamus
    March 7, 2015 @ 3:21 am

    I am no great fan of the Hero's Journey as a monomyth. But surely, in the Campbell theory, the hero returns with a boon. Yes, s/he returns home, but as a changed person. Implicitly the hero now has the means to improve home. That's not intrinsically reactionary.

    (In children's literature, Digory Kirke brings back the apple from Narnia to heal his mother. Give me that to narcissistic teenage angst. any day)


  3. Sean Dillon
    March 7, 2015 @ 5:50 am

    The unspoken rule: It is acceptable to reject any of these rules if and only if you can tell a better story without them.


  4. nimonus
    March 7, 2015 @ 7:10 am

    My copy of Recursive Occlusion came today! It really is a gorgeous book and hugely nostalgic for me as I grew up on Choose Your Own Adventures. So exciting!!!


  5. Pen Name Pending
    March 7, 2015 @ 12:25 pm

    There's a lot I want to say about this but most of them involve comparing it to current lit for that age genre and based on that what I would like to see improved, but that seems to not be the purpose of this. So, I would suggest:

    Adolescents are smart, capable, and aware of the world, but there are always ways in which they can improve and reflect. But this is a phase they may not have reached yet, and so the present is all-consuming and dramatic.
    Cynicism and pessimism are necessary consequences as adolescents begin to realize that not everything works out in life.
    *Anything is possible. Labels are unnecessary. Genres can be blurred, structures broken, and a variety of stories of a variety of individuals can be told. There are no rules.

    An Aside: the Hero's Journey works the best (aka is realistic) if there is nothing found at the end of it and no satisfying conclusion, IMO.


  6. Pen Name Pending
    March 7, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

    Perhaps also: It is a story written about adolescents, not for them.


  7. Daru
    March 8, 2015 @ 11:42 pm

    I like this too.


  8. Richard Pugree
    March 9, 2015 @ 3:49 am

    I also like this, and it chimes very well with something I've been working on recently, on textual immaturity and adolescent temporalities. I should have more productive thoughts to offer once I've thought them…


  9. Tom
    March 10, 2015 @ 8:23 am

    Oddly, despite the "fundamentally American" suggestion, the thing this made me immediately think of was Attack On Titan. (Though it's the first manga in several years to really catch on with a US audience, so it's speaking a similar language.)


  10. encyclops
    March 10, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

    My first thought was of Ghost World.

    Doesn't quite match on #7 (which, though it is strongly my preference, seems a little arbitrary) or #11 (rock <> punk?) but what's going on with Enid, what she's so urgently yearning for, reminds me a lot of what you're describing. Then there's that ending.


  11. Jeff Heikkinen
    March 10, 2015 @ 8:30 pm

    Not totally sure I agree with 7, or at least I'd like to hear the reasoning behind it. I would say about queer-ness something more like you say about non-naturalism in the immediately previous point: can be a powerful tool, non-queerness shouldn't be viewed as the default stance, but I don't see why it must involve queer issues.


  12. TheSmilingStallionInn
    March 11, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

    I think I see where you are going with this. I thought for a moment that it was mostly about young adult literature, but looking at #3, I think that sums up a key component of the idea here. It does not necessarily have to be young adult literature, but it can take a stylistic approach towards rejecting past staid, normative structures and embrace a more idiosyncratic structure.

    There is also the growing/developing possibility that, in future, more individuals might be involved in less heavy manual labor and have more free time. The notion that they might not be tied to any job or career indefinitely or that it is the sum of their identity. In such a manner, then perhaps it is necessary to develop a greater understanding or appreciation for the self as separate from a career, of life in general, which adolescence might embody.


  13. Katherine Sas
    March 17, 2015 @ 5:28 am

    Taking these rules at face value, the prototypical text of The Golden Age of Adolescent Lit [i.e. it exemplifies all of these rules and is hugely popular, to boot] seems to be The Hunger Games. Fair?


  14. encyclops
    March 18, 2015 @ 8:11 am

    #7? #12?


  15. Katherine Sas
    March 19, 2015 @ 6:15 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  16. Katherine Sas
    March 19, 2015 @ 6:16 am

    Oops – posted on the wrong place first. Let's try this again.

    #12 is easy. The parents are an extension of authority, and Katniss is all about offending authority. There is also a strained relationship with her mother.

    Not so sure about #7 – that is the one outlier. I know a lot of fans read at least Cinna as queer, but I'm not sure there's hard evidence for it one way or the other. But it seems to me that either way, the stories are consistent with a queer-inclusive outlook. Surely "queer literature" means more than just including queer characters (although admittedly that's the most important part of it). I don't know, though. I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on that.


  17. encyclops
    March 19, 2015 @ 9:53 am

    I assumed #12 was about offending the reader's parents, not the protagonist's parents. 🙂 But maybe I misread it. I wonder what parents think of The Hunger Games? Probably some object to the revolutionary themes, and others to the violence. But at least there are no witches!

    I can't speak to what Philip intended for #7. If it's "queer" then it could theoretically encompass quite a lot of things, including (I suppose) a heterosexual but polyamorous situation (which is not the same as a love triangle, which is almost de rigeur in adolescent lit these days). Finnick is implied to be at least behaviorally bisexual, perhaps also Johanna? But having queer characters isn't the same as being queer lit. It's an interesting question.


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