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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. Iain Coleman
    November 25, 2011 @ 12:50 am

    Being unfamiliar with the Rapa Nui, I googled them.

    This was the first hit:

    Rapanui Clothing: "Rapanui is about making eco-fashion cool."

    Jesus wept.


  2. BerserkRL
    November 25, 2011 @ 5:46 am

    "alternates between telling one portion of the story in the odd numbered chapters and a second, chronologically earlier portion, in the even numbered"

    Probably the most famous science-fiction novel to do this is Ursula LeGuin's The Dispossessed (a model more recently imitated by Ken MacLeod's anarcho-Trotskyist-Tuckerite Stone Canal).

    "framing it in terms of the Rapa Nui"

    I bet Mortimore doesn't even mention that the moai were inspired by the 11th Doctor.

    "it's just a bit of good ol' commie pinko cultural relativism on my part. The implicit value judgment in saying that a civilization with less advanced technology than ours is inferior to ours is obscene"

    You know this, but I'll say it anyway, because it's a pet peeve in my profession: that's not cultural relativism. Cultural relativism denies that cultures can be comparatively evaluated across any dimensions — so that, say, we couldn't criticise a culture for practising slavery etc.

    "I only picked Kipling over Herman Cain because I could find a good link faster."

    Well, thank you, because I prefer my bigotry to be literate. 🙂

    "Apparently the RSS feed failed to pick up Wednesday's post about Mary Whitehouse"

    Her censorious influence persists!


  3. 5tephe
    November 26, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    People seriously complain about a jumping narrative structure in a book about time travellers?

    Well good refutation with the point about murder mysteries. On that note, thank you for mentioning "The Simple Art of Murder" last post. I'm a Chandler fan, but hadn't been aware of that one before, and really enjoyed reading it.

    However (and it's a bit of a digression from the topic of this post, and even the blog) while it is an amazing piece of criticism, which I hadn't thought of as such an art form till reading this blog, I found his argument rather blinkered and self serving. He seems by the end especially to be saying: there is only one way to write about murder and its detection, and that is the way Hammet and I do it. Especially his description of how the hero must be composed.

    I read Chandler as a lad, and really was only introduced to Agatha Christie and the like by my wife, some seven or eight years ago, but despite that I find a well done parlour mystery to be just as rewarding as any hard-boiled tale of Marlow getting repeatedly koshed over the noggin'.

    Interested in your thoughts, if you don't mind digressing.


  4. BerserkRL
    November 26, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    Ditto — I love both the Christie type and the Hammet/Chandler type of mystery (as well as other kinds entirely, from G. K. Chesterton to Donna Leon). It would be a shame if they were all alike.


  5. Daru
    November 27, 2011 @ 2:34 am

    Hi there Philip,

    Just thought that I would post a comment in one of your current threads to make a connection.

    I have known about your blog for a while via Mary Ann's 'FlickFilosopher' and have only dipped in a little bit until now, when I have been gripped by your flow of ideas and writing, so am working my may consecutively through your archive.

    I am reading your blog through my function as a professional oral Storyteller. I have had my interest in the whole continuum of Doctor Who material reawakened in me through the effect of the new series in 2005. In the main, I feel passionate about Doctor Who as it feels like some great ongoing piece of storytelling. An ancient and new epic (once added all together!), a '1000 and One Nights', a 'Mahabarata'. A great and jumbled continuum of stories. Many fans of the show seem to obsess over the existence of a supposed 'canon' or continuity – I don't think that matters, not where the main character is a cosmic trickster figure, wibbling with non-linearity throughout time.

    All his tales make me think at this moment of collected stories and exploits of figures such as Maui in Maori mythology, Coyote in North America, and even Jack (of the Beanstalk) who has hundreds of tales about him throughout Europe (spread even to the Appalachian mountains).

    What matters, I feel are the STORIES.

    Like you said on your first blog entry:

    "A man comes into town, and everything changes. By this standard, every story is a Doctor Who story, as every Doctor Who story is exactly that – a man with a magical blue box comes into town, and everything changes."


    "And so as long as there are stories, there are Doctor Who stories. When the stars go out and the universe freezes, around the last fire on the last world, there will still be Doctor Who stories to tell. And when we are done telling them, at long and final last, in the distance will be a strange wheezing, groaning sound. And out will step an impossible man, and he will save the day.

    I believe this. I believe this because to disbelieve this is to disbelieve that stories have power"

    You know, I don't think that the stories of Doctor Who can actually run out. That for me is the charm. There are an infinite number of gaps between tales and individual moments that can never be divided down to zero.

    That for me is the charm – the constant possibility for stories.


  6. Daru
    November 27, 2011 @ 2:42 am

    So – thanks you for this blog and I look forwards to the journey of discovery with you!

    I see your new book – which I certainly will buy and help promote.

    Thanks again


  7. Sean Daugherty
    November 27, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    I never did get around to reading "Eye of Heaven" because I was thoroughly turned off of Jim Mortimore's writing before it was ever released. My problem isn't his style: I've never had a problem understanding what he was trying to say, and his prose is certainly more interesting than, say, a Gary Russell novel. It's the subject matter that I've always had a problem with. He's far more bloodthirsty than I'm comfortable with. I can't speak to "Eye of Heaven," but between "Parasite," "Eternity Weeps," and "Beltempest" I think he's racked up the largest body count of any of the novel writers. It got to the point where I found reading Mortimore's works (or listening, as much of the same problems apply to "The Natural History of Fear" audio he did for Big Finish) was just such an uncomfortably numbing experience that I started to avoid them.

    Which, I hasten to add, isn't a defense of Whitehouse-style bullying. There's certainly a place for experimental writing, and I don't fault Jim Mortimore for writing stories that I don't like. But, at the same time, I just can't make myself like his work, no matter how I try. The best thing I can say is that a Jim Mortimore-penned novel remains far more interesting than, say, a by-the-numbers John Peel Dalek book, largely because he is clearly a far more skilled writer from a technical and stylistic perspective, even if his subject matter tends to turn me right off.


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