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May 25 2006

A review of the latest Buffy book "Carnival of Souls" by Nancy Holder. We're assured it's "a fun romp from yesteryear for Buffy". And there's a less than complimentary review of another recently released Buffy book "Afterimage" at the SFX website.

Anyone here read these two books? Anyone here actually still buying the Buffy books?

I know it doesn't matter in the scheme of things, but I always get bothered about continuity in comics. Even after Dawn was created and theoretically inserted retroactively into events, that if something is set before season five they still won't include her.

This is also sort of like some of the comics that are closer to being "canon" since they were by people involved with the show, but show some things directly contradicted onscreen. (Like all that stuff about "Ring of Fire" or whatever, when Kendra had already turned up and went away.
I've got a lot of the books and comics and every time I see one at a thrift store or some such I'll pick it up if I don't already have it, but I have the same reservations as orangewaxlion. I'm a big stickler for continuity and of the few books I've read so far thats been my gripe.

Then there was the Dark Willow trilogy. Only read partway through the first, but got bored with nothing happening so moved on to other things. I'll probably revisit it at some point. At least, this book, though, explains that this is basically an "What If" book and explains such. I can deal with things like that.

The other problem I've had is the dialogue. It just seems like noone can write the character dialogue where I'm not left thinking "This is not what the character would say." That is the ultimate deal breaker for me. The characters I've read are not the ones I fell in love with. If anyone knows any of the books that deal better with this problem, though, I'm all ears ... I needs me some new buffydom.
Jane Espenson's season 6 story "Again, Sunnydale" which appeared in Tales of the Slayer volume 2 was probably the best Buffy story I've read in print (as opposed to comic book form). It would have made a spectacular Buffy episode.
Jane Espenson's season 6 story "Again, Sunnydale" which appeared in Tales of the Slayer volume 2 was probably the best Buffy story I've read in print (as opposed to comic book form). It would have made a spectacular Buffy episode.


Oh, I totally agree. It fit perfectly with Buffy's arc in season 6. I swear it felt like a script that just didn't make it into the show. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have seen the Scoobies go back in time to old Sunnydale High, meeting the Giles from the past? I love that story. Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again.
Actually, I just finished Afterimage yesterday. I don't have the time or pre-coffee intellegence to really write a review, but - suffice to say that I really disliked the actual protagonist, and the "oh crap, we'd better explain this" Epilouge, however there were some genuinely fun character interactions.

On a side note, I really got the giggles over the review quoting the very bit of the book that made me crave aspargus for two days.
"Anyone here actually still buying the Buffy books?"

Yep, just not every one. I tend to like the stuff that's set later in the series. I'm also not the stickler that some are on continuity, so as long as the stories fit reasonably well into the timeline, I'm happy.

[ edited by Grace on 2006-05-25 17:07 ]
Have not read any of the books. Like continuity. Don't see a problem with Dawn not being in stories set in early seasons. Her existance changed their memories, not what really happened. Technically it seems like everybody could do two versions of every story that takes place before S5, pre-Dawn memories and post-Dawn memories.
If Dawn was in old stories it wouldn't add anything, because her existence didn't have an effect. She was just shoved into the cracks of the memories, so she was there, but inconsequential. It would just be weird to read about her being there, doing nothing but writing in her diary or what have you.
==Anyone still reading Buffyverse novels?==

Yeah, I'm still reading them to fulfill the need for a Buffyverse fix. Being brutally honest, the majority of the books I have found should have done better in terms of plotting, characterization and/or originality. However I genuinely believe there are a number of gems hidden within the bookline. Over the past few years I have read lots, & I've listed my personal faves without reviewing them here. I'd recommend any novels on that list.

==Buffy book reviews ==

Those who want to read reviews of earlier books, I recently added links to reviews of Buffyverse books for each Buffy/Angel novel over at Wikipedia: 'Buffyverse novels' section. The links are found at the bottom of each wiki-Buffyverse novel article in the "External links" section.

==Dawn in continuity?==

Personally I would like to see Dawn inserted into earlier stories because it would create an angle to the stories that hadn't already been done (very much), in the TV show we only saw Dawn fitting in with the Scoobs when she was a teen; a few of the comics storylines did insert her into earlier continuity; did anyone ever read "Dawn & Hoppy Bear" - such a fun read even for the many who didn't like Dawn in the TV show (it's included in the graphic novel, "Slayer Interrupted"). It's a whole comic-story devoted to Dawn, set before "Welcome to the Hellmouth".

==Passarella & Buffy books==

Btw Buffyverse author, Passarella commented over at a Buffyverse Yahoo group (SlayerLit) the other day about the state of the Buffy books at the publishing company.

This is the progression that I've been privvy to: the Stake Your Destiny books came and that's what they were going to do; then I didn't hear much about them (probably due to poor sales as you mention); then I heard that they wanted regular novels set in years 1 through 3. Then I heard, pick any season you want, whatever excites you, but nothing post season 7. Then I heard that, most recently, they are reevaluating the line. Reading between the lines about the line, that could mean a change in direction or a decision about whether or not to continue the line. That's me reading between the lines, so it's speculation based upon what I've heard directly from editors at S&S. - Jack Passarella


It's looking like the next four novels, "Go Ask Malice", "Blackout", "Portal Through Time"
"Bad Bargain", will precede some kind of shake-up, or these four might possibly even be the last four Buffy novels? Here's hoping that this 'reevaluation' does not end the line and instead results in more books that do the Buffyverse franchise justice (see discussions last month).

[ edited by paxomen on 2006-05-25 19:35 ]

[ edited by paxomen on 2006-05-25 20:49 ]
I read 'em and like them for the most part, though some are bad (WIcked Willow) and some superb (Monster Island- Chris Golden really respects Willow and Tara). In talking with some of the authors, they have to work with some very strict guidelines and this is part of why stories like WW are so bad, more is the pity. There is serious question about the series future, but we hope that Slayerlit may help influence the decision, if there is one.
I sort of gave up buying the Buffy books a year or two ago. It wasnt for any conscious reason, I just felt that they had gone as far as I could

Sometimes though, when I have a day off (yeah like thats gonna happen) I sit down "holder" my Buffy Books and read through the "golden" days of Buffy Fiction. I think I must have read "Spike and Dru" and "The Evil That Men Do" about fifty times each now.

If a particuarly good one comes out I might buy one again...but until then...
I buy the Buffy books religiously. I need my Buffyfix, and I just pretend that I have paper fanfic. The writers do have strictly guidelines to work within, mostly the continuity, excepting the Wicked Willow trilogy and Seven Crows. The dialogue rarely feels "right," and there's a tendency to try to destroy Sunnydale with a frequency that greatly eclipsed that of the show.

The Dawn issue is interesting. I found a fanfic with a fascinating concept - actions credited to the other characters in the original timeline are "taken" by Dawn in their new memories, that is, bits like Dawn standing up to Angelus while Buffy was in the hospital, rather than Xander. The writer used this idea to explain Xander's more fray-adjacent work in Seasons Five - Seven.

I'm still going to buy Buffy/Angel novels/comics/soundtracks, as long as they keep printing them.
It's looking like the next four novels, "Go Ask Malice", "Blackout", "Portal Through Time"
"Bad Bargain", will precede some kind of shake-up, or these four might possibly even be the last four Buffy novels?

Rest assured, those will not be the last four Buffy novels.

Further, I can't say, but the line is continuing, to the best of my knowledge.
I haven't read Holden's newest, but I feel like it's been done before. Wasn't there another one a while back in which a mysterious carnival (MissKittysMom? Are you seeing this?) (Yeah, yeah, I know it's literal, but I thought it tied in nicely with your paper. . . .) came to Sunnydale and much mysterious happenings mysteriously took place? Likewise, Aferimage sounds familiar as well.

There is so much I'd like to weigh in with here, but I'm out of time for the moment. I've got to get back from my lunch hour now (ah, how these mundane concerns cramp my style!). Before going back to the "real world," let me just say, krad, that I'm looking forward to your Blackout. But on the whole I'm not impressed with most of the titles in the Buffy & Angel series of books. And the two in Simon's link above sound to me like recycled ideas that I've read before. But it's been a while, so I could be mistaken. . . .
Wasn't there another one a while back in which a mysterious carnival came to Sunnydale and much mysterious happenings mysteriously took place?


You might be thinking of Coyote Moon by John Vornholt, which was set in S1 and published back in 1998. One of my daughters bought it. She thought it was rubbish but I thought it was great fun (much to the dispair of my family).
Good to hear from you krad that the Buffy line does not look like its coming to an end.

I had a look at the S&S discussion boards, but can't imagine that discussion there would have much of an affect on the approach S&S takes, dealing with the Buffy books. Does anyone have a contact address for Pocket Books? I'm thinking of writing to them about the Buffy line, perhaps now would be a good time to communicate with them if they are having some kind of consideration of how to move forward with the Buffy books.

EDIT: Why is there a 'Star Trek' section at the S&S boards but not a 'Buffy' section. Does discussion there have any impact on S&S policy? Wouldn't a centralised place for discussion of Buffy books benefit the ability for S&S to think about a direction for the company to move in regarding these novels. Don't suppose you're in the know on any of these issues krad?

[ edited by Dalton on 2006-05-26 16:31 ]
I agree with the author of the piece that the Afterimage plot is thin, but I swear the author has done the best job on Buffyesque dialogue that I've ever seen in the novels... and really for me Buffy has never been about the plot, it's all about the characters & their relationships. Most of the time I read them & wonder if the authors are even required to watch, let alone like, the show. Krad - have you written other Buffy books or do we have to wait for your new one? Because you nailed the dialogue in the Serenity novelization.
Dalton: The Star Trek message board on S&S's site is one of many places to discuss Trek books, and far from the highest-volume in terms of traffic. The boards at PsiPhi.org and TrekBBS.com have far more volume (although the editors responsible for Trek fiction post in all three places). As to why there's a Trek section and not a Buffy section, the Trek fiction has been part of Pocket's publishing program since 1979, and is still going strong with a yearly publication schedule that includes twelve mass-market paperbacks, half a dozen trades and hardcovers, and twelve eBooks. *grin*

gingeriffic: Thanks! My only other Buffy work prior to Blackout included contributing to the first Watchers Guide in 1998 and the novelization The Xander Years Volume 1 in 1999.
Thanks for explanation krad. Can't wait for "Blackout" and Robert Joseph Levy's "Go Ask Malice"!
Yeah, dash, that's the one. Thanks! Thought I might be hallucinating there for a moment. Thanks, Dalton, for the link to Simon & Schuster's discussion boards. Last but not least, thanks, krad, for all the other info! Might have to go back & reread The Watcher's Guide, etc., too. Will be waiting anxiously for Blackout!

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