Eruditorum Press

We stared into the untempered schism and all we saw was this dodgy CSO effect

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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.

12 Comments

  1. Homunculette
    August 22, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

    Wow, this is an amazing post (and it probably helps that I’m a gigantic fan of the Mother series.)

    You don’t put all your cards on the table, but what I think you’re implying – that Earthbound is a magical ritual that successfully prevented Gamergate from taking off in Japan in the same way it did in the West – is just genius.

    Does this mean the SNP is back on the schedule now?

    Reply

    • Lambda
      August 22, 2016 @ 8:49 pm

      I don’t think it was ever going to do that anyway, Japanese media has an entirely different set of gender issues to Western media. The anime I watch is more likely to fail the reverse Bechdel test than the conventional one, but it’s hardly all enlightened stuff, (even if a few of them, looking at Utena and Princess Tutu, do a better job than any Western television I’m aware of,) this is still the product of a society where women are generally expected to give up work when they get married.

      The situation is generally different. You have the narrative tradition which doesn’t make everything about conflict, as Josh Marsfelder explained somewhere or other, you have the kawaii aesthetic, you have a language which has no concept of swear words and is all about not imposing on others, and so on.

      Reply

    • Austin Loomis
      August 23, 2016 @ 1:22 pm

      “Earthbound is a magical ritual that successfully prevented Gamergate from taking off in Japan in the same way it did in the West”

      Interestingly, in the world of RySenkari and Nivek’s Player Two Start (whose sequel, Massively Multiplayer, is now in progress on Alternate History.com), both the NES and SNES-CD versions of Mother got US releases, and Gamergate is so much less of a thing that it doesn’t even seem to be known by that name. I doubt RyNiv did that on purpose, but given the nature of Ideaspace, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

      Reply

  2. Shannon
    August 22, 2016 @ 4:31 pm

    This definitely sounds like it had a very strong influence on Undertale. The ultimate message of Undertale is very similar, complete with an extremely trippy ending that really threw me for a loop. (I went into it mostly spoiler-free.) I wish that this series would cover it, but it wouldn’t quite fit as a modern, non-Nintendo game.

    Reply

    • Homunculette
      August 22, 2016 @ 5:17 pm

      If you liked Undertale, I’d strongly recommend Earthbound. The battle mechanics are more basic-RPG, but the writing and design was clearly an enormous influence on Undertale.

      Reply

    • The Flan in the High Castle
      August 23, 2016 @ 8:50 am

      They’re deeply connected – Toby Fox even created an EarthBound hack when he was younger. Stylistically it’s sort of a proto-Undertale, albeit with a lot of cursing and edgelord humour. He’s since disowned it, but he did reuse part of its soundtrack for the Sans battle.

      Reply

  3. bombasticus
    August 22, 2016 @ 7:42 pm

    Love it. In comic books there’s a similar complex called “the Gentry,” the jaundiced fan eye that keeps the violence happening.

    Reply

  4. Austin Loomis
    August 22, 2016 @ 8:39 pm

    “That’s the central question that EarthBound asks: why these stories, full of pain and loss? Why violence, why tragedy porn? We can choose which stories to tell, and we choose these stories, told this way. […] Giygas is the suffering we inflict upon Ideaspace, and the idea that this suffering is necessary.”

    Or, as Grant Morrison said to Buddy Baker: “We’ll stop at nothing, you see. All the suffering and the death and the pain in your world is entertainment for us. Why does blood and torture and anguish still excite us? We thought that by making your world more violent, we would make it more ‘realistic,’ more ‘adult.’ God help us if that’s what it means. Maybe, for once, we could try to be kind.”

    Reply

  5. Lambda
    August 22, 2016 @ 8:50 pm

    I think the main reason stories tend to be full of pain and loss might be simply because it’s easier to do.

    An observation I came across which struck me as very important is that in stories, the three categories of horror, sex and melodrama often come in pairs, if a story is doing one, it’s quite likely to be doing another too. (The sex-melodrama pair isn’t very common in Western storytelling, but I think that’s just due to Abrahamic-religion hangups about sex.) And it’s not so surprising, fear, arousal and pain/loss are the most intense and unsubtle feelings.

    If you’re not making a story where horrible things happen, and you’re not making porn, you need to work with more subtle feelings. And I think they’re just more challenging to work with, they don’t have “pay attention to me!” immediacy, I think different people are more likely to have different, incompatible versions of them, you need to do more groundwork to give them importance, and you need to use quieter signals which are easier to misinterpret.

    When I look at Sound Euphonium, for example, (story about a wind ensemble coming together), Kyoto Animation are hands down the best animation studio in the world at conveying subtleties of mood and emotion, and they needed to take their craft to new heights just to make this thing work, I don’t think they could have pulled it off even just five years ago. While my favourite darker story of recent times, From the New World, (spoiler-sensitive,) has nothing in it which a studio like GAINAX couldn’t have pulled off 25 years ago, if they’d had the idea. (Well, the source material.)

    Reply

    • Austin Loomis
      August 23, 2016 @ 1:18 pm

      “the three categories of horror, sex and melodrama often come in pairs, if a story is doing one, it’s quite likely to be doing another too. (The sex-melodrama pair isn’t very common in Western storytelling, but I think that’s just due to Abrahamic-religion hangups about sex.)”

      Or, as the Player says to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, “[W]e can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can’t give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory.”

      Reply

  6. Dadalama
    August 23, 2016 @ 5:29 am

    Great post! Lots of earthbound fans HATE the fetus thing though. But no one ever said for something to be intended to have meaning.

    Reply

    • Dadalama
      August 23, 2016 @ 5:32 am

      To be honest though, I think it’s the conspiratorial tone of many of the people who talk about it. Like “Itoi did that on purpose!”. Though everybody who has worked on the game says it’s a coincidence. It is still interesting either way.

      Reply

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