Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land August 20, 2014 Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land Ruthanna Emrys Stories of Tikanu. Hero of the Five Points August 19, 2014 Hero of the Five Points Alan Gratz A League of Seven story. La Signora August 13, 2014 La Signora Bruce McAllister If love is not enough, then maybe death... Sleeper August 12, 2014 Sleeper Jo Walton It is best to embrace subjectivity.
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Showing posts by: Alyx Dellamonica click to see Alyx Dellamonica's profile
Mon
Dec 2 2013 2:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Pretentious Inner Turmoil or Precognitive Abilities? How to Tell?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Help, Cassie

“Help,” by Rebecca Rand Kirshner

The only show that opens in a funeral home more often than BtVS, I’m thinking, is probably Six Feet Under, and that’s where we are today, with Buffy, Xander, and Dawn waiting for the close of business before crawling out of a trio of coffins. It’s a nice change from waiting over a fresh grave for the latest new-hatched vampire, and they pass the time by jawing over about Buffy’s anxious-making new job in the exciting field of youth counselling.

Just as their attention turns to the old job, and whether or not the corpse du nuit is a vamp, it turns out she is. Surprise! Buffy dusts her, and with that we move onto the credits.

[One vamp at a time, one kid at a time...]

Mon
Nov 25 2013 2:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Redemption School Dropout

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Same Time Same Place, Xander, Dawn

“Same Time, Same Place,” by Douglas Petrie

This episode has a very literal title: the time is 9:24, and the place is the airport, at least in the beginning. We know this because we get an unnecessarily good eyeful of the airport clock and, below it, a bunch of insignificant—yet moderately memorable—deplaning passengers. Once that’s established, we go to Buffy, Dawn, and Xander, who are anxiously waiting for Willow to arrive.  Xander has a yellow crayon sign and some understandable pride over having saved the world from the destructive rage of his oldest friend.

Pride aside, they’re all finding it a little weird, this upcoming reunion. The tension only increases when Buffy’s obliged to confess that Willow didn’t exactly finish what she was up to in England, this thing with Giles and his coven friends that Xander and Dawn are calling a recovery course.

“She didn’t finish not being evil?” Dawn demands.

[Read more...]

Mon
Nov 18 2013 3:00pm

Surprise, Fear, and an Almost Fanatical Dedication to the Womack

Random Acts of Senseless Violence Jack Womack This spring I moved from Vancouver to Toronto, a relocation across three exciting time zones into an apartment half the size of the old one. An early stage of this process involved rehoming hundreds upon hundreds of books. We gave them to friends, to writing colleagues, to editors, and to guys in the housing project down the road. We gave them to neighbours, shop owners, and the guy who brought us our uber-green moving boxes. (He took about thirty titles, and left a note on my site recently to say he and his girlfriend got in a fantastic summer’s reading, and thanks. This made up, slightly, for having to let go of so many treasures.)

At the end of the purge, we had gone from floor to ceiling shelves, many of them stacked double, to having only three bookshelves left. As you can imagine, every single book remaining is a precious object, a pearl among prose drops, something that could never be given up, under any circumstances.

One of those books is Jack Womack’s Random Acts of Senseless Violence.

[Read More]

Mon
Nov 18 2013 2:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: “Did you turn this lady’s ex into a giant worm monster?”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Beneath You, Spike

“Beneath You,” by Douglas Petrie

This episode opens with noisy club music in Frankfurt and a pink-haired Potential (who we don’t know is a Potential, yet) on the run for her life. It doesn’t work out any better for her than it did for the young woman last week. This time, though, Buffy sees it all unfold, in one of her prophetic dreams.

“From beneath you, it devours,” the dead dream-girl tells her, before she wakes up screaming.

[Read more...]

Mon
Nov 11 2013 3:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Best Principal Ever or Evil Fiend? How do you tell?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lessons, Dawn

“Lessons,” by Joss Whedon

Istanbul! Eastern music, an exotic courtyard of... death! But whose death? A young girl, nobody we recognize, is fleeing from entities in dark robes, and nobody seems keen to help her. Though she fights hard for her life, she’s outnumbered, and soon enough she’s so very fatally stabbed.

[Mysterious, right?]

Mon
Nov 11 2013 1:00pm

Rise of a... Saint? Meet Hild, and Decide

Hild Niccola Griffiths Historical fiction, well done, is a delicious form of time travel. We read books about the past so we can experience it, in all its color and mystery, from the privileged comfort of a chair. We experience its joys, without truly enduring its hardships. In the hands of a great storyteller, it carries us into lands every bit as faraway and exotic as Frank Herbert’s Arrakis or Ursula Le Guin’s Gethen. Historical fiction even makes aliens of our ancestors, by illuminating how humanity’s attitudes, beliefs and cultural practices have changed over centuries gone by.

Such a book is Nicola Griffith’s Hild.

[Read More...]

Mon
Nov 4 2013 2:30pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Wanna Kill the World? Start with Xander!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grave, Willow, Xander

“Grave,” by David Fury

The final episode of Buffy S6 picks up right where “Two to Go” left off, which is to say with Giles having poof! appeared in The Magic Box to confront Willow in the midst of her magic-fueled homicidal rampage.

[Our Watcher’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble]

Mon
Oct 28 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: In Which the Annoying Virgin Has A Point

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Two to Go, Willow

“Two to Go,” by Douglas Petrie

Say what you will about S6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it is packed. So much so, that this penultimate episode opens with Xander announcing: “This is what happened this year.” We get an extra-long series of clips, which offer a detailed account of Buffy’s resurrection, the coming together and apart of Spuffy, Willow’s addiction arc, Dawn’s thieving and the failure of the XandAnya wedding to come together.

We also, naturally, see Tara’s tragic demise and, as a piece de resistance, Willow’s violent dispatch of Warren.

[Read more...]

Mon
Oct 21 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Willow, the Misogynist Flayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayers, Villains, Willow

“Villains,” by Marti Noxon

This episode opens with an ambulance racing to the Summers house, not for the first time, with an extra at the wheel who looks like he can’t quite believe he’s on BtVS. When they arrive, a panicked and blood-splashed Xander directs the paramedics to the back of the house, where Buffy is lying in a pool of bullet with a stunned expression on her face.

Nobody knows that upstairs, Willow is also seeking help because Tara’s been fatally shot—but instead of 911 she’s calling 1-800-Osiris—and without doing said deity the courtesy of having slaughtered a baby deer or even a couple goldfish first.

Osiris is, in his way, a good sport about it. He tells her straight up that she cannot defy the natural order by resurrecting Tara.  Poor Willow is completely shattered, naturally, out of her mind with shock and grief. She gives him a zorch, of sorts, by way of hanging up.

Time for a homicidal plan B, she thinks.

[Rampage ahoy...]

Mon
Oct 14 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: “Someone had to guinea pig the meat suit”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Seeing Red, Tara

“Seeing Red,” by Stephen DeKnight

Love is back in business in the Buffyverse, because WillTara are a thing again! A happy, delighted, so-in-love post-coital thing. After the events of “Entropy,” they spent the night together, and now as morning comes they’re just catching their breath with a bit of shop talk.

What a contrast with Spuffy waking up in that broken house, huh?

[Read More…]

Mon
Oct 7 2013 1:30pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: I’m lonely and drunk and you smell really good...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Entropy, Spike Anya

“Entropy,” by Drew Z. Greenberg

Ah, springtime on the Hellmouth. Vampires flee in apparent terror, all thoughts of drinking the blood of the living forgotten as... wait! There isn’t a Slayer in sight! No Buffy, no friends, no ex-lovers or off-and-on allies, not even a plucky victim, a much-missed Watcher or a misguided, doomed cop. Instead we see the Trio, on quads. They are completely ineffective in catching the vamps, who nearly get away. The Sunnydale vampire population is becoming weaker and more prone to bolting without cause as time goes on, I think.

And for good reason, perhaps, because now Buffy does show up, as does Spike. Warren, showing true nerve if not actual courage, edges closer until he’s fray-adjacent, all so he can snatch a mystic disk off the ground. The disk, naturally, was the reason the three of them were chasing the undead in the first place.

It was nice of the vamps to drop the thing before it got dusted along with their clothes.

[Read More...]

Mon
Sep 30 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Delusions of Grandeur? Not!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Normal Again

“Normal Again,” by Diego Gutierrez

A week after the XandAnya wedding misfires so spectacularly, we find Buffy walking the streets of Sunnydale in a somewhat peculiar outfit, reading from a list of newly rented apartments. This is a search for the Trio—hurrah for being proactive!—and she’s about to hit paydirt.

Or maybe not. The Trio are just smart enough to put out a security camera and keep an eye peeled for the Slayer. Unfortunately, they’ve put Jonathan on watch and he has dozed off. Warren hits him with a squirt gun and he admits to having slept poorly since Katrina’s murder.

His partners in crime are not so sure he’s entitled to his feels.

[Read More...]

Mon
Sep 23 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Marriage, Circus Folk Style

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hell's Bells, Willow Anya

“Hell’s Bells,” by Rebecca Rand Kirshner

What’s a TV wedding without horror in the form of ritual bridesmaid humiliation? “Hell’s Bells” opens on another decoy moment, with Buffy and Willow apparently contemplating some great monster to be fought.

In fact, the awfulness is just bright green gowns with silly sleeves. The best that can be said about them is that the two best friends are, once again, equally condemned to fashion embarassment. (If this season is largely about Buffy suffering, it’s about Willow suffering in parallel.)

The dresses look good on nobody, as we’ll see when Tara and Dawn turn up. But Anya loves them! Today is on track to be the happiest day of her whole life, and as we ease into watching the little wedding that couldn’t possibly, I already feel terrible for her.

And for myself. “Hell’s Bells” is one of those episodes that is excruciating to watch from the get-go. I might actually prefer another round of “Doublemeat Palace,” complete with edible props.

[Read more...]

Mon
Sep 16 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: “So they’re like really mean tribbles?”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, As You Were, Sam Riley

“As You Were,” by Douglas Petrie

Buffy’s at the day job, getting a lecture about office politics from a keen-eyed college student, and feeling demoralized about her apparently non-existent future. On the way home, she’s singing the Doublemeat jingle, which doesn’t serve to build her morale. It’s almost a relief to be attacked by a vamp, at least until he’s put off by her grill smell. He’s grossed out and only too happy to pile insult onto injury.

Don’t you wish you could kill people like that? Hey, in this case she can!

[Read More...]

Mon
Sep 9 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: “We do not joke about eating people in this house!”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Older and Far Away, Dawn

“Older and Far Away,” by Drew S. Greenberg

Buffy is rushing out to Slay and making excuses to Dawn, who tries to be understanding. This, I’m coming to realize, is rarely a good sign. But it’s a normal enough occurence in the Summers household. And I do have something to add to my list of good things about Season Six: Buffy’s coat is exceedingly cute.

It had been long enough since I’d seen this episode that I suspected that Buffy’s stated intention to go kill evil things was actually a cover for slinking off to a certain crypt to Spuff her brains out. But no—the Slayer is indeed at her non-Doublemeat, non-paying job. There is an actual demon, complete with sword, on the loose. He can teleport, but it doesn’t help him much: she fights him, stabs him with his own sword, and seems not to notice when his demony essence (or somesuch) ends up trapped inside the thing.

[Read more...]

Mon
Sep 2 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: In which everyone suffers, including all of us

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dead Things, Spike

“Dead Things,” by Steven S. DeKnight

“Dead Things” opens with another morsel of quirky BtVS misdirection: we hear something that might, possibly, be fighting. Soon enough, we realize that it’s actually the sweet sound of two special someones getting their Spuff on. Energetically. When they’re done, they converse about crypt decor until Spike finds himself feeling a little weird about the casual, chatty mood Buffy seems to be in.

He ends up asking if Buffy even likes him, and getting a “Sometimes,” in response. It’s not overnice, but at least it’s honest. It also continues the Spike-as-Girl, Buffy-as-Boy gender dynamic you’ve all been discussing, these past few weeks. He’s looking for emotional connection and she throws him the barest dry hint of a bone.

[Read More...]

Mon
Aug 26 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: “Continue the Story of Failure”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doublemeat Palace

“Doublemeat Palace,” by Jane Espenson

Last week, Buffy and Willow were the only members of the gang present at the showdown against the Trio, so “Doublemeat Palace” opens with XandAnya getting their very own “previously-on” catch-up. Since their semi-visible throwdown in the local arcade, Willow tells them, Buffy has raided the Trio lair. The search yielded spell books, some pictures of Jolene Blalock, and assorted nerd toys.

The three would-be evil amigos had fled, which proves they aren’t completely entirely without a sense of self-preservation.

Anya begins to make a point about their villainous lack of work ethic, only to be interrupted by Buffy in her technicolor and somewhat frightening Doublemeat Palace uniform.

Yes, it’s come to this—Buffy has a McJob.

[Read more...]

Mon
Aug 19 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Slayer Pudding versus the Archnemesises

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gone, Willow

“Gone,” by David Fury and Jane Espenson

“Gone” opens with Buffy, Willow and Dawn at home, unhappily engaged in throwing out all the household magic paraphenalia, including Tara’s leftover crystals and a Kokopelli once treasured by Joyce. Actually, Buffy’s doing all the work, from boxing the stuff to explaining how encountering any tempting spell components might remind Willow right back into a relapse. And that’s when she finds Spike’s lighter stuck in the couch.

Relapsing would be bad, Buffy concludes, but there’s no conviction in her voice.

[Read More...]

Mon
Aug 12 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Wait. Martha Stewart isn’t a Demon?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wrecked, Willow

“Wrecked,” by Marti Noxon

It’s the morning after, bigtime, for Spuffy, and it begins with Tara and Dawn waking up to discover that neither Buffy nor Willow has come home. The house is empty, and their improbably well-made beds haven’t been slept in. This is apparently unusual and worrisome, even though they could conceivably have been called upon for Slay duty.

In fact, though, they’re both slacking. Buffy is in the basement of a wrecked house, dealing with Spike’s post-sex happy dance. She’s not so delighted, and as he continues to warble the “Yay, we finally done it,” song, she ends up telling him he’s convenient.

“I may be dirt,” Spike ripostes, “But you’re the one who likes to roll in it.”

Ah, her shame is great.

[Read more...]

Mon
Aug 5 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Larry’s Gay, Larry’s Dead, and High School’s Kinda Over

“Smashed,” by Drew Z. Greenberg

After what feels like the longest “previously on BtVS” in the history of Sunnydale, we find Buffy interrupting a garden-variety mugging. Spike jumps in, eager to help. He means to prove manliness, devotion, willingness to do the right thing and possibly even the American Way, but instead what he (conveniently) proves is that his chip still works, because he gets an agonizing jolt when he punches one of the muggers.

I’ve asked before, I think, but how does the chip know when he doesn’t?

[Read More...]