- Paperback: 226 pages
- Publisher: Smart Pop; First Trade Paper ed edition (10 Sept. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1932100083
- ISBN-13: 978-1932100082
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 624,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Discuss Their Favorite Television Show: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show Paperback – 10 Sep 2003
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About the Author
Glenn Yeffeth is the editor of several anthologies in the Smart Pop series, including Anthology at the End of the Universe, Farscape Forever!, Five Seasons of Angel, Navigating the Golden Compass, Seven Seasons of Buffy, Taking the Red Pill, and What Would Sipowitz Do? Drew Goddard is a former Buffy the Vampire Slayer screenwriter.
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Top Customer Reviews
The chapters vary in their length and quality, but cover topics such as the links between sex and death, fans of the show, individual characters and an impassionaed argument as to why Buffy should be going out with Wesley!
The chapters are not always postive toward the show, and there is some criticism of the last two seasons, but this is an interesting read for any fans of the show, or even just the casual viewer. It's a good starting point for any serious study of Buffy due to its readability, and, provided you can overlook the bias toward the character of Spike, worthy of a place on your bookshelf.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Also appears that some of the essays were written by people who only know about the series from listening to people talk about it, instead of watching it. One author writes about a guy she has a one night stand with and then spent the next several weeks pining away for as if they had a long-term mutual relationship. He wasn't, "high maintenance" he wasn't maintenance at all because he was never in a relationship with her. To him she was just another Freshman one night stand(this was emphasized several times over several episodes). Nothing more.
Another advantage of this collection is that just about every selection in the volume is excellent. I might want to differ with a couple, like the one that defends Riley as the best boyfriend for Buffy or the one that lavishes extensive praise on Tara (I don't dislike Tara, and loved her singing in "Once More, With Feeling," but I can't really get excited about her, either; I do, however, really dislike Riley, like a majority of Buffy fans), but even those take up positions that are fun to argue with. Some of the pieces are flat out outstanding, such as an early one that is cast as a essay question on a test in which a demon is asked to explain which is the most powerful force for good in Sunnydale and why (answer: Xander, with an interesting defense). In the other anthologies, there were essays I had to suffer through in order to get to others more to my liking. There isn't a clunker in the bunch here.
If I had a complaint--though I really don't--it would be that too many of the essays are fixated on the romance aspects of Buffy. I would estimate that well over half of the essays primarily are focused on one or more of the romances in the series. My own interests have always focused on the ethical aspects (e.g., did Spike's actions in Seasons 5 and 6 give him something like a soul before the shaman gave him one at the end of Season 6?, or on the extraordinary optimism that pervades the series that people can grow and become more than they are, that leopards can indeed change their spots), but clearly anyone who hates romance is not going to enjoy Buffy for very long. My lone complaint is that there isn't a bit more diversity of subject matter. There are just a few too many articles focusing on romance than I would have liked.
Still and all, this is a great, great book, and although I have frequently noted in other reviews that anthologies by their very nature are inconsistent and uneven, this one breaks that rule. It starts off great and stays that way all the way through. I can't imagine anyone with any interest in Buffy at all, not loving this collection.
The beauty of this anthology is that differing viewpoints are offered, and it's up to you to agree or disagree. For example, I really liked Seasons 6 & 7 so I wasn't down with how Justine Larbalestier closes her very passionate essay. I'm not a fan of Riley, so while I concede certain points to Michelle Sagara West's piece, it still left me feeling kind of meh. On the other hand, as a proponent of the last two seasons, I totally dig Nancy Holder's "Slayers of the Last Arc." So, I'm saying, this book should have something for everyone, but it'll also possibly have stuff that'll cheese you off.
A few of the essays are framed creatively, but not as creatively as Roxanne Longstreet Conrad's "Is That Your Final Answer ...?" which purports to be a lowly hellion's demonic term paper which presents Xander Harris as the Greatest Force for Good in Sunnydale. David Brin's "Buffy vs. the Old-Fashioned 'Hero'" asserts that the Slayer celebrates the inclusion of the common folk while other popular epics such as LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR WARS tend to cling to elitist ways.
There's an inescapable theme of sensuality and sexuality in the show, and so we get Nancy Kilpatrick's saucy delving into Buffy's love life in "Sex and the Single Slayer," with Jennifer Crusie's "Dating Death" covering similar ground. Carla Montgomery's "Innocence" explores the relationship entanglements Buffy and her friends get into, and the growth and loss of innocence that come with the package of falling in love. Michelle Sagara West's "For the Love of Riley" makes a case for Riley Finn's being THE ONE for Buffy. Elsewhere, Lawrence Watt-Evans' fun "Matchmaking on the Hellmouth" arrives at a startling "ideal romantic interest" for Buffy (which, okay, you do see coming mainly because the writer eliminates every other suspect from the list). Meanwhile, Jean Lorrah's "Love Saves the World" suggests that Buffy's makeshift "family" of friends, however dysfunctional, is actually the Slayer's biggest asset in fighting the forces of evil, best evidenced in Xander's saving the world at the end of Season 6 by getting thru to Dark Willow.
Sherrilyn Kenyon's "The Search for Spike's Balls" suggests that Buffy herself is a sort of vampire in that she sucks virility and masculinity from the menfolk in her life. In "Lions, Gazelles and Buffy," Chelsea Yarbro discusses her "Prey & Predator" theory with Buffy, naturally, cast in the role of the predator.
Scott Westerfeld pushes his theory of two recurring plot devices - the "Alternate World" and the "Trespass" story (basically, the Trespass theme is "A stranger comes to town..."). Westerfeld labels BUFFY as inherently a "Trespass" story, except the few instances when the show becomes an "Alternate World" show. And then there's Scott's sub-theme of the "Elasticity of Trespass" in which everything reverts to status quo by episode's end (more prevalent in the monster-of-the-week episodes). Scott goes into BUFFY's occasional stabs at subverting the "Elasticity of Trespass." I'm describing this really clunkily but it doesn't change the fact that Scott Westerfeld writes an entertaining piece here. Conversely, Margaret L. Carter's "A World Without Shrimp" breaks down the "alternate reality" episodes ("Superstar," "Normal Again," and "The Wish").
Laura Resnick's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ambivalent" explores the show's dark, twisty character arcs - and, honestly, going by sweet, nerdy first season Willow, did anyone guess she'd transform into Dark "I just want to end the world" Willow? Resnick also asserts that Spike is the show's most ambivalent character. Marguerite Krause's "The Meaning of Buffy" targets the relationships and connections that the characters form. And then there's Krause's quest for the show's strongest, healthiest relationship (can you guess?).
In "A Buffy Confession" Justine Larbalestier articulates her obsession with BUFFY, her increasing paranoia that upcoming episodes won't live up to standard, and her worst fears being realized with Season 7. Sarah Zettel's "When Did the Scoobies Become Insiders?" covers the Scoobies' topsy-turvy evolution from misfits to insiders, and how sad that kind of was. She also mentions Jonathan who, more than just about anyone else in the show, typifies the ultimate loser and outsider. It's telling that when Jonathan gets a chance to alter reality to one in which he is the "Superstar," he chooses the Scooby gang to validate his inclusion to the in-crowd.
Kevin Andrew Murphy's "Unseen Horrors & Shadowy Manipulations" relates how outside criticism and sponsorship and fan outpouring can sometimes influence the show. Murphy cites the infamous "Double Meat Palace" fiasco as one example.
Peg Aloi's "Skin Pale as Apple Blossom" is an ode to Amber. Christine Golden's "Where's the Religion in Willow's Wicca?" first addresses the awesomeness that is Willow Rosenberg and then goes on to debunk her identity as a Wiccan. In "A Reflection on Ugliness" the sassy Charlene Harris accuses Joss Whedon of bias against ugly people. She expounds.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg's "Power of Becoming" attempts to sell television as an artistic medium that is on its way to becoming Great Literature, and how BtVS figures prominently in this evolution. As a fan of television, who am I to beg to differ? BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was a pretty cool show.
I took a chance with this book but in the end it was all worth it.
Not only do you get many interesting views in and around the show in question but also some rather insightful thoughts on the subject. All from clever writers and the rest is up to the reader to agree or not agree with. But I found it good reading. I actually was served a few views I had not thought of my self. So all in all it was good money spent.
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