Sandman

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/Neil Gaiman /Jill Thompson and Vince Locke, illustrators Delirium, youngest brother of the Endless, prevails upon her brother, Dream, to help her find their missing sibling. Their travels take them through the world of the waking until a final confrontation with the missing member of the Endless and the resolution of Dream's relationship with his son change the endless forever. Introduction b

Delirium, youngest brother of the Endless, prevails upon her brother, Dream, to help her find their missing ...

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The Sandman Volume 7: Brief Lives (New Edition) (NOOK Comics with Zoom View)

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Overview

/Neil Gaiman /Jill Thompson and Vince Locke, illustrators Delirium, youngest brother of the Endless, prevails upon her brother, Dream, to help her find their missing sibling. Their travels take them through the world of the waking until a final confrontation with the missing member of the Endless and the resolution of Dream's relationship with his son change the endless forever. Introduction b

Delirium, youngest brother of the Endless, prevails upon her brother, Dream, to help her find their missing sibling. Their travels take them through the world of the waking until a final confrontation with the missing member of the Endless and the resolution of Dream's relationship with his son change the endless forever. Features an introduction by Peter Straub.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gaiman's very popular Sandman series (this is the eighth book in the series) continues with another tale of the Endless, the family of mythic cosmic beings that govern the psychic and physical realms of Dream, Desire, Despair, Destiny, Delirium, Destruction and Death. Morpheus, Lord of Dreams and the central figure in the series, is asked by his sister, the unstable and touchingly demented Delirium, to help locate their brother Destruction. Destruction abandoned his duties 300 years ago (about the time of the Enlightenmentnt), dropping out of sight after a prescient and despairing glimpse of the rise of human reason and its own destructive proclivities. The grimly ironic Morpheus and his whimsically erratic sister travel among the mortals of earth in search of their brother and ultimately learn something of Destruction's reasons for abdicating. Gaiman's works often follow the plots of classical and mythical narratives and Brief Lives, like his other works, can often look and sound as ponderous as a bad period costume movie. But his works are also driven by sharply drawn characters and his knack for capturing the patterns of intimacy, even in an otherworldly setting, can be affecting. Thompson and Locke contribute subtle and vividly colored drawings, rendered in an awkward but agile line. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446393638
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/1/1991
  • Series: Sandman Series , #1
  • Pages: 256

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman
Novelist Neil Gaiman has sent a British businessman tumbling into a fantastic underworld and had a devil and angel comically conspiring to thwart the Apocalypse. He found his biggest success, though, in Death, Dreams and Destruction -- and the four other similarly named siblings who controlled the reins of the human race's emotional impulses in his graphic-novel series The Sandman, a wholesale rejuvenation of graphic fiction that had everyone from Tori Amos to Norman Mailer spinning with, yes, Delirium.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Preface

How do gods die? And when they do, what becomes of them then?

You might as well ask, how do gods get born? All three questions are, really, the same question. And they all have a common assumption: that humankind can no more live without gods than you can kill yourself by holding your breath.

(Of course, you just may be the kind of arrant rationalist who huffs that modern man has finally freed himself from ancient enslavement to superstition, fantasy, and awe. If so, return this book immediately to its place of purchase for a refund; and, by the by, don't bother trying to read Shakespeare, Homer, Faulkner, or, for that matter, Dr. Seuss.)

We need gods -- Thor or Zeus or Krishna or Jesus or, well, God -- not so much to worship or sacrifice to, but because they satisfy our need -- distinctive from that of all the other animals -- to imagine a meaning, a sense to our lives, to satisfy our hunger to believe that the muck and chaos of daily existence does, after all, tend somewhere. It's the origin of religion, and also of storytelling-- or aren't they both the same thing? AsVoltaire said of God: if he did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him.

Listen to an expert on the matter.

"There are only two worlds -- your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worldslike this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. These worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters. Doyou understand?"

The speaker is Titania, the beautiful and dangerous Queen of Faerie, in Neil Gaiman's graphic novel The Books of Magic, and I don't know a better summary explanation -- from Plato to Sir Philip Sidney toNorthrop Frye-of why we need, read, and write stories. Of why we, as a species, are godmakers. And spoken by a goddess in a story.

Books of Magic was written while Gaiman was also writing his masterpiece -- so far his masterpiece, for God or gods know what he'll do next -- The Sandman. It is a comic book that changes your mind about what comics are and what they can do. It is a serial novel -- like those of Dickens and Thackeray -- that, by any honest reckoning, is as stunning a piece of storytelling as any "mainstream" (read: academically respectable) fiction produced in the last decade. It is a true invention of an authentic, and richly satisfying, mythology for postmodern, postmythological man: a new way of making gods. And it is the brilliant inspiration for the brilliant stories in this book.

Like most extraordinary things The Sandman had unextraordinary beginnings (remember that Shakespeare, as far as we can tell, just set out to run a theater, make some cash, and move back to his hick hometown). In 1987, Gaiman was approached by Karen Berger of DC Comics to revive one of the characters from DC's WWII "golden age." After some haggling, they decided on "The Sandman." Now the original Sandman, in the late thirties and forties, was a kind of Batman Lite. Millionaire Wesley Dodds, at night, would put on gas mask, fedora, and cape, hunt down bad guys, and zap them with his gas gun, leaving them to sleep until the cops picked them up the next morning -- hardly the stuff of legend.

So what Gaiman did was jettison virtually everything except the title. The Sandman -- childhood's fairy who comes to put you to sleep, the bringer of dreams, the Lord of Dreams, the Prince of Stories --indisputably the stuff of legend.

Between 1988 and 1996, in seventy-five monthly issues, Gaiman crafted an intricate, funny, and profound tale about tales, a story about why there are stories. Dream -- or Morpheus, or the Shaper -- gaunt, pale, and clad in black, is the central figure. He is not a god; he is older than all gods, and is their cause. He is the human capacity to imagine meaning, to tell stories: an anthropomorphic projection of our thirst for mythology. And as such, he is both greater and less than the humans whose dreams he shapes, but whose thirst, after all, shapes him. As Titania would say, he does not exist; and thus he is all that matters. Do you understand?

Grand enough, you would think, to conceive a narrative whose central character is narrative. Among the few other writers who have dared that much is Joyce, whose Finnegans Wake is essentially one immense dream encompassing all the myths of the race ("wake" --"dream": get it?). And, though Gaiman would probably be too modest to invite the comparison, I am convinced that Joyce was much on his mind during the whole process of composition. The first words of the first issue of The Sandman are "Wake up"; the last words of the last major story arc of The Sandman are "Wake up" -- the title of the last story arc being, naturally, "The Wake."

(All of Gaiman's story titles, by the way, are versions of classic stories, from Aeschylus to Ibsen andbeyond. A Brit, raised on British crosswords, he can't resist playing hide-and-seek with the reader -- rather like Joyce.) Grand enough, that. But having invented Dream, the personified human urge to make meaning, he went on to invent Dream's family, and that invention is absolutely original and, to paraphrase what Prince Hal says of Falstaff, witty in itself and the cause of wit in other men.

The family is called the Endless, seven siblings, in order of age -- "birth," we'll see, is not an appropriate term --Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium (whose name used to be Delight). They are the Endless because they are states of human consciousness itself, and cannot cease to exist until thought itself ceases to exist; they were not "born" because, like consciousness, nothing can be imagined before them: the Upanishads, earliest and most subtle of theologies, have a deal to say on this matter.

To be conscious at all is to be conscious of time, and of time's arrow: of destiny. And to know that is toknow that time must have a stop: to imagine death. Faced with the certainty of death, we dream, imagine paradises where it might not be so: "Death is the mother of beauty," wrote Wallace Stevens. And all dreams, all myths, all the structures we throw up between ourselves and chaos, just because they are built things, must inevitably be destroyed.

And we turn, desperate in our loss, to the perishable but delicious joy of the moment: we desire. All desire is, of course, the hope for a fulfillment impossible in the very nature of things, a boundless delight; so to desire is always already to despair, to realize that the wished-for delight is only, after all, the delirium of our mortal self-delusion that the world is large enough to fit the mind. And so we return to new stories -- to dreams. The Sandman: Book of Dreams. Copyright © by Neil Gaiman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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