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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. Darren K.
    September 12, 2013 @ 1:04 am

    You raise some interesting points at the end regarding the rise of the fantastic in popular culture (and dodge around wehther this is a societal shift that allows the rise or technological shifts that make the fantastic easier and more effective to realise), but you seem to be skipping a generation or conflating pre-war pulp – what is generally known as pulp – and the post-war genre writing. To claim that both Dan Dare and A Princess of Mars are both "pulp" is a huge leap. The cultures and societies that produced either are wildly different and have that great big war in the middle.

    Additionally, Moore and Morrison are a generation removed from the first pulps and the first reactions to them. They are being influenced by those who were influenced by the first generation – film makers like Lucas (who you identify), and TV shows like Doctor Who (of course) or the Avengers or Batman '66 (pulp fiction crossing media with no attempt at translation to the new medium), that play with these older tropes and give permission for this play. Isn't Dan Dare a perfect example of this cross genreism (which is not a word), WWII in space. Perhaps I read too hastily, but you seem to be insinuating the two main protagonists of The War are children of the pulps, but aren't they really the grandchildren?


  2. brownstudy
    September 12, 2013 @ 3:03 am

    Lester Dent, who wrote most of the Doc Savage pulps, documented his process in this little essay. Don't know its provenance, but it's a great example of writing as an assembly line.

    Dirty 30s! – The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot
    "This is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story. It has worked on adventure, detective, western and war-air. It tells exactly where to put everything. It shows definitely just what must happen in each successive thousand words."


  3. BerserkRL
    September 12, 2013 @ 5:12 am

    Burroughs’s planetary romances were in many ways Conan stories reworked into outer space

    This makes it sound as though Conan came first. John Carter first appeared in 1912 (as did Tarzan, yet another influence on Conan), while Conan didn't make his first appearance until 1932.


  4. BerserkRL
    September 12, 2013 @ 5:15 am

    does Song of the South count as fantasy, for instance

    I think so; if the framing device made it non-fantasy, then the it's-all-a-dream framing device of Wizard of Oz would make that non-fantasy too.


  5. Daibhid C
    September 12, 2013 @ 7:11 am

    Nothing to do with the War, or the nature of genre, or any of that stuff, but I'd just like to say that if anyone, staring in disbelief at that Liefeld cover, thought "I wish someone had devoted a lengthy paragraph to mockingly describing how ludicrous Cable looks", well, enjoy:


  6. Josiah Rowe
    September 12, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    I'd just like to praise you for implicitly positing Alison Bechdel and Rob Liefeld as polar extremes… a dichotomy that works in so many ways (not least quality).


  7. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 12, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    Good point – I've reworked the line.


  8. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 12, 2013 @ 7:58 am

    Ooh, thank you. /quickly reworks last part of the chapter.


  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 12, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    Descendants in general is really the important part of the claim – in this case I'm less interested in the chain of influence as the fact that they were working within the old pulp genres and trying to reinvent them in a particular way. The focus on the pulps and their immediate successors like Dan Dare and American superhero comics is largely about tracing the history of a particular kind of narrative that Moore and Morrison disrupted.


  10. timber-munki
    September 12, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    How much is the rise in the amount of fantasy/sci-fi in the top ten films is down to the decreasing costs of more and more complicated and 'realistic' special effects that form an integral part of what is perceived as block-buster films? There is also Morrison's assertion that Super-heroes are migrating from comics to the moving picture.

    I suppose comics in general have been ahead of this particular curve purely on the basis that fantastic sequences can be as easily produced as the more mundane. The apex of this approach been Ellis & Hitch's The Authority which was of course referred to as 'wide-screen' comics in reference to the cinematic epic.

    Looking forward to your opinion on Morrison & Hughes's subtle anti-Thatcher satire Dare.


  11. elvwood
    September 12, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

    Yes, thanks brownstudy – and thank you, too, Philip, for bringing up Propp. Both have given me some bedtime reading!


  12. BerserkRL
    September 12, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

    Though there's still the difference that Conan's ethics are a bit more flexible than the ethics of a Burroughs hero.


  13. brownstudy
    September 12, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

    Happy to be of service! I've had that link for years wondering where the hell I could deploy it…


  14. Matthew Blanchette
    September 12, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    The ending of Song of the South has something of a narrative collapse which I believe Phil would appreciate, despite it being an awkward and abrupt end to a rather slow-moving live-action film with brief bits of animation where it comes alive.

    …sorry, that sentence was crappy. But you get my point, I hope. :-S


  15. BerserkRL
    September 12, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

    So which is better, B for Beretta or The Unsmellables?


  16. elvwood
    September 12, 2013 @ 11:32 pm

    This is not a review blog. Mind you, if it were, you'd be better off comparing Gloom Patrol and Marbleman (latterly Mackerelman).


    "There's only one way to find out FIGHT!!"</Harry Hill>


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