Tales of the Slayer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tales of the Slayer) Paperback – 1 Jan 2003
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Top customer reviews
Greg Cox's tale of a Pirate Slayer on the Caribean seas is a blast and I hope he gets to develop another tale based on her interesting character.
'House of the Vampire' is a good Victorian London take on an early 'Scooby' gang.
'Ghosts of Slayers Past' is a nice try on a Slayer version of Scrooge but it doesn't quite come off and was only mildly amusing.
On the downside 'The New Watcher' was possibly the most pointless short story I have ever read in any genre. KKR, what were you thinking?
I could also do without the Buffy short stories book ending this collection. There is plenty of Buffy books out there -let's leave these collections for Slayers past. Or even Slayers future - oi Joss what about contributing a 'Fray' story for Volume 3?
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I didn't care for the Pirate Slayer or the [imitation] of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" but I did think a lot of the story of the Slayer serving in the Union Army as a young man during the American Civil War,it gives General Sherman's destructive march through the South a much better angle.
"All That You Do Comes Back Unto Thee, Sunnydale, California, 2000," by Todd A. McIntosh is about a Sunnydale boy who messes with the dark arts. This is set more recently but it really reminds me of the spirit of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" back in the first couple of seasons when the gang was back in high school. It does establish a sort of baseline for the stories in this book at 3 Stakes.
"Lady Shobu, Sagami Province, Japan, 980," by Kara Dalkey is the story of a Slayer who must function within the Japanese court. This is a problem because ladies at court are not supposed to be out and about staking vampires. The vampire situation she encounters is pretty good, and Dalkey provides excellent period detail, but I did have a problem with this Slayer being dumped into this situation with minimal explanation (although there is a reason for that in terms of the ending). 4 Stakes.
"Abomination, Beauport, Brittany, France, 1320," by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Mertz is about a Slayer who is not only a mother she refuses to obey the Council until her husband is returned to her. She had the kids BEFORE she became the Slayer, which begs a lot of interesting questions (I always had an idea that if Buffy became pregnant she would not be the Slayer anymore, i.e., a way of getting her out of the series alive). This story does try to deal with the Slayer as a mother, but there was a lot more to explore here. 4 Stakes.
"Blood and Brine, The Caribbean, 1661," by Greg Cox tells of a Slayer dressed up as a male pirate captain. On the one hand a Slayer on the high seas since rather a waste given it is closer to the last than the first place you would look for vampires, but bonus points for finding a way for a Slayer to always have a stake handy (long a concern of mine in watching "BtVS"). 3 Stakes.
"The Ghosts of Slayers Past, London, England, 1843," by Scott Allie has the spirits of three Slayers visiting a snobbish watcher a la "A Christmas Carol." Take a wild guess as to who the spirit of Slayers yet to come ends up being. Playing off Dickens becomes a big joke, rather than any sort of profound dramatic point . 2 Stakes.
"The New Watcher, Atlanta, Georgia, 1864," by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is about a Slayer dressed up as a man in the Union army occupying army. This is not the Slayer as a southern belle in the grand tradition of Scarlett O'Hara, and while the idea that being a woman is a big detriment to the Slayer, I really did like the payoff on this one. 4 Stakes.
"House of the Vampire, London, England, 1897" by Michael Reaves is about a Slayer who takes on everybody from Springheel Jack to Dracula. Any story that needs to drop names (and more names than those two) is a bit much for me. 3 Stakes.
"The War Between the States, New York City, New York, 1922" by Rebecca Rand Kirshner is about a Slayer who has surrounded herself with friends a la Buffy. The problem is that the story is told tangentially, so the impact of that idea is rather lost. You figure out the point just when the story is over and it is not that sort of a point worth saving until then. 3 Stakes.
"Stakeout on Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois, 1943," by Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens tells the story of a Slayer who is a private eye in gangland Chicago. This Slayer also happens to be married, but he is overseas enjoying World War II, so there is no exploitation of this idea beyond the fact that it gives our Slayer detective a reason to go chat up with Frank Nitti, who has made the mistake of hiring a vampire as a hit man. As you would expect with Collins the dialogue is on point in grand Raymond Chandler sytle and the punch line is the best in the book. 5 Stakes.
"Again, Sunnydale, California, 1999," by Jane Espenson has Buffy, Willow and Xander suddenly finding themselves back in their senior year of high school, knowing what is to happen in the future. A really great idea that should have been developed as a novel (or even an episode) rather than a short story. This one is over just when it is really getting interesting. It also shows the weakness of the short story format with revolving around "new" Slayers, because we lose all of the resonance of the characters. As soon as you understand the premise here you know exactly what Buffy's first thought is going to be. This gives Espenson an advantage over the other writers.
I really wish the editor(s) had pushed most of these writers a bit more on some of these stories because I think all of my major complaints could have been addressed and the stories would have benefited. I also would not mind if some of these authors thought about some of these past Slayers as being more than one-shot deals. Certainly worth reading for fans the "BtVS" universe, but I have to admit I had higher expectations for these stories.
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