Buffy's Stake aka Silverspoon/Samantha reviews Buffy FanFiction
Another Day... Another Fandom?!
By Officer Sam/ SilverspoonIt took me a while to notice that recently our once modest group seems to have flourished from tiny acorn to semi-impressive oak sapling. Happily, both the number and activity of members seems to have grown at a rate that I don’t think any of the original ‘crew’ could have anticipated. Before continuing, I feel it necessary to say that I have met some wonderful people and made some potentially lifelong friends from this group. On a weekly basis I have found myself both moved and astounded by the support, kindness and patience present in our midst. However, with that said- (slop administered and suitable homage paid to our two beautiful creators mwah mwah mwah)- alas, I have something to add. Something that I fear may alter your perceptions of me... forever.
At the risk of being mobbed by an angry swarm of Twi-addicts and my dying screams masked by their baying for my blood- we are just not diverse enough! Now, before I dive for cover brandishing my ‘Team Edward’ shirt on a makeshift flagpole, allow me to explain. I like, nay love, Twilight just fine- as much as the next twisted obsessed fangirl even. Yet I cannot help but feel that other worthy genres have become tragically buried beneath the hype. As many of you probably already know, I joined this group from the ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ fandom with one partially complete fic and a few oneshots under my belt. If you are unfamiliar with ‘Buffy’ then allow me to explain as only a true sycophant can!
In 1992 virgin-filmmaker Joss Whedon saw his somewhat bizarrely named first movie ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ hit the cinema box offices. The concept was simple- “Into each generation a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers.”
The movie was an abhorrent flop that had veered so far away from Whedon’s vision that it was almost unrecognisable from his original script. ‘Buffy’ was condemned by critics and audiences alike, and soon became one of the most likely movies of the early 90s to be found at the bottom of the bargain bin. So, what’s so great about that? I hear you ask. Shut up woman and start talking about Edward Cullen! Well, before the Cullen-loving resumes, the plot thickens.
In 1995 Whedon was given the opportunity to rectify his earlier mistakes and once again took the helm of the Buffy-ship with a whole new crew and cast in place. This time, ‘Buffy’ was to hit our TV screens- which it did so in late 1996. The series was a phenomenal success and both Whedon and his cast of hot, young up and comings were catapulted to fame. Huzzah!
And so one of the most popular cult fandoms of the mid-nineties to naughties was born- a series that was to go down in the TV hall of fame with such classics as The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and even Rodenberry’s Star Trek. I myself fell victim to ‘Buffy’ at the tender age of eleven and soon after began indulging my passion for writing by playing with Whedon’s characters on the family dinosaur (I mean, PC). Sadly, it would be another ten years before I was to pop my internet cherry and discover an underground community by the name of Fanfiction that promised to fill the void that had materialised in my life when ‘Buffy’ drew to an end in 2003. So there you have it whether, I might add, you wanted it or not!
My initial allegiances lie in another fandom
What’s that? Yes, there are bloody vampires in it...
BTVS Authors Under The Radar?
The Real Travesty!
‘Ashes at midnight’
Because on this dreadful night we bury the Slayer, and the heaven’s themselves are crying their pain... – extract from Love is Never Wise (Chapter 19)
My rundown is to begin with an author who I feel has recently come on leaps and bounds in the world of Fanfiction. The mysteriously named ‘ashes at midnight’ first came to my attention as a reader for my own BTVS fic- ‘Hell’s Playground’ (shameless self-pluggage alert). ‘Ashes’ began writing in August and despite the claims on her FFN profile of being inexperienced is showing an aptitude for story-crafting that is thrilling to behold.
This young writer who hails from the mighty Oz-land has fast become one of my favourite FFN authors, perhaps largely due to her penchant for exploring the inner psyche of her characters. This is reflected best in her offering entitled ‘Love is Never Wise’, a BTVS fic that spans almost every season of the show ever made. Each individual chapter is actually an extract from a ‘Buffy’ episode that selects and then dissects a particular scene that the author found to be of note. This fic is rated T and is central to the characters of Buffy Summers (our Slayer) and Angel (her dark-brooding-hunk-of-a- vampire lover).
‘Ashes’ has done a great job thus far of selecting well-known and loved episodes for this fic as well as a handful of the more obscure ones. The timeline is not always in place meaning that one chapter may focus on season three whilst the next returns to season one, but I have never once felt ‘lost’ whilst reading. However, what I find to be most impressive is ‘ashes’ inherent ability to expand on those things that were never actually said. Anyone who is familiar with BTVS will recall Joss Whedon’s occasionally irritating practice of causing the characters to speak/think/act seemingly without motive. What the author does here (and spectacularly too I might add) is to isolate and then explain those moments in a way that is not only easily understood but also pleasing to the avid ‘Buffy’ fan. Rather than simply rehashing the happenings of a particular scene, the author attempts to tell the tale from the perspective of one of the characters within; thus allowing the reader the chance to see the internal workings of the characters. ‘Ashes’ writes these moments with such passion, accuracy and care for authenticity that the reader cannot help but feel satisfied by even some of the most infuriating BTVS moments.
This particular fic is one that I now find myself scouring my email inbox for updates. Although each chapter tends to be on the short side, the reader is left always feeling as though they have read ‘enough’ to be sated. Whilst the odd grammatical or spelling error can be found, it is readily forgiven by me at least due to the obvious care that the author applies to her writing. The existence of some beautifully insightful lines in ‘ashes’ works only further helps to cement her in my mind as one of the upcoming FFN authors to be watched keenly.
It should also be noted that ‘ashes at midnight’ has published fics for the television series ‘Bones’ and is currently engaged in updating four projects. For a link to the authors profile and to examine some of her wonderful work then please use the link below!
He’s been cranky all morning. When I can’t tempt him out of it with offers of food or carnal delights, finally I ask what’s wrong, and he says, “I have a headache.” – extract from Ten Observations on Loving a Human.
I believe that my first brush with this author occurred reading the intriguingly titled ‘Infinity Questions’. This particular fic is a rather unique voyage into the mystery of what exactly became of our favourite characters post BTVS universe. I will refrain from spoilers for the benefit of any potential future fans but will say this; there were indeed many questions left unanswered by Mr. Whedon and ‘Kairos Impending’ tackles these head-on with gusto. The fic makes direct use of only the surviving minor characters seen in the ‘Buffy’ spin-off show ‘Angel’ but that is predominantly what drew me to the link in the first place. I implore the more hardcore fans not to be put off by this as ‘Kairos’ manages to mature the characters (to more likeable proportions) whilst also staying true to the story arc of the show.
‘Kairos Impending’s mastery of the English language is nothing short of phenomenal. Whilst grammar etc. appears to be perfect, it is her beautifully constructed sentences that are to be most admired. ‘Kairos’ seems to possess the ability to switch the tones of her various fics according to their overall mood, and ‘Infinity Questions’ is no exception to this. The dialogue is witty and accurate, whilst the body of the text is fantastically dark and thought provoking. Whilst the reader may not receive all the detailed answers they were seeking by the end of this fic, they are certainly left with a both plausible and interesting explanation of events that does not disappoint.
Spurred on by this piece, I then progressed to reading ‘Kairos’ oneshot ‘Ten Observations on Loving a Human’. This fic definitely now ranks as one of my all time favourite FFN offerings from any author in indeed any fandom and it is not difficult to see why. Once again set after the finale of BTVS, ‘Ten Observations’ is written following some unexplained event that sees Angel turned human. The piece is divided into ten brief paragraphs that deal with the more typical aspects of human life such as marriage, shopping, headaches, birth and, ultimately, death. However, far from adopting a morbid tone this fic succeeds in being tender, at times amusing, and overall a beautiful little nod to the miracle of simple existence. Told from the first person perspective of Buffy Summers the piece is a window into Buffy and Angel’s life together, and the dedicated fans will find themselves hard pressed to be disappointed. Indeed, the only drawback I could find to this piece is that it was over far too soon for my liking.
Both of these fics are now complete and ‘Kairos Impending’ continues to work on six other projects. It should also be noted that this author has produced items for ‘Angel’ and ‘Dollhouse’ as well as her numerous ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ offerings. For a link to the author’s FFN profile please see below and in your glowing reviews be sure to tell her that the folks at FanficAholics Anon sent you.
Buffy wandered through the mansion, taking in memories both beautiful and painful. She opened his closet, surprised to find a couple of shirts still in there. She shouldn’t be, she guessed. He didn’t hire moving trucks; he just packed a bag and left. – extract from He Listened.
My final author recommendation sites another relative newcomer to the world of Fanfiction and therefore may perhaps be a little more succinct than the others. With three complete albeit short pieces to boast, ‘sugarless5’ is certainly one to watch with a keen eye if originality is high on your list.
I must admit that so far I have only managed to get to this author’s first story but I was impressed enough that she was promptly added to my author update list, and her name sprung to mind when writing this article.
‘He listened’ is the author’s first submitted work to Fanfiction and is a worthy piece to begin with. The story deals with Buffy’s reaction to the attempted rape of season six and therefore is one to avoid if you are sensitive to such subject matter. However, the fic is rated only T (so contains nothing too gory), and deals with the themes at hand compassionately and with the focus falling more upon Buffy’s warring emotions. After Cordelia receives a vision from the Powers That Be of Buffy taking her own life, Angel rushes to Sunnydale in order to save the Slayer from the brink of breakdown.
It was the little touches in this fic that most impressed me, such as Angel still recalling Buffy’s favourite Chinese meal and the ease with which he is able to seemingly comfort her. The author’s sensitivity to the topic matter was beautiful and ‘sugarless5’ manages to portray Angel as a believable saviour. The story never blurs the lines of realism and manages to stand well as a simple emotional journey that is really more about humanity than monsters.
The tone of the piece is somewhat conversational yet there are some clever and heart-wrenching lines interspaced within that hint at the author’s understanding of truly great writing. It appears when reading that ‘sugarless5’ has made a conscious effort with this piece to explore the events of BTVS season six in a manner that is accessible to all, and it truly works. Although the verbal frills are few and far between, the writing itself is eloquence at its best.
Once again, the link to the author’s profile and several other submitted ‘Buffy’ works are below. Remember the golden rule folks- if you read it, review it! Lurkers be warned...
And so draws to an end my list of recommended authors from the ‘Buffy’ fandom. That is not to say that these talented ladies are the only ones worth the three r’s (reading, reviewing and recc’ing) but they are definitely high on my own personal list of authors that can make my toes curl with their genius. So go on, give it a try? What could it hurt? You never know, you may just find yourself embroiled in a new passion that could even, dare I say, rival your affections for all things ‘Twi’.
Peace, love, and whatever fandom floats your boat!
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