August 22nd, 2015

agatha

Selected Essays, by Virginia Woolf

A classic selection of non-fiction by Woolf, in four sections: writing about literature, writing about life and death, writing about women, and observational pieces. It's all very good, and each section has a standout piece. "Character in Fiction" has a very entertaining passage comparing British, French and Russian writers. Her obituary of her father is moving and lucid. Her essay on "Women and Fiction" hopes for better days to come. And the observational pieces are all great, with the best being "Street Haunting", which converts buying a new pencil into an epiphany. All recommended.
buffy

Buffy: The Lost Slayer, by Christopher Golden

Buffy: The Lost Slayer: Prophecies, by Christopher Golden
Buffy: The Lost Slayer: Dark Times, by Christopher Golden
Buffy: The Lost Slayer: King of the Dead, by Christopher Golden
Buffy: The Lost Slayer: Original Sins, by Christopher Golden

I remain a huge fan of Buffy - we've just finished re-watching up to the end of Season Three, the one with the Mayor - but I had never read any of the books, and so approached this four-part novel with interest. (I had previously read, but not been hugely impressed by, a spinoff novel of a BBC webcast series co-written by Golden and Amber Benson.)

Set in early Season Four (Xander and Anya are together, so are Oz and Willow), this has Buffy yanked forward to an alternative future in which Giles has been turned vampire by the ancient demon Camazotz (I'd always thought that was just the evil planet of A Wrinkle in Time, but it turns out that it's also the name of an Aztec god of bats). This gives Golden licence to kill off many characters both new and old, before returning Buffy to our time line where everything is almost as before. It's well enough written, with reflections on how the other characters would have developed in five years where they had continued the fight without Buffy.

I'm troubled, though, as I was in the other book I read by this author, that the story ends up on the wrong side of colonialism - Camazotz, who is after all a native American entity, is rapidly outsmarted by vampire Giles who takes charge of his realm and allows the indigenous inhabitants only as much licence as he finds amusing; and this is presented as a natural development. So I may cast my reading of Buffy a bit wider, but I think I will try other writers next.