The following is an interview with Shiai Mata, the founder of SlayerLit, which is an online discussion forum for all forms of Joss Whedon-related literature and news. In this interview, Fanboy Comics’ Bryant Dillon talks with Mata about how SlayerLit began, the power of the Whedonverse fans, and whether Spike or Angel should be sacrificed in case of an apocalypse.
This interview was conducted on August 19, 2012.
Bryant Dillon, Fanboy Comics President: For those who may be unfamiliar with the website, how would you describe SlayerLit?
Shiai Mata: A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, with just a dollop of whimsy. Or, more precisely, a place for discussions and reviews of various Whedon works of literature, and interviews with authors and actors to boot.
BD: When did you become a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and how did this lead to the birth of SlayerLit?
SM: I had been a fan of the film, flaws and all, so my interest was definitely piqued when the WB announced a series, and I was hooked from the very first year. In a lot of ways, Season 1 might just be my favorite.
But, it never dawned upon me to get involved in Buffy fandom to any great degree until a couple of years later, when I had discovered the novels, devoured them, and learned that not only did a lot of other fans not know anything about them, but there was precious little information about the books online. And, this despite the fact that the Buffy and Angel novels had some high-powered fantasy authors behind them, and one of the books had even won a prestigious Bram Stoker Award . . . basically the Pulitzer of the horror writing world.
I had a sudden epiphany, and SlayerLit was born. It was important to me that if I was going to devote any amount of time to something like this, it be a site that filled a particular void, and didn’t simply mirror what a dozen other websites were doing.
BD: What makes the fans such an important component of SlayerLit and the Whedon fandom as a whole?
SM: It sounds trite, but without the fans, Buffy is nothing. I say that simply because it’s true, because there are other television programs which have been very successful but, in the long run, seem to have left little impact on their viewership. People watch them, then the shows disappear, and they watch something else, with little passing thought to what had once been. A lot . . . an AWFUL LOT . . . of what passes as television entertainment is little more than chimera. But, every once in a while, something springs up that really speaks to a goodly number of human beings in ways profound. By and large, shows like that tend to be lucky to last thirteen weeks on the air, so for something to run for seven years, to enjoy a spin-off with a five-year tenure of its own, and to live on in print media years after the fact is on the side of a minor miracle. And, that is due entirely to the fans.
A fair amount of those fans have expressed interest in the books . . . both the novels as well as the academic works. Trust me, no one visits the website just to read my ramblings about the likes of “Here Be Monsters” and “The Evil That Men Do.” They come because they’re fans of Buffy and Angel, and they enjoy being part of that community.
Click here for the full interview.