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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. Jarl
    December 25, 2018 @ 3:00 am

    Oh hey, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is about that too.

    I’m sorry. I can’t help it. STALKER is one of those things I get obsessed by and start relating everything to it.


  2. Brian B.
    December 25, 2018 @ 1:36 pm

    Elizabeth: your music recommendations all interest me (and ‘Dirty Computer’ was already my album of the year). In return, all of the following 2018 highlights seem appropriate to your tastes:

    Jenny Wilson’s ‘Exorcism’ is a harrowingly honest, imaginative electro-pop album about her rape and its aftermath.

    Tracey Thorn’s ‘Record’ is a stately electro-pop album of (in her own description) “feminist bangers”, although it may peak for me with “Smoke”, a sad account of watching her country that she loves being taken over by vicious bigots.

    TMBG’s ‘I Like Fun’ is, like ‘Join Us’ (2011) and ‘Nanobots’ (2013), a surprising recapture of the giddy, morbid, inventive glee that marked their early records.

    The Sevateem’s ‘the Caves’ may be the prettiest, most soothing electro-pop album I’ve ever heard. Which is a strange choice for a story-album of “the Caves of Androzani”, given that story’s brutal energy and dark humor, but the Sevateem definitely understand the story; they just find a vein of sweetness to mine.

    And, let’s see, if any of y’all missed Jesus Jones and their friendly, sample-heavy dance-rock, their reunion album ‘Passages’ is a pretty full comeback.


    • Brian B.
      December 25, 2018 @ 7:22 pm

      I’m also thrilled that “Last War in Albion” is making a return, and happy that Tori Amos will be getting her own starring role in the blog. Other music I liked in 2018, names and brief descriptions copied from my Facebook status of the other day (I had ranked a top five of Monáe/ Wilson/ TMBG/ Thorn/ Jesus Jones, hence the indications that everything else for now is tied for sixth):

      6T. Belle and Sebastian, ‘How to Solve Our Human Problems’ (smooth, hyper-literate, highly melodic pop)

      6T. Birthing Hips, ‘Urge to Merge’ (clattering, playfully experimental New Wave/ riot-grrl)

      6T. Charlie Looker, ‘Simple Answers’ (melodramatic orchestral-pop with long unfolding melodies and the occasional sudden swerve)

      6T. Django Django, ‘Marble Skies’ (groovy Madchester-inspired dance-rock)

      6T. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, ‘Riddles’ (punk as an offshoot of krautrock/ motorik, and plus occasional early Bowie influence in the vocals and piano)

      6T. Field Music, ‘Open Here’ (upbeat with complex melodies: a leaner, funkier offspring of XTC and Steely Dan)

      6T. Go-Kart Mozart, ‘Mozart’s Mini-Mart’ (uncomfortably personal, introverted songs performed with chirpy glee on ultra-cheap keyboard patches)

      6T. Joy Formidable, ‘Aarth’ (noise-rock/ shoegaze music, but with shiny bits of synthesizer and exuberance)

      6T. Jukebox the Ghost, ‘Off to the Races’ (sprightly pop un-self-consciously modeled after Elton John, Ben Folds, and Paul McCartney)

      6T. Kleenex Girl Wonder, ‘Vana Mundi’ (tuneful, witty, introspective guitar-pop)

      6T. Lingua Nada, Snuff (spazzy, noisy, hyperkinetic bubblegum-by-way-of-math-rock)

      6T. My Brightest Diamond, ‘a Million and One’ (gorgeous, reserved dance-pop with a lot of classical training behind it)

      6T. Of Montreal, ‘White is Relic’ (shifting, rhythm-centric Britpop)

      6T. Robocobra Quartet, ‘Plays Hard to Get’ (spoken-word over small-combo jazz)

      6T. Skids, ‘Burning Cities’ (reunited-after-36-years punk band makes protest album that isn’t eloquent or clever, but feels anthemic as heck regardless)

      6T. Spanish Love Songs, ‘Schmaltz’ (innovation-free emo guitar-rock: tuneful and dynamic and neurotic and intelligently written)

      6T. Spiral Key, ‘an Error of Judgment’ (complicated but melodic and lean-sounding heavy metal)

      6T. Tune-Yards, ‘I Can Feel You Creep into My Private Life’ (Afropop/ dance pop/ New Wave girl-punk, unafraid to be called nerdy or shrill)

      6T. Zeal & Ardor, ‘Strange Fruit’ (the Alabama 3 of heavy-metal: bluesy/ gospely but it sure brings great, intense riffs)


  3. David Headman
    December 27, 2018 @ 3:12 am

    On co-op board games (that aren’t actually 2018 board games but dominated my 2018):

    Have you checked out Spirit Island? There’s no legacy mechanic, but a solid emergent narrative, excellent tactics/strategy, and a premise I think you would appreciate: You are nature spirits, whose land is being ravaged by White People, fighting back against the invaders and allying yourself with the indigenous population who are also threatened by their onslaught.

    It plays like a cross between Magic:The Gathering and Pandemic (with the plague being European colonists ravaging the land).

    Gameplay wise, it is fascinating, addictive, thinky, and deeply satisfying. You start out on your back feet, desperately trying to respond to the invaders’ assaults, and grow steadily over time, so that by the end you are swatting them back in deeply fulfilling fashion, doing massive damage and scaring them away from your island – hopefully, before they have completely despoiled it. The difficulty scales to exactly the level you want it to remain challenging and there is so much replay value in mixing up different spirits with asymmetric abilities, different colonial adversaries with different behaviors, and different scenarios which tweak the rules.

    As a co-op, it works beautifully. Some co-ops are really single player puzzles that let more than one player participate, and so are prone to “quarterbacking” and “alpha-gaming,” where a player who knows the puzzle simply tells everyone else what to do. In this game, that is nearly impossible. Since each spirit has so many decisions to make, it is beyond anyone’s capacity to play for everyone else, or even keep track of what the choices other players have look like. But there are still so many ways you can compliment, support, and build off of what other spirits are doing, so there is lots of engaging discussion about all of the different ways you can try and respond to and preempt the invaders.

    The overlapping systems of hand-management, drafting, action-selection, tactical area control, and resource management are a combination I have never seen in any game before. Mage Knight has some of those elements, as does Arkham Horror the Card Game, and as a competitive game, Mage Wars shares some similarities too. But the particular combination, the degree of asymmetry, and the way they all smoothly work together to both support the theme and provide a mental puzzle is pretty unique.

    It is hands down my favorite game, and pretty much the only game I play solo, since I want to play it more often than I can find people to play it with me (though I play it co-op fairly often too).


    • Brian B.
      December 28, 2018 @ 5:20 pm

      That sounds amazing — and my kids were psyched when I read this to them as well. Future birthday present suggestion accepted – thanks!


      • David H
        December 30, 2018 @ 4:52 am

        No problem, enjoy!


    • John G. Wood
      December 30, 2018 @ 6:15 pm

      That does sound good – I’ve been trying to narrow down my options for a good coop game for the family, and the best fits I’ve seen so far are Robinson Crusoe and the Thunderbirds anniversary game (Pandemic does seem to suffer a bit from the “one player figuring out what everyone should do” problem, I think). I’ll look into Spirit Island some more. (There’s no rush, since we’ll have to save up for quite some time to get any of them.)


  4. Martin Porter
    December 30, 2018 @ 9:32 am

    You really do need to watch the rest of A Very English Scandal.

    It really is classic RTD, and almost entirely true: which makes even cynics like me gasp at what the British Establishment gets up to.


  5. Olivia Steve
    March 24, 2020 @ 12:57 pm

    You have chosen some great music of 2018, especially my favorite one. A bundle of thanks for making my day.

    Thank you!


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