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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. Spacewarp
    November 2, 2011 @ 4:54 am

    If you like trashy 90s Cyberspace, you'll love this early 1996 story from Philip Reeve (yes, he of "Mortal Engines" fame).


  2. BerserkRL
    November 2, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    I remember in libertarian bull sessions in 1994 (I remember the year because of where I was at the time) people were talking gleefully about how the internet was going to make everything less centralised and more anarchic, make horizontal as opposed to vertical communication much easier, etc. So there was no excuse for the Skynet vision of the internet even then.


  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    November 2, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Oh, I agree wholeheartedly – anyone who knew what they were talking about understood what the actual appeal of the Internet was in the mid-90s. Again, this gets at the basic issue – failure to think about the material technology.


  4. BerserkRL
    November 2, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    On a related subject, I'm fond of this passage from Heinelin's I Will Fear No Evil (though I'm not especially fond of the book itself), because he wrote it in 1970:

    "Uh, Eunice, this machine … has access to the Congressional Library St. Louis Annex, does it not?"

    "Certainly. Hooked into the Interlibrary Net, rather, though you can restrict a query to one library."


  5. Steve Hogan
    November 3, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    Well, I suppose that this book isn't much dumber about the internet than the last serial you posted about was on the subject of botany. Can someone explain exactly how the Krynoid got non ambulatory plants to attack people? "Choke him you vines! Even though you are physically incapable of doing so!"


  6. Stephen
    November 7, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    I'm somewhat flattered to be taking up the first three paragraphs of the entry.

    Anyway, glad to see that you spun a whole load of thematic stuff relating to the era out of it.


  7. goatie
    July 31, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    I prefer the term "Infobahn" when being ridiculous about the internet.


  8. Mitch J
    August 16, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

    While we're on the subject of Doctor Who, the Internet, and 1995, I'd like to direct you all to!topic/rec.arts.drwho/fNc0-Zpirpg . (source: TvTropes Doctor Who trivia page)


  9. David Gerard
    November 30, 2013 @ 12:37 am

    "And notably, an online community definitely existed in 1995. Doctor Who fandom, by this point, was already dominated heavily by what went on on rec.arts.doctorwho. Yes, in the case of Doctor Who this is due to the fact that 1995 was firmly in the "cult sci-fi" era of Doctor Who's history, and so there was a large overlap between Doctor Who fans and early adopters."

    I was part of the subculture that was commercialised as "grunge". Fanzines still had power up until 1995, because they were the fastest method to spread important cultural information …

    … and then popular Internet immediately took over, because it could spread memes ridiculously faster. Even Usenet, not just the Web. And I was struck by the power of the effect even as the Internet wasn't yet very popular at the time.

    "The techno-thriller, after all, depends on the power of the technology, whereas Dilbert depends on the absurdist combination of power and impotence."

    The greatest failed attempt at Dilbert in Space is, of course, the movie of Battlefield Earth. I'm told the Dilbert-like theme was in the original novel (which actually has its defenders, unlike the movie – apparently there's a good 300-page book somewhere in that 1000-page doorstop) as well.


  10. John Seavey
    June 2, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

    It's worth mentioning that the specific line you critique: "We're dicing with death on the information superhighway to hell," is part of a long and glorious tradition in the Virgin books, that of the Back Cover Blurb. The New and Missing Adventures usually had their cover copy written long before the book itself was finished, and always included one "money quote" that was either pulled from the sample chapter or simply made up by marketing, and the author was instructed to find a way to include it in the finished work. (In one case, that of 'The Sword of Forever', Jim Mortimore simply forgot. The line on the back cover appears nowhere in the novel and has nothing to do with its plot.)

    So it's entirely likely that Richards never wrote the line in question, and was forced to include it. That may go some way to explaining why it sounds so out-of-place.


  11. Dave
    October 5, 2014 @ 8:31 am

    Despite such a long essay, you never mention what this book is actually about!


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