The Physics of the Buffyverse, by Jennifer Ouellette

This is the first book I checked out from my new library system in Florida, so I’m glad it was fairly decent. πŸ™‚ It was on a shelf full of non-fiction science books, which are okay in general, but one look at that title and I was sold. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even though I’ve seen probably only half of the episodes (this is getting slowly rectified through the wonders of Netflix), and I’ve been in an on-again, off-again relationship with physics for a long time, so why wouldn’t I pick up this book?

Now, I’d say you really need to have some sort of relationship with physics to read this book. It’s not so much “The Physics of the Buffyverse” as it is “Regular Physics Explained Through the Use of Events in Buffy and Angel,” which is still cool but by the time you get to string theory, your head might explode, and not because of a scream that resonates as the same frequency as your head (Ouellette’s explanation for the death of the Gentlemen).

Other than that, the writing is solid and Ouellette does a pretty good job keeping the confusing bits interesting. I was just really hoping for some creative made-up physics rather than the “Well, this could never happen, but here’s something similar that could” avoidances, so I ended up disappointed. In the book, anyway. All of the little spoilers Ouellette gives out have made me even more excited to watch Buffy, and even Angel, which I have never actually seen. Let me just run off to my television now…

Rating: 7/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2006, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
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Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

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9 thoughts on “The Physics of the Buffyverse, by Jennifer Ouellette

  1. Mary says:

    Wait… so she's saying… that it's possible for your head to explode like that? Not quite sure I understand how she's approaching things. (And there's no way in hell I'd understand the physics)

    p.s. if you do run off and watch Angel, persevere through the crappy thing that happens around the 9th episode, and you should be rewarded. Until, like, Season 4… when it gets ridiculous.

  2. Alison says:

    Well, no, it's not really possible, but theoretically it could happen, like how it's possible for someone to sing a really high pitch and break a crystal glass. Except your had is made of too much different stuff to do that.

    Re: Angel, should I watch it after I finish Buffy or watch them interspersed? Or, how intertwined are the two shows?

  3. Mary says:

    Ah… theoretically… blech.

    Um… it's possible to watch them intertwined if you start at Buffy season 4 and alternate with Buffy first (I think it was on before Angel when they were on TV), but it's probably easier to watch all of Buffy and then switch for clarity's sake… Angel appears once on Buffy season 4, and then she follows him back to LA to tell him what's what but that's not that substantial. Though… Faith's plot gets forwarded quite a bit on Angel before she appears on season 7 of Buffy, but otherwise the shows are almost entirely distinct and just share a character here and there. There are little things that fans of both will pick up that wouldn't necessarily diminish the viewing pleasure of Angel for those who don't know them. So basically… there are persuasive arguments for both. I did the all Buffy, then all Angel without knowing any better and I don't think my obsession has suffered for it.

  4. Alison says:

    There is a lot of “theoretically” in physics. Sorry! πŸ™‚

    And that's what I figured about Angel, that it could go either way. A friend of mine is working her way through the two series at the same time, including now the Buffy Season 8 graphic novels (or some such, not sure what they're actually called), and she said that there's at least a bit of crossover between the novels and Angel season whatever. I'm not sure I'm that dedicated to the cause. πŸ™‚

  5. Cari says:

    I enjoyed that book. Read it a few years back. But I couldn't get into her other book that wasn't Buffy-related. I've seen most of Buffy (huge fan… that and Firefly) but never could really get into Angel.

  6. Mary says:

    Oh, yeah, on Angel Season 5 (the last) they talk about Buffy and “see” her, but they never actually show her… they do kind of explain what she's been up to, and I understand that that's the plot of the comics, which I've never read.

  7. Amy says:

    That really crappy thing that happens in that episode made me mostly stop watching Angel. That is how upset I was. I'll have to check this out rapido.

  8. Mary says:

    The crappy thing is why I stopped watching when it was actually on TV. I only kept going when I watched it off the hub in college.

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