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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. James
    July 2, 2018 @ 10:16 am



    • Sleepyscholar
      July 2, 2018 @ 11:11 am



      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        July 2, 2018 @ 4:44 pm

        No, I was actually referring to something else. Fixed, in any case.


        • CJM123
          July 2, 2018 @ 9:23 pm

          I just assumed it was a joke about how little worth the whole endeavour had.

          A sort of opposite post to the baroque, bizarre, artful Eruditorum posts for other stories which at least claim to have aspirations beyond ticking-boxes.

          In short, I’m saying my version of this article will be the one [CHECK WARRIORS OF THE DEEP THING]. It’s what fits this novel.


          • Sleepyscholar
            July 3, 2018 @ 2:31 am

            Yeah: that was pretty much how I felt. I liked the dismissiveness of the square brackets and capitals, which was why I retained it for my ‘answer’. Which was just a quick google. I thought it looked shit, but frankly I’m gobsmacked that the reality is several shades shitter!

    • Aylwin
      July 2, 2018 @ 1:56 pm

      I mean, who would actually want to though?


  2. Jarl
    July 2, 2018 @ 11:28 am

    We never see the Doctor looking for Gallifrey. It doesn’t even come up outside of a handful of Moffat episodes. (There was to be a mention of it in In the Forest of the Night, but the scene was cut, which is probably for the best as it involved the rather misweighted revelation that the Forest was what the Doctor saw in the Untempered Schism, and frankly that episode was oversignified enough anyway.)


    Given when they introduced it and the weight they gave it, I could only read that scene as the baby doc seeing himself destroying Gallifrey. Any other explanation has a steep uphill battle.


    • CJM123
      July 2, 2018 @ 3:38 pm

      To be honest, I just thought he got a sense of the universe, and everything in it. And the same way it broke the Master, it made him removed from Gallifrey.

      Anything more explicit would be disappointing because it would link to one story, rather than just hint that the Doctor saw the concept of Doctor Who.

      But that is still a very bizarre idea. Who assumes their episode needs something like that?


  3. Etana Edelman
    July 2, 2018 @ 12:53 pm

    Not very well versed in how BBC Books works these days, but they couldn’t get Paul Cornell?


    • Tarantulette
      July 2, 2018 @ 1:13 pm

      No doubt too busy writing his own rather successful Shadow Police stories.

      Cornell did recently reveal that he nearly wrote for both Series 5 and Series 8, though. Details at his newsletter archive –

      I for one am sad we never got to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Daleks…


      • Etana Edelman
        July 2, 2018 @ 5:31 pm

        I was wondering why he hadn’t written for the show since Human Nature/Family of Blood. I rarely feel qualified to talk about people like Cornell or Russell. I’ve got no emotional connection to the wilderness years whatsoever; I’m an American who was about 10 when the show came back and didn’t start watching until 2011. I learned of its existence from an “I Love The 70s” episode on VH1 and only decided to watch because I’d outgrown Harry Potter. I wish they’d rerelease some of the books from the wilderness years.


        • Daru
          July 28, 2018 @ 9:46 am

          I can’t recall exactly but it was some time in early 2017, when Paul planned to cease writing for characters not of his own design – though he went on to write the Target novelisation of Twice Upon a Time in 2018!


  4. Christopher Brown
    July 2, 2018 @ 2:52 pm

    That dialogue. Oof…


  5. Przemek
    July 3, 2018 @ 10:20 am

    Thank you for exploring the Quest for Gallifrey plot. Its strange non-existence (and even stranger reappearance in both Death in Heaven and Heaven Sent – huh, interesting name similarities) was always curious to me. You’re probably right that there probably wasn’t much story to tell here. Moffat certainly agrees, saying on multiple occassions (even during the 50th anniversary aftershow, just minutes after the episode ended!) that to have the Doctor just open the TARDIS door each episode, look out, say “Welp, it’s not here” and leave would be pretty boring. Given his reluctance towards epic plots and his love of narrative substitution, it’s only natural that he resolved this story arc the same way he resolved the “cracks in time” and “regeneration limit” plots – by pushing the epic aside and telling a smaller, more human story.

    And yet I can’t help but think there’s a missed opportunity here. With Gallifrey destroyed, the writers got a whole new set of themes to work with: loneliness, longing, guilt etc. Searching for Gallifrey could’ve provided another interesting set. We could’ve had stories about lost homes, reuniting with family, looking for one’s place in the world, homelessness, revisiting a familiar place to find it changed and unrecognizable. But we didn’t. Come to think of it, we didn’t even really get that many new themes with Gallifrey found. I’m not saying what we got instead was bad or worse than what could’ve been. Perhaps, as you said, it’s best for the show to just kinda steer around Gallifrey and try to escape its narrative gravity. But maybe they could’ve used the metaplot to tell some interesting stories not otherwise feasible.

    As for the book itself… I wasn’t planning on reading it and this essay did nothing to change my mind. It’s just a shame that nothing came out of all those intersecting worlds and ideas. A Twelve/River book would probably be just as mediocre but it would be interesting to see River written by someone else than Moffat. Alas.


    • mx_mond
      July 3, 2018 @ 10:51 am

      “Searching for Gallifrey could’ve provided another interesting set. We could’ve had stories about lost homes, reuniting with family, looking for one’s place in the world, homelessness, revisiting a familiar place to find it changed and unrecognizable.”

      Those are all great themes and ones with a lot of resonance for me personally, but as much as I love them, I have to say that the Doctor as a character is spectacularly ill-suited to most if not all of them.


      • Przemek
        July 3, 2018 @ 11:15 am

        Hm. You’re right. And Clara wouldn’t help since she’s just as uprooted as the Doctor. Although perhaps Eleven with the Ponds could work with these themes?


        • CJM123
          July 3, 2018 @ 12:21 pm

          Bill could perhaps have done some of them, but one of the issues with Gallifrey is that its defining feature is its stasis. It’s either an all-powerful, never-changing world of lordly observers outside time, or a bunch of bureaucrats who spend more time in the House of Lords than they do observing time.

          So it never really worked well as home when it showed up. Only when it is destroyed.


          • Przemek
            July 3, 2018 @ 1:33 pm

            Yes, but that’s why I was hoping for some interesting themes when Gallifrey was saved but still lost. “Stealing a TARDIS and running away” was the only possible result of the Doctor finally reaching his lost home… but as long as it was lost, he could still dream and fantasise about it (just like Ten chose to remember the Time Lords as wonderful instead of monstrous). And then those fantasies could have come crashing down. But I guess we got a bit of that (and the disillusioned, angry Doctor) in Hell Bent anyway.

    • Daru
      July 28, 2018 @ 9:54 am

      Yeah I saw those interviews with Steven too and I can get where he was coming from, but that is only one way of approaching the ideas and I like what you have suggested. There are other perspectives to maybe take – we have had for decades a Doctor who wants to run from his home and be free with his rebellious spirit – what if the desire to find Gallifrey came out of a new desire to want for the first time to go home (not to negate the rebel as he could want to be that within Gallifrey) – but he experiences being frustrated by simply not being able to do so.

      Thanks for the article on the book – I have no desire to read it and it sounds like they almost don’t even care that they are putting out books – and I love that a good chunk of the article was about other ideas on how the book could have been approached!


  6. Richard L
    July 3, 2018 @ 7:21 pm

    It’s quite surprising that they’re still only releasing three books a year (with the occasional special release by a big-name author). There’s clearly a big market for Doctor Who fiction, with dozens of audios and comics released every year, so there should be room for more novels. Admittedly I haven’t read any since the War Doctor one, as the reviews suggest the ones that do come out are nothing special, so more of the same wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea, but it might increase the chances of the odd gem coming out.


  7. Alan Pedley
    July 21, 2018 @ 4:21 pm

    You’re right about the pettiness of Russell’s antipathy to the EDAs, and kudos to Moffat for mentioning Fitz in his Day of the Doctor novelization. The same premise in the hands of Kate Orman or Lance Parkin would have been delightful but arguably just as pointless.


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