Friday, August 04, 2006

If the Stories Are Endless, Why Is the Book So Small?

I got my shipment from Amazon today, and the first book I read was Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Endless Nights. Since it's a graphic novel--and not a very long one at that--it only took a couple of hours. As with all of Gaiman's Sandman stuff, I liked it.

If you've never read the Sandman comics, you should probably read this paragraph. If you are familiar with them, then skip it. There are seven anthropomorphic beings, called the Endless, who represent the intrinsic forces of the universe. They are Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium (formerly Delight). The main character of the Sandman series is, as you can probably guess, Dream. This book is slightly different.

Instead of focusing on Dream, Endless Nights tells seven stories, one for each of the Endless. Some of them were great and one or two I just didn't like.

"Death and Venice" is one of the ones I liked. It's a tale about how Death finally gains access to an island where time (and death) have been held off for centuries. "What I've Tasted of Desire" is a pretty good story too. It's about a woman who gets what she desires and then uses her desirability to revenge herself on her husband's killers. "The Heart of a Star" is Dream's story. It's all about how his first love chooses to love a star instead of him, and it shows how his feud with Desire begins. It's one of my favorites in the collection. "Fifteen Portraits of Despair" on the other hand, was one of the ones I really didn't like. It's basically fifteen vignettes about people who despaired and a bunch of pictures of despair. I suppose it was intended to be artsy or something, but it was just boring. "Going Inside" was a different type of story too, but this time in a good way. It's about five lunatics who are sent into Delirium's realm to rescue her. What I like about it is how each of the loonies fits the events into their own personal madness. The Destruction story, "On the Peninsula," is about an archaeological dig where they're digging up the future instead of the past. It wasn't one of my favorite stories, but I don't consider it one of the bad ones either. "Endless Nights," which is the Destiny story, I do consider to bad a bad one. It's not really a story, just a description of Destiny and his book. Still, the artwork for it is magnificent.

Sandman: Endless Nights is good, but not the best of the Sandman series. I can only give it 4 yo-yos. Up next, I've started P. G. Wodehouse's Love Among the Chickens, which as it's a Wodehouse, is already showing signs of being a great book. Unfortunately, I'm having some problems with this particular edition, which I'll mention when I review.

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