Book Review: Whedonistas
Actually, the whole title of the book is Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women Who Love Them. That mouthful of a title aside, here are my initial thoughts on the book, what it’s about, and my personal take on it.
Whedonista’s is a collection of personal musings of various authors about the works of Joss Whedon. Most people know him as the creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. That’s nothing to sniff at since those shows have gained massive fandoms during and after their televised runs, and up until now are still referenced in a lot of current pop culture. According to Wikipedia, Whedon is also apparently responsible for how a lot of modern Americans talk. Given that interesting tidbit, I don’t think it’d be a stretch to say that the average person has at least had contact with something created by Joss Whedon at at least one point in their lives.
Now that we’ve established who exactly Joss Whedon is and why he is being celebrated, I’d first like to lay down a disclaimer: I’m not a die-hard fan of the man or any of his work. I didn’t follow Buffy religiously nor Angel, and though I enjoyed Firefly a lot, my obsession didn’t last too long. So why this review? Because I’m a fan of the women who do love him, particularly Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, and Cathrynn Valente (I recommend you read their stuff). I think those three are brilliant writers, and I try to keep myself updated regarding their works and their projects on a regular basis. So out comes Whedonistas, with content from all three, and I tell myself ‘I don’t know shit but this can’t be a bad deal.’ So here I am with a general rundown of comments:
What I Like:
I like being able to read about the personal musings of the authors I look up to. They share their experiences, they talk about the characters that they gravitate towards the most, about the impact these shows had on their real lives, etc. I think it’s the insights that really grab me here, because they have such unique takes and thoughts on particular subjects that even after you’ve read their pieces, there’s still something to ponder over for the rest of the day.
What I Don’t Like:
The biggest hurdle to enjoying Whedonistas (and this is just for me, I think) is that it’s particularly aimed and can be enjoyed by Whedon-enthusiasts. Just from the Table of Contents, when I was picking which articles I’d like to read, I found it a little bit daunting since there was so much content that I couldn’t really relate to. Whedonistas has much to offer readers with a general background on Joss Whedon and his works but the less you know about the subject, the less you can appreciate what it’s all about.
I think the nature of the book is a double edged sword, in the sense that it is very attractive to its niche market (the other Whedonistas in the world) while at the same time alienating those that don’t belong to said market because of its specificity. It’s not a flaw of the writers; that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. I’d give it a 3/5 for getting me to pick up the book in the first place, something I wouldn’t normally do for any other run-of-the-mill compilation.
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