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The Sandman Vol 8: World’s End

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Sandman Vol 8: World’s End (1994) Neil Gaiman

This is my second favorite book in the Sandman series. Like my favorite, Fables and Reflections, it’s a collection of short stories. A disparate group of people are caught in storms and end up at World’s End: A Free House. As they all wait for the storm to abate, the sit, and eat and drink, and tell stories, and World’s End tells some of these stories.

The first time I read this, I was in denial about the last story, and what it meant. In retrospect, I can see that perhaps Neil Gaiman was trying to prepare us for the events collected in The Kindly Ones, and had been doing so throughout the series. Didn’t work for me, though. I can be pretty stubborn and oblivious when I want to be.

Although I like all of the tales in World’s End, I think that “Cerements” is my favorite. I’d never considered a Necropolis as a place where the inhabitants prepared the dead, and the idea fascinates me.

I also particularly liked “Hob’s Leviathan.” I like the character of Hob, and enjoy it when he appears from time to time. He isn’t the main character in the story, but we get to see how he had managed to live for so many years, while retaining a place in respectable society. One knows that making a new life can be done–you hear stories all the time–but how much easier must it have been before the modern era. How much harder will it be with the development of biometric identification?

The story “A Tale of Two Cities” is a strange and fascinating one. I’ve never lived in a big city–only visited some for short times–so the idea of a city as a living entity is a strange one to me, although not an unreasonable one. The artwork in the story is also very different. It’s stark, and the layout is quite different–even I noticed the changes.

Interestingly, again, Dream is only a minor character in these story, which I found frustrating the first time I read this story, as I wanted more about Dream, however the second time around I didn’t mind at all. Knowing that Dream is only a minor character, I was able to enjoy the stories as they are, and they really are wonderful stories.

Although World’s End is not necessarily integral to the overall Sandman story arc, it is still one of my favorites. But then I love short stories, so that may have a great deal to do with why I like this book so well.
Rating: 9/10

Categories: 9/10, Graphic Novels     Comments (0)    

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