If you are already a member of fandom, Allyson Beatrice’s book Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? (WTVPPLTL) won’t actually tell you anything you don’t already know. For example, anyone who is a part of fandom (any fandom- not just the Jossverse) knows that there are hugely generous fans and, at the other end of the spectrum, asshats. Fandom folk know that the Internet can be scary and also scary fun.
Based on Beatrice’s own experiences in the Buffy/Angel/Firefly fandom, the book, with its coda ‘True Adventures in Cult Fandom’ isn’t a titillating who’s who tell-all. In fact, unless you were an original member of The Bronze Posting Board, you probably won’t know any of the people Beatrice mentions. (I wasn’t a member of The Bronze, having arrived late to the party…and I only recognized a couple names.)
WTVPPLTL is essentially a series of essays that describe Beatrice’s various adventures in fandom- like how she was once called upon to find a new home for Joss Whedon’s cat and how she and Tim Minear are great friends and how fandom raised enough money to bring someone to the States from Israel. Stories like these have limited appeal- unless you are part of the inner circle being discussed.
The book is Jossverse specific only in the sense that those are the shows Beatrice was a fan of- I’m pretty certain that the same stories could be told in the Lost fandom…or Harry Potter. And Beatrice might alienate some of her readers with a statement made early on that she thinks that “academics obsessing over Buffy the Vampire Slayer, tying obscure cultural/socio/historical events to a tiny cult show is weird.” Still, she admits to having spent thousands of hours discussing the show with other fans. So- she is like the rest of us mortals after all.
The book is very conversational, sprinkled with expletives, and, no question, Beatrice is a clever woman who can turn a phrase. She makes a great case for explaining how fandom is family- for many people the only family they’ve got. I suppose some people will accuse Beatrice of thinking a lot of herself; I found her quite amusing- someone I might have been excited to cross paths with in her BNF days.
If I have one complaint it’s that the title is misleading in that there’s very little real chatter about the Jossverse. And as a Joss-starved fan, I would have loved hearing more about a fandom that is still, I think, pretty active. Even if the stuff I was hearing about took place back in the shows’ glory days.