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October 21 2004

Q&A with 'Angel -The Casefiles:Volume 2' author. Hello Everyone! I found this link which is good news for anyone waiting for "Angel-the Casefiles Volume 2". It's a Q & A with Paul Ruditis who is one of the authors. There is finally a release date! Hope this one is as good as Volume 1, which I found quite enjoyable.

Thanks for posting that, AncientMagicks, even though it was largely a Charmed-centric read (not my favorite show, to put it mildly) :)

As much as I've enjoyed the official guides - and I'll definitely check out Casefiles: Volume 2 - I prefer the more idiosyncratic (and opinionated) takes on the Whedonverse series by the likes of Nikki Stafford and Keith Topping. Stafford has written a new book on Angel which will cover the entire five seasons, plus the seventh season of Buffy. Stafford's Angel book, "Once Bitten," was supposed to be published in September but there seems to be a delay. It is listed at Amazon, though, and available for pre-order. I'm eager to have a look at "Once Bitten" as I thoroughly enjoyed Stafford's Buffy book, "Bite Me."
On that subject (sort of), has anyone else here had a problem trying to obtain Topping's new compiled work on BtVS? I ordered it on Amazon, oh yonks ago, and the "expected delivery date" was the first week of September. It's never come, and the Amazon page gives no explanation. Was it not published in the U.S.? Anyone?
SNT, do you mean Topping's "Slayer: The Complete Unofficial?" (Amazon cuts off the title there). Its release date is listed as December 1, 2004. I'm thinking this is his new compiled BtVS work as it's a whopping 720 pages.
That's the one Phleb. I'm just looking at my account details on Amazon, and it tells me that I ordered the book in July, and that it was supposed to be shipped September 7 - 9, 2004. But now I see that the publishing date is, as you say, December 1. It must have been pushed back.
SoddNanT, Topping's stuff is great. I already have his Buffy 1-5, Buffy 6, and Buffy 7 books (3 in all). I wonder if the gigantic omnibus coming out in December will have any revisions or is it just the three books smushed together?
PhBoIn: I think the last I read was that it was mostly the 3 smushed together, but with some revisions (stuff cut out) for length. Not sure what or how much will be missing. Still, since I never bought the others, it''ll all be new and fresh for me. I enjoyed "Bite Me" too, BTW.

It's hard for me to find a book on just the right level, frankly. Most of the more mass-market fan-oriented books are a little too flimsy and fluffy, but I don't always want to delve into excessive philosophizing either. I liked "Seven Seasons", although 3 or 4 of the essays I could have done without. I picked up "Fear and Loathing" and the other philosophy one in a store one time, but just couldn't get into them. Here's hoping that Topping's book bridges the two poles.
S'NancTrb: I think you'll really enjoy Topping. He doesn't delve much (if at all) into philosophizing but his books aren't fluffy or fawning. They're filled with great details and commentary. As for philosophizing about the Whedonverse, I'm an official academic (you know, the Official Tribe of Total Wankers) but even I tend to find parts of the academic-oriented books too academic wankeryish. For my money, masquerade's site has the best philosophical musings around.
Not sure what date "The Complete Slayer" is due in the shops but I got my advance copy yesterday so I would expect Amazon to have retail copies for shipping pretty soon. Most of what has been trimmed is stuff like the " previously on" sections which you obviously don't need in a guide that has all 144 episodes , other sections have been updated and revised a bit.
Oh and it's very very pink!
Thanks for the update, debw!

Pleb'in: Bonus points for use of the word wanker! (Which, sad to say, is becoming rather too well-known out here now. Time was I could shout "wanker" in the street in San Francisco, and people just thought I was clearing my sinuses). And you're the 3rd person to recommend masquerade's site on the board today. I guess I should go check it out. Um, after work of course . . .
December 1st, odd, saw it in Forbidden Planet last week (whole bloody table full!), I didn't buy it (it's an xmas present) so I can't comment if it's as good as the 1st one, or as bad as the 3rd Watcher's Guide.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2004-10-21 18:48 ]
I'm eager to have a look at "Once Bitten" as I thoroughly enjoyed Stafford's Buffy book, "Bite Me."
Phleb, nice to know someone else enjoys Bite Me as well. That's long been my favorite of the buffy books I've seen, but i feel like much more attention always goes to guides like the Watchers Guides (which i frankly found disappointing). I've always prefered the more opinionated takes, and I thoroughly enjoyed Nikki Stafford's book and often consult it when i'm trying to remember a detail about an episode. i don't agree with her on everything, but i always enjoy getting her opinion. I had heard she was going to do an Angel one - nice to know that'll be here soon.
i still have never read Topping's books, since I knew the complete guide would come out eventually and I've been waiting for that. I've heard good things, though, and am looking forward to checking it out.
Ghost Spike, are you in Britain? Isn't Forbidden Planet a U.K. store? Because maybe it's come out in the U.K. but not No. America yet.

debw, I love that the book's very, very pink. It'll make finding it in my overstuffed bookshelves a breeze.

Yeah, acp, I really think Stafford does an excellent, and undersung, job with her guides. In addition to her episode summaries and commentaries and the obligatory bios of the cast, she includes great background info on Buffy fandom. I had a blast reading about the Posting Board parties in "Bite Me." I hear there's going to be similar coverage in "Once Bitten" for Angel fandom get-togethers. I haven't had the privilege of attending any of those shindigs (or hootenanies?) but reading Stafford's accounts makes me almost feel like I was there. As for the official guides, Buffy Official Guides 1&2 had some great background info on the show's production, writing, casting, etc. Loved that stuff. But the Official Guide 3 was woefully lean on background info. I'm wondering how lean the Angel Casefiles 2 will be.
Yikes!!I'm not a watcher of Charmed! :) Don't even remember how I found the link! Just zoomed down to the Angel part for any details I could find. I too, ordered the "Slayer" book by K. Topping in July thru Amazon. I'm surprised there's no release date on any of these books. If somebody does want a good read now, might I suggest K. Topping's "Hollywood Vampire"? All about Angel, seasons 1 & 2. The parts he calls, "Logic, let me introduce you to this window" is great. It's part of each description of the episodes in the book. Don't miss this one! The "Five Seasons of Angel" is also turning out to be an interesting read.
acp, phleb, THANK you! I also think Nikki Stafford gets a bum rap. IMO her Bite Me is much more thorough and correct than those Watcher's Guides (the third of which I actually threw across the room when Joyce was mentioned as 'Katherine Sutherland' - good god!)

Sometimes I disagree with her points, but her narrative is always lively. Bite Me is my Buffy Bible.

Have yet to get Keith Topping's book. He's pretty much universally lauded, so I'll be picking it up for sure.
Morning, kids, one of your number – bet you can’t guess which one! - alerted me to the fact that you were talking about me again! And, being a rampant egomaniac I couldn’t resist the opportunity to reply…

SoddingNancyTribe: I think, possibly, the original confusion was that August saw the release of my Slayer trivia book (a little £5.99/$6.99 paperback “Buffy book of lists”-type thing that I wrote which was intended, largely, for the Christmas market in the UK for sale in record shops). It seemed, for a while, that Amazon both in the US and in the UK had confused the release dates of that and The Complete Slayer. Leading to all sorts of malarkey and thigh-slapping shenanigans in the process. Eventually, they got it sorted out.

phlebotinin: As a couple of the subsequent replies indicate, The Complete Slayer is, indeed, a compilation of all of the best bits of the first three books - it does include some revisions and quite a chunk of additional material that I’ve collected since and it cuts out much of the duplication (and, as Deb notes, the "Previously on Buffy" section which was included in the last two books has gone). I also, regretfully, had to drop the section on the Buffy novels due to space restrictions – getting three books that totalled 318,000 words down to one book that totalled 268,000 word - but everything else is there. Indeed, one recent review that I’ve been told is coming in one of the UK genre mags, allegedly, notes that “when it comes to Buffy, Keith Topping is more verbose than God himself.” (Which, actually, isn’t true as the new testament in 700,000 words long… But, it’s nice to be thought of in the same breath as the Big Fellah.)

SoddingNancyTribe: In relation to "bridging two poles" - The Complete Slayer includes, just by way of example, a three and a half page study on the extremes of the intellectualisation process surrounding Buffy that is within six pages of a ‘Did You Know?’ section concerning the release of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer-logo women’s panties. I think I can stake what little reputation I have left in the publishing world that there’s definitely some pole bridging going on somewhere in there. (“Can he bridge two poles?”, “Well, it’s a good trick if he can do it...”)

Deb: How was the gig?

Ghost Spike: Again, I think what you might’ve seen the Slayer Trivia book in FP rather than The Complete Slayer, although, since I’ve now received my advance copies it’s perfectly possible that some shops have too and that they have decided to stick them out on the shelves in advance to maximise sales.

Ancient Magicks: There’s an updated edition of Hollywood Vampire, my Angel book that you mention, out already covering Angel seasons 1 thru 4. I’ve also recently written a stand-alone volume on the final Angel season called Hollywood Vampire: The Apocalypse - that should be out around March or April of next year.

Willowy: ... ‘Universally lauded’? Oh, I like that. Can I use it?! Of course, it’s not true. At least, not in my family and circle of friends I’m not! I’m just “what did you say you do for a living again…?”

General point: I’d recommend that everyone get at least one unofficial guide - whether it’s mine, Nikki’s, or Lars, Larry and Christa’s Dusted - as a supplement to the official guides (which, to be fair, are also usually worth having). Unofficial works are often derided for their lack of visual appeal - no pictures, basically! - or for that greatest of all crimes, actually having an opinion about whether an episode is good, bad or indifferent. What unofficial guides frequently are, however - at least the well-written ones - is a reasonably accurate reflection of the issues that fandom is interested in at the time they were written. As someone who has come through a variety of different fandoms and then got all professional with it (Doctor Who, The Avengers, The X-Files, eventually Buffy and Angel) the one thing I can say about my own work is that if an episode divides fandom then I won’t sit on the fence over it, I’ll take a position, just as every fan does. Sometimes it might be a contrary position, but it’ll be one that’s, hopefully, worth reading even if you don’t agree with a word of it. I think that’s also true of Nikki’s book and Lars, Larry and Christa’s too - unofficial books are good, they may be far too self-involved for a wider audience, but every fan-home should have at least one.

And, with that thought I return to my sick bed (‘flu – there’s a lot of it about…)


Thanks for posting Mr Topping. Hope your flu clears up very soon.
Wow! Another Whedonverse celebrity graces Whedonesque. I'm gobsmacked (if I may borrow another British term, SNT :))

Thank you so much for posting, Mr. Topping, despite suffering from the flu. I hope you recover soon. I can't resist replying to one of my favorite Buffyverse observers/authors.....I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your Buffy and Angel guides that have been released so far in the U.S. I revisit them whenever I re-watch the eps - they're guides that keep on giving. And I love your verbosity! What fan wants a slim, dry little volume, devoid of Toppingesque detail and extended, opinionated commentary? Not I. I think many fans get more out of text that they can actively react to, whether agreeing or disagreeing or a mixture of both. That's not to put down the official guides, which as you say have their place, too. But the unofficial guides have special pride of place in the Whedonverse corner of my bookshelf.

I'm so happy to know that you've written a guide to the last (sob) season of Angel; I'll snap it up as soon as it's released. And I will definitely buy the Complete Slayer, now that I know it's more than the three books I have put together.

Again, I hope you dispatch that nasty flu soon. And thank you so much for your great guides to my favorite 'verse in TVdom.
Well, that's lovely. :) Such a treat to have a dialogue with the author him/herself, especially one who is actually responsive and answers the questions asked . . .

Thank you v. much for the info, Sir Keith (anticipatory honorific). As you say, Amazon got their knickers and deadlines in a twist, and poor me was left wringing my hands come mid-September wondering where the Complete Slayer had got to. But now I'm really rather excited - "bridging two poles" indeed! (One of my poorer metaphors I'm afraid). Roll on December, and please, KT, post here whenever your expertise can bring helpful clarity (or humor) to a discussion.
LOL! What a surprise!

Yes count me among those that will be purchasing The Complete Slayer. You come highly recommended. I'm really looking forward to reading it, as well as the Angel guides.

Thanks for posting, and do get well soon!
Hello again.

So, here’s the deal… I, basically, got bored after eight hours lying in bed watching Friends DVDs, I couldn’t be bothered to write anything for the book I’m currently working on (an unofficial Charmed guide for a small UK publisher) and the “taking plenty of fluids” thing was making me want to go for a wee rather a lot. So, I thought I’d post another reply to Whedonesque.

Thanks to you all – Simon, phlebotinin, SNT and Willowy - for your very kind best wishes. It’s just a minor chest-infection type virus that normally descends on England around the first week of October and won’t leave till everyone in the whole country has had to suffer it for a few days. At least I’m getting mine out of the way nice and early this year.

phlebotinin: Thanks, also, for describing me as a ‘celeb’ somewhat in the same category as Joss. If I was Joss, I’d be *outraged*, but then, if I was Joss, I’d be a better writer than I am, so I probably wouldn’t care.

‘Gobsmacked’ – I’m not sure on the ‘borrowing’ rights on UK words but you can certainly _hire_ them! Cheap, too.

Verbosity’s a double-edged sword – it can get you a filthy reputation for being – I’ll use a close cousin of ‘gobsmacked’ here – a ‘gobshite’. I’m quite a big defender of unofficial guides – obviously, since I write so many myself, but I also admire anyone who puts their balls of the line enough to say ‘This is the deal according to me. Agree? Disagree? Whatever! Dissent is good.’

I hope you thoroughly enjoy The Complete Slayer and, indeed, Hollywood Vampire: The Apocalypse when it hits the shops next year. I’m expecting the page-proofs through sometime within the next month or so – that’s the least fun part of the job, reading through 200+ (or, in the case of Complete Slayer, 700+) pages looking for mistakes until your brain hurts! And, if you don’t, that’s cool too – write and tell me why not and if there’s another edition we’ll see if we can put it right. The only way any author knows whether his or her stuff is hitting the spot is by feedback.

SoddingNancyTribe: Mixed metaphors are fun! The more mixed, the better actually. Remember, the world is your lobster, my son. Or something…

I’d accept the anticipatory honourific if I believed in the honours system. My mate Jeff Hart, in North Caroliona, in addition to calling me ‘my English cousin’ – which is a FAB thing to have of your CV – also wanted me to get a job in the cabinet; ‘Minister for Tacky TV and Britpop’, or something.

And, thanks once again – all of you - for taking the trouble to ask after my health, that was really rather touching.

Charmed? Gaah!

No wonder you couldn't be bothered to work on it! ;)

Now I'm really looking forward to getting the Complete Slayer even more than before. If I do like it, you can bet I'll tell you (like I did Nikki Stafford. Writers are such nice folk. I always get the kindest, funniest replies when I've written authors. Marta Randall, Whitley Streiber, Anne McCaffrey... all without exception have been very cool), and I'll get my 3 friends that I got to buy Bite Me to buy yours too.

Very cool of you to come back and post again, nice talking with ya!
What a lovely response, Mr./Sir/Minister Topping. As Willowy says, writers do tend to be exceptional. Great, smart communicators, not surprisingly. Thank you so much for re-entering this thread. And thanks for the new Britword we non-Brits can steal and use in probably ridiculously inappropriate Yank fashion: "gobshite." Fantastic.

Best wishes recovering and again, I can't wait till your latest books come out! I predict that plenty of lurkers here at Whedonesque who might not otherwise know of your guides will now (a) know, and (b) run out and gobble them up. As they should.
Wow - lots of celebrity visitation these days! I just happened to check back in on this thread, and discovered two postings by the author himself. Thanks for stopping by! I have yet to check out one of your books, but have heard nothing but great reviews, and have only been waiting for the Complete Slayer to come out. I couldn't agree more that the unofficial guides are fabulous - i love having opinion, slant, bias - all of it. Makes it that much more fun to read through, and to agree/disagree where i like. (like having a mini-debate with the book while i read). Plus, I always enjoy seeing what other buffy fans' favorite/least-favorite episodes and moments were, what plot points and characters drove them crazy, what touched them that I found cheesy and saccarine, what adored character of mine they were ready to stake - etc, etc, etc. It's part of the fun of fandom.
I didn't realize you had also written Angel guides – I'll have to check those out as well.
Feel better, and stop by any time!
acp, Topping's Angel guides are as great as the Buffy guides. In introducing the section he includes for every episode, "Logic, Let Me Introduce You to This Window," Topping writes, "Part of the job of being a fan is looking for these [flaws in logic, continuity, etc.], laughing at them when they occur and then aggressively defending them to your non-fan friends."

Exactly! The man understands Buffy/Angel fandom and then some. Gratifying stuff.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2004-10-22 21:42 ]
Phleb, that made me laugh, because it's SO true.
I notice all (or most of) those logic flaws and continuity gaps, totally laugh at them, mention them to other fans, and then defend them to any non-fans. It's kind of like an irksome sibling or uncle – you can laugh at him to your heart's content, but if someone not in the family starts to criticize, you jump to his defense.
I've come up with some very convoluted reasoning to explain such credibility gaps as vampires not breathing but smoking and choking; not tasting food except when they do; not having a heart that beats but somehow having blood flow and *ahem* a functioning sex life – to name just a very few....

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