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January 03 2010

Buffy books to be re-issued in new collections. Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 will collect "Night of the Living Rerun", "Coyote Moon" and "Portal Through Time". Buffy the Vampire Slayer #2 features "Halloween Rain", "Bad Bargain" and "Afterimage".

I have the entire BTVS paperback series and I was devastated when Simon & Shuster made the decision to discontinue them. Though I wish more novels were to be released, I welcome their decision to re-release some of the novels in collections.

For the most part, they were true to canon and kept my passion for the show alive long after it left the air, as I'm sure it did for others. The comics BTVS season 8 helped to continue my enjoyment of Buffy literature. My fondest hope is that Nancy Holder, one of the best of the authors who wrote many of the Buffy novels would contribute a script for the comic series.
Her and Christoper Golden. Even though Christopher Golden has written some of the Buffy and Angel comics. Frankly I think the original Angel comics by Dark Horse written by Christopher Golden are leagues better than what IDW is releasing. Christopher Golden writes an excellent Angel.
I haven't quite figured out the rhyme and reason of why they're grouping these particular stories together. They don't necessarily reflect on one another, they're not published chronologically, nor do they fall in order in the BtVS timeline. And they're certainly not all by the same author. However, they are all good tales.

Kudos to S&S for bringing these books back!
They all do take place during the show's first two seasons. It would be kind of weird to read all these together though. Some were released during the second season, and others a few years after the show was finished.

I agree with Riverine. I loved these books. Sure not all of them are well written, and there are quite a few clunkers (a couple being in these two collections), but they stayed true to both the show and characters. It was always fun to imagine them going on an original adventure. Even if they weren't canon, they were still the characters.

This is good chance for people who missed out.
I totally disagree with Elf. I love the IDW comics, (except Aftermath) and while I thoroughly enjoyed some of Golden's novels, especially Pretty Maids, Nancy Holder's not so much.

Still I mostly enjoyed the novels although always had to remember they were not canon because somethings conflicted mightily with canon, but it still was nice to get more Buffy and I was sad when they stopped making them. At this point, I have already bought all the novels I was interested in but I'm glad they are making these available to new fans.

I am really looking forward to my Buffy Omnibus 7, but I find novels much easier to read.
+++THEIR SELECTIONS FOR COLLECTIONS+++

As mentioned above by hitnrun017 their selection seems to be vaguely but not strictly chronological, all of the stories for volumes one and two take place during seasons 1 and 2. However they are wisely skipping the game books ("Stake Your Destiny"). They are also skipping novels that venture outside the usual "Scooby Gang in Sunnydale" format: For example they have skipped passed "Blackout," "How I Survived My Summer Vacation" and so on.

I'm really not convinced re-releasing novels in this fashion is the best move for the longer-term financial success of this series; the overall quality of the novels are not consistent enough.

+++REASONS WHY QUALITY WAS NOT ALWAYS EXCELLENT+++

A Buffy author has hinted on their official page about the pressures facing them trying to produce these books.

The author mentions it is hard to face..


"publisher deadlines and the push-push-push to get the manuscript into book form... and selling as quickly as possible"

"..The reality of writing a media tie-in isn't nearly as pretty and glamorous as the fantasy. There are nasty deadlines (and believe me, the publisher doesn't give a whit about what's going on in the writer's life when they declare a drop dead date for getting the book to press).."

"..in the average eight week time period that is expected of a Buffy author... all the while knowing that Fox [licencing department] could turn around on a whim and change anything and everything they previously approved."..


Over the years Simon & Shuster allowed far too many poopers on the shelves. Too many books suffered from severe problems including:

(a) Low emotional resonance: The television series writers' room overseen by Whedon aimed for emotional resonance with every story. Stories were not generated by the monster of the week but by the emotional trials and tribulations of the Scoobies (but Buffy in particular). The monsters of the week were the metaphorical embodiments of Buffy's emotional trials. Unfortunately many of the novels missed this, and formed their stories around the monster of the week, and then fitted the Scoobies into the story.

Many of the authors found it difficult to generate emotional resonance when they were not allowed to do anything in their stories which would change any element of the characters.

(b) Weak characterisation. Reading many of the novels, the scoobies do not feel right, and their dialogue does not seem in character.

(c) Spelling/grammar issues. Some of the novels suffer in this area likely due to excessive time pressures and inadequate copyrighting.

I don't mean to be too negative about Simon & Schuster's acheievements. Many of these problems are not limited to this company but are common amongst media tie-in books. Despite difficulties S&S was lucky enough to get some excellent authors and there were a number of superb stories. IMO it is the good ones which S&S should be putting into the collections.

+++MY HYPOTHETICAL "GOLD STANDARD" SELECTION"+++

In my humble opinion they should have considered a 'Gold' collection featuring the best-written novels in chronological order.

Just tapping the solid novels would mean that people investing in early volumes, would enjoy their experience a lot more. This would mean that they would be more likely to purchase further volumes, and also spread positive word of mouth about the series online and in the real world. In turn this would help increase demand for new but good novels.

My hypothetical selections would have limited the series to just six volumes as below:

Buffy novel Gold Collection #1
"Halloween Rain" - Great little season 1 Halloween tale.
"How I Survived My Summer Vacation" - Anthology of six mini-stories set between "1.12 Prophecy Girl" and "2.01 When She Was Bad". Buffy visits her Dad in L.A. whilst the others continue the good fight.
"Blooded" - Season 2 story. The scoobies become entangled in a long-running feud between ancient warriors.

Buffy novel Gold Collection #2
-"One Thing or Your Mother" - Set in late season 2. Dru sires a little girl to torment Buffy
"The Deathless" -Season 3 tale set after "The Zeppo" meaning Faith is around. An old necromancer is playing puppet-master with local vampires.
"Immortal" - The gang face a genuinely immortal vampire who returns from the dust even after being staked.


Buffy novel Gold Collection #3 (Gatekeeper Trilogy)
'The Gatekeeper' has spent centuries holding the walls of reality together, and the dividing lines between dimensions in check. But now he is frail and on the verge of death. The effects are first seen in Sunnydale. And so begins a Buffy epic set before Graduation Day.. These novels are outstanding.
"Gatekeeper I: Out of the Madhouse"
"Gatekeeper II: Ghost Roads"
"Gatekeeper III: Sons of Entropy"

Buffy novel Gold Collection #4
"Oz: Into the Wild" - Set after "4.06 Wild at Heart," Oz sets out to discover the beast within himself, as well as the rest of the world.
"These Our Actors" - A Willow/Spike Season 5 story. Willow takes up drama class, and Spike recalls Cecily.
"Wisdom of War" -Season 5 story. Two strange breeds of dangerous sea creatures are beginning to appear in Sunnydale, and Faith is given temporary release from jail to help wipe them out.

Buffy novel Gold Collection #5
"Little Things" - Season 5 story. The town is terrorised by something mysterious and tiny.
"Monster Island" - Buffy Season 6/Angel Season 3 story. The Fang Gang and the Scooby Gang must unite to protect a safe-haven of half-blood demons.
"Again, Sunnydale" - A short story set in Season 6 written by Jane Espenson. Buffy, Willow and Xander are sent back into their 1999 bodies back in graduation year of high school. Buffy is determined to stay in the past where her mother still lives.
"Apocalypse Memories" - Season 7 story. The Angel Michael brings signs of apocalypse to Sunnydale. Is this the real apocalypse?

Buffy novel Gold Collection #0
"Pretty Maids All in a Row" - Spike and Dru yarn set in 1940s)
"Blackout" - Nikki Wood & Spike story set in 1970s.
"Go Ask Malice" -Excellent story presented as the diary of Faith covering the months leading up to her calling, and the tragic start of her Slaying career.

+++FUTURE OF BUFFY NOVELS?+++

I am very grateful to have running series of comics for both Buffy and Angel but my pie in the sky dream is that we could also have more novels.

The Buffy line of books ended back in 2008. Does anyone know if Simon & Schuster still hold the rights to publish new Buffy prose (but choose not to do so for fianncial reasons?)? Or is the licence for new Buffy novels available for another publisher should any try their luck?

My hope would be that another publisher sees the light, obtains the licence, and treats the franchise properly by emphasising quality control over speed.

[ edited by Dalton on 2010-01-04 05:00 ]
Oh this takes me back. I remember reading these back in junior high, so glad to hear their being re-released :-)
Dalton, my understanding is that the license for the novels has expired, although S&S may retain some sort of 'first dibs' on renewing it, at least for now. They apparently do have the rights to reprint their old material, which suggests to me they still have some sort of working relationship with Fox regarding the novels.
Jane Espenson's "Again, Sunnydale" short story be found in one of the two "Tales of the Slayer" volumes ? (novels, not the comics...although she did stories in the "Tales" comics as well). Curious to maybe read that. Was Jane the only Mutant Enemy employee who contributed to the novels ?
Kris, There were 4 "Tales of the Slayer" volumes. Rebecca Rand Kirshner also contributed, as did Scott Allie, editor of Season 8 at Dark Horse. (And Espenson wrote two stories in this series.)
And I'd love to be able to nail down once and for all whether or not "Again, Sunnydale" was originally conceived as an episode for S6, prior to it being used for the anthology.
I'm wondering if these collections are coming out as a result of the Buffy season 8 motion comics (which I think will get a lot of media attention).
Simon, I'm inclined to think that the unanticipated overall success of the S8 comic from Joss has rekindled some cautious interest from S&S. I imagine they feel that if they can capture a good sized portion of the comic reading audience, it'll more than justify this re-release program.
Shiai, thanks for the info on S&S and their licence.

Re ToS: I really enjoyed the Tales of the Slayer series. A full listing of the stroies can be seen at Wiki here
I wonder how well these are going to sell because when I was in London few months ago, at a bookshop on Stansted Airport there were huge piles of Buffy and Angel tie-in novels, in sets of three priced two or three pounds a set...

I very nearly bought some since they were so cheap, but then I remembered that the one I'd read (by Christopher Golden, I think) was pretty rubbish - the characterisation was weak and it was set during an imaginary season where Faith was in prison, Dawn and Riley didn't exist, and Spike wasn't in love with Buffy.

[ edited by ruuger on 2010-01-04 12:15 ]
The novels ranged from superb to utterly ridiculous, but as an optimist, I like to recollect the better ones. Coincedentally, "Night of the Living Rerun" was the first I ever bought, and actually one of my favourites.
I've recently decided to read all of the Buffyverse novels in existence—happily my library has all but a few and the rest are easily attainable in ILL.

But! If someone would be willing to put out *new* ones, I'd pledge to actually pay for them! :)
Hope they end up re-releasing the Tales of Slayer series, I still have the books a friend lent me a while ago, but would love to own them.

ETA: In response to Kris comments: The then Rebecca Rand-Kishner (now Sinclair) also contributed with a short story for Volume 2. Todd A. McIntosh also contributed for one of the volumes. Jane actually has 2 stories contributing in Volumes 2 and 4. Scott Allie doesn't count as direct ME, but he also wrote two short stories.

I confess that I do own some of these novels, but haven't read them all, they're still sitting on my shelf waiting for a day that I'll pick them up.

Also Hope this might actually be a sign that they'll also re-issue the guide books.
I own them all, but I know of late coming fans who can only find them in used seller or Ebay.
My greatest disappointment towards the guide books, is that they never properly covered Angel Season 5, which is briefly brushed through in the Second Angel Casefiles.

I was just reading the Angel Casefiles books a couple of months ago, they were fun. Made me really hope for a guide book of sorts for both these seasons of Dollhouse, which I doubt will happen.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2010-01-04 23:42 ]
@Numfar PTB It could happen. The show ran for two seasons. If nothing else, I know of at least one Dollhouse Essays book that is currently in pre-production.
Frankly I think the original Angel comics by Dark Horse written by Christopher Golden are leagues better than what IDW is releasing. Christopher Golden writes an excellent Angel.

I totally agree with you, Elf.

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