Pocket Books' Buffy short-story collections, The Longest
Night is a themed collection from both existing and new Angel and Buffy authors.
the title suggests, the action takes place on the longest night of the
year - 21 December. Not only does this day provide the maximum time to
fit in numerous adventures, but as the Winter Solstice it also gives the
authors an excuse for some magickal bollocks to hang their stories on.
especially during its third season (when this collection is set), offers
plenty of opportunities for a short story. On television, having five
regular characters meant that some of them - perhaps most notably Fred
- tended to be underused, but instead of having to use everyone at Angel
Investigations as a novel does, a short story could give us, say, a solo
adventure or one that only involves two or three of the AI team.
The Longest Night doesn't really go in for this. Instead, we
get a collection of linked stories, each taking place at a given hour
on the night of 21 December.
means that the authors all have to introduce their threat, get Angel Investigations
to the scene, defeat the threat and get back to the Hyperion within sixty
minutes. Okay, so some of the stories actually take place at the hotel
and not all of them feature all of the team, but it still feels like a
novel consisting of various mini adventures rather than one main one.
previously mentioned, we've got an mix of established and new Angel and Buffy authors, with familiar names like Golden (both of them
- Christie Golden contributed to the Tales
of the Slayer collection), Holder, Mariotte and Navarro and a
bunch of less familar ones.
Golden's I Still Believe, which sees Angel turning to Cordy to
help him complete his Christmas shopping, is one of the highlights - an
entertaining two-hander with a neat closing scene. Anyone who's ever had
trouble buying gifts will relate to his cluelessness when it comes to
choosing the perfect presents for Fred and Gunn.
also play a major part in Yvonne Navarro's Generous Presence,
which sees the team receiving a surprise package from an most expected
than using the reduced-length to concentrate on just one or two characters,
most of the authors include all or most of the AI team. It Can Happen
To You, from newcomers Scott and Denise Ciencin is therefore a bit
of a rarity, as it only really features Wesley.
aren't any absolute clunkers here, but the collection really needed one
or two more winners, particularly as things seemed to tail off a bit in
the post-midnight stories.
decent enough collection, but the "longest night" theme seemed
more of a hindrance than anything else. back to the top