Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons, by Philip Sandifer

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Phil Sandifer: Yeah, we literally organized Shabcast 6 about thirty seconds ago.
This is a book of essays and other pieces by Philip Sandifer, all I think from 2015, the first four of which (comprising the first third of the book) address the Puppies controversy, and the rest being writings on various sf subjects, some of which I know about, some of which I don’t.

It’s not very long since the Puppy problems, and yet it seems like a very long time ago. Sandifer’s first, very long essay makes a lot of interesting points about the ideology behind the Puppies; the next two pieces, however, are a transcript of a conversation between him and Vox Day, and then a transcript of another conversation about that conversation, which now seems very self-indulgent (and indeed felt a bit that way at the time). It’s an issue that has passed for now.

The other very long piece in the book (taking up more than a fifth of its total length) is an excerpt from Sandifer’s ongoing work on Alan Moore, in this case analysing V For Vendetta, which I read earlier this year. I found this very interesting, explaining some of the elements of the book that had sailed past me on raeding it, and also elucidating very clearly the complicated circumstances in which the story was written and published.

That is followed by a piece about and two interviews with Peter Harness, author of the recent Doctor Who stories Kill the Moon and The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion. Unlike Sandifer, I am firmly in the camp that sees Kill the Moon as one of the worst Who stories ever, possibly the worst of New Who; the story’s take on the true nature of the Moon threw me completely out of any suspension of disbelief, and no amount of insistence on the fascinating points of the author’s artistic vision can fix that for me. However, I very much liked and enjoyed The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion, and the exploration of how the same mind could generate two stories which I rected to so very differently is well worth reading.

The book ends with more self-indulgence (not that that is necessarily a bad thing) in which Sandifer merges his own occult philosophy with the history of Doctor Who and the format of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it doesn’t need to.

Sandifer sensibly writes what he wants to, and quite often it’s been what I want to read. (I am looking forward to the next collected volumes of Tardis Eruditorum.)

This was the top book left over from last year’s recommendation lists. (Incidentally, I think Livejournal has now declined to the point that I won’t be asking for reading recommendations at the end of this year.) Next on that pile, if I get to it, is Spirit by Gwyneth Jones.
Tags: bookblog 2017, doctor who, writer: philip sandifer
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