Neil Gaiman (OT) (was Margaret Mahy)
ncase at hedbergmaps.com
Tue May 15 10:28:06 EDT 2001
>Which is why you need to know that the correct reading order is as
>Preludes and Nocturnes
>The Doll's House
>Season of Mists
>A Game of You
>Fables and Reflections
>The Kindly Ones
>(There is also an anniversary special wossname called _The Dream
>Hunters_, but I don't know where that goes relative to the others.)
>And the Death books, which IIRC come after the Sandman books, are
>The High Cost of Living
>The Time of Your Life
>in that order.
Both DREAM HUNTERS and the two Death mini-series strike me as
separate stories entirely from the main SANDMAN series: some of the
same characters, but none of the overarching plot lines relate.
A picky note/question: While reading the collections in the order
Paul notes is a good way to get the overall feel of the series,
SANDMAN has not as solid a narrative line as that may imply. When
Sandman was being issued monthly, the order was slightly different. A
couple collections are collections of stories that were not
necessarily presented one after the other in the monthly series
(DREAM COUNTRY and FABLES AND REFLECTIONS). Also inserted in
generally but not exactly the same order as published are an "annual"
(which tells the story of Orpheus from within the Sandman world, and
is a crucial piece of the overall puzzle) and a piece from the
introductory "We are Vertigo" freebie. There may be another "one-off"
in there, but I can't remember.
Reading SANDMAN straight through (I did it earlier this spring) is a
pretty overwhelming experience, but it also in a way made for a less
satisfying time than reading it over the course of more than six
years. You can really see how long it took Gaiman to get to the meat
of the story; I think in some ways the story doesn't really get
soaring until BRIEF LIVES, though there are a lot of wonderful,
brilliant pieces within the first 2/3.
I think this may be a basic trait of Gaiman's work: he has brilliant
flashes all the time, but he's not a great spinner. His best work is
in picking up threads and weaving them together. I'm noting his
earlier comics work, taking existing concepts and showing us some
sort of wonderful True Thing that had been lurking inside them all
In a way I have the opposite problem with Orson Scott Card, whose
early books in Alvin Maker have a breathtaking quality of new thread,
but who, when he really gets weaving, starts sounding more and more
like an inferior religious text: fewer and fewer things and people
are coming from somewhere, more and more are headed in some
predestined, morally self-important direction.
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