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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. Wm Keith
    September 21, 2012 @ 2:05 am

    ArcHivist Hegelia postulates that until you have listened to the audio cassette of David Banks reading "Origins of the Cybermen" by David Banks, you have not truly experienced fanwank.


  2. peeeeeeet
    September 21, 2012 @ 3:11 am

    Yep. It's a great object lesson in how you can sell "trad" to a "rad" audience. I adore the cover illustration, too: TARDIS roofs in telly Who will never be slopey enough to satisfy me.


  3. Matthew Celestis
    September 21, 2012 @ 3:26 am

    I was given one of those cassettes for Christmas in 1990. I got the book too. What happy times.


  4. Matthew Celestis
    September 21, 2012 @ 4:06 am

    I can't believe how nostalgic these last few Top of the Pops accounts are making me feel. Most of those songs bring back memories of reading Doctor Who books.


  5. Nick Smale
    September 21, 2012 @ 6:42 am

    There's one decent thing in Iceberg; the first mention of the Jade Pagoda, which was always my favourite bit of NA TARDIS weirdness…


  6. nimonus
    September 21, 2012 @ 7:49 am

    Its interesting that you say a story like "Edge of Destruction" wasn't accessible to fans at the time, since it very clearly was accessible in the US at least. The Hartnell era stories started running on my PBS around the same time as the Colin Baker stories did. These were only the existing stories, obviously, but Edge of Destruction was presumably included.

    I know the focus of the blog is on UK culture and fandom, but by 1993, the shift in fandom towards being international was already beginning. Fans in the US were reading the New Adventures roughly as they came out, and rec.arts.drwho was beginning, creating international discussions for a small subset of that fandom. It was 1995 before this reached critical mass, but as I understand from the DVD documentary on the subject, even before then there were tape-trading rings set up in the UK fed by imported copies of tapes from Australia which put some of these stories into circulation before their VHS release in the UK.


  7. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 21, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    You're two posts ahead of me with the rec.arts.drwho observation. 🙂

    But I still think that the accessibility of a commercially available tape and the tape-trading rings is a pretty big gulf. I mean, Edge of Destruction wasn't a functional missing story or anything, but it's also not something a casual fan can just grab.


  8. BerserkRL
    September 21, 2012 @ 8:09 am

    Vince Foster committed suicide

    Then how do you explain the fact that his body was shrunken to doll size?


  9. cardboardrobot
    September 21, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    I thought "Timewyrm: Apocalypse" was appallingly dull, thin, and bland, so I was impressed with the tremendous improvement shown in "Birthright." The book had some actual flavor.

    BTW, at the time, I thought "Iceberg" had some very good character development for the character of Ruby, much of whose story seemed like it came out of an entirely different, perhaps non-SF book; too bad the Cybermen did not get any of that good characterization.

    When I read "Birthright," IIRC, I thought I'd heard of the time vector generator somewhere before. However, I'm pretty sure I hadn't read the Wheel in Time novelization, so maybe I was mistaken. Maybe it's just a archetypal-sounding TARDIS MacGuffin. 🙂


  10. daibhid-c
    September 21, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    And IMO weirder and better there than in later appearances; in Iceberg I got the impression it was another TARDIS exterior, attached to the same interior dimensions, but entirely seperate from the police box, because why shouldn't it be? (It was around this time that I developed my theory that the TARDIS interior stays where it is, in some pocket universe or something, and just moves the police box [and the pagoda] around.)

    Later writers seemed to make it an escape capsule, which I found less interesting.


  11. daibhid-c
    September 21, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    "This book came out the same month as John Peel’s novelization of Evil of the Daleks, and a month after his Power of the Daleks novel. Both were dreary slogs that drained all power and wit from the stories."

    I've got a feeling I skipped those after reading his novelisation of The Daleks Masterplan…


  12. peeeeeeet
    September 21, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    … and (since you say you're skipping it – and I haven't read it for a few years, so the following may be a little faulty), I think Iceberg is better than its reputation. It's probably only got a novella's worth of plot, but it's hardly the first time Who's been guilty of padding. The idea of the base being designed to reverse a pole-shift seemed like a good, concrete setting rather than a more generic one, and I think the Cybermen are surprisingly chilling, given that David Banks was best known for standing around saying "Excellent!" and shaking his fist: they're cold, calculating and silent, deciding on their objective and then quietly getting on with it with little concern for anything that gets in their way. That, for me, was enough to make it the best Cyberstory since Troughton.

    … oh yeah, and as noted above, the jade pagoda was a lovely idea.


  13. Eric Gimlin
    September 21, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    Thank you for clarifying why it was taking me so long to warm to Benny as I've been reading these books for the first time. Given her reputation as a classic companion, I was surprised how long it took for me to get a feel for the character; but looking back from somewhere in the middle of Blood Harvest (the book I just finished) I think this is where I started to get the character.

    As far as actors as writers: I was genuinely disappointed when you skipped Harry Sullivan's War; any chance of that turning up in the print version?


  14. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 21, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    I'm not ruling it out, but it's not in the first tier of "stuff I plan to add for print versions."


  15. Kit
    September 22, 2012 @ 3:33 am

    Harry Sullivan's War was great, says my inner seven-year-old.

    On a purely copy-editing note for this post, can I suggest changing a repeated phrase to "Doctor-light"? It sounds like you're talking about the rapey chap with the fin on his head.


  16. Matthew Blanchette
    September 22, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    No, you can't; that's the accepted term: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Doctor-lite

    And I don't think anyone knows what you mean by "rapey chap", sorry… :-/


  17. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 22, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    Actually, I do know what he means by "rapey chap with the fin on his head." Because I'm a strange, strange man.


  18. Kit
    September 22, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

    Matthew – your link contradicts your assertion!


  19. Eric Gimlin
    September 22, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

    For better or worse, not only did I know what he meant, it never crossed my mind until you said something that it wasn't self-evident to the casual observer (or at least the casual reader of this blog.)


  20. Anton B
    September 22, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

    I too was distracted by 'Doctor Light'. He's a dodgy DC comics super villain for those who like their obscure references explained rather than perpetuated. Also 'actor' is the accepted description for performers of both genders these days. 'Actress' is considered a bit derogatory. Otherwise still with ya Phillip even though you're now discussing DW ephemera of which I have no experience. My list of books to check out is expanding nicely, thanks.


  21. Ununnilium
    September 23, 2012 @ 6:54 am

    Of the many stupid things about the rapey chap, the fact that the powers that be assumed that, because he was around, the excellent Kimiyo Hoshi version couldn't be just takes the cake.


  22. BerserkRL
    September 23, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    I had the same unhappy association with the rapey chap when I saw "Doctor Light."


  23. Stephen
    September 23, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    Another vote to change Doctor Light. Though I'm not familiar with the DC villain, I'm very used to seeing it as Doctor lite or Doctor-lite.

    Also, can I just say that I'm enjoying the blog more now you're onto the New Adventures than I have at any point since you finished with Bigmead.


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