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TARDIS Eruditorum - A Unauthorized Critical History of Doctor Who Volume 1: William Hartnell Paperback – November 11, 2011

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Paperback, November 11, 2011
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467951587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467951586
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,598,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Sandifer has a PhD in English focusing on film and media studies. He teaches and is a freelance writer.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
Despite the book's shortcomings in editing, it is well worth reading.
The Smiling Stallion Inn
Through the Eruditorium, Sandifer breaks down a lot of fan misconception and gives a fresh, new view of the Hartnell era and the origins of Doctor Who.
M. Nixon
After reading some of Sandifer's blog entries, I knew these books would be excellent secondary sources.
Landon Pool

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By pango on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had thought no one would be able to match the legendary six-volume Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood analysis of Doctor Who, which seemed like the last (very long) word on the subject. Then came a blog started last year by one incredibly productive academic, and suddenly there's a viable challenger.

First, a caveat: as other reviewers have noted, the book version is missing a chapter, and sadly, it's for a fantastic story (and good essay), "The Massacre." You may wish to get the Kindle version if that omission will bother you (Sandifer has put his revised essay up for free on his site, and will include it in the next volume.) Also, the restrictions of self-publishing are evident in places. I wished for some different fonts now and again, some pull quotes or something to break up what can seem like an endless run of identical-looking pages. But that's really minor stuff.

What's great about Phil's book is his fearlessness, his willingness to stake out a jaw-dropping argument (e.g., that "The Ark" and "Celestial Toymaker," two fairly revered Who stories, are irredeemable racist garbage) and make his case clearly and succinctly (and convincingly). His take on the "Tenth Planet" argues that serial has been entirely misunderstood by generations of fans, and that it's in fact the horrifying sudden demise of the show, from which Who has never quite recovered. He analyses the much-maligned "The Chase" as postmodern goof. He rightly praises Maureen O'Brien, the oft-forgotten, secret Mod heart of Hartnell's best era. With great insights into Nineties novels that attempted to reclaim the era.

Essential stuff. Buy this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Beasley on January 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Much like the blog where this material was originally written, this book is a thought-provoking look at the William Hartnell years of Doctor Who. I loved Sandifer's efforts to interpret these stories in the context of their time. The essay on The Tenth Planet is a great example of this approach, where Sandifer strips away all of the fan lore that has built up over the years to look at how intensely frightening this story must have been. Also valuable were Sandifer's look at the influences on the writers, from other television shows to the occult, and at how fandom has reinterpreted this era of the show.

A downside of this format is that it requires knowledge of the stories themselves, or access to a good reference. Sandifer doesn't spend time summarizing what each story is about. This is something to keep in mind. My print edition also had numerous typos and a missing essay (however, the essay will appear in the next volume, which I intend to buy!). These are minor downsides - on the whole, this book is an excellent read for dedicated fans of Doctor Who and deserves to stand with other works like About Time and the Discontinuity Guide.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Wagner on January 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Phil Sandifer has been blogging the history of Dr. Who from the very first episode on 1963, wandering through a "psychonography" of the program, not just the characters, but the actors, the producers, the writers, and the times and cultural events that shaped it, unconsciously. This first volume collects his blog from the very first entry through the end of the William Hartnell era, but also includes some excellent expanded material, essays written just for the book, and a nice wrap up of Hartnell the man and "The Doctor" as portrayed by same.

It's a fascinating and thought provoking ride - not always fun, as Sandifer is unafraid of challenging quite a bit of received fan wisdom, and of bringing to light painful topics such as the blatant racism in several early stories, but honest and interesting, with a voice that invites discussion.

To be fair to the reader, I'd point out that there were some printing mistakes in the paper edition of this first volume, including an entire missing chapter. If you've got a kindle or e-reader that will support the electronic edition, I'd go for that first since you'll get the corrected form.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cosmic Hobo67 on October 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am just over halfway through this excellent volume and felt compelled to write a review on the content thus far. Coming to the Doctor late in life I tend to approach the subject with the zeal of a convert rather than the dogmatic approach of someone who grew up hiding behind the sofa. I purchased this Kindle book on a whim after reading a review on Who News of the second volume in the series and being a completest; started looking for the first book right away. Finding it on Amazon at a ridiculously low price I figured that it was most likely yet another "fluff" piece of warmed over hash, chock full of information that anyone with a casual knowledge of the series already knows or worse yet; a sycophantic apology claiming that the classic series was always perfect and anyone who doesn't see it that way is nothing more than an uncouth idiot. To my great surprise, I couldn't have been more wrong. Mr. Sandifer has done the world of "true" fandom a great service by eschewing both the pedantic and the brainwashed approach to the subject at hand by writing honest, critical assessments of each of the first Doctor's adventures and the times in which they were written and produced. Of particular note is the manner in which he points out the manner in which the series and the character evolved into the Timelord as he is known today. While clearly in love with his subject, the author does not excuse it's faults, to the contrary; he is blunt in his discussion of them, particularly when addressing faulty story lines and subjects such as William Hartnell's bigotry. Thus far, the true gem for me has been the essay regarding the Doctor's "mother"; the incomparable Verity Lambert. While this is not at all for the casual fan or viewer only interested in the current series, I consider this essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how a low budget series rose from a London scrapyard to become the beloved entertainment behemoth that it is today.
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