Airiz C's Reviews > The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections

The Sandman, Vol. 6 by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Jul 20, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: gaimanic-disorder, fantasy, graphic-novel, mythology, paranormal, science-fiction, surreal, the-sandman-catalog
Read in July, 2011

Fables and Reflections, like Dream Country, is comprised of stand-alone tales that explore the Sandman universe without directly zeroing in on the Endless themselves. There’s a lot to like here, but there are a few issues that I found a tad unsatisfying because some tales feel like they could use a sequel or something. Anyway, I guess that’s already given when it comes to compendiums—stories in them would never be of the same caliber.

I found the Vertigo preview about Todd Faber interesting. It’s about facing your fears, and in this particular issue, it’s about the fear of failure. It’s very inspiring in a metaphorical way, and it’s not just for playwright or writers—it’s for everyone. It’s quite short compared to the other issues, but it’s crammed with meaning and purpose.

In the issue called “Three Septembers and a January”, we see the twins Despair and Desire playing a dangerous game against Morpheus, who takes the challenge of using ‘dreams to save someone from despair’. The mortal Joshua Norton is their subject, and Dream gives him madness for him to be redeemed. I think it’s a pretty nice story (with a bonus Death at the end!). We get to see more interactions between the main protagonist and the other Endless, and it gained a thumb up for me since in the previous issues the only things we know about Morpheus’ siblings were the info given away in Season of Mists. I didn't peg Despair to be type to play games. Go figure. This story sort of reminded me of Rose Walker's accusation about the Endless in the Doll's House--who are actually playing who? Judging about the twins' game and Morpheus' agreement to take part in it, well, I think I've made my own conclusion.

“Thermidor” is quite cool, with the historical background and all. Here the readers get reacquainted with Lady Johanna Constantine (John Constantine’s ancestor), and we meet Morpheus and Calliope’s son, Orpheus. “The Hunt” was all right and it can strike a chord with lots of teenagers that deal with their elders; other than that, it’s a typical story of expectations and reality not converging on the same plane, peppered with a bit of fantasy. Weirdly, I’m satisfied with “Soft Places,” or more precisely just with the alternative-historical idea of the whole tale, since the story itself is not that weighty. I liked the story “August”. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I know so little about Roman emperors. It sort of reminds me of the story of Siddharta Gautama, especially that his fate and the main protagonist’s have something to do with a dream. My favorite story would be “Sandman Special: Orpheus”, a retelling of the mythological tale of Orpheus and Eurydice—how he lost her, and how he lost his head. It’s tremendously fascinating and it’s also nice to see the seven Endless complete, this time with Destruction. The most gorgeous issue would be “Ramadan”, judging from the tasteful penciling of the illustrations as well as the letterings (all in Arabic style). It tells the story of yet another mortal’s bargain with the Dream Lord.

All in all this volume is a mixed bag,but I quite liked it for the most part.
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