Less organic intellectuals than morbid symptoms

Skip to content

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. J Mairs
    July 1, 2013 @ 2:35 am

    "and some (School Reunion, Girl in the Fireplace, Love and Monsters) that are aimed more at adults."

    Uh oh.

    My controversial statement sense is tingling…


  2. Seeing_I
    July 1, 2013 @ 4:47 am

    Oh, Love & Monsters was totally aimed at adults. It was all about nostalgia, growing up, making connections with people and losing them again, putting your childhood fixations into their proper place within your adult life. It's all about how Doctor Who looks damned silly to an outsider and how the people you meet in pursuit of your obsessions are more important than the obsession themselves.

    And if you can still enjoy "The Creature from the Pit" all these years later (and I know I can) then 5 minutes of Abzorbaloff ("ooh, I like that") should be tolerable for the sake of RTD's love letter to fandom and its discontents.

    Plus, there's nothing wrong with a bit of ELO.


  3. Spacewarp
    July 1, 2013 @ 4:47 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  4. Spacewarp
    July 1, 2013 @ 6:43 am

    "…the show is by and large has moved to where it’s a family show not by trying to appeal to everybody in every episode, but by trying to regularly have moments that appeal to you across your life."

    Oh that's good. That's encapsulated the contradictions I've noticed over decades of Who – how one minute it tackles thorny issues that make you think twice about some moral message, then the next it's monsters chasing someone through corridors for no logical reason. Plus the endless forum arguments about how it's just a kids' show.

    Children may not get their heads around the exact plot of "Blink" or "The Big Bang", but so long as there's a Dalek shouting "Exterminate" or a Weeping Angel creeping closer each time someone closes their eyes, that's all they need to know.

    Perhaps the fact that in it's 43 years Doctor Who has never really know what kind of a programme it is…is it's greatest strength.


  5. Pen Name Pending
    July 1, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    Concerning the ambiguity of monsters: Recently there was a poll on CultBox or something of the best "monsters" of the Moffat era, and I was looking at the results thinking "Gunslinger? Minotaur? Dream Lord? They're not monsters…" I also love how the BBC website, which is aimed at kids, generously uses the word "monster".

    To me, Doctor Who defies demographics, or even critics.


  6. Matthew Blanchette
    July 1, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Fun Fact: Prole Hole knew Gareth Roberts at university, even personally congratulated him when Tragedy Day was published… but he thinks, and I quote, that "his work on the new series for me at least has been mediocre at best and terrible at worst".

    Ironic, that…

    (And how do I know this? Jes' click the link, scroll on down, and behold: http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-ark-in-space,99312/)


  7. BerserkRL
    July 1, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    on the Dalek side there was power, glory, calm. Cities made of steel and oceans of ooze, stretching away to infinity

    It's a great line (obviously nicked from "Survival"), but "calm" seems to fit the Cybermen better than the angry/panicked/hysterical Daleks.


  8. BerserkRL
    July 1, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    For me the junior-high gross-out feel of "Love and Monsters" speaks so loudly that I can't hear or appreciate whatever more mature stuff may be in there; I just want it to be over.


  9. Ununnilium
    July 1, 2013 @ 9:13 am

    Well, to be fair, this is the Daleks' view of themselves. And it's probably more appropriate when they're not facing the Doctor.


  10. Ununnilium
    July 1, 2013 @ 9:14 am

    You know, I hadn't realized the Quickreads were adult-targeted. Something about that name made me think "kids' book".


  11. encyclops
    July 1, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    I read this book recently, probably because you mentioned it, and it's lovely. It's even more so because this is just the sense I got from it about the audience it's (not?) written for. And this is a very right-feeling way to talk about the old "show for kids" issue. This is probably an unwise comparison, but how often do we talk about whether or not Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth are "kids' plays"?


  12. Daibhid C
    July 1, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    I wrote a lengthy piece here questioning whether "unambigious good guys and bad guys" was really the defining aspect of whether something was aimed at kids or not. It went on for several paragraphs and used a comparison between Discworld and Discworld For Younger Readers as an example, because I don't think I've brought Sir Terry up since there was an actual Pop Between Realities on him.

    And just before I hit Publish, I reread that bit and noticed you hadn't actually said that at all…

    So, on another note, I'll just say that if ever I don't enjoy a Doctor Who story (which hardly ever happens), I'll ask if my niece enjoyed it. And if she did (which always happens), I'll conclude that my opinion isn't that important then…


  13. Pen Name Pending
    July 1, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    After all, isn't Juliet supposed to be 13?


  14. BerserkRL
    July 1, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

    This is odd. When I refresh the page, "Thirteen comments" changes to "13 comments" and then changes back to "Thirteen comments" again.


  15. Bennett
    July 1, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

    I find that it's the silly, gross and childish aspects of Love & Monsters that convince me it's aimed at adults. Because children themselves have suprisingly little respect or patience for that type of thing, preferring instead to wander around the edges of darker content, find something that scares them without knowing why, and then get comforted by their parent or sofa.

    Whereas Love & Monsters really only works on the condition that you read something into it. And this is the reason it doesn't really work for me. For most of it, all I hear is Davies shouting "I'M WRITING A LOVE LETTER TO FANS AND SAYING SOMETHING ABOUT LIFE. GET IT?!" through uncharacteristically unnatural dialogue and ham-fisted sentiment. It's not subtext, it's supertext – and the fact that the episode has to show intentionally awful moments to deliver it makes it all the worse.

    (I should note that like all New Who, I still prefer it to the vast majority of other television drama, and there are plenty of good moments in the story – the way Bliss describes her art, in particular, never fails to amuse me)

    (I also unapologetically enjoy The Creature from the Pit, to the point where I hardly recognise what's not to like about it)


  16. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 1, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

    You've discovered our JavaScript hack, I see.


  17. BerserkRL
    July 1, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

    What do I win?


  18. elvwood
    July 1, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

    I've always been uneasy about calling Who a kids' show, and have fallen back on the old "family programme" standby; but it never seemed to quite fit, for me. So thanks for clearing that up – I will be more on the lookout for the different audiences thing now.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.