Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
This anthology features stories about The Sandman, DC Comics' best-selling adult graphic novel by Neil Gaiman. Clive Barker wrote the frontispiece (not seen), and singer Tori Amos contributed the afterword. The 18 mainstream writers expand and elaborate the Sandman mythos. Readers don't need a familiarity with the Sandman comic to appreciate these stories. Recommended for short story collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Though he won the World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction in 1991, Gaiman is best known as the writer who transformed the WWII-era DC Comics character the Sandman from a Batman-style detective/vigilante into the much darker Morpheus, aka Dream, the being who presides over the realm of Dreaming. One of seven siblings who represent various states of consciousnessDestiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, Dream and DeliriumMorpheus is head of the allegorical family called the Endless. Here, popular fantasy writers expand upon Gaiman's original concepts, with mixed results. Colin Greenland's bittersweet "Masquerade and High Water" and Barbara Hambly's "Each Damp Thing" provide insights into the backstage workings of the Endless. Tad Williams's "The Writer's Child" is a finely crafted story about loyalty and the value of innocence. Weak spots include George Alec Effinger's resurrection of a saccharine Little Nemo for "Seven Nights in Slumberland," Lisa Goldstein's bland "Stronger Than Desire" and B.W. Clough's vignette "The Birth Day." Susanna Clarke's "Stopp't-Clock Yard" and a lyrical meditation on Death by songwriter Tori Amos close the anthology on a strong note; a b&w drawing by Clive Barker opens it on a garish one. Though perhaps most interesting as an example of media-crossover, this collection presents some powerful writing about, and memorable images of, the other reality wherein we while away a third of our lives. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Book Review
Top-flight fantasy collection based on Gaiman's character The Sandman, developed in a series of graphic novels for DC Comics, as reimagined by a strong group of fantasists. Long-lived comics readers will remember fondly the original ``Sandman'' from the 1930s and '40s, with his fedora, googly-eyed gas mask and gas gun; Frank McConnell discusses this precursor in his preface while hauling in Joyce, Nietzsche, Ibsen, Jung, and Wallace Stevens to dress up Gaiman's story-parentage. Inventing his own lore for the character, Gaiman (1990's hilariously naughty Good Omens, with Terry Pratchett) wrote 75 installments of The Sandman before closing shop. Awash with watercolors and supersaturated with acid, The Sandman stories are stories about storytelling, celebrations of the outré imagination. The central character of Gaiman's work evolved into a figure variously known as Dream, or Morpheus, or the Shaper, or the Lord of Dreams and Prince of Stories, and his surreal family is called the Endless, composed of seven siblings named Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Drawing on Gaiman's inkwell are Clive Barker (frontispiece but no story), Gene Wolfe and Nancy A. Collins, and a number of lesser lights, all in top form. George Alec Effinger invents a long tale inspired by Winsor McCay's classic comic strip ``Little Nemo'' (``Seven Nights in Slumberland''), while Colin Greenland (``Masquerade and High Water''), Mark Kreighbaum (``The Gate of Gold''), Susanna Clarke (``Stopt-Clock Yard''), and Karen Haber (in the outstanding ``A Bone Dry Place,'' about a suicide crisis center) mainline directly from the ranks of the Endless. Rosettes to all, but especially to John M. Ford's ``Chain Home, Low,'' which ties an onslaught of sleeping sickness to the fate of WW II fighter pilots, and to Will Shetterly's ``Splatter,'' about a fan-convention of serial killers who lead their favorite novelist (famous for his depictions of psychopathic murderers) into the real world of serial-killing. Fancy unleashed on rags of moonlight.