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reality storm, DeathWhat s a reality storm I mean, it does sound like something from Star Trek or something Well, sometimes big things happen, and they echo Those echoes crash across worlds They are the ripples in the fabric of things Often they manifest as storms Reality is a fragile thing, after all.I think I fell in love with her, a little bit Isn t that dumb But it was like I knew her L reality storm, DeathWhat s a reality storm I mean, it does sound like something from Star Trek or something Well, sometimes big things happen, and they echo Those echoes crash across worlds They are the ripples in the fabric of things Often they manifest as storms Reality is a fragile thing, after all.I think I fell in love with her, a little bit Isn t that dumb But it was like I knew her Like she was my oldest, dearest friend The kind of person you can tell anything to, no matter how bad, and they ll still love you, because they know you I wanted to go with her I wanted her to notice me And then she stopped walking Under the moon, she stopped And looked at us She looked at me Maybe she was trying to tell me something I don t know She probably didn t even know I was there But I ll always love her All my life. A group of strangers all end up in an old, hidden inn tavern to seek shelter during a storm The storm appeared differently for each for one it was a snowstorm in the middle of June while driving somewhere in the U.S Midwest for another it was a violent thunderstorm while at sea..in 1914 The tavern is packed with people from different realities and timelines including non human creatures from Faerie and myth , and the only thing to do while they wait for the reality storm to end is swa A group of strangers all end up in an old, hidden inn tavern to seek shelter during a storm The storm appeared differently for each for one it was a snowstorm in the middle of June while driving somewhere in the U.S Midwest for another it was a violent thunderstorm while at sea..in 1914 The tavern is packed with people from different realities and timelines including non human creatures from Faerie and myth , and the only thing to do while they wait for the reality storm to end is swap spooky stories by the fire personal stories, mostly, or ones they d heard first hand And they re all strange and or creepy in some way, from straight monster tales to just plain weird A couple are overtly fantastical, while others arereality based, with eventual intrusions of the otherworldly.I really dug the cozy nature of the framing story portions inside the inn It was cool to meet all the different beings humans, a centaur, ghoul, fairy, etc., some of whom are from previous Sandman volumes, but this can be read on its own with no foreknowledge of the world Each short story is drawn by a different artist, including Mark Buckingham Fables and the great Mike Allred Madman who, with his Jack Kirby esque pop art style, is the one comic artist where I ll instantly buy anything he s involved in.This is definitely one of my favorite Sandman volumes, and one of my favorite Gaiman works in general Gaiman is, of course, one of the biggest writers in the world, but I feel he s still somewhat underrated as a master of short, weird fiction, both in prose and comic form, and this would be a nice intro for those who haven t delved into his comics or short fiction His tales almost always charm me, but here they gave a little of that eerie frisson that I m always seeking out, as a nice little bonus.5 Stars @FREE DOWNLOAD ë World's End õ A reality storm draws an unusual cast of characters together They take shelter in a tavern, where they amuse each other with their life stories Although Morpheus is never a focus in these stories, each has something to say about the nature of stories and dreams With an introduction by Stephen King SUGGESTED FOR MATURE READERS Collecting The Sandman T.S. Eliot Und Ezra Pound Im Dialog Mit Dante: Die Divina Commedia in Der Modernen Lyrik where they amuse each other with their life stories Although Morpheus is never a focus in these stories Sacagawea Speaks: Beyond the Shining Mountains with Lewis and Clark each has something to say about the nature of stories and dreams With an introduction by Stephen King SUGGESTED FOR MATURE READERS Collecting The Sandman And so we get our first taste of the infamous House of Mystery, the harbor at World s End, where safety and drink in the limbo between dimensions can be bought with the price of a tale.I m pretty fond of these short stories, but perhaps not as fond as I was the first time I read them They re solid and thought provoking, but not overly so.I suppose what really got to me was the end of the volume The wake shiver Okay, that was some seriously deep shit When death looked at us like that Oh lo And so we get our first taste of the infamous House of Mystery, the harbor at World s End, where safety and drink in the limbo between dimensions can be bought with the price of a tale.I m pretty fond of these short stories, but perhaps not as fond as I was the first time I read them They re solid and thought provoking, but not overly so.I suppose what really got to me was the end of the volume The wake shiver Okay, that was some seriously deep shit When death looked at us like that Oh lordy that was great Sometimes the art gets it right, and this one Yeah It gets it right shiver I LOVE great foreshadowing 9 10 Brief Lives proved to be a hard act to follow I found myself re reading some of the single issues in this following album in order to fully enjoy them, after an initial lukewarm reception I was sucked back in after a while, as connections with the overall plot become evident, and as the framing story linking together the individual tales ended with a promise of troubled times ahead for the Endless.This framing story is a familiar device, of strangers seeking shelter from a storm and pass 9 10 Brief Lives proved to be a hard act to follow I found myself re reading some of the single issues in this following album in order to fully enjoy them, after an initial lukewarm reception I was sucked back in after a while, as connections with the overall plot become evident, and as the framing story linking together the individual tales ended with a promise of troubled times ahead for the Endless.This framing story is a familiar device, of strangers seeking shelter from a storm and passing the time until the weather clears by telling stories A couple is driving at night from L.A to Chicago, when they are caught by a Blizzard in July, crash the car and end up at the Inn of the End of the World.It s a popular technique since the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales, up to therecent Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy or the lyrics to Hotel CaliforniaLast thing I remember, I was Running for the door I had to find the passage back to the place I was before Relax said the night man, We are programmed to receive You can check out any time you like, But you can never leaveThe Inn is full of exotic travellers, marooned here by a reality storm a mysterious cataclysmic event that has reverberations through all the realms of the Sandman Universe Over an ale or two, these journeymen share something of their past experiencesWhen a world ends, there s always something left over A story, perhaps, or a vision, or a hope This inn is a refuge, after the lights go out For a while Here they are A Tale of Two CitiesIs there any person in the world who does not dream who does not contain within them worlds unimagined Told by Robert, a clerk in a big building, in a big city He is comfortable in his routine job, and his greatest passion is to explore his surroundingsDuring his lunch hour he would wander the streets of the city, at night again he roams the streets lights, sounds, reflections in the water.This is the story that gave the most trouble, as I was put off by the minimalist graphic art, despite it s art nouveau, German Impressionist inspiration After a couple of re reads, I came to appreciatewhat Gaiman is driving at one of his favorite urban contemporary themes of people falling through the cracks of reality and ending up in an alternate universe ruled by magic and peopled by bizarro, grotesque misfits I was reminded strongly of my earlier read this year of Neverwhere Dreamers are particularly prone to this type of slippageIn the subway train, in the morning, he would read a newspaper and wonder what would happen were the subway carriage suddently to be transported to a distant planet how long it would take before the passengers began to speak, one to another who would make love to whom who would be eaten should they ran out of food, and Robert ends up one day on the other side of the mirror, where his adventures take a turn towards horror Gaiman declares in an interview that he tried here to pay homage to the classic H P Lovecraft stories of sleeping Gods, and his writing, as usual, rises to the occasion, carrying the story forward regardless of the artworkPerhaps a city is a living thing Each city has its own personality, after all Los Angeles is not Vienna London is not Moscow Chicago is not Paris Each city is a collection of lives and buildings and it has its own personality So, if a city has a personality, maybe it also has a soul, Maybe it dreamsCluracan s Tale Cluracan appeared before in the series, as one the Faerie nobles delegated to negociate with Morpheus the ownership of Hell His choice of story is a sword sorcery high fantasy adventure, along the lines of Robert E Howard Once again, Cluracan is an ambassador from the Queen of Faerieland to an ancient city where he falls afoul of its current dictator Morpheus has a cameo, as in the first story, but the main actor remains the bragging, flamboyant and vengeful CluracanI resolved to do the best I could With all the resources and craft and glamour I possessed, not to mention a certain amount of malice An entertaining issue, but not one of my top picks Hob s Leviathan by contrast, the third time lucky pick, may end up as one of my top five favorites of the whole Sandman collection After Lovecraft and R E Howard, it is the turn of Joseph Conrad to serve as inspiration to a sailing adventure Jim, a runaway youth with salt water in his veins, describes his voyage from Singapore to London on a barquettine named Sea Witch He meets at the beginning another returning character, Hob Gadling the man who tricked Death ans keeps coming back through the centuries to have a drink with Dream A stowaway on the ship has his own story to tell, an Arabian Nights fable of fakirs, jealous rajahs, unfaithful wives and the curse of mortality Great stuff Among other things, it made me want to read a book mentioned by Hob Saltwater Ballads by John Masefield Another reason for loving this issue in particular is the artwork by Michael Zulli, clear and detailed, reminding me of the French and Belgian schools The Golden Boy Is a modern fable about an alternate America were young people start to vote at 18 and elect one of their own for President This golden Boy refuses to enter into dealings with the corrupt Old Guard of politicians, and brings about world peace and prosperity Gaiman mentions some relation to The Watchmen comics, but I failed to notice them More clear are some biblical references, with a Smiley man as the Devil tempting the Golden Boy.Another so so issue Cerements is my second favorite choice of the album, une danse macabre of black humour and dark omens for future developments in the series The narrator is Petrefax, an apprentice mortician He tells the story of Lithargis, a city dedicated to the art of disposing of dead bodies, of the strict rules and traditions to be observed and of the surpsising link between the necropolis and the Endless World s End Closes the cover story of the Inn at he End of the World, and of the nature of the reality storm The less I talk about it, the better chance I have of not spoiling things for new readers I ll just mention that it made me want to start on book 9 immediately What do you get when you wrap stories inside of stories featuring people in the stories telling stories about the people telling stories in the other stories Neil Gaiman at his Neil Gaimaniest This series continues to delight and occasionally confuse , even when, or perhaps especially when, it veers away from what is loosely the main narrative This volume is no exception, and we can go ahead and add World s End to the list of fantastical and imaginary places I desperately want to visit, whic What do you get when you wrap stories inside of stories featuring people in the stories telling stories about the people telling stories in the other stories Neil Gaiman at his Neil Gaimaniest This series continues to delight and occasionally confuse , even when, or perhaps especially when, it veers away from what is loosely the main narrative This volume is no exception, and we can go ahead and add World s End to the list of fantastical and imaginary places I desperately want to visit, which is extensive and shows no signs of shrinking, unlike me in anything that even approaches what might be described as cool weather Rivendell, incidentally, tops the list, I think, followed by Hogwarts Bonus points for some early Mark Buckingham art, though it s ink, not pencils Not my favourite, but still plenty to enjoy Some stories were better than others in this anthology. Sandman Vol 8 Worlds End The Golden Boy is a bittersweet fable of leadershipAfter Vol 7 Brief Lives, which focused on Morpheus dysfunctional family and a road trip in search of Destruction, Vol 8 Worlds End is another stand alone story collection similar to Vol 4 Dream Country and Vol 6 Fables and Reflections Once again the Endless retreat to the corners of the stage, making way for a cast of characters gathered at the Inn at Worlds End to tell tales to while away the time during a Sandman Vol 8 Worlds End The Golden Boy is a bittersweet fable of leadershipAfter Vol 7 Brief Lives, which focused on Morpheus dysfunctional family and a road trip in search of Destruction, Vol 8 Worlds End is another stand alone story collection similar to Vol 4 Dream Country and Vol 6 Fables and Reflections Once again the Endless retreat to the corners of the stage, making way for a cast of characters gathered at the Inn at Worlds End to tell tales to while away the time during a fierce storm The initial characters we meet are two young co workers from our world who are driving to Chicago to save money Suddenly it begins to snow in June and the man swerves to avoid a strange beast in the road, and after crashing the car makes his way to the Worlds Inn.The Inn is filled with a motley assortment of guests, including mythical creatures like centaurs and some desiccated looking types who aren t very human in appearance But they are all amiable travelers, and decide to trade stories to pass the time This provides the Chaucer like framing narrative for Gaiman s stories, and he delivers some very memorable ones As has been the case before, in additions to sprinkling allusions to various fantastic stories from literature and history, his favorite game is to embed stories within stories, tell stories about story tellers telling stories, with those stories often featuring or critiquing the art of story telling itself This self referential moebius strip approach seems designed to make usconscious of the story telling process, and to highlight people s desire compulsion to tell stories that point to greater,profound truths and ideas than we encounter in our daily lives The first story, A Tale of Two Cities , is an allegorical story of a man in a nameless city, working a dreary office job, living a solitary life, commuting from the suburbs each morning, then heading home in the evening in order to do it again the next day The only distinguishing behavior for him is that during his lunch break he explores the city alone, observing other people in the city, and this makes him happy Gaiman captures his feeling elegantly in the following passageAll these sights, and many others, he treasured and collected Robert saw the city as a huge jewel, and the tiny moments of reality he found in his lunch hours as facets, cut and glittering, of the whole One day Robert takes a different train and finds he has been decoupled from his drab reality and placed in an empty, unfamiliar city This existential moment becomes his new reality, as he is trapped in the new place and explores it as much as possible Eventually he does encounters some other people, which revealsabout his reality, but I ll leave that for you to discover.The next story is a fable about the lost city of Aurelia, one of the greatest cities of the plains in ancient times The story is told by Cluracan, the faerie man who gave his sister Nuala to Morpheus in a previous volume He is a bit of a knave, and has been sent to the city by Queen Titania on a mission to interfere with a corrupt ruler who has seized control of both government and church This story is a lot of fun, as Cluracan initially underestimates his opponent, but eventually with some help finds ways to undermine the Psychopomp what a great title , who is quite odious in his power mad quest This harks back to other stories about various rulers in Fables and Reflections, especially Thermidor , August , and Ramadan.Followingdiscussion amongst the travelers in the Worlds End, we begin the next story Hob s Leviathan Its a very beautifully illustrated tale of adventure on the high seas, with many sailing ships and even a sea serpent, but the story isabout the secrets that people conceal from each other We even have a cameo from a man granted a powerful gift by Morpheus in a previous volume I liked this one quite a lot.The next tale is my favorite one, a bittersweet story, called The Golden Boy It s about an alternate America where an ambitious but idealistic young man named Prez Rickard is determined to make the world a better place via the presidency Thanks to his efforts, he is elected president at the incredibly young age of 19 Before that, he encounters two sinister figures who take an interest in his meteoric rise, Boss Smiley whose face is a smiley face like the iconic symbol, but who reminded meof Yellow Bastard from SIN CITY and Tricky Dick himself, Richard Nixon They want some influence on Prez, but the young phenom is confident of his own abilities to make a real difference and rebuffs their approaches There is a classic exchange with Nixon in which the latter extols the virtues of pure power, at which point Prez simply says, Sir, what about making the world a better place , to which Nixon replies, I, uh I m not following you Prez does miraculously transform America into a utopian place, negotiating a Middle East peace treaty, avoiding the Oil Shocks, and ushering in prosperity and equality for all It s all very moving, as I was thinking how wonderful a world that would be, and how incredibly far away we seem to be in this world, our own reality, especially in light of the endless series of tragic, senseless terrorist attacks and racial conflict in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Bangladesh, and Africa Sometimes it takes a seemingly simple fable to make us question why we can t have this glorious dream of peace and equality.The story itself has a very ambiguous and tragic final act, as Prez retires after 8 incredibly successful years Gaiman is interested in what happens to leaders when the reach the end of their tenure, especially successful ones However, I couldn t help thinking, when is the last time the world has truly seen a successful leader who has made the world a better place for everyone Thinking back to the enormous enthusiasm and swell of popular support for Barack Obama, and seeing all the tribulations and opposition he has faced during his presidency, along with the worsening geopolitical climate of the world, it makes me wonder, if he can t achieve his aims and policies, who can And have people truly become so ignorant or mean spirited that they would choose to support a monstrous personality like Donald Trump It just makes me despair for humankind.The last story is Cerements , a very complex tale with stories within stories, ostensibly about a Necropolis called Letharge and some of the dutiful servants who tend to all the clients who need to be properly disposed by one of the five proscribed methods earth burial, burning, mummification, water burial, or air burial that was a new one for me There is much discussion of death and giving proper tribute to those who have died We even have a very unexpected appearance from one of the Endless, who provides some insight into the history of Letharge before leaving At the end of the embedded stories, we are brought back to the Worlds End, where the travelers are treated to a sublime spectacle in the sky, which illuminates the previous discussion of death and commemoration in unexpected ways and really highlights the skills which Gaiman applies to this complex story After this cathartic event, the travelers discover that the storm is past and they are free to return to their respective worlds, but not all of them choose to do so.Once again Gaiman brings us closer to the final stages of his meta story, with subtle foreshadowing and hints some very tantalizing talk of watchmakers in The Golden Boy , for instance , whetting our appetite to knowabout the Endless When I initially heard all the hype surrounding the SANDMAN series and how amazing it was, I was skeptical at first, but I ve come to understand the level of craftsmanship and love of storytelling that Gaiman has brought to bear, and it is worthy of the praise Now on to the final two volumes Storytelling is such a fundamental aspect of human nature it is how we connect with each other and how we make sense of the world and the people in it Stories can tell us so much and the right one, the right one can totally change your life.Gaiman touches on that here he touches on the transformative power of stories he celebrates them in there many varieties Some stories are similar, told differently by different people across different times and cultures And, for me, this is the most imp Storytelling is such a fundamental aspect of human nature it is how we connect with each other and how we make sense of the world and the people in it Stories can tell us so much and the right one, the right one can totally change your life.Gaiman touches on that here he touches on the transformative power of stories he celebrates them in there many varieties Some stories are similar, told differently by different people across different times and cultures And, for me, this is the most important aspect of this volume the realisation that stories, for all their power, are destined to repeat themselves in some way or some form Kurt Vonnegut once said that there are only eight types of stories, and each tale we might try to tell will always fit into one of these story shapes somehow It is unavoidable The narrative arc will always adhere to this basic idea And I saw that here The same stories told in a different way in alien cultures Even our dreams follow a pattern And I love the way Gaiman interacts with classic literature, engaging with old ideas to tell his own stories I feel like he is one of the few writers to truly acknowledge this sense of literary debt So this was another interesting volume, one that showed the scope of Dream s power across many different worlds The fundamental idea behind the Endless will be the same wherever it is felt or believed in You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree. This eighth entry in the series is, like Dream Country, a collection of individual tales only tangentially connected to the characters and concerns of the series Gaiman, in a brief afterward, tells us that he crafted these stories to take advantage of the talents of some of his favorite artists, and in this he has succeeded admirably The visual styles are pleasantly varied, and many of the individual images are haunting and memorable.The tales are presented to us through a Decameron style fram This eighth entry in the series is, like Dream Country, a collection of individual tales only tangentially connected to the characters and concerns of the series Gaiman, in a brief afterward, tells us that he crafted these stories to take advantage of the talents of some of his favorite artists, and in this he has succeeded admirably The visual styles are pleasantly varied, and many of the individual images are haunting and memorable.The tales are presented to us through a Decameron style frame a diverse group of people gather at an inn for shelter and safety, and tell stories to pass the time They seek shelter, not from a plague, but from a reality storm, an event that disrupts the lives of people living in many historical periods and different dimensions, and consequently the tellers of these tales are an extraordinarily diverse group.I particularly enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities a Mr Gaheris, traveling through his own city, finds himself in a dreaming city similar yet different from his own for artist Alec Stevens modernistic, one dimensional images which give to Gaheris cities a contemporary yet dreamlike reality I also enjoyed very much The Golden Boy an alternate United States in which an eighteen year old named Prez follows Dick Nixon as president and does very well and Cerements a series of tales told by the masters and apprentices of the necropolis Litharge, who discuss their work among the dead , but the other two tales were also entertaining, as was the resolution of the frame story itself.All in all, a worthy contribution to the series