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Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Paperback – February 18, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0742516816 ISBN-10: 0742516814 Edition: First Edition

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Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer + Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer + Sex and the Slayer: A Gender Studies Primer for the Buffy Fan
Price for all three: $65.17

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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: 0.7 x 5.7 x 8.8 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: #516,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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 www.slayage.tv, 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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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I recommend that everyone who is interested in the greatness of Buffy read this book.
Pat Simpson
Most of us spend more time than we care to admit watching tv, and it is good to read something that encourages you to think about it critically.
Sunshine7
(Reading the Vampire Slayer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy - both good in their own right, but rather unpolished).
Emily Held

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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 Held 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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By Tiffany J Bundy on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are some really good perspectives throughout this book. If you would like to delve deeper into Buffy pick this up.
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Format: Paperback
In my (informed) opinion, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest TV series ever broadcast (the last season notwithstanding - and even that had its good points, notably the demonstration of female power, and the redemption of Faith.) This book gives a great introduction to the scholarly aspect of Buffy, and this scholarly aspect is necessary in order to fully appreciate how great the show was. I recommend that everyone who is interested in the greatness of Buffy read this book. Once you are done, you might want to read The New Female Action Hero: An Analysis of Female Masculinity in the New Female Action Hero in Recent Films and Television Shows, which explores the feminist implications of Buffy in great depth, showing how Buffy almost single-handedly transformed the heroic archetype into something better and greater than it had hitherto been - creating a heroic archetype which included "feminine" traits such as collaboration (see the last season for example), and which has impacted, and continues to impact, the heroic archetype in all kinds of popular culture and media.Also,like this book, The New Female Action Hero is well written, so that it is pleasant and engaging to read (intelligent analysis does not have to be near impossible to read - as for example with Judith Butler!)
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Loved this book. I cannot say that any of the ideas or criticisms were new to me, but it did make me think more about how all the things I learned in the Liberal Arts relate to Buffy and TV in general. I've started requesting and buying more tv critiques on buffy, x-files, and others. Most of us spend more time than we care to admit watching tv, and it is good to read something that encourages you to think about it critically. Since I've started reading more about TV, I've found myself changing some of my viewing habits.

It was the intro or the first chapter that discussed what makes a quality TV show--things like character development, arcs, and complex language. These are often the shows that you hear about, but then you have to dvd or netflix your way from the beginning, as jumping into the middle can be hard. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. Some few tv shows are elevating to art and eclipsing movies in quality. Think about it, a 1 hour TV series yields about 22, 42 minute shows a year. If a show runs for 5 years, that is over 75 hours of a story. If the story is thoughtful, innovative, and well-done, then you get much more than from a movie, even with sequels.

I'm not saying we should give up books for TV, but that TV might be growing into an art form. In the late 1800's, parents limited children's time with novels, using many of the same reasons that modern parents limit TV.
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