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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.

16 Comments

  1. Matthew Celestis
    July 4, 2011 @ 3:29 am

    I'd really like to read this novel.

    I am very keen on the Season 6B idea. It enables us to tie the Second Doctor TV Comic stories into the canon. It also leaves room for the Doctor to have had all sorts of mysterious adventures that we don't know about.

    Reply

  2. Adeodatus
    July 4, 2011 @ 4:33 am

    It's all Robert Holmes's fault. The multiple Doctor stories were never a problem until 'The Two Doctors': it would have been easy to come up with some convincing technobabble about why the First and Second Doctors had no memory of 'The Three…' and 'The Five' once they'd returned to their own times. But in 'The Two…', Holmes does one of his 'let's throw the entire canon at the wall and see what happens' things, when he has Jamie and the Doctor talking about the Time Lords in the first scene.

    Personally, I tend to be disappointed when writers try to tidy up the show's messy continuity. I like it messy. A slavish adherence to continuity ends up with a show that appeals only to the fanbeings.

    And yes, I agree that Dicks is a remarkable children's author. Even with all the praise he gets these days, he still doesn't get enough.

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  3. Alex Wilcock
    July 4, 2011 @ 5:47 am

    Up to a point, Lord (insert ridiculously polysyllabic Time Lord name here)…

    "But beyond that, Dicks seems to misunderstand bits of the Gallifrey that followed The War Games. The CIA, for instance, was clearly never meant to be taken entirely seriously."

    That presumes that Dicks was taking this book entirely seriously. I thought it was poking fun at a number of concepts, and that he thought the idea of Season 6B hilarious, and an opportunity to muck about with Troughton. Even the cover's funny (and, like The War Games, right back to early Trout).

    For me, the biggest tip-off that he was just enjoying mucking about with continuity was the bit that most set you off: the prologue isn't just a retelling of the trial from The War Games, but explicitly the trial from Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion – Dicks' first book. He uses exactly the same wording… Right up until he doesn't. Which means it's shocking for those of us brought up on Target Books, firstly because the words we know by heart suddenly change, secondly because he's very firmly saying, 'This is the universe of the books, not the TV,' and only thirdly because he sentences the Doctor to death (which we have a sneaking suspicion he may get out of).

    He's also, I believe, the only author who used an element from the post-2005 series in the pre-2005 (never mind when it was published!) range, something which was absolutely forbidden to all authors. My understanding is that he put in the psychic paper for a laugh to dare them to censure him, and because he was Terrance Dicks he got away with it.

    Reply

  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 4, 2011 @ 6:00 am

    The satiric approach certainly improves the novel, even if I'm not 100% sold on the argument.

    That said, I was just revising the Time Travelers entry the other day and apparently asserted there that somewhere in that novel is a reference to Rose. Unfortunately, that's all I said in the entry, and I can't remember any such reference now, months after reading the book, but apparently there's something, however vague, in there as well.

    Reply

  5. The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca
    July 4, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    The Two Doctors is one of the few Colin Baker stories I've ever seen. Now, iIlove Colin BAker's Doctor simply because of the FANTASTIC audio books he did with Big Finish, especially with companion Evelyn Smythe (that horrible, badly researched and frankly outright mean and vicious story about Darwin notwithstanding- Bloodtide. Bloodtide is just mean and horrible and outright shit. Forgive my anger, but I was so angry after hearing it I ranted for a week).

    Anyways, the Two Doctors not only presents some odd canon errors with the Time Lords being mentioned, and the Second Doctor not having any memory of it never being explained, but it also simply falls apart. What actually starts off as a fairly good script with a bunch of dead scientists and a space station ends up at an Italian Villa with an extremely heavy-handed "eating meat is bad" plot that seems to be written when Robert Holmes was feeling particularly curmudgeonly and vegetarian. I mean, the Torchwood episode "Meat" ended with more subtly than The Two Doctors, and it ends up being an unfair last episode for Patrick Troughton.

    Oddly, both Two Doctors and Bloodtides are equally insulting and unsubtle- Bloodtide ends up being "If you believe in God then Aliens will be able to easily control and murder you." Even as a mild-mannered agnostic I found that a deeply offensive approach on par with the British in Mel Gibson's The Patriot. Honestly. Learn to be SUBTLE!

    Reply

  6. Aaron
    July 4, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Besides the uncomfortable racism of the Two Doctors (which Robert Shearman's brilliant interpretation of has allowed me to accept), the Two Doctor is a really brilliant story, with some of the all time wittiest lines for the Sixth Doctor, and a writer that actually understands the Sixth Doctor. Notice how the Doctor is made by the script into a competent detective who has real affection for Peri but is often too concerned with the bigger picture to pay a lot of attention to her. Also notice how the script makes fun of the Doctor's pompousity a number of times as a way to poke fun at the Doctor as it always should have been used, unlike other Season 22 stories that just use it to make him look mean tempered. It's really an absolutely brilliant script, perfectly paced the entire way through, and I just can't fathom why anyone would dislike it.

    I also can't understand the complaints that it's a bad last episode for Patrick Troughton. He gets the first 15 minutes to just do an old Second Doctor episode, which is wonderful, and he expertly recaptures the role. And he obviously is loving the Androgum scenes: just look how excited he is to play an Androgum in those parts. Obviously we as fans just want the Doctors to get together and squabble and have Patrick Troughton save the day, but it's a Sixth Doctor tale that takes seriously the fact that the Sixth Doctor is the hero and positions him firmly in the protagonist role. Patrick Troughton gets a restatement of his old role before getting to do a radical reinterpretation of it that by all accounts he loved. It's hardly an unfair last episode for him.

    Anyways, way off topic, but I just watched this the other day and felt the need to defend it. Yes, it's a vegatarian parable, but so what? It just allows Holmes to themeatically link all the disparate elements of the episode that much better, and thus create a cohesive whole.

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  7. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 4, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    I suppose that it is not an overly big spoiler to say that Spearhead from Space isn't going to get done until Monday the 11th, and that only one of the two entries between now and then is a Pop Between Realities entry.

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  8. Matthew Celestis
    July 4, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

    The Two Doctors is brilliant. People complain about the Doctor having a racist attitude, but they fail to get the clever Deconstruction that Holmes pulls.

    By having the Doctor prejudiced against a human-looking monster, he exposes the viewers' prejudices against monstrous-looking monsters. The whole idea of the 'monstrous alien race' is challenged in The Two Doctors.

    Reply

  9. Aaron
    July 4, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

    That's the Robert Shearman interpretation that helps me accept the racism of the episode. The only thing is, I'm not sure that Holmes meant for this interpretation in the first place; If he did, he was certainly subtle about it. I wish he had signposted this a little bit more if he was thinking about subverting the "monsters are bad" archetype. But, I'll be very interested to see what Phil has to say about it, since I think the idea that Holmes is subverting the xenophobic "monsters are bad because they're monsters" cliche means that, as Phil has set up the conversation, Holmes is presenting a scathing critique of the Troughton era as a whole, right down to making Troughton one of those monsters he was forced to fight. So it'll be interesting.

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  10. Matthew Celestis
    July 5, 2011 @ 3:45 am

    I think you do see postmodern touches in Robert Holmes' scripts, Carnival of Monsters epecially.

    I think The Two Doctors is very much in that vein.

    Reply

  11. elvwood
    July 5, 2011 @ 4:10 am

    Just to correct one point: "Dicks … has written for the first nine Doctors in book form"

    Actually, he's written two books for the Tenth Doctor too. I like Made of Steel in particular as a fun, light read; don't dismiss it because it's short!

    Reply

  12. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    July 17, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    I think it's a bit unfair to say that the 3rd Doctor "willingly and happily got in line as a military employee." There's an ongoing tussle between the Doctor's and the Brigadier's points of view, even if their growing mutual respect and affection gradually shaves the edges off it.

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  13. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 17, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    I think Spearhead visibly contradicts that. Yes, the Doctor and the Brigadier butt heads from time to time – most notably with The Silurians. But the Doctor readily agrees to work for UNIT without investigating any other options for his time on Earth, and doesn't seem to seriously consider leaving even after the Brigadier commits apparent genocide.

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  14. tantalus1970
    January 23, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    I think the reason that Dicks includes the Time Lord CIA, apart from the fact that he clearly likes the idea himself, is because they have become a real obsession in parts of fandom (and all because of one throw away line).

    I literally can't remember the last time I read a book or listened to an audio involving Time Lords or Gallifrey that didn't feature the Celestial Intervention Agency . In fact, any books or audios about Gallifrey / Time Lords, I just avoid now.

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  15. Mike
    August 10, 2012 @ 1:11 am

    After your casual comparison of J K Rowling and Terrance Dicks, I'd love to see you develop that comparison and maybe an article on Harry Potter and Doctor Who if possible – I suspect this will be adressed when you get to 'The Shakespeare Code'

    Reply

  16. John Seavey
    October 13, 2014 @ 11:41 am

    I thought I'd commented on this at the time, but 'The Menagerie', I believe, has the Doctor explicitly discussing the Time Lords with Jamie.

    Reply

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