23 July 2017

Raining on a Sunday Afternoon

It's Sunday, and it has been raining all day. In fact, it has been raining a lot this summer. I'm not complaining. I welcome the rain. That being said, all the summer activities require for you to be outdoors, and there isn't much you can do when it's pouring outside. So, what can you do on a rainy Sunday afternoon?

I read an article today in the Swedish news outlet, Sydsvenskan, titled "Saker att göra när det regnar - Sticka eller virka en disktrasa" (or, "Things to do  when it's raining - to knit or crochet a dishrag). Sure, knitting is one thing you can do on a rainy day. For instance, I've been knitting a winter skirt, while listening to Stephen King's It on Audible (now there's a book to set the mood for a rainy day!). But if you're not a knitter, there's so much more you can do to not only pass the time, but to make the most of your day indoors.


Listening

I've mentioned audiobooks. And you don't even have to get a subscription on Audible to find a good story to listen to. There are some many audiobooks that you can listen to for free on Youtube and on Open Culture. Take, for instance, one of my favourite short stories, The Veldt by Ray Bradbury, narrated by none other than Leonard Nimoy. It has everything you want on a cold rainy afternoon - hot blazing sun, bloodthirsty lions, psychotic children, and tea.




 Reading

Audiobooks are nice and all, but if you rather listen to the beat of the rain on your window, that's fine too. That's why printed books were invented. I don't think there is a specific genre that is reserved for rainy days. Any book will do, as long as you're enjoying it.

But, if you want your mind to take you some place warm and sunny, again, you can't go wrong with Ray Bradbury. Dandelion Wine, and The Golden Apples of the Sun are the perfect means to escape the dull and wet reality. The first is the story of two brothers, and their many adventures during their summer vacation. The second is a collection of short stories that will make you feel warm inside.

Of course, if you're totally down with the rainy, chilly July, you'd want to read something that fits the mood. Creepypasta by Jack Werner is an obvious choice, but any Gothic mystery will do just fine. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have had their fair share of Gothic adventures, like The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventure of the Speckled Band.  






Crafting 

I've already mentioned knitting. You can also crochet, scrapbook, or do anything that gives you a sense of accomplishment. I, for one, am an expert watch repairman.. woman? Person? Okay, I may not be an expert, but I'm pretty good at it. Today, for instance I worked on a couple of wristwatches of mine. It's delicate work that requires a lot of precision, and patience, and it's definitely something that will keep you occupied for an hour or so.




What do you do when it's too cold and too wet to go outside? What are your hobbies guaranteed to keep your spirits up on a dull Sunday afternoon?




21 July 2017

The X-Files: Cold Cases (Audiobook Review)

Title: The X-Files: Cold Cases
Author: Joe Harris
Adapted to audio by: Chris Maggs
Published by: Audible Audio, Unabridged Audiobook
Publication date: July 18, 2017

Starring: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi, Dean Haglund, Tom Braidwood, Bruce Harwood, and William B. Davis

Source: I pre-ordered this book on Audible.

The series that had a generation looking to the sky gets a breathtaking audio reprise in an original full-cast dramatization featuring actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson returning to voice FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Based upon the graphic novels by Joe Harris - with creative direction from series creator Chris Carter - and adapted specifically for the audio format by aural auteur Dirk Maggs (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Alien: Out of the Shadows), Cold Cases marks yet another thrilling addition to the pantheon of X-Files stories. Featuring a mind-blowing and otherworldly soundscape of liquefying aliens, hissing creatures, and humming spacecraft, listeners get to experience the duo's investigations like never before.


Set after the events of The X-Files: I Want to Believe and providing additional backstory to the incidents that pulled Mulder and Scully out of reclusion prior to 2016's miniseries revival, a database breach at FBI headquarters allows an unknown group to access and capitalize on those investigations left unsolved - dubbed cold cases - by the secret department once known as The X-Files. As friends and foes of the agency long thought gone begin to inexplicably reappear, former agents Mulder and Scully come out of anonymity to face a growing conspiracy that involves not only their former department but the US government and forces not of this world.


How long have I been waiting for this! How many times have I checked my calendar, counting the days before I could download this audiobook to my tablet! But it's finally here, and last Tuesday, I sat down, and I listened to the whole thing in one sitting. I just gobbled down this audiobook like it was a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream, with whipped cream and strawberries on top.


Jumping back into your fandom like


The X-files: Cold Cases is an audiodrama that is based on X-Files: Season 10 - a series of comic books that were written by author Joe Harris, under the creative supervision of the series creator Chris Carter. It stars most of the original cast, including the actors playing the Lone Gunmen. 

WARNING: Some spoilers for pretty much the whole show, and the feature film, I Want to Believe. 


In Cold Cases, we meet Dana Scully and Fox Mulder living and working under fake names, as they are still hiding from their enemies, presumably after the events of season nine finale. The two of them are pulled back into the limelight, however, after a cyberattack on the FBI database. It seems that whoever was responsible for the attack was targeting FBI agents that were connected to the X-files, an infamous project outside of the FBI mainstream. Soon after the attack, Scully is abducted by a mysterious group of shapeshifters that call themselves the Acolytes, and Mulder gets a visit from an old foe, who was thought dead. 

There have been so many reincarnations and adaptations of this cult classic TV-show. We're talking about books, novelisations, comics books, games, and movies. But this is the first time that The X-Files has been adapted into audiodrama, and I was both excited and nervous to see how it would work out. There are elements of these stories that are dependent on the visual medium, like the special effects, and those small, quiet moments between Scully and Mulder that can only be shown on-screen. So it was interesting to see how The X-Files would fit in this format.  

This turned out to be an amazing audiodrama that exceeded my expectations, and left me craving more. Four hours is just not enough, damn it! What is it with the new X-Files seasons being so short? 

This audioplay is a non-stop, four-hour thrill ride. It's fast-paced, and there's never a dull moment between all the action. The story is thrilling and unpredictable. It's dark, violent, and scary. But it's also chock-full of the dry, deadpan humour  that the show has always been known for.  

The performances from the original cast are excellent. You don't get a feeling that these are just actors reading lines into a microphone; they're all giving one hundred percent in their performances, just as they would if this was another season of the show. I would say that the star here is David Duchovny. You can hear that he's having fun playing Mulder again.  




Even Gillian Anderson, I feel, has more energy here than she did in season ten. She brought back that witty, and cocky Scully we remember from the earlier seasons. Mitch Pileggi as Deputy Director Skinner, and William B. Davis as Cancerman are great as well, and it was so great hearing their voices again. Dean Haglund, Tom Braidwood, and Bruce Harwood are hilarious and adorable as The Lone Gunmen, although Frohike's creep factor has been dialed-up for some reason. 

As for the rest of the cast, most of them are doing a very good job. Their performances are emotional and life-like. There are. however, some rough patches. For instance, the Russian and the Arabic accents are laughable. They're so cartoony the aren't even offensive. But the most disappointing part is that neither Robert Patrick nor Nicholas Lea came to reprise their roles as John Doggett, and Alex Krycek respectively. The actors who got to portray these characters are good, it's just that both Patrick and Lea have very distinct voices, and hearing someone else voice their characters is just not the same. I can never buy anyone other than Nicholas Lea being pummelled by David Duchovny. 




Cold Cases is an audioplay that consists of five episodes: four mythology episodes, and one monster of the week. The latter is a welcome return to a classic episode from season two, and it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling, while also being pretty gross, and disturbing. It would have been right up there with some of the better monster of the week episodes, if it weren't so short (about thirty minutes). But in this format, it works very well.

The meat of this audioplay, however, is the mythology. And let me tell you right now that this mythology is so much better than the one we got in season ten. The X-Files has always had a very complex mytharc that, not only involved cool science, and juicy conspiracies, but also asked questions about family, spirituality, government control, and life beyond our Solar System. Most importantly, the mythology has always been driven by exciting stories, and strong well-developed characters. 

While I liked the mythology in season ten quite a bit (more than most other fans), I still felt that it was disconnected from the original mytharc, and that it was lacking something. Now, having listened to Cold Cases, I realise how poorly developed the season ten mytharc is. 

The reason the mythology in Cold Cases works is because it's a continuation of the original mythology. Harris always takes us back to the original mythology by bringing back old characters - alive or dead - and making them relevant again. He takes the plot lines of the first nine seasons of the show, and he builds upon them. For instance, black oil plays a major part in this story, as well as Skyland Mountain - the iconic sight where Scully was abducted in season two. 

But it isn't just a display of intertextuality, where the writer invokes our nostalgia and plays on our heart strings by showing us something that we know and love (I'm looking at you, J.J. Abrams). Harris brings back all the familiar iconography of the original show, and uses flashbacks to connect his own story to the original mythology but he does it to expand the established mytharc, and to challenge our beloved characters, and to push them in new directions. The story connects so much better with the first nine seasons than the season ten mytharc.

Another thing that makes this story work is that it focuses solely on the original characters. There are a few supporting characters, like Assistant Director Morales, but they all serve a purpose, and their role in the story is limited to a bare minimum. Harris understands that The X-Files doesn't need new, cool characters, especially if he won't have the time to flesh them out to make them interesting. 

The story ends on a cliffhanger (because of course it does). But cliffhangers on The X-Files are never just a way to make the audience come back the next week, or the next season. Each time the credits roll just when Cancerman is about to say something menacing, or when the monster is about to reveal itself, we are reminded of the ambiguity and the uncertainty that plagues Scully and Mulder's work. There are no definite answers; there is no closure, as each new ending is just a beginning of some bigger, more complex story. On the X-files, finding an answer to one question, always means creating more questions. And the ending of Cold Cases captures that ambiguity perfectly. 

Of course, not everything is perfect, and there are few goofs and inconsistencies scattered throughout the story. For instance, in one dramatic scene, Scully encounters a woman who starts speaking German. "I don't speak German!" says Scully. While we know, from the season four episode, "Unruhe", that Scully does, in fact, speak a little German.




It's also unclear as to how Scully and Mulder went from being pardoned by the FBI in I Want to Believe to once again hiding from the world, and going so far as to change their identities. Something big must have happened in that time period, and it sure would have been nice to know, what.

As another reviewer on Goodreads said, if you're new to The X-Files, this audiodrama is not the best introduction to this complex and confusing world. But if you're familiar with the show and know your way around this universe, I can't recommend this book enough. 

I've got to say, the creative team behind The X-Files is spoiling us. Now, I want more audioplays. A whole podcast with nothing but X-Files mysteries would be so cool. 

Plot: 4 stars
Story: 5 stars 
Characters: 5 stars 
Performances: 5 stars 

Total: 5 stars 


That was my review of X-Files: Cold Cases. I have one more book review for you, guys, before I start my new series of book reviews, titled Before They Were Blockbusters.



14 July 2017

What's New? July 2017

"O, summer fair! I would have loved you, too,
Except for heat and dust and gnats and flies.
You kill off all our mental power,
Torment us; and like fields, we suffer from the drought;
To take a drink, refresh ourselves somehow - 
We think of nothing else, and long for lady Winter.
And, having bid farewell to her with pancakes and with wine,
We hold a wake to honor her with ice-cream and with ice."


Excerpt from "Autumn" by Alexander Pushkin


I can really relate to this poem. Summer is my least favourite season of all the seasons. I hate the weather, I hate the incessant roar of lawnmowers in the morning, and most of all, I hate wasps. But, I'm not here to nag about how much I hate summertime. I'm here for a quick update on what I have been doing this summer.

Well, the first thing I did when I went on vacation was quit drinking... coffee. No more lattes, no more moccas, no more instant Nescafés. The first few weeks were difficult to get through, but it's been over a month now, and I no longer feel like I'm addicted to coffee. I think it's safe for me have a cup of coffee from time to time without falling back into my old unhealthy habbits.

One healthy lifestyle choice led to another, and I renewed my membership at the gym, so instead of sweating on the beach I'm sweating in a small room full of other sweaty women. But, I have my Spotify, and a new pair of cute bicycle shorts, so it's all good.

Most of the time, though, I'm sitting right here, in front of my computer screen. But, instead of binging Buffy the Vampire Slayer like I did last year, this time, I'm actually doing stuff.

Camp Nanowrimo 2017
Lat November, I finished the first draft of my old/new X-files fanfiction, and now I'm working on the second draft. It's going better than I thought. I finally figured out what the story is about, who the main villain should be, and what genre the story fits in.

I started out strong, but at the end of my first week, my old pals, Self-doubt and Procrastination paid me a visit. To get rid of them, I had to use heavy artillery - Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. It's a collection of essays on creativity, published between 1965 and 1990. I love this book. It's autobiographical, but it's full of wisdom and pep-talks, and it feels like Bradbury is speaking directly to you.



Reading
I'm slowly moving down my summer TBR. I've already finished Three Parts Dead, and Zen in the Art of Writing, and now I've started "Deny All Knowledge": Reading the X-files - a collection of essays about my number one show (I'm going to have a very X-files heavy summer).



I also renewed my subscription with Audible, mostly so that I could pre-order the upcoming audio book, X-files Cold Cases, written by Joe Harris, and narrated by all the original cast (who-hoo!). While I'm at it, I also got Stephen King's It narrated by Steven Weber. Weber is, of course, the handsome and talented actor who played Jack Torrance in the mini-series, The Shining from 1997. Or, as I like to call it, "the only good adaptation of The Shining". I'm really enjoying this book, but the audio version is over forty hours long, so it's I'm taking my time with it.



Summer movies
I have a feeling that this is going to be a good movie summer. I've already seen Wonder Woman, and Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, and now I'm planning on seeing Spiderman: Homecoming, and War for the Planet of the Apes. 





Studying
Yes, unfortunately, I haven't been spared from this unwholesome activity this summer. The finals didn't go as well as I hoped (I flunked), and the re-exam is in August, so it's back to studying anatomy and periodontology for me.






7 July 2017

Book Review: Three Parts Dead


Title: Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)
Author: Max Gladstone
Year of publishing: 2012
Published by: Tor Books
Source: City Library 

You can also read my review for Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence, #3).

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.


Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs


A vampire, a sorceress, and a chain-smoking priest walk into a bar...

Three Parts Dead is Gladstone's debut novel, and it's the first in the long Craft Sequence series. Every novel is a self-contained story, that takes place in the same shared universe, which is something that I like about this series. You don't have to read the first two books to enjoy the third.

Here, we follow Tara Abernathy - a strong-willed young Craftswoman who has been kicked out of the magic school. Injured and disgraced, she comes back to her home village. But her home bliss doesn't last long as she is soon hired by an old Craftswoman from a prestige necromancy firm. Their first mission takes them to the city of Alt Coulumb, where they must resurrect a recently deceased god without whom the city that worships him will fall apart. Tara's first case will involve murder, conspiracy, vampires, and it will bring her face-to-face with demons from her past.

For a debut novel, Three Parts Dead is really good. It's a straightforward, confident novel, with an exciting story, which rests on a foundation of a well-realised world. Gladstone borrows elements and tropes from an array of different genres, such as fantasy, steampunk, and vampires, and incorporates them into his own unique universe. And he does it, for the most part, successfully.

There are some inconsistencies; some details that I wish would have been explained better. For instance, Alt Coulumb is a modern city with skyscrapers, and most of the attributes of a modern, post-industrialist society, but the city's only means of transportation are horse-drawn carriages. Can it be one of the setbacks that the city is facing after the devastating God Wars? Or could it be that the citizens simply prefer not to pollute their city and their lungs with exhaust gas? It's discrepancies like this that make it kind of difficult to understand this world sometimes.

Nonetheless, I really like this "post-war fantasyland", as Gladstone himself describes it. It breathes with life and colours. It's diverse, in terms people, cultures, and philosophies. I like the hostility between the clergy and the Craftsmen. There's a great deal of politics, and legal stuff that make this world more real, and down-to-earth.

Just like in the case of Full Fathom Five, I ended up liking the world more than the story itself. It's a solid story, a competent mystery with a lot of dark turns and juicy conspiracies. Some questions are raised about morality, duty, faith, and corruptibility of the church. However, the book doesn't delve very deep into these subjects. The characters here deal with quite heavy issues, but once the main conflict is resolved, these issues kind of... well, I wouldn't say go away, but the discussion kind of stops there.

The language is beautiful, but it lacks the poetry, the nuance that made Full Fathom Five so great, but that's more of compliment to Full Fathom Five than a critique of Three Parts Dead.

All things considered, this is a confident entry in a series with a lot of potential. I can't wait to go back to that world.


My rating

Plot: 4 stars
Story: 3 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Language: 3 stars

Total: 3 stars

You can read more about the Craft Sequence on the author's website, MaxGladstone.com


1 July 2017

Book Review: The Fall of Hyperion

Title: The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #2)
Author: Dan Simmons 
Year of publishing: 1991
Published by: Spectra 
Source: school library 

You can also read my review for Hyperion

In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing--nothing anywhere in the universe--will ever be the same.

The only real problem I have with the first book, Hyperion, is that it doesn't stand on its own, but is the first half in this two-part epic story. That's something that I didn't reflect upon when I was reading Hyperion, but it is something that became very obvious to me when I started reading The Fall of Hyperion. And to be honest, I felt a little cheated. Still, Hyperion is a fantastic book, and it deserves an equally fantastic sequel. Is The Fall of Hyperion that sequel? 

First of all, I have a difficult time calling this book a sequel, since it's basically one story split in two halves. A continuation is a more appropriate term. As a continuation, this book doesn't skip a beat, as we are being thrown right back into the story.  

If Hyperion is in its core a set up, then The Fall is very much the pay-off. This is where all the foreshadowing, all the hints, and undercurrents which I have talked about in my last review, come into play. 

As the war rages between the Hegemony and the Ousters, the pilgrims are sitting by the opening Time Tombs on the planet Hyperion, and waiting for the Shrike to show himself. What neither of the pilgrims know is what the terrifying time-defying creature has in store for them, or what part each and everyone one of them plays in the outcome of the war, and in the future of humankind itself.

Meanwhile, on Tau 
Ceti Center - the administrative center of the Hegemony - a cybrid clone of poet John Keats is having prophetic dreams about the pilgrims, while trying to figure out the purpose of his existence. 

And CEO Meina Gladstone - the one woman in whose hands rests the fate of the entire galaxy, is slowly coming to a realisation that there may be an even bigger threat to the Hegemony than the savage Ousters.

I wish I could talk more in-depth about this story in terms of its many subplots, and themes, but in doing so I would be robbing you of the chance to experience this book by yourselves. There are riddles, and mysteries woven throughout the two books, and half the pleasure of reading them is trying to solve these mysteries. The Hyperion books are not an easy read. They require your full attention. They not only make you think, but they make you think ahead, and try and figure things out by yourself. This is something that I admire about these books.

The Fall continues to build upon the themes that were first introduced in the first book, such as nature versus technology, man versus AI, and the future of organised religion. One of the major themes in these books is man's relationship to God, and here, Simmons poses an interesting question: can mankind create a God, or a higher intellect through active faith?  

Just like in the first book, there is so much going on here; there are so many subplots, and so many characters, but once again, Simmons handles it all so well, balancing the subplots, and giving all the important characters the time that they require to grow. 

Like I said, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion are essentially one book, which means that they are consistent both in style and in language. Consequently, The Fall possesses the same strengths that made the first book so great. 

Where it does falter sometimes is the pacing, specifically during the many briefings and meetings between the Hegemony higher-ups as they are strategizing, and bickering with one another. I understand that these scenes are important for the plot, but whenever my attention was directed to these "situation rooms", I felt like the story came to a halt. It's Hyperion - the planet, not the name of the book - that's interesting to me. This is where it all happens. 

In the first book, Simmons took us on a grand tour of the Hegemony, and its many worlds and cultures by incorporating the pilgrims' stories into the main plot. Here, we get to visit these worlds in real time, and witness how this war is affecting these very diverse societies.    

The ending is an open one, but the conclusion is nonetheless satisfying. Simmons wraps up most of the subplots nicely, while still leaving enough room for interpretation. Even as the story draws to a close, there are still questions to ponder about. 

It would be tempting to rate The Fall lower than its predecessor, only because Hyperion gave me a greater case of the feels. Still, The Fall is just as good a book as its predecessor. Simmons does a fantastic job conveying the sense of urgency, and panic as the war between the Hegemony and the Ousters escalates. There are few books that I know of that depict the big intergalactic events so well, while at the same time delving deep into the minds and souls of the characters. 


My Rating

Plot: 5 stars
Story: 5 stars
Characters: 4 stars 
Language: 5 stars


Total: 5 stars 

27 June 2017

The Best of 2017 So Far + Ten Books on My Summer TBR



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the girls of The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is ten best books I read in 2017 so far. But, since I only read fourteen books this year so far, and three of them were medical books, my list is going to be a little shorter. And while we're at it, I'm also going to share with you my summer TBR.

Best of 2017 so far (in no particular order)

1. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams

2. Hyperion, by Dan Simmons

3. The Fall of Hyperion, by Dan Simmons (review is in the works)

4. The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov

5. Bite Me!: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by Nikki Strafford (review will be in the works)

6. The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher


Summer of 2017 TBR

I highly doubt that I'll read all these books in the two remaining months of summer, but this list is more a of guide than a goal.

1. Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone

2. Two Serpents Rise, by Max Gladstone

3. X-Files: Cold Cases, by Joe Harris, Chris Carter & Dirk Maggs

4. "Deny All Knowledge": Reading the X-files, edited by David Lavery, Angela Hague & Marla Cartwright

5. Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury

6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

7. Leviathan Wakes, by James A. Corey

8. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

9. Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine

10. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

25 June 2017

Buffy Will Patrol Tonight: Slayerfest 2017

On April 21st 2017, I went to a party dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This account of that very special night was written under the assumption that the reader is familiar with the world of Buffy and its many awesome characters. If you haven't seen Buffy, I posted a few links for you as well so that you can take your time and catch up on this pop culture powerhouse. I mean, seriously, you should watch Buffy.

This account was written with the help of No Time for Us, who organised the whole thing, and whose photos I will be using here. A special thanks to Too Cute to Puke, as well as to Babel, the nightclub that hosted the event.


As someone who had only discovered Buffy a year ago, I didn't even imagine that I would be a part of something as amazing, and inclusive as the Buffy fandom. Imagine then my reaction when, as I was scrolling down my Facebook feed I saw this




A Buffy fan party? A dress-up Buffy fan party? And within walking distance from I live? I immediately signed up, while at the same time wondering if it really was such a great idea to go by myself. You see, none of my friends are into Buffy, so going alone was my only option.

I rarely go to a party by myself if I know that I won't know anyone there. And by rarely I mean almost/mostly/practically never. I admire those who have the courage and the openness to throw themselves into these kind of terrifying social situations, but it's something that I myself have never been good at. But this was Buffy! I couldn't miss this party for the world. So just for that one night, I decided to leave my insecurities at home, and go.

That Friday night, after the sun had set, and the night city came alive under a chilly drizzle, I dressed in all black, painted thick black veins on my forehead and cheekbones, and channelled my inner Dark Willow.

As soon as I entered the club, my anxieties no longer had a leg to stand on, for I realised that I wasn't going to a party with perfect strangers but with other Buffy fans. And that, as it turns out, makes all the difference. At the bar, where they were serving a drink called The Hellmouth, I met with Buffy who was just stopping by after her death duel with the Master, Xander with the eye-patch (by the way, I didn't get the guy's real name so for the rest of the night I kept calling him Xander), and girl-Numfar who did the dance of joy for us.

Photo courtesy of No Time for Us

Pretty soon, I think almost every character from the show was there. It was so much fun seeing different versions of your beloved characters come to life, And I became giddy with joy whenever someone "recognised" me as Dark Willow.

There were at least five Spikes, of both genders; two or three Anyas in full bunny getup, and a very cool looking Faith. Drusillas of different races and nationalities were mingling with Buffys, and nerd-Willows were confronting their vampire doppelgängers, only with drinks instead of stakes. Speaking of vampires, I'm not sure exactly how many vampires we had at that party, since most of them were in stealth, but a few particularly brave vamps were showing off their vamp-faces, in all their lumpy sexiness.

Together with Buffy, Xander, and Numfar we made a pretty legit Scooby gang, but our gang immediately had to split up, since it was trivia quiz time, and we didn't register as a team, so each of us had to find a team that would adopt our lost souls.

I found a team of five, which consisted of two local guys who went as themselves, and a trio of friends who had flown in all the way from Australia for this very event. They were: vamp Willow, who was Irish, nerd-Willow who was Spanish, and the Australian newbie fan who had watched the entire first season of Buffy on the long flight form the Down Under to our kingdom of the North. He didn't have a costume but with his shorts and his Hawaiian shirt we decided that he looked the most like Spike when he was crashing in Xander's basement.

It was time for the quiz, and the MC, who was none other than Caleb, was leading us through the whole thing. And since we had people from all over the world, all the questions were written both in Swedish and in English.

The quiz was a lot of fun. Not winning the quiz was less fun, but I was glad to see that the winning team was the one that had Numfar on it. Soon, the whole room was chanting, "Do the dance of joy!"which, again, she did.

Photo courtesy of No Time for Us

As I sat on the balcony facing the main stage, I was struck by how much Babel actually looks like the Bronze. Mostly because it also has a balcony. The whole place looked beautiful too. It was as if Willow had used her decoration spell to turn a regular nightclub into a Buffy wonderland, I was particularly impressed with the Class Protector umbrellas that were hanging from the ceiling (I counted at least five), and the two large screens, onto which clips and stills from the show were projected. There were cushions on the main stage, and some fans were just having themselves a good sit.

And then there was the sing-along. Once More with Feeling sing-along. Imagine about a hundred and seventy people all singing Walk through the Fire, and I'll Never Tell at the top of their lungs. So. Much. Awesomeness.  



The rest of my night included dancing with Wesley Wyndham Price, hanging with Drusilla, and lip syncing to Total Eclipse of the Heart with a girl whose name I don't even know.

The playlist brought us back to the late 90's with Britney Spears, Spice Girls, and, of course, the Buffy theme song which the DJ played multiple times. I loved, loved, loved dancing to the Buffy theme song. It felt like I was living out some weird geeky fantasy.



The coolest thing happened when two stunt guys jumped up on the stage and started fighting and fencing, while Rest in Peace was playing in the background. One of the guys was sporting a long leather jacket, so I'm guessing he was supposed to be Spike? Then again, Angel was rocking a lot of leather too, so what do I know.

Sadly, I missed the finalé, and the costume competition (I was just so tired after a full school day *sadface*), but I know that Numfar was among the winners there too (do the dance of victory!)

I can, without a shadow of a doubt say that this was one of the best parties I've been to. When I first got obsessed with Buffy a year ago, I didn't think that I would get the chance to be a part of something like this. Because this show has been off the air for fourteen years, I didn't think that there was enough interest out there for a fan gathering of this calibre. I'm glad to have been wrong.

Seeing so many people from literally every part of the world, from Australia to Malmö come together like this was truly heartwarming. To say that Buffy stood the test of time is a gross understatement. The show continues to attract new fans every year, and as far as the veteran fans go, time hasn't done anything to diminish their love for this show or to curb their enthusiasm.

You can also check out the full gallery from the party on No Time for Us Facebook page, Buffy Will Patrol Tonight: 20 Years of Slaying .

I also recommend checking out the Buffyverse Wiki , as well as this video - Why You Should Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer , by Ian, a.k.a. Passion of the Nerd, as well as Bite Me!: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.