The top 20 ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ books (Commentary)

F

rom 1997’s “Halloween Rain” through 2008’s “One Thing or Your Mother” — and with the bonus of Kiersten White’s “Slayer” duology in recent years — the Buffyverse tie-in novels gave us a way to escape into the world of Slayers and vampires between WB New Tuesdays and after the shows went off the air. But with nearly 100 original “Buffy” and “Angel” novels out there (more if you count novelizations of episodes), it can be intimidating to figure out where to start.

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PKD flashback: All 18 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 4’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

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PKD flashback: All 23 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 3’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 23 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 3’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

PKD flashback: All 27 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 2’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 27 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 2’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 1’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 1’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 5’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 5’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

‘Buffy’ flashback: All 8 short stories from ‘Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 4’ (2004), ranked (Book review)

T

he fourth and final “Tales of the Slayer” collection (November 2004) is also the only one centered around a theme: specifically, the Cruciamentum – as seen in “Helpless” (3.12) — wherein the Slayer is weakened by drugs and forced to defeat a vampire via only her wits and fighting skills. Remarkably, these aren’t just eight tales of Slayers being betrayed by their Watchers and feeling horrible; the authors find a variety of angles with which to approach the concept. Here are my rankings, from best to weakest, although there isn’t a bad story in the bunch:

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‘Buffy’ flashback: All 4 stories from ‘Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 3’ (2003), ranked (Book review)

I

t’s like an all-star writing contest when Yvonne Navarro, Mel Odom, Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder get together to write four novellas for “Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 3” (November 2003). At this point in my reread, they are four of the five best Buffyverse writers (with Jeff Mariotte filling the other spot). Here are my rankings of their contributions in this third “Tales” volume:

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‘Buffy’ flashback: All 10 short stories from ‘Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 2’ (2003), ranked (Book review)

D

rawing a better overall crop of writers, “Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 2” (January 2003) makes a huge jump in quality from the first volume. The authors have a blast playing with our expectations of how Slayers, Watchers and vampires should behave while using familiar Buffyverse beats to teach us about societies throughout human history. Here are my rankings of the 10 stories:

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‘Angel’ flashback: All 12 short stories from ‘The Longest Night’ (2002), ranked (Book review)

I

t’d be cool to read an “Angel” book of 12 short stories that each take place in one hour on the longest night of the year. “The Longest Night” (December 2002), unfortunately, isn’t that book. It claims to be that book on the back cover blurb, but the editors never told the writers. So the gang can be beat up or covered in demon goo the end of one hour and healthy and clean at the start of the next, for example.

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