Tag Archives: destiny

“The Sandman: Endless Nights” by Neil Gaiman

This book is comprised of seven vignettes, each featuring one of the Endless, Gaiman’s archetypal beings that are beyond even mere gods. As such, you should only approach this book if you have a good understanding of the Sandman mythology.

There is a great scene in this book where Gaiman elaborates on the essence of the Endless, and how they differ from gods and goddesses.

Killalla: Look, you seem nice enough. Will you answer some questions for me? Just give me some straight answers?

Sto-oa: Certainly.

Killalla: Why was everyone afraid of his older sister? The pretty one? They wouldn’t talk to her or anything.

Sto-oa: Because in the end, each sun, each world, every galaxy, will collapse and end, either into flame, or into darkness. And when that happens, she will be there, for each of us. Now do you understand?

Killalla: Not really.

Sto-oa: She is Death.

Killalla: Oh. You mean . . . she’s the Goddess of Death, or the incarnation, or . . .

Sto-oa: No. She is Death. Just as that one is Desire. Or your lover is Dream.

Killalla: Of course he is Dream. I met him in the Kingdom of Dreams, and he followed me back. He’s the king there . . .

Sto-oa: No, Killalla. He is not the king. He is Dream. Just as I am Sto-oa.

(p. 73)

So what is important and revealing in this passage is the differentiation between the gods and the Endless. Gods and goddesses have to be gods of something. But not the Endless. The Endless represent the seven aspects of existence, which every sentient being must face at some point in his or her existence. Our dreams, desires, despair, delight/delusion, destruction, destiny, and death are not dependent upon any supernal entity. They exist in spite of divine beings. In fact, even divine beings must face each of the seven.

Now his path takes him into his dwelling, a place of corridors and halls.

The paintings in Destiny’s hall show his brothers and sisters as they might wish to be seen (although the wish and the thing are so close in the realm of the Endless that you cannot get a thin-bladed knife between them).

You will spend time in the realm of each of his siblings – you will dream, despair, desire, destroy, delight and otherwise, and, eventually, die – but you were his from the very first page, and only he will read how your story comes out, a long time from now.

(p. 147)

I feel like I have personally visited with all the Endless. I know, I am still alive, but I came close to death a couple times and feel like I have met the sister that most fear. I’m not quite sure what Destiny still has in his book regarding my story, but obviously, it is not finished yet, since I am still here.

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“The Sandman: Overture – 5” by Neil Gaiman

SandmanOverture_05

It’s been six months since the last installment in this graphic novel arc. But, as is always the case with Sandman, it was well worth the wait. In this issue, Dream is trapped in a black hole and reunited with his mother, Night. Dream declines his mother’s offer to take a place in her realm and is returned to the black hole. He is then summoned by Destiny, his brother, to explain the existence of a mysterious ship that is not a part of the Book of Destiny. It is revealed that the ship is a haven for saved souls.

This is a graphic novel par excellence. Gaiman is a master wordsmith and his words, accompanied by the stunning artwork of JH Williams III, weave a tale that is inspiring, thought-provoking, surreal, and mystical. After finishing this issue, I feel like I was transported into another universe and have just returned with knowledge that is beyond my ability to express to another soul.

The only justice I can do as a review of this masterpiece is to just provide a snippet of text as an example of Gaiman’s incredible skill as a writer.

Destiny sees things as they are, not as we would wish them to be.

He knows there are no stories, only the illusion of stories: threads and patterns that seem to appear in the pages of existence, given meaning and significance by the observer.

Destiny observes worlds and molecules like motes of dust hanging in a sunbeam: every movement, every moment inevitable.

Destiny walks the paths of his garden, a place of forks and of paths which combine and part, seeing only what is.

He is surprised by nothing. There is nothing that can surprise him, nothing that was not already written in his book.

I am in awe of the concept of stories as a series of threads and patterns given form only through interpretation of the reader or listener. The telling a story has no meaning, unless there is someone there to hear the story. It’s almost like the Zen parable of the tree falling in the forest. It is also connected to quantum physics, in my opinion. We know that certain quantum particles only come into existence if there is a conscious being there to perceive them. Likewise, stories are only brought to life if someone is there to hear them.

I think I need to stop writing. I feel myself slipping down the proverbial rabbit hole. I will conclude by saying, if the past is any indicator of the future, we can expect the conclusion of this series in December. I suspect that when the final issue in the arc is released, I will reread all the previous issues and then the final installment. Look for my next Sandman post in about six months.

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“The Sandman: Overture – 1” by Neil Gaiman

SandmanOverture_01

The other day I visited the local comic store and discovered the first three issues of Neil Gaiman’s latest Sandman series. I nearly swooned with excitement. I have to say that Gaiman is one of my favorite writers. I have loved everything that I have read by him. I immediately picked up the three issues and my friend at the checkout informed me that it is a short series with only three more issues due out. I plan on reading them all.

The writing and artwork in this first issue is other-worldly. It is like stepping into the surreal realm of dreams, where everything is alien and yet feels familiar, as if tapping into some primordial part of the psyche. As I read the pages and allowed the images to draw me in, I felt like I was slipping into a world of non-ordinary reality.

To briefly sum up the events that transpire, Dream is about to uncreate Corinthian, a bizarre being with sets of teeth instead of eyes who inhabits the subconscious but appears to have taken an interest in inflicting physical harm. I found the character to be very symbolic of using vision to consume images, ultimately digesting what we see around us and what we envision in our subconscious minds. But before Dream can uncreate Corinthian, he is summoned to another dimension at the far side of the universe, where he encounters a most unusual host. Corinthian, meanwhile, escapes with the intention of inflicting harm and then running from Dream to avoid his uncreation.

There is an amazing section where Destiny is depicted holding a large book that contains the secrets to all existence: past, present, and future. The text that accompanies the lush illustration is as evocative as the image itself.

Imagine a book.

Imagine a book that contains everything that is happening, everything that has happened, everything that will happen. There is nothing that exists that is not written in this book.

The book is heavy. It is bound in leather, made from the hide of a beast that has never existed.

The only eyes that read the book are blind. They see only darkness and the contents of the book.

The book is the universe, and only blind Destiny sees how the universe shapes itself into stories. Perhaps he is the only one who reads all the stories the universe forms.

I love the idea of stories shaping our reality. Stories connect us to the past, define our present, and allow us to glimpse our possible futures. The story is eternal and it is the foundation of our existence.

I am really, really excited about this series. As I said earlier, I already have issues 2 and 3, so you can expect my thoughts on those soon. Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share my thoughts. Read on!!

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