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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. peeeeeeet
    December 7, 2012 @ 12:32 am

    I might be misremembering this, but I think Orman stated once that the book wasn't always going to open with a flashforward to Roz's death – she added that because she knew that the cat would be out of the bag.


  2. Scott
    December 7, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    Yes, that's what I thought as well — the novel as originally written was wiped and Orman was working off Aaronovitch's notes. It could well have been intended as a surprise (albeit one where it sounds like the cat was out of the bag beforehand).


  3. John Callaghan
    December 7, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    I remember that too. How neat it is, that it works in favour of the narrative.


  4. Aaron
    December 7, 2012 @ 4:43 am

    Yeah, I was going to mention that in the original version Aaronovitch had left Roz's death a surprise.

    Also, Miles' next two books are Alien Bodies and Interference- they're Down and Alien Bodies.


  5. encyclops
    December 7, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    I haven't read this novel yet, but when I do it had better be as fine as this essay. So much to think about!


  6. drwhonovels
    December 9, 2012 @ 5:15 am

    I remember it this way this too. Aaronovitch's surviving notes for how the second half of novel would have been written contained a heavy focus on military hardware and soldier levels for the final battle (i.e. tactical stuff), but much vagueness as to how that battle was supposed to be plotted, apart from something along the lines of "this depends on how other things turn out".


  7. Adam Riggio
    December 9, 2012 @ 6:42 am

    Here's what I sometimes find freaky about the Eruditorum project. If Ben Aaronovitch's hard drive hadn't crashed, he would have written a book that had pretty much the same plot points, but very different emphases: tactics, battles, space opera of a more conventional sort, the kind of epic story where we would have expected a character like Roz to go out. What we got was all those meticulously arranged tactical details disappearing, and Kate Orman having to rescue a book using very different kinds of drama, focussing on the small scale effects that an epic battle had: Chris and the Doctor lost their friend.

    This movement uniting narrative collapse and parallelism structures in one story was assembled entirely by mistake, the hurried attempt to avoid a real-world disaster. As well, because the novel itself was crafted under such circumstances, the stereotypical (if problematic) way we engage with fiction finds it difficult to take hold. We can't really let ourselves treat So Vile a Sin as if it were the biography of people who just happen to be fictional, because the reasons for why the drama unfolds as it does can't be understood as an entirely aesthetic or artistic cause: So Vile a Sin is the way it is because Aaronovitch's hard drive crashed. Doctor Who, once again, can't be adequately understood without taking into account the material conditions of its production.


  8. Iain Coleman
    December 9, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    This is one of the things I like most about TV series – those occasions when the constraints of deadlines, runtimes and so on cause great things to happen that were never planned. It's rarer to find this in novels, but this is one example.

    JMS called it "art by accident", back in the B5 days when he was describing how seious over-running problems forced him to excise the entire B-plot from "Intersections in Real Time", the episode where Sheridan is tortured in prison. This meant the entire episode was just Sheridan in his cell with no shots of the outside world – absolutely the best choice, but not one that would have been deliberately planned.

    There are some great examples that arise from under-running as well. The entire first episode of "The Mind Robber" is a case in point (and of course that story later has more art-by-accident when Frazer Hines gets chickenpox). One of my all time favourites is from the Blake's 7 episode "Bounty". There's a lovely scene where the politician who Blake is trying to rescue, played by T P McKenna, takes time out as a firefight rages around him to sit down and listen to an antique gramophone record. It's a sublime moment, touching and memorable – and it only exists because the episode was under-running horribly and they couldn't think of anything else to do except have the guest actor listen to music for a couple of minutes to pad it out.


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