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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. Eric Gimlin
    September 7, 2013 @ 12:20 am

    Girl Genius winning the first year, and arguably the first three, doesn't seem strange at all to me. For one thing, Girl Genius is a wonderfully fun and well done comic. For another, and perhaps more importantly, Phil Foglio was already a Hugo Award Winner. I figure that got the series a lot of votes from people who were otherwise unfamiliar with the nominees.

    What category or categories would TARDIS Eruditorum be eligible for a Hugo in, for that matter? There's always next year…


  2. Lee Mansfield
    September 7, 2013 @ 12:48 am

    Oh was Looper a decent sci-fi film? I don't know why exactly but I kind of absorbed the notion that it wasn't worth checking out. See also – Oblivion (and possibly Elysium)? I'd be really interested to see a few Desert Island sci-fi DVD lists from you guys to gauge what I may have missed out on in recent years.


  3. Daibhid C
    September 7, 2013 @ 1:33 am

    But if we're playing "whose fandom is bigger", in 2010 Girl Genius beat Neil Gaiman. Granted, not one of his greater works (I liked it, but it wasn't Sandman) and it probably deserved it, but it's still surprising. Unless the Gaiman fans decided they couldn't approve of him writing a superhero book? That seems possible.

    Phil (our Phil, not Foglio) probably eligable for Best Fan Writer. Except David Langford always wins that. (Actually, checking Wikipedia, I notice he hasn't even been shortlisted since 2009. Shows what I know.) Would a blog be eligable for Best Related Work?

    I dunno. My awareness of the Hugos is mostly restricted to enjoying the Doctor Who victories, and bitching that Terry Pratchett has never even made the Best Novel shortlist. (At least until Terry withdrew Going Postal from consideration, so the stress wouldn't spoil his Worldcon.)


  4. Scurra
    September 7, 2013 @ 1:37 am

    I thought Looper was distinctly average. Whilst the narrative trick it pulls is rather good, it doesn't have even half the emotional power of Moon (hell, it's barely up there with Source Code or District 9), and there is an argument that it doesn't even handle the "hard magic" especially consistently (and that's quite apart from the macguffin premise…)

    Mind you, I thought Avengers Assemble was distinctly average as well. Joss Whedon can't direct his way out of a paper bag. Honestly – about the best thing I can say about AA is that the action sequences are still comprehensible and watchable on an airline back-of-seat screen, which you can't say about Prometheus or Dark Knight Rises or almost any other Hollywood blockbuster. I will grant you that the dialogue is exceptionally good though. And it was still better than Dark Knight Rises.

    I want to see a film directed by Chris Nolan, with a script (but not necessarily a story) by Joss Whedon and cinematography by Ridley Scott. Then we might get close to great. As it is, the "auteur" syndrome has reflected very badly on all of them (as it has on Neill Blomkamp as well.)


  5. Daibhid C
    September 7, 2013 @ 1:39 am

    Just occured to me, another possibility in the Best Graphic Story being won by webcomics four out of five years, might be that those who aren't familiar with comics and graphic novels can check them out for free without too much effort?


  6. Nick Smale
    September 7, 2013 @ 2:16 am

    Ah, the Hugos. As presented this year by… yes, Paul Cornell. Everything on TARDIS Eruditorum eventually connects back to him…

    My main reaction to this year's awards was "Redshirts? WTF?"… Redshirts being John Scalzi's novel whose premise is "the characters on (we've changed the name, but's obvious that we really mean-) Star Trek figure out they're living in a TV series". I read this thinking it would be fun to see Scalzi make something of the dire sounding premise, only to find that it was just as dire as the premise made it sound…

    Next year? The only eligible novel I've read is Christoper Priest's excellent "The Adjacent", which I'd hope to see nominated at least.


  7. Ununnilium
    September 7, 2013 @ 3:25 am

    IMHO, Looper was very good, Avengers was better, and neither was as good as Moon.


  8. Unknown
    September 7, 2013 @ 5:31 am

    "I've just finished the Human Nature/Family of Blood post. Those who enjoy when I play absurd structural games will be happy."

    Hmm… does it involve turning into a review blog for most of the length of the post?


  9. BZArcher
    September 7, 2013 @ 5:48 am

    I am….concerned for intern Dana.

    All things considered, Phil could be nominated for one of the print editions of Eruditorum (or, for that matter, Paradise Dungeons) in Best Related Work, or under Best Fan Writer, but at this point it is unlikely he could be nominated just for the blog. Even writers like John Scalzi who primarily won the award based on their blogging still had the award tied to a print collection (cf "Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded", Subterranean Press)

    (I also suspect that WTNV is more likely to eventually win a Stoker award than a Hugo, simply because I think a lot of voters would classify it as a horror story than a SF one.)


  10. Ross
    September 7, 2013 @ 6:29 am

    Okay, have I actually fallen into Night Vale or something? I used to listen to this sort of podcast all the time, but when I moved three years ago, my commute got short enough that the effort-of-loading-my-ipod to commute-length ratio tipped (it makes no sense to me that itunes struggles so to handle a library of a hundred thousand files, given that the whole point of the ipod is that you can put an obscene amount of data on it. Also, you can't connect a modern ipod to a computer running linux and expect anything other than disappointment), so I hadn't heard of it.

    Then a couple of weeks ago, Fred Clark mentioned it on his blog, then three people I know IRL mentioned it independently, then NPR did a piece on it, two people I know on the internet, and now our gracious host. This is spooky.

    (Also, the Hugo is exactly phallic enough that I snicker a little when Hugo season leads to a flurry of pictures of well-dressed internet-savvy sci fi people waving them around while in formalware.)


  11. Ununnilium
    September 7, 2013 @ 7:50 am

    Basically, a couple months ago, it got the critical mass of people talking about it needed for cascading popularity. The snowball's still rolling.


  12. Matthew Blanchette
    September 7, 2013 @ 8:17 am

    First, you'd have to get Nolan to refuse the services of David S. Goyer, which I don't think he'll ever be able to do, now…


  13. Matthew Blanchette
    September 7, 2013 @ 8:18 am

    One hopes so.


  14. timber-munki
    September 7, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    With regards to the graphic story award, Why there is only one award when the prose story awards have four split solely on story length? – you could easily have an ongoing (which could possibly be split into the web-comic & paper categories, although the lines could get blurred with digital download comics & the classic 'free to read, a page every few days' format)and single story/collection awards. I suppose I'm inured to the feeling of high dudgeon I get when comparing the treatment of comics to prose storytelling in our culture.

    Whilst I've no complaints with the excellent Saga winning it would have been nice to see Godzilla: 50 Year War by James Stokoe get recognised too, which as a 5 part limited series has a beginning, middle & end all done within the year long qualifying period. (assuming it doesn't straddle whenever the cut off is). It really is a beautiful looking piece of work. With our culture's obsession with end of the world stories, it's nice to look at that through a giant monster prism rather than the inexorable aimlessly shuffling hordes that's all the rage. There's also a sublime examination of aging and getting replaced by the younger generation that Stokoe weaves into it's gorgeous looking pages. Also from a purely selfish point of view, if the award & recognition translates into more sales Stokoe could afford to get more Orcstain out.

    As to possible contenders for next year, Jonathan Hickman & Nick Pitarra's Manhattan Projects, and Brandon Graham, Simon Roy et al's Prophet, both continue to impress both story & artwise. Ales Kot & Morgan Jenske's Change mini-series and Kot & Riley Rossmo's Wild Children in terms of self contained narratives from what I've read. Looking forward, hopefully Paul Pope's upcoming Battling Boy will be a contender. (I'd also add Kieron Gillan & Canaan White's Über to the list if the art improves).


  15. BerserkRL
    September 7, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    While Looper, Oblivion, and Elysium all have their flaws, I think they're miles above (what has been) the average science-fiction movie, and are a sign that the gap between what sf movies are like and what written sf is like is gradually narrowing.


  16. BerserkRL
    September 7, 2013 @ 10:05 am

    Joss Whedon can't direct his way out of a paper bag.

    Have you seen the original (unaired, but available online) Buffy pilot, directed by Whedon? The directing is truly dreadful. But I had no problem with his direction on Avengers. Guy's learned a few things in 16 years.


  17. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 7, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    Uber and Manhattan Projects both deserve serious recognition, yes. Actually, at this point any year in which Hickman fails to get nominated for a Hugo is a year where the ludicrousness of the graphic story category is demonstrated thoroughly.


  18. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 7, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    I'm terribly fond of Rian Johnson, the writer/director of Looper – I thought his previous two films, Brick and Brothers Bloom, were just wonderful. (I stumbled upon him when reading a roundup of people's picks of the best films in 2006, and he, quite astonishingly, actually picked correctly and named The Fountain and Tideland as the two best.) So yes, I recommend checking it out. It's his weakest movie, but that's because it doesn't sparkle quite as much as the other two, not because of any major flaws.


  19. encyclops
    September 7, 2013 @ 10:35 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  20. Dan Abel
    September 7, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

    Nightvale sounds really interesting. Remind me of the weirdness of Alice's Wunderland


  21. mengu
    September 7, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    Do you think The Name of the Doctor is likely to be nominated?


  22. Unknown
    September 7, 2013 @ 11:41 pm

    "Why there is only one award when the prose story awards have four split solely on story length?"

    I'd put it down to the Hugos being a set of prose fandom awards that have strayed into other areas (and I'd defend the four different prose awards as a way of recognising a broad spectrum of short fiction). The Eisners, by contrast provide a wide breakdown of different types of comic.


  23. Nick Smale
    September 8, 2013 @ 7:33 am

    "Why there is only one award when the prose story awards have four split solely on story length?"

    I see the Hugos as being primarily a literary award — down the line, no one will care who won any of the categories apart from "Best Novel".


  24. jane
    September 8, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    And now, the weather.


  25. Terry
    February 6, 2015 @ 8:25 pm

    Forgive me if I'm a bit pompous: but you think Digger is excellent too? One of those things that just automatically slots itself into Works of Genius (well, it does to me, anyway.) I do so love it when people's opinions agree with my own.


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