Amph Endless discussion (Neil Gaiman's Sandman)

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by Daughter_of_Yubyub, Jan 8, 2006.

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  1. Daughter_of_Yubyub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 6
    Well, since we have a comic forum now, and this series has been consuming my soul, I suppose we should have a discussion thread for it, eh? Especially seeing as Death is on the banner. That definitely brought a smile to my face, since she's my favorite character.

    So yeah, much love for this series but little talent at coming up with clever ways of starting threads. :p
  2. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    wow, finally a gaiman thread!

    i was shy of doing one myself... glad you did.

    i have mostly read his novels and short stories and maybe one volume of death: the high cost of living.

    i love gaiman. funniest of all is his journal.

  3. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Saw old Neil at a book signing once, along with a mob of geek-looking lads and chatty ladies. If there was ever a time when science fantasy is patroned by geeks, that was a kodak. I don't have a Revaning clue why you'd read a sample chapter aloud to strangers, made challenging with a mellow voice, but hey . . .

    I didn't like his Legends 2 story. If there's one way of decsribing it, it's American. It's not natural, it doesn't flow. Appliances and furniture are described by brand name; the pace is slow and measured and right out of a classic Hollywood setting. About that American part, there's some books that do this; authors who write with a deliberate---how do I say it?---picturesque style, and while not criminal, it just didn't read plainly.

    Storywise, so corporate cult vs living folklore, to show the corps are still dominant. A woman who can teleport who couldn't fit enough birthday candles if the cake was X-wing size, yet can't eliminate these unmagical meddling humans. I presume there's a reason why the main man's name is called Shadow. Was his mother a shade? But better Shadow than the typical American penchant for John, Will, Richard and Smith in various spelling permutations, right?

    Just a short story, although it took its blasted time getting to anything exciting. I wasn't impressed but neither bored; I bought Legends 2 to get snapshot of the glitter names, and that's what I got.
  4. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    sorry if you didn't like his graphic novels. i haven't read much apart from a bit of 'death'.

    i love his short stories, the are imaginative and funny. i especially love coraline (not a short story, i know).
  5. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    On a slightly random note, I was thinking of Sandman earlier today and talking about it with my brother, who also loves the series. And we decided two things:

    1) The most heroic moment that Dream has in the entire series is when he kills his own son out of love.
    2) Lucifer is not only the most emo character in history, he's also the only character in history who is cool despite being emo.
  6. Daughter_of_Yubyub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 6
    Orpheus' death was such an amazingly heartbreaking moment. I always loved the series, but Brief Lives was the volume when it started eating my soul.

    Lucifer is really emo, isn't he? It's amazing how many things Gaiman does with Sandman that usually don't work. I mean, Dream is basically a textbook whiny protaganist, but it WORKS.
  7. Soontir-Fel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 5
    The other day I saw a Death manga.

    It was about how when Lucifer gave Dream the keys to hell, Death has a sleep over with Despair and Delirum. It had chibi Death.

    I sent a box of spite to Japan.
  8. Daughter_of_Yubyub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 6
    But... that was produced in North America! :p

    I thought it was cute. A rather silly retelling of Season of Mists, but very cute. :p
  9. Soontir-Fel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 5
    You're dead to me now.
  10. Daughter_of_Yubyub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 6
    Because I thought it was cute? :p Season of Mists did a fantastic job of telling the story seriously. I didn't pick up the manga expecting it to be serious (the cover rather gave it away, after all). I expected cute, which it delivered on. :p
  11. Twinky_Stryder Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2003
    star 4
    I've read the Death manga, and it is just so cute.

    And I've just read Death: The High Cost Of Living and that's also very cool. Neil Gaiman does good work. He also worked on the English dialoge translation of Princess Mononoke.

    The thing i like most about Death is that she's always so cheerful and some of the stuff she says is really deep without even trying.

    Btw, has anyone read Good Omens? It's a book Neil Gaiman wrote with Terry Pratchett, it's a pretty good read.
  12. somethingfamiliar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2003
    star 5
    My favorite parts of Sandman were his friendship with Hob and what cats dream of.
  13. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
  14. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Wohoo! Cheers Nat! :D


    So I've just started reading Sandman. I'm a huge fan of Gaiman's novels so I kinda-sorta heard about it as his Awesome Graphic Novel Series Before He Became A Novelist, but never quite cared to give it a go until I read Exeter and Winged_Jedi's fascinating entry in the NSWFF-RPF fic competition a month or so back. (It's a brilliant fic and I'm still hoping they'll post it in NSWFF, because they mentioned having cut a couple of sections to make the word count.)

    I've been picking up the paperbacks in chronological order. A couple of people have told me that this isn't strictly necessary, but I'm curious to see how it all unfolds from start to finish.

    Anyway, overall I love the writing and am merely okay with the art - granted, I'm not a fan of comics/graphic novels in general. Impressions thus far...

    Preludes and Nocturnes is a Hero Journey - you know, one of those stories where the hero has to go on a Epic Quest to get the Seven Items of Power to free the Princess from the Big Bad or something - with a twist. Rather than your generic adolescent hero, the protagonist is a god, an Endless, who lost his power to a decades-long imprisonment and, once he finally breaks free, has to get his items of power back. That said, it felt more like an introduction to the character and the world than anything else, which is odd considering that the Hero Journey is usually a story in itself. The last chapter where Death comes to cheer up her morose brother is awesome too. :D

    What weakened Dream so much that he could be trapped by a human magician? Perhaps later volumes will come back to this.

    The Doll's House seemed like a series of disparate, unconnected stories until I reached the end and it all tied together. Brilliantly done - when I reread it, I could really see how it all flowed together. Of course, if I had been paying more attention at the start I would've noticed details like the Corinthian's name, but anyway... :p So far this one's my favourite. Love the little bits about the Endless family and its internal power dynamics, and how they affected Rose's family, although they (the humans) didn't know it.

    Dream Country ... ehh ... it's good, but not great. The introduction gave me the impression that this was a filler-ish volume between 2 and 4, and that feels about right. The bonus comic script at the end didn't nearly make up for it. That said, I think I would have liked the third and fourth chapters more if I had read A Midsummer Night's Dream and were familiar with Element Girl, respectively.

    This volume mentions there being seven Endless, though, and only six were named in volume 2. I wonder why this is? The back cover blurbs of later volumes hint at there being a missing Endless, or something, so I suppose it'll be explained later too.
  15. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Hey, this is interesting timing. :p I just popped by this forum to look for a Sandman thread, since I'm most the way through the series now and wanted to discuss it, and here it is right on top!

    I'm terribly fond of Death. I suppose that's the whole point, though - everyone should be at least a little bit in love with her character, World's End-style.

    I also enjoyed learning what cats dream of. It wasn't much worse than I've always imagined. :p
  16. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Death is awesome! :D She makes a refreshing change from the usual hooded-and-cloaked scythe-wielding Grim Reaper type of Death.

    Where are you up to now? I'm planning to get volume 4 later today.
  17. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    I'm sort of going out of order at the moment. I read up to the end of World's End, but I'd skipped over the two filler books (volumes 3 & 6), and I decided I wanted to read those before finishing the series. So right now I'm reading Fables and Reflections.

    Brief Lives is still my favorite volume so far.

    I forgot to mention in my previous post, something else that's struck me as I've been reading The Sandman is how similar my reasons for enjoying it are to my reasons for enjoying Star Wars. It's a modern myth, loaded with symbols and imagery. As a result, it has nearly endless (lol) potential for discussion. I know that isn't everyone's reason for being a Star Wars fan, but it seems to me there could be significant overlap in the two fandoms anyway.
  18. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    My Star Wars fan-hood began with the coolness of lightsabers. :p But I agree - Sandman is a magnificent modern myth, full of little subtleties and loveliness.

    So anyway, Seasons of Mists is pretty cool. We get to see the other Endless! :D Still no word on who the seventh is, only that he left and hasn't returned. I really liked the half-page portraits of each Endless - all "this is Destiny, this is Dream, this is" ... and then there is Death. No description needed. Very apt. And then all the machinations of people wanting the key to Hell - that was well done.

    How is volume 6 so far? If it really is just another filler, I might skip it too for now.
  19. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    You know, it turns out Fables & Reflections is much more worth reading in order than Dream Country is. I could understand Brief Lives just fine without it, but the background you get on Calliope and Orpheus in a few of the stories collected in Fables & Reflections adds a lot.

    I have a few thoughts about the relationship between Death and the missing member of the Endless, but I'll wait until you get further into the series to post about that.
  20. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah? I'll get volume 6 this week then.

    I got A Game Of You over the weekend but didn't manage to read it properly until yesterday. Loved the references in there to other volumes - I can't believe I didn't catch on until the end that the Barbie in this volume was the same Barbie in the Barbie-and-Ken duo in The Doll's House, and I only noticed because the Sandman mentioned Rose Walker and I was like "Wait..." :oops: And then the Judy who was Donna's ex was the one in the diner in Preludes and Nocturnes! Little things like that just make it so much more real, somehow. :D

    Finally got a name for the seventh Endless: Destruction. I get the feeling that he's the fourth Endless - the portraits/symbols in Desire's lair at the beginning of Doll's House are in order, and there's a blank one in the middle - wonder if that's significant.

  21. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    So Fables and Reflections is pretty good. :D Disconnected short stories, yeah, but much more worth reading than volume 3. Funnily enough, I already knew about Emperor Norton I (thanks to Jello, perhaps..? Can't remember) but Gaiman really tied it in nicely with the challenge and also how it probably served as Desire's motivation for trying to get him to kill Rose Walker... the Orpheus story arc was sad and tragic... and chibi Dream and Death were very cute. :D

    On to Brief Lives!
  22. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    I love little Dream and Death! Planning on checking out Jill Thompson's Little Endless storybook at some point. I'm a sucker for cutesy things.

    [image=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3242/2794865157_7145def9bb.jpg]
    ^ The fan who crocheted those should mass-market them as toys. :p

    Anyway, I just finished The Kindly Ones and am starting on The Wake. :_|

    What I'd been wondering about pertaining to Death and Destruction was how their realms might overlap. Both of them embody destruction followed by rebirth, but Death deals with people and other living things and Destruction deals with ideas and things, it seems. I wonder if there's any gray area about what falls under the purview of each of them. I also wonder if that's part of the reason Destruction's abandoning his realm doesn't seem to have resulted in as much chaos as Dream's temporary imprisonment did on the Dreaming - he has a mirror in Death, whereas Dream does something that isn't at all replicated by any of the other Endless.
  23. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
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    Awwww those are awesome!

    I read the back cover blurb for The Wake... then I wished I hadn't. :_| I suspect the bit of nasty foreshadowing at the endof Brief Lives has something to do with it ... excellent volume, though. One of my favourites so far. :D Did we already meet the woman Morpheus is moping about for most of it, though? I can't quite recall...

    Regarding Destruction and Death, I wonder if the difference also lies in how much the Endless differ in their level of involvement with mortals. Death, obviously, meets every single mortal personally at the end of their lives; Dream's involvement is more subtle, as he maintains the Dreaming and doesn't to interact with mortals directly, but nonetheless in his absence the Dreaming collapses; but Destruction ...? Like Despair, Desire and Delirium, he doesn't seem to have a clearly-defined 'realm' as such that would collapse without him. His function is more subtle. (In fact, he says so to Dream - with him gone, things still blow up, it's just that it has nothing to do with him any longer.)
  24. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    *double posts like a spammer, again* :p

    OMG the funeral at the end of World's End. Is that Morpheus? :eek: I 'know' his doomed (yay back cover) but I still don't want him to die ... :_|

    ... although objectively speaking, that was the high point of the entire book. I had been wondering what the storytelling and such had to do with anything, and what the 'reality storm' was supposed to be exactly, and so on so forth. Then bam, it all comes together. That's Gaiman for you, I guess. :D
  25. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Now that I've finished the series, all I can say is this: Morpheus has consistently awful taste in girlfriends. :p Course, I guess he can't help falling in love passionately and then a month later falling out of love just as passionately, and then repeating the cycle over and over... the guy is romanticism personified. And he can create as many moors to brood on in the Dreaming as he wants. :p But anyway, I think the fact that he's the embodiment of great, artistic passions is exactly why he can't change the way Destruction did (and the way Lucifer did) - he's too dramatic to just walk away from his realm. He can only do things in big, theatrical ways.

    I've also been thinking about the genders of the Endless and why some are male and some female. I understand that Desire doesn't choose a gender because it needs to be whatever the person viewing it finds most attractive. I also understand why Delirium is female, because of historical stereotypes about women being hysterical and their uteruses messing with their temperaments and yadda yadda. I'm not sure about any of the others, though.
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