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Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer First Edition Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0742516816
ISBN-10: 0742516814
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Editorial Reviews


All 'Buffy' books are not created equal. Anyone interested in delving into the issues raised by the show (including what constitutes feminism, how we can define 'the other,' and whether the world can be reduced with Manichaean simplicity to the battle between good and evil) should invest in Fighting the Forces. (The New York Observer)

In giving 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' the academic attention it so deserves, Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer acknowledges the richness and complexity of the program. Be advised, however, that it is not simply a rah-rah, Buffy is great lovefest. Rather, it is a thought-provoking deconstruction of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' as text that is sure to be of interest to both scholars and fans alike. Taken together, the essays in this book provide insight into what is at once a complicated yet underrated program. Like the program itself, Fighting the Forces gives the reader, if you'll pardon my pun, a lot to sink her/his teeth into! (Sharon R. Mazzarella, Ph.D.)

Fighting the Forces is a solid collection and shows how much substance there is to a show that to the casual observer might seem campy and shallow. (Rain Taxi Review Of Books)

A collection of scholarly essays treats the show with the serious attention fans have long known it was worthy of. Although the essays take an academic approach, the arcane jargon is nearly absent, yet each essay offers a serious, entertaining perspective on the social, literary, and artistic aspects of Buffy. (The Austin Chronicle Screens)

Race, gender, religion, history, music, technology: who would've thought you could deliver an entire liberal arts curriculum by talking about nothing but Buffy? Rhonda Wilcox and David Lavery, important voices in contemporary television studies, have gathered a compelling set of essays that make up one of the best books available about a single TV series. The scholarship is sophisticated, but the prose is readable and amusing. The volume avoids both the slobbering panegyrics of fan books and the incomprehensible jargon of so many academic books. Including the introduction and afterword there are 22 chapters: read one a week and it'll last the whole TV season. (Robert Thompson)

Fascinating reading which provides a deeper understanding of the richly detailed Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Laurie Thayer Rambles)

The twenty essays collected in Fighting the Forces, and others available on its companion website, demonstrate a higher level of critical rigor and quality of writing. (Science Fiction Research Association Review)

Will appeal to the more intellectual of the show's core teenage constituency, helping empower them with respect to the often crypto-vampiric institution of academia. (Science Fiction Studies)

[The book] contains 20 essays organized into three overlapping sections, all of which deal quite seriously and affectionately with aspects of this silly-sounding but quite seriously-written program. (The Whitehorse Star)

About the Author

Rhonda V. Wilcox is professor of English at Gordon College. David Lavery is professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. Rhonda V. Wilcox and David Lavery have written and edited several books and articles exploring the social, literary, and artistic merit of quality television. In addition to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, their work has covered a variety of programs including Twin Peaks, Nothern Exposure, The X-Files, and The Sopranos.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; First Edition edition (February 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742516814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742516816
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is no such thing as a perfect anthology, but by any reasonable standards, this one is first rate. The inherent problem with the anthology is that its contents are comprised by the contributions of a number of individuals. On the one hand, not every reader will find all the essays in any anthology of equal interest, while on the other, not every essay in a collection is going to be on the par of every other selection. In FIGHT THE FORCES, this is as true as well. The volume is edited by Rhonda V. Wilcox and David Lavery, the editors for the online journal SLAYAGE: THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BUFFY STUDIES ([...]
As both a lover of Buffy and an academic, I have been somewhat surprised and delighted with the embrasure of Buffy/Angel by academics and intellectuals. At the moment, there are three academic anthologies on Buffy currently available, and three more that I know of on their way (Christopher Weimer's forthcoming MONSTERS AND METAPHORS: ESSAYS ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, Lisa Parks's RED NOISE: TELEVISION STUDIES AND BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and Glenn Yeffeth's SEVEN SEASONS OF BUFFY: SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY WRITERS DISCUSS THEIR FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOW, which should be out just a few days from the moment I am writing this review). What is most amazing about all this interest is that none that I have encountered is at all dismissive of television as a medium, as so many who write on TV shows are. All these writers assume that a truly great television show can warrant as much or more attention that a great movie or the body of work of a great film director.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By J. Roberts VINE VOICE on August 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Now, let me start by saying that I don't typically read scholarly books about television series. Quite frankly, most of them are just chock-full of flowery, useless speech and precious little actual information or well-argued opinion.
I picked up this book because I'm a huge fan of Buffy and I wanted to see how badly a bunch of academics would mangle the themes and structures Joss & Co. employ on a weekly basis. Odd as this sounds, I was disappointed to find myself greatly enjoying each and every essay.
Now, not each one is a perfect gem and a couple of them made me wonder if the writer had ever actually sat through and enjoyed a single episode, but some of those essays were the most entertaining because they were quite thought-provoking.
I would recommend this book to anyone who's a long-time viewer of the show, regardless of academic experience, although it doesn't hurt to have a B.A. in something under your belt.
This book receives four stars simply because of a few minor grammar and spelling errors. In any other book, I'd let it slide, but this is supposed to be made by real professionals and should be perfect in that regard.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Allison Kalman on June 27, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you watch Buffy because of the great fight scenes and the pretty people, this book is probably not for you.
But if you watch this show because you see the amazing depth of the characters, the metaphor and mythology it uses expertly, or if you'd like to understand those things more, this book is amazing.
It contains essays on everything from gender and postmodern politics to the uses and purposes of fanfiction and fairy tales. These are the types of topics I discuss after viewing the show, but much more in-depth due to the writers expertise. (Many of them are processors of film, literature, media studies, women's studies, etc.) It's a facinating read for anyone really interested in the show, and for those who don't watch, it will show you that the show is much more than you think.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Emily Hall on November 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a collection of critical essays on pop culture, I'd probably only give this 4 stars, but this is head and shoulders above the rest in comparison with the other collections of Buffy academia I've slogged through lately. (Reading the Vampire Slayer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy - both good in their own right, but rather unpolished).
This collection has both the widest number of topics, and some of the best written essays on the show I've read. We get the usual ones like feminism, female representation, and race, as well as some extremely interesting ones on language uses and a nice homage to the creator. Like all collections of this type, there's a nice hefty appendix of sources and references, mostly online due to the relative lack of published work, but a surprising amount of them reference 'ordinary' fans (those of us without a PhD. in media studies). We also get a nice healthy examination of fanfiction and the fan dynamic, unlike one rather anemic essay in another volume. If you're having a hard time deciding how to get into cultural critisism, ignore the rather stuffy cover and check this out.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for a Buffy class that I took at my school this past spring. I found it pretty interesting, and a lot of authors are very insightful as to the meaning behind different dialogues, actions, dress, etc. Many authors had differing views on many of the same scenes, but that's what makes each essay unique. Plus, my prof had written one of the essay's in the book, and I would just like to mention that she is THE ABSOLUTE best! :)
I would def. recommend this book to most Buffy fans who would like to understand other points of view!
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