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Five Seasons of Angel: Science Fiction and…

Five Seasons of Angel: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Discuss Their…

by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor)

Other authors: Peter S. Beagle (Contributor), Amy Berner (Contributor), Abbie Bernstein (Contributor), Roxanne Longstreet Conrad (Contributor), Jennifer Crusie (Contributor)16 more, Joy Davidson (Contributor), Don DeBrandt (Contributor), Laura Anne Gilman (Contributor), Steven Harper (Contributor), Candace Havens (Contributor), K. Stoddard Hayes (Contributor), Nancy Holder (Contributor), Sherrilyn Kenyon (Contributor), Dan Kerns (Contributor), Marguerite Krause (Contributor), Jacqueline Lichtenberg (Contributor), Jean Lorrah (Contributor), Laura Resnick (Contributor), Josepha Sherman (Contributor), Michelle Sagara West (Contributor), Chelsea Quinn Yabro (Contributor)

Series: Smart Pop

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This collection is probably the worst one of these type of books that I’ve read. I’m pretty sure that almost all of the essays (save one humor piece and one piece on myths) focus on the author’s favorite character, and I didn’t get any insights, not even about Puppet Angel. Authors whose names I recognized include: Laura Resnick, Roxanne Longstreet Conrad, Steven Harper, Jean Lorrah, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Peter S. Beagle, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Nancy Holder, Josepha Sherman, Laura Anne Gilman, and Jennifer Crusie. ( )
1 vote rivkat | Jul 29, 2010 |
This anthology is from the same publisher, the same editor, and many of the same authors as Seven Seasons of Buffy, and is the same sort of book: essays by various authors on either the series as a whole or some aspect of the series.

And just like in the previous book, there were good and bad essays; ones I agreed with and ones I didn't; and ones that made me see a favorite series in a new light: which is for me the best thing about it.

* "Angelus Populi" by Don DeBrandt is about... duh... Angelus, and equates him to a high school bully. Interesting concept, but I was a little bored by the author's personal high school reminiscences.

* "That Angel Doesn't Live Here Anymore" by Laura Resnick describes the differences between the Angel of Buffy and the Angel of Angel. I found some of it over-explained, but that's likely me--I always err on the side of brevity and assuming that some details are just understood.

* "Angel by the Numbers" by Dan Kerns is a cute, clever essay with a lot of fun behind-the-scenes tidbits by someone who worked on the set.

* "Welcome to Wolfram & Hart: The Semi-Complete Guide to Evil" by Roxanne Longstreet Conrad is a bit of a departure, in that it's a fictional file belonging to a hypothetical employee of Wolfram & Hart. It's clever and amusing, and believable.

* "Jasmine: Scariest Villain Ever" by Steven Harper explains why Jasmine is the scariest villain ever, and I have to agree.

* "A World Without Love: The Failure of Family in Angel" by Jean Lorrah is about something fans have realized about Joss Whedon's shows for a while: nobody has a nice happy family. The detailed references do get a bit in the way of the point.

* "It's Not Easy Being Green and Nonjudgmental" by Abbie Bernstein is about Lorne--and not just about his character, but about the character's purpose on the show. He was one of my favorite characters, and this is one of the essays that made me think.

* "Angel: An Identity Crisis" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is one of the essays I disagreed with. The premise seems to be that Angel isn't a "real" vampire, to which I shrug and say "who the heck cares?" There are a couple of points about inconsistencies in the worldbuilding, but they got overshadowed by the insistence that the only valid vampires are ones that have already been written about.

* "Parting Gifts" by Sherrilyn Kenyonis about Doyle. Since I didn't start watching Angel until season 2, when Doyle was long gone, and only saw him in reruns and on the DVDs, I never became as attached to Doyle as fans who'd watched from the beginning, and so I appreciated this essay because it filled that lack.

* "Why We Love Lindsey" by Michelle Sagara West explains why we love Lindsey. This was another thought-provoking essay, because while I really loved Lindsey, my reasons seemed to be a bit different, so it gave me a somewhat different perspective on a favorite character.

* "It's a Stupid Curse" by Marguerite Krause explains why the very premise of Angel is flawed. It's one of those essays that could just as well have been written in a sentence or two, but it does make a very good point.

* "The Good Vampire: Angel and Spike" by Peter S. Beagle compares the two vampires with souls. The essay loses track of itself in chronicling the characters' histories in the middle, but does have some interesting insights about both characters.

* "To All the Girls He Loved, Maimed and Banged Before" by Candace Havens is a report to Angel from a fictional love goddess consultant about the possibility of his finding true love. I didn't agree with a lot of the conclusions--several of which were just too facile. It was a cute concept, though.

* "Victim Triumphant" by Jacqueline Lichtenberg boils down the difference between Buffy and Angel to hero (Buffy) and victim (Angel). It's an interesting perspective, and possibly partially explains why I have a slight preference for Angel over Buffy.

* "Where Have All the Good Guys Gone?" by K. Stoddard Hayes is about the moral ambiguity in Angel. Another thought-provoking essay.

* "The Path of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce" by Amy Berner does a lot of describing (with episode citations) of Wesley, but doesn't draw any conclusions or offer explanations. And she really doesn't seem to get the appeal of Scruffy Wesley, which is just sad.

* "Death Becomes Him: Blondie Bear 5.0" by Nancy Holder is not unlike "The Path of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce" in that it's heavy on the description and references, but light on the conclusions and explanations. She does like Spike, though.

* "Angel or Devil" by Josepha Sherman describes, in fairly excruciating detail, some of the mythological underpinnings of the series. At least, unlike "Angel: An Identity Crisis", it allows that there can be variations in those myths.

* "True Shanshu" by Laura Anne Gilman posits that in a show about redemption, Cordelia Chase is one of the largest examples.

* "The Assassination of Cordelia Chase" by Jennifer Crusie takes the discussion of Cordy further by explaining how the later seasons of Angel violated the character as developed through Buffy and the first season of Angel. It goes a long way toward explaining why the character bothered me so much in the later seasons.

* "There's My Boy..." by Joy Davidson psychoanalyzes Angel. There's a lot of description, but there are also explanations and conclusions drawn--not only saying what Angel has done or felt, but why, and what effect this has on him later.

One thing that always strikes me when I read essays is how very wordy and repetitious they can be, and I often end up wondering if I'm missing something by distilling subjects down to their essences. I generally end the argument in my favor (not hard when I'm arguing with myself!), but I do end up with a lingering curiosity about whether there's any benefit in wordiness.

Something else that struck me with this anthology in particular is that a few of the authors didn't seem aware that the 5th season was the last, and that a few others didn't seem to like the series at all, and that seemed odd for this sort of anthology. ( )
2 vote Darla | Apr 27, 2008 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yeffeth, GlennEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berner, AmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bernstein, AbbieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Conrad, Roxanne LongstreetContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crusie, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, JoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DeBrandt, DonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilman, Laura AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harper, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Havens, CandaceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hayes, K. StoddardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holder, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kenyon, SherrilynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kerns, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krause, MargueriteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lichtenberg, JacquelineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lorrah, JeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Resnick, LauraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sherman, JosephaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
West, Michelle SagaraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yabro, Chelsea QuinnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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