Eruditorum Press

We’re not cancelled; these are just our Wilderness Years

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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.

11 Comments

  1. Adam Riggio
    December 10, 2012 @ 5:59 am

    What I find most intriguing about this post (a wonderful summation of the arc of your engagement with the New Adventures, far better suiting your style than if it had come in Lungbarrow) is that brief contrast you make with the Saward era. Because looking back at the history of the show, especially with your help, that really was were Doctor Who lost its way most catastrophically. Every relationship between characters on the show in that period just became so antagonistic, even among ostensible friends. Without that element of kindness to the Doctor's character, he isn't really the Doctor, and it isn't really Doctor Who anymore.

    This makes my relationship with the show so much more complicated. Because the idealism of Doctor Who is that there can be an adventurous world of battles against destructive forces where casualties aren't necessary, where everybody lives. Even in the other problematic periods of the classic series, like season five and the Pertwee era, there's that sorrow at losing people. Davison's Doctor as a character had that quality, even as the adventures he was having were structured in ways that forced him to accept the necessity of death.

    I guess that is why the Sixth Doctor got his psychic room with no doors. His entire personality articulated the misanthropy and violence of Saward's world. It makes the character Colin Baker plays on audio today a literally different, if tangentially related, character from who he played on television. It makes Caves of Androzani, a story I've always loved, so much more problematic now that I see this aspect of Saward's vision: Davison's Doctor writes people off. He comes back into Jek's lab after getting the spectrox cure, looks at all the dead people around him, and doesn't give a damn.

    That's more violence to the character than anything I could conceive of now. If the Doctor's kindness really is the most important part of his character, then Colin Baker's audio character is the real Sixth Doctor, and Saward created some kind of misanthropic sci-fi violence monster who nearly destroyed the show.

    And now we have hope. In 1997.

    Reply

  2. Christopher Haynes
    December 10, 2012 @ 6:29 am

    My apologies if this is a stupid question, but outside of "The Mind Robber" has there been any indication the Doctor is supposedly the lost Master of the Land of Fiction?

    Reply

  3. Elizabeth Sandifer
    December 10, 2012 @ 6:32 am

    Oh, of course not.

    Reply

  4. Henry R. Kujawa
    December 10, 2012 @ 7:00 am

    Adam Riggio:
    "that brief contrast you make with the Saward era. Because looking back at the history of the show, especially with your help, that really was were Doctor Who lost its way most catastrophically. Every relationship between characters on the show in that period just became so antagonistic, even among ostensible friends. Without that element of kindness to the Doctor's character, he isn't really the Doctor, and it isn't really Doctor Who anymore."

    Minutes before reading your comment, I had just posted the following at the IMDB boards:

    "When I was watching the first 3 seasons of the revival, I came to feel it was the BEST thing on TV at the time. (This is more of an indictment of everything else on TV than a praise for the revival itself.)

    However, I'd say the biggest thing in the revival's favor may simply be that it was DESIGNED to be a likable show… which is a big turnaround from all those years of JNT & Eric Saward going out of their way to do a show with UNLIKABLE characters, BAD writing and pointlessly downbeat situations and bad endings where the show's hero is made to look stupid, helpless, and hopeless."

    Reply

  5. Christopher Haynes
    December 10, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Well then, speaking as someone who used to insist the notorious "Morbius Doctors" actually were the Doctor's past incarnations (making Colin Baker's the unstable 14th Doctor) it's good to meet a fellow champion of lost causes!

    Reply

  6. Ununnilium
    December 10, 2012 @ 7:42 am

    So what you're saying is, the central conflict of the Virgin era and the central conflict of the Tenth Doctor era are one and the same?

    Reply

  7. Ununnilium
    December 10, 2012 @ 7:44 am

    Oh, now that's just silly. Everybody knows that the Morbius Doctors escaped into the real world, becoming the creative staff of Doctor Who, and thus no longer have a place in the progression of regenerations.

    (Well, everyone knows that after Dr. Sandifer proposed it.)

    Reply

  8. Dan Abel
    December 10, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    I read the Room With No Doors again, recently, and I was surprised a the feeling of being 'at peace' I took from it. Like it was a self help book, but at the time of release, with only Lungbarrow to go, perhaps it was.

    Reply

  9. Adam Riggio
    December 10, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    Citation for the escape of the pre-Hartnell Doctors to our universe to become Robert Holmes, Phillip Hinchcliffe, and Graeme Harper: http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot.ca/2012/06/time-can-be-rewritten-27-times-champion.html

    Reply

  10. neroden@gmail
    December 14, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

    It's worth skipping Eternity Weeps, which was a "nightmare brief" compounded by all of Jim Mortimore's bad habits.

    You shouldn't have skipped Bad Therapy, though. Although it tries to "fix up the Peri problems", certainly, there's a lot more to it than that.

    I always compare it favorably to "Damaged Goods", which has related themes. (Unsurprisingly, given that Matt Jones and Russell T. Davies worked very closely together on a lot of things.)

    The main plotline is the forerunner of the Gangers, but used in a rather different (and more explicitly sexual and emotional) way.

    The finale in particular, where the Doctor sets up a solution — and then realizes, after a fair amount of discussion with his friends and companions, that it's not moral — and then changes his mind — is particularly solid. While I feel like this must have happened before, I can't think of such a case. But this finale reappears in Steven Moffat's Doctor Who. Repeatedly.

    It's also a very important part of the New Adventures wrap-up, since it reconciles the different visions of the Doctor which have been presented, into one which is rather acceptable and coherent.

    Frankly, I wouldn't have wanted to read Room with No Doors without reading Bad Therapy first. I do love Room with No Doors, but it features an already "resolved" Doctor, and sets about resolving Chris Cwej. A lot of the psychological situation with Chris Cwej is thematically set up in Bad Therapy, though some is set up earlier.

    Reply

  11. Katherine Sas
    July 17, 2014 @ 11:23 am

    " Indeed, the presumption is less in his fulfilling his role as Time’s Champion – a role that really just means “being the hero of Doctor Who,” but in thinking that by stepping into that role he has the right to decree a happy ending for everyone. Whereas in practice, to be Time’s Champion is not to presume that one can save everybody, but merely to presume that one can be the Doctor."

    So basically the same revelation as at the end of The Waters of Mars.

    Reply

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