Sandman - The Rant

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Posted by Seb Tallents (26th Oct 2001, 12:14)

Originally published in Wyrmtongue October 2001.

Remember the best book you ever read. Not the greatest, the most worthy, or anything like that, but simply the best book you ever read. Perhaps the word I'm looking for here is not book but story.

O.k. remember the best story you ever read. It's the story that sears lines across your mind like a grill sears lines across a bit of meat, the one you can't get out of your head for hours, maybe days, after reading it. It lingers in the back of your mind, so that whenever you are not actively engaged in some activity your thoughts wander back to some aspect of the story, providing an excuse to go and pick it up again just to check something hasn't been missed. But what you want, what you really want most, is for the story to be erased from your head so that you can experience it for the first time all over again.

You're probably wondering what I'm ranting on about, what I'm trying to convey is a feeling I find increasingly rare, the joy of reading something truly moving, new and inspirational.

The story that prompted this is one that some of you may have heard of, it's called The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. And it's a comic. STOP! Do not dismiss this out of hand because it is a comic, it is one of the cleverest, deep and moving stories that I have read. I don't know precisely what prompted me to pick the first Sandman book out of Richmond Library, comics (graphic novels to the pretentious) are something I don't "do", but I think it is perhaps the most rewarding thing I did this holiday.

I do not know how to describe the Sandman's characters and plot, I don't even think I should because there is no simple way to describe any of the plot or characters without making it sound tacky as it is far greater than the sum of it's parts and so can not be easily simplified.

It is better to read it for yourself knowing nothing about it. Broadly I can say this, it is not about super-heroes, it has an arc spanning ten books with a theme of change interwoven into smaller "episodes". The first book, Preludes and Nocturnes, has a horror theme with a few awkward moments while Gaiman moves out of the fringe of the DC comics universe and fabricates his own. You will be hooked by the end of the first book, which should take about a lunch hour to read. You can find it in the ICSF library. Go. Now.

About item:

- The Sandman 1: Preludes & Nocturnes

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About author:

- Gaiman, Neil

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