Eruditorum Press

A magical ritual to pay my rent

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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.

40 Comments

  1. peeeeeeet
    March 8, 2013 @ 12:41 am

    Probably the first thing anyone's written about Adventuress that makes me want to read it! ::toddles off to ebay::

    Reply

  2. Scott
    March 8, 2013 @ 2:59 am

    I see what you did there… [/oswin oswald]

    Reply

  3. Andrew Hickey
    March 8, 2013 @ 3:32 am

    Beautiful.

    Reply

  4. Stephen Jeffers
    March 8, 2013 @ 3:44 am

    As I said before, the main instinct EDA writers seemed to have when reading Miles' stuff was to parody it. Orman, Rose and Parkin clearly had great fun busking 'Larry style' bits in their books, before patting them on the head and getting on with actually clever, well-written stuff. So this post joins a noble line of hilarious Lawrence Miles parodies.

    A line, of course, which Henrietta Street is a part of. Although I'm not sure anyone ever told Larry.

    Reply

  5. Aaron
    March 8, 2013 @ 4:47 am

    Well done, great post.

    Just one quick thought: Miles does explain what this 'new type of history' is, at least implicitly. The reason the Enemy have almost no entries devoted to them is because invent to their nature is that they can't be known. They erase all stable forms of knowledge about them, leaving the entries in the Book of the War about them mysteriously missing. While we know everything about the static Great Houses, we know little, and can know only little, about the nature of a kind of history that can never be written down, can only survive in oral reports and rumours. The 'new type of history' that the Enemy represent is the history of the marginalised, the subaltern, and their assault on the Great Houses is an attack on colonial enlightens conceptions that everything can and must be categorised and defined.

    That's the new type of history: one that doesn't reinforce existing power structures, but actively tries to tear them down.

    Reply

  6. Dr. Happypants
    March 8, 2013 @ 5:44 am

    A new form of history, opposed to the Time Lords, difficult even to know as information about it (or them) spontaneously self-erases…

    …The Enemy are the Silence.

    Reply

  7. Aaron
    March 8, 2013 @ 5:52 am

    Haha, good connection there. The only problem there is that the Silence are constructed as colonisers. They take over other worlds and bend their history so as to be sympathetic to the needs of the Silence. The Enemy are essentially the embodiment of post colonialism and fight by redefining the history of the oppressed in such a way as to write the colonisers out of the narrative. If the Silence were a race that had lived alongside humans for centuries, but humans had so oppressed them that even humans began to forget about them, then they could be the Enemy. But the Enemy has to be challenging the dominant power structures, not colonising others, as is the case with the Silence.

    …That's of course why the Doctor is absent from the Book of the War. As an agent who challenges narratives, fights against static knowledge and against colonialism, he naturally sides with the Enemy. So of course, as an Enemy agent, information about him gets erased from the Book of the War, leaving only a couple hints here and there.

    Reply

  8. theonlyspiral
    March 8, 2013 @ 6:00 am

    I find myself conflicted about Miles. I love his ideas. The Book of the War is one of my favorite alternate visions of the Time War. That may not be how it is intended, but ever since that lovely article was posted here dealing with the Fractal History of the Time War…I can't help but feel that it reconciles so much that I find problematic.

    I likely would never have read Adventuress of Henrietta Street without your posting here. As the blog has delved into mysticism and modern occultism my interest in such things has been piqued significantly. So…Thank You?

    Also: Where can one find Moore's letter to Miles and then Miles response to it?

    Reply

  9. Jesse
    March 8, 2013 @ 6:16 am

    Where can one find Moore's letter to Miles and then Miles response to it?

    I believe that is one of those things that we all must compose for ourselves.

    Reply

  10. jane
    March 8, 2013 @ 6:32 am

    "This is in some ways typical of Miles, whose performative offensiveness has always had a complex relationship with his actual art."

    Reminds me of Card.

    Reply

  11. theonlyspiral
    March 8, 2013 @ 6:45 am

    But in numerous entries there is a conspicuous Doctor Shaped hole. Such as the article describing the battle computers made up of the enslaved renegades.

    My thought is that the Doctor is the one being with the potential to devastate the enemy. He has the ability to change and challenge narrative. This is correct. But he is not opposed to an arc of history. He stands apart from the Great Houses. He is a force unto himself. He can resist this new image of history, change it.

    The Silence are infiltrators and conquerors taking away the agency of history without us even knowing. Sounds like they're dead set against the Doctor. Few creatures better fit the Second Doctor's "Things that act against everything we believe in" than this interpretation of the Silence.

    Reply

  12. theonlyspiral
    March 8, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    Is this one of those cases where I've been far too literal in my reading of an entry?

    Reply

  13. jane
    March 8, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    To tie your reading so directly to the literal tradition risks making the entire thing real, and thus bringing about the radical transformation of the very nature of this blog.

    Reply

  14. Ununnilium
    March 8, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    The Doctor is most definitely not an agent of the Enemy. If the Enemy are the oppressed come back to overthrow their oppressors, then they are the worst incarnation of that historical process, an army of Stalins and Robespierres who erase history from our minds so none can remember anything better than their rule.

    Or not. It's hard to say, really, since they are so undefined. At the very least, though, they're never given any hint of ethical edge over the Great Houses.

    Reply

  15. theonlyspiral
    March 8, 2013 @ 7:53 am

    As Above, So Below

    I understand and thank you for enlightening me.

    Reply

  16. Ross
    March 8, 2013 @ 7:53 am

    If that's true, then it may be that the Doctor is not an agent of the Enemy, but he may in fact be exactly the thing the Enemy thinks they are, rather than what they actually are.

    Reply

  17. matt bracher
    March 8, 2013 @ 8:27 am

    May I say how frustrating it is to find that today's essay is focused on a book in which I'm currently bogged down?

    Quite afraid to read this week's. But knowing it's here will hasten my pace through the novel.

    sigh.

    Reply

  18. Aaron
    March 8, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    Why do we think of the enemy as an army of Stalin's an Roberpierre's? They are the God of the Ainu, and closely allied with Native American tribes. There the people that the Great Houses have erased, back to reassert their own lost history and in doing so, challenge the Master Narrative that the Great Houses have imposed.

    And I hadn't ever thought that the Doctor might not be on anyone's side. Alien Bodies certainly implies the Doctor is an agent of the Enemy, but then the Great houses would think that anyone that wasn't with them was against them.

    Reply

  19. Aaron
    March 8, 2013 @ 8:32 am

    Death? The Fool?

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  20. Ununnilium
    March 8, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    Ross: That.

    Aaron: Really? I didn't get that out of Alien Bodies.

    Reply

  21. jane
    March 8, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Orson Scott.

    Reply

  22. Ununnilium
    March 8, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    So both of those! ba-dum-tiss

    Reply

  23. theonlyspiral
    March 8, 2013 @ 9:35 am

    I was always under the impression that they had take those marginalized groups iconography and beliefs and weaponized it. Much as the Doctor inserts himself into various roles throughout his adventures, the Enemy takes the roles they can to gain power and influence through the belief and deference of the Lesser Races.

    In this context "Lesser Races" is not a racist term, but that which it is defined as in The Book of the War, which is "Non-Time Active".

    Reply

  24. elvwood
    March 8, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    Heh, I got so bogged down in Adventuress that it's the first Miles book I started and the last I finished…

    Reply

  25. T. Hartwell
    March 8, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    I'm always depressed that the author of my favorite book of all time (Speaker for the Dead) also has some of the most loathsome and hateful political beliefs I've ever encountered (and also manages to sneak into his later books, with the Ender's Shadow series being depressingly sexist and heteronormative).

    I just can't understand how a man who wrote Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead can be so immensely bigoted. Surely he sees the irony?

    Reply

  26. theonlyspiral
    March 8, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

    I'll just leave this right here…

    This essay explains why I have so little trouble seeing OSC as having such deplorable beliefs.

    http://peachfront.diaryland.com/enderhitlte.html

    Reply

  27. jane
    March 8, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

    Surely a war against "the buggers," a morality based on intention without heed for actual consequences, the necessity of a Hegemon, and the forgiveness of genocide comes from somewhere?

    For more understanding: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm

    Not that I was ever that much into DC Comics, but the fact they even had Card in the works to write Superman (thankfully quashed) just makes me sick of the whole company.

    Anyways, I wonder if the narrative conventions of Henrietta Street are as reflective of Miles' psychology, so distanced and removed from the other writers at the time. Not to mention the treatment of Anji.

    Reply

  28. Kit
    March 8, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    Not quashed.

    Reply

  29. T. Hartwell
    March 8, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

    …well, damn. There's another book I'm probably not going to be able to enjoy again.

    Reply

  30. Dr. Happypants
    March 8, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    And there's also this…

    http://www.salon.com/2000/02/03/card/

    The Ender's Game that Card thinks he wrote is not the Ender's Game most of us thought we read.

    Reply

  31. Ununnilium
    March 8, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

    I dunno, I've read articles like that before, but I've never really been able to see that in the Ender's Game I read. Perhaps it's just my personal perspective.

    Reply

  32. Ununnilium
    March 8, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

    Wait

    …I just noticed the second S. I assumed it was about a street who has adventures. ^^;

    Reply

  33. Adam Riggio
    March 9, 2013 @ 2:07 am

    My erudite education has another, if parallel, take on the nature of Time Lords and Enemy. If the Time Lords are conceptualized as the static version of history, stabilizing the development of the universe's history along fixed, eternal, intelligible concepts, then they correspond to the Platonic concept of truth in being. The Enemy are also interpreted according to a Platonic model, where any force of fundamental change utterly and completely destroys even the possibility of meaning and meaningfulness at all.

    The Doctor escapes that entire mode of thinking. He's an agent of creative change that spurs people to develop new directions that are unforeseen in the starting concepts, but which move beyond them without destroying all possibility of order, as the Platonic order conceives of change. The breakdown of order isn't the reign of chaos or disorder, but the creation of new orders that can similarly be changed when they grow inadequate to the current situation.

    The Time Lords and the Enemy are opposing (and therefore inextricably co-dependent) sides of Plato's philosophy. For the Doctor, the opposition makes no sense: he's Henri Bergson, John Dewey (and maybe me).

    Reply

  34. elvwood
    March 9, 2013 @ 2:37 am

    Hm, not heard any of that before about Orson Scott Card. I'm with Donna Minkowitz in that Salon article Dr. Happypants linked, in that I profoundly disagree with Card's real-life views but think what he produced in Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead is something quite different. The other article I read (John Kessel's) has some very valid points, and in particular I agree wholeheartedly that intention isn't everything; but many of the problems identified rely on the reader being very accepting of the narrative at face value. Yes, the brutality against Ender is emphasised, but I don't see him as an untarnished innocent either – and before I read Minkowitz's interview I would have said we weren't meant to. So much for my ability to read authorial intention! Like William Golding, I think Card has created something other than what he intended; which is rather fitting considering Ender's story. I could go on, but it takes me a long time to put this sort of thing into words, so I'll just emphasise that I can distinguish between the books and their author, and between the stated viewpoint in the story and my own judgement of what happens within it.

    Reply

  35. Ununnilium
    March 9, 2013 @ 7:04 am

    I quite like that interpretation, though this basically puts The Enemy in the same space as Faction Paradox.

    Reply

  36. Ununnilium
    March 9, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    (Which, I note, would put us back in that Miles/Morrison space.)

    Reply

  37. Tiffany Korta
    March 10, 2013 @ 3:22 am

    So to sum up, the Time Lord / Great Houses are Order and the Enemy are Chaos (the constantly changing flow of things, not the spike and mutant kinds).

    The way I see it the Doctor and Faction Paradox live in the spaces in between, that history happened but not exactly how everyone understand it. Whilst Faction Paradox are "You're favorite person was an Alien or suffered for a currently fashionable condition" whilst the Doctor is a little more Bill & Ted…

    Reply

  38. Adam Riggio
    March 10, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

    Maybe if the Americans had remade Doctor Who as a blockbuster cult sci-fi program in the 1990s successfully, they should have cast George Carlin. That'd be a hell of a show.

    Reply

  39. matt bracher
    March 17, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

    Thanks, elvwood, for encouragement. I'm not going to finish it now. Might pick it up again in the future, but there's none of what I enjoyed from his earlier work.

    I'm reminded of "A History of the Universe" (Virgin edition) with its quoting primary documents. Neat effect — until overused.

    Reply

  40. Jack
    January 28, 2017 @ 10:31 pm

    A much belated comment, reading through this blog after buying a few volumes of the books off Amazon: my enduring memory of this book will always be that it was the microscopic font that was used that made me finally admit to myself I needed glasses to read. And even then, it was a hard go to read.

    Reply

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