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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. John Peacock
    August 24, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    The other thing about the year 2000, for those of us who were children in the UK in the early 70s, was the Blue Peter Time Capsule, when I calculated that I would be at least Impossibly Old when it was opened.

    I realised in 2001 that I'd completely missed the opening (apparently the contents had rotted away), somehow betraying my childhood.


  2. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    August 24, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    In the 70s there was a science fiction magazine called 1984.

    When the 80s arrived, they changed the name to 1994.

    When the 90s arrived, it had ceased to be.


  3. Gnaeus
    August 24, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

    Well, yes, the book is all very clever, and certainly head-and-shoulders above the sheer dullardry of most of the BBC line, but…

    isn't it just a load of smug, self-congratulatory, pomo, postgrad showing off? Even from your description, the overall impression given is of Magrs patting himself on the back, saying "I'm awfully clever, you know". It's like Douglas Adams' slightly knowing, self-satisfied air, massively magnified.

    Magrs uses postmodernism, but never seems to do much with it. Except to say that the programme is silly and camp, and isn't it fun to be silly and camp? Well, yes, I imagine for some it is, but so what?

    And I suppose that sort of sums up my feeling about Magrs, Verdigris, and this sort of postmodern introsphinctery: so what?

    This is probably unfair – the man has a fairly universal reputation as very nice.


  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 24, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

    Sure. And if you are clever, you can generally get away with this. Magrs is clever, and does have tremendously funny bits. And yes, he has some cheap swipes to make, but even those are well done – pointing out the CSO artifacts, for instance, as evidence to Jo that there aren't really aliens is delightful, since the CSO artifacts would be just as unintelligible to Jo. The book is a clever celebration of a particular aspect of Doctor Who. It succeeds in entertainment, and has something nice to say. This seems to me a perfectly valid thing for Doctor Who to be.


  5. Gnaeus
    August 25, 2011 @ 3:25 am

    I'm really not all that bothered by swipes at the show, cheap or otherwise, TBH. My problem ith it is that… I suppose I view its major function as one that should have been spotted at the outset of the books ranges in general and moved past in a few books, or simply skipped straight over altogether onto doing something more interesting.

    Like I said, my issue with the book isn't that it's some sort of "outrage"; it's more… yes, and what of it?


  6. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    August 25, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    Now we just need to have the current Doctor brag about how much better he's gotten: "Situations that it used to take me weeks to resolve, I can now usually get sorted in 45 minutes!" Or say: "Ah, the Yeti … things seemed so much more black and white in those days."


  7. Pathetic Ape
    August 25, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194, I think you're forgetting (not without reason) the completely unmemorable Series 3 episode "42", which seems to have been written purely to prove that "real time" episodes can be deathly dull.

    (And is it "postmodern" that every single aspect of "The Age of Steel/Rise of The Cybermen is sourced from earlier Doctor Who stories? It's certainly not lazy writing – it must have taken a lot of effort to be so unoriginal.)

    I hope I'm in a better mood the next time I post something.


  8. Alex Wilcock
    August 25, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    Every now and then, I wonder if I should re-read Verdigris, but with so many Doctor Who books these days I don’t have time to keep up with the new ones and re-read the old ones I liked, let alone have another go at one I disliked intensely back in 2000.

    I wonder why, a little, and wish I’d written a review. I can remember the feel of it, rather than a specific critique – though I do remember arguing a specific critique rather vehemently one night with several other gay Who friends, at least one of whom loved it. I’d liked The Scarlet Empress, which was a great relief from much of the dismal early BBC line; I’d laughed at theoretically similar taking the piss with the yellow-fringed dinosaurs in Head Games; I enjoy Iris and her bus; and I’m not the biggest fan of Jon Pertwee. But I really took against Verdigris.

    I could see the point of those commentators on the book giving the impression of hating Who, and probably The Tomorrow People, too. And given the number of fans who loudly hate Russell T Davies, say, or John Nathan-Turner, arguing that ‘He can’t hate Who because he’s written 29 other stories’ falls rather flat as a defence; I don’t know him, but if he hates Pertwee, or has contempt for that period, it certainly wouldn’t rule him out from being a fan of the rest. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but your failing to see the possibility that fans may strongly object to parts of the show they think let other parts down… Well, I don’t want to fling the OTT abuse you threw at other critics above back at you, but at the least it seems a bit of an oversight, considering the tone of much of your own critique on here.

    I can’t say I’m a massive expert on “gay culture,” though I’m familiar enough by living in bits of it (your “great gay English actors” seems a tad reductive), but I remember enough of that argument about the book with a bunch of gay Who fans, and it wasn’t over the postmodernism per se but the tone. And, as I said, I’ve not read the book for 11 years and I may be being unfair to Paul Magrs, but the argument was about which gay stereotype the tone smacked of: bitchy queen, or self-loathing queer? And to me at the time it felt like an analogue of the latter, taking something you love and kicking it to say to all your ‘straight/non-fan’ associates, ‘Don’t worry, I’m like you, I think it’s rubbish too!’ And… It didn’t seem clever about it. Going back to Head Games again, same joke, five years earlier, shorter, funnier. Dragging it out and beating it to death… Not so much.

    I knew the jokes were there. I just didn’t think they were funny, though lots of people I know thought they were. I’m not saying they’re wrong, or you are – that’s the thing about comedy. It can be funnier the meaner it gets. For me, though, this felt like the most mean-spirited Doctor Who had ever been. Far more so than – don’t explode – The Dominators (and I’ve just written a belated review of The Dominators myself, quoting you; after arguing with you on yours, feel free to pop by and take pot-shots at mine in turn).

    I’m looking forward to your article about Barry Letts and gay culture, though (just try never to listen to his horrible The Tao Connection), even if the glammed-up Pertwee era seems nothing like as gay-friendly to me as the Second Doctor and Jamie.

    Oh, and Tharg is not a fictional galactic conqueror. If anything, he’s as smug and up himself a paternalist as the Time Lords, but definitely no conquests. Still, at least 2000AD is still going as strongly as ever, and no-one seems to mind that it’s the past 😉


  9. Flying Tiger Comics
    August 28, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

    Shoehorning his Iris Wildthyme into everything he possibly can seems to be the author's chief claim to what he probably considered fame. Mary Sue to the Nth degree and unreadable into the bargain.


  10. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 29, 2011 @ 5:55 am

    Given that a Mary Sue is by definition a proxy for the author, I think there are a larger set of assumptions in solved in accusing Paul Magrs of having a middle aged woman as his proxy than is really appropriate to make about someone.


  11. Cyndy Cooper
    October 7, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    Waaait … where is there a Star Trek parody in this book? I didn't see one.


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    October 30, 2013 @ 7:03 am

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  13. Seeing_I
    May 15, 2015 @ 11:40 am

    TEN: "Time was, four Daleks could conquor a planet…"


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