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‘Reading The Vampire Slayer’ edited by Roz Kaveney: Vampire Slaying As Academic Study
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Do you class yourself as a little bit of a Slayerette? Can you catalogue the eras, moods and periods of your life according to which season of Buffy was current (or defunct) at the time? If that’s the case, then you almost certainly consider yourself a little bit of an expert on the subject of all things Whedon. But have you got as far as considering it as an appropriate subject for intensive peer-reviewed articles? Fear not: even if you haven’t got to that point, there are others way, way ahead of you already. Sure, you already know that cultural studies is a subject that considers nothing holy, everything fair game and doesn’t hesitate to dissect the psyche of your most favoured kick-ass heroine.
Yeah, it’s sacrilege. They do it anyway. (Shrugs). What can I say?
Since my OH is well aware that there is no Buffy-related present which is unwelcome to my tastes, a little while back he bought me Roz Kaveney’s ‘Reading the Vampire Slayer’, a collection of academic essays analysing the pop culture phenomenon that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, I hear you ask, how was it?
Well, obviously I had more fun out of some essays than from others. One of my favourites is ‘Concentrate on the kicking movie’ by Dave West. This is despite it being rather sniffy about the actual martial arts skills displayed by the cast and stunt people of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I can’t claim to be an expert: maybe he’s right and they suck! It's not like I'd know. His focus on the stuntpeople as well as the stars of the show is refreshing, however.
Another essay that's enlightening and fun to read is 'Staking A Claim' by Esther Saxey, an examination of slashy fanfic both within and without the BTVS community. Intensive study may pay off if you're looking for arguments to back up and justify your own fanfic addiction or production!
Overall the book is fairly heavy duty for the average viewer who simply want a tale well told with a gutsy heroine and some spooky supernatural goings-on. But if you care to explore deeper and have a true passion for all things Buffy related and springing from the fountain of creativity that is Joss Whedon's brain, then this may well be the ideal book for you?