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The Sandman: Fables & Reflections Vol 6

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This book follows the Lord of Dreams through nine remarkable tales as he touches lives from the mists of the past to the nightmares of the present. In these episodes, kings and spies, emperors and actors, ravens and werewolves all share their stories and their dreams - dreams of life and love and of power and darkness.


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This book follows the Lord of Dreams through nine remarkable tales as he touches lives from the mists of the past to the nightmares of the present. In these episodes, kings and spies, emperors and actors, ravens and werewolves all share their stories and their dreams - dreams of life and love and of power and darkness.

30 review for The Sandman: Fables & Reflections Vol 6

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    "Death was a little older than Dream. Things had the potential to die before they had the potential to dream." The brilliance of this series resides in the fact that it can go anywhere and be almost anything. We all have dreams, and across the ages there has been a huge variety of hopes and wishes and visions of a better world. And to capture the vastness of dreaming this volume takes on the form of a collection of short stories, each with a different dream and a different idea. Naturally, m "Death was a little older than Dream. Things had the potential to die before they had the potential to dream." The brilliance of this series resides in the fact that it can go anywhere and be almost anything. We all have dreams, and across the ages there has been a huge variety of hopes and wishes and visions of a better world. And to capture the vastness of dreaming this volume takes on the form of a collection of short stories, each with a different dream and a different idea. Naturally, my favourite was the one that involved Dream’s older sister, Death. There's just something fascinating about the way Gaiman has envisioned her. She is so happy and welcoming which bespeaks the idea that all must meet her in the end. Even dreams die. "Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." The collection sits somewhat aside from the main Sandman story arc (if you can call it an arc) and it includes a real eclectic bunch of stories and characters. I just love seeing how the Endless interact with the world and the people in it because despite their immortality and their ever-influencing presence on man, they are still surprised by his actions. They don’t ever seem to fully understand that their existence depends on each other. Dream understands and I think Death does too, but the others are yet to get there. So this was another strong volume in the series, I’m really looking forward to finally finishing it this year – on to volume 7! FBR | Twitter | Facebook | Insta | Academia

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    The sixth collection—as its title suggests—is a somewhat random grab-bag of tales, only tenuously connected with the Sandman story. Still, there are a couple of themes present here: 1) the fate of empires and emperors, and 2) the ways in which narrative—in dream and song—can sustain hope and foster illusion. Four of the stories feature historical rulers—Emperor Caesar Augustus, revolutionary leaders Robespierre and St. Just, Caliph Harun al-Rashid, and San Francisco native Joshua Norton (self-pro The sixth collection—as its title suggests—is a somewhat random grab-bag of tales, only tenuously connected with the Sandman story. Still, there are a couple of themes present here: 1) the fate of empires and emperors, and 2) the ways in which narrative—in dream and song—can sustain hope and foster illusion. Four of the stories feature historical rulers—Emperor Caesar Augustus, revolutionary leaders Robespierre and St. Just, Caliph Harun al-Rashid, and San Francisco native Joshua Norton (self-proclaimed Emperor of America)—all of whom led lives profoundly affected by dreams. The best of these four—in fact, the best of the entire collection—is the story of the Caliph of Baghdad and the bargain he makes with the Lord of Dreams. Gaiman wrote it during Operation Desert Storm, and, although the tale is not only filled with magic but also inked in a marvel of colors suited to the city of the Arabian Nights, it is touched with melancholy and loss rooted in the devastation of war in Iraq. The second most powerful story in Fables and Reflections is the life of the poet and musician Orpheus. In Gaiman’s mythology, Orpheus is the son, not of Apollo, but of Morpheus, and Dream’s entire family, who attends Orpheus’ wedding, are caught up in the tragic events surrounding the death of his wife Eurydice. Gaiman’s economic method of connecting Orpheus to the Sandman story is ingenious, but the real attraction here is the straightforward telling of the legend of Orpheus itself and the memorable illustrations of the wedding, the palace of Dream, the cottage of Death, the wraiths of Hades, and the rage of the frightful Maenads. The other stories here are all enjoyable too (I particularly liked the lycanthrope grandpa telling his “old country” story to an inattentive granddaughter), and each acknowledges—sometimes grimly, sometimes sweetly—the power of narrative both to distort and to transform the world.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    A priceless journey through history and folklore! Creative Team: Writer: Neil Gaiman Illustrators: Shawn McManus, P. Graig Russell, Bryan Talbot, Kent Williams, John Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson & Stan Woch Covers: Dave McKean Letterer: Todd Klein EMPERORS, CITIES, MONTHS, TEARS & SONGS In this sixth volume, Fables & Reflections, you will find an illustrated short story right in the beginning of it, even before the introduction, written by Gene Wolfe (which by the way, no offense, bu A priceless journey through history and folklore! Creative Team: Writer: Neil Gaiman Illustrators: Shawn McManus, P. Graig Russell, Bryan Talbot, Kent Williams, John Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson & Stan Woch Covers: Dave McKean Letterer: Todd Klein EMPERORS, CITIES, MONTHS, TEARS & SONGS In this sixth volume, Fables & Reflections, you will find an illustrated short story right in the beginning of it, even before the introduction, written by Gene Wolfe (which by the way, no offense, but it’s quite spoiling, so in this ocassion, I recommend that if you still want to read the introduction, it’s better to do it after reading the TPB, to enjoy more the surprises contained here. Hey, I don’t want to bore you. Are you interested in dreams? You might say that. There is nothing wrong is reading fiction, but having in mind that real life can be as fascinating, fantastic and almost impossible to believe than fiction. Sometime we read fiction because we think that life is too ordinary, too real, but if you wander through history you will find so many chapters defying logic and common sense, and yet, they’re real. Reality isn’t a bad thing, sometimes people find fiction like that land where any dream can come true, but reality has the same chance, if you embrace it as well. What’s real? What’s fiction? If something is real, does it really need fact to support it? It’s real, after all, therefore it is, not matter if you believe it or not. So, if you really believe in something that born in fiction, and may other do too, then isn’t that fiction become something real in this world? You shouldn’t trust the storyteller; only trust the story. That’s the power of believe. And if you believe that a man can fly, there is no limits, boundaries, even thermidors, to stop anything to become real. If it’s real in your heart, how can be less real in your mind? Does the mind any right to say what’s real in the heart? If only you believe in something, is it less real? Galileo Galilei was the only one who believes the “insane” concept of that Earth was orbiting around the Sun and not the contrary. Who was right at the end? His madness keeps him sane. And do you think he is the only one, my sister? Neil Gaiman shows us in this sixth volume, Fables & Reflections, how wonderful is real life, of course, why not adding some dreams into the formula, but at the end, at the bottom of the stories, they are based on real events, not matter if you can’t believe them. An emperor in the United States. Headless marionettes made of real bodies. Calendars rebooted and months renamed. Cities impossible to forget. Are you always so pale? That depends on who’s watching. When a story tell you right away what to think of it, when it tells you in plain sight what’s the message of it, well, it’s not like it makes it wrong, but certainly keeps away the reader a bit from the story itself. Neil Gaiman is such master storyteller that in many cases (and you will find formidable examples here) that he won’t tell you what to think of the story, he won’t explained you the message of the story, he won’t print the morality about it. You will have to do it, and therefore, the story becomes a gift to you, the story will become of your own, since it will have your own interpretation, different from the one thought by anybody else, so those stories will become part of you, will have a piece of you. Death was a little older than Dream. Things had the potential to die before they had the potential to dream. Leadership never is easy. People tend to think, to hope, that their leaders know what they are doing. But aren’t they as human as their followers? And you will amaze how many leaders now watched as insane dictators, they thought that they were doing the right thing. Hell is paved with good intentions is the common saying, and it is right, since while some of those dictators were plainly crazy, they didn’t reach the top alone, many crazier people should help them to get there. What’s wrong in a self-appointed mad leader who doesn’t do any harm to anybody compared with a mass-appointed mad leader who does fill the streets with blood? Leaders, as any other person, they are hard to judge, since you may know what they do in public, but hardly you will ever know what they did in private, how were their days before of becoming leaders, and what kind of things they endure. It’s not a matter of justifying, but at least to understand. If cities are full of people, how can’t they have a soul? The very name of certain city is able to feel with certain emotions the heart and mind of a person. Even those cities can be already far away from their golden ages, but the romance about them will be eternal. The emotion won’t die. You are a god. I am not a god. But I am here as a favor to a god. A... favor? All gods begin in my realm, Caius Octavius. They walk your world for a span, and when they are old they return to my world, to die. You never know what tomorrow has for you. Today you may be well, having the time of your life, and tomorrow can be just the opposite, that’s why seize the day is so important, and also how you treat other people. Parenthood is never easy. Children don’t come with an instructions’ book. And you never stop to be parent not matter how old are your kids, even if they got married and now they have kids on their own. Sometimes (if not always) they think that their parents never were as they, that their parents never had to endure what they are, so it’s important to let them know that parents know what they are dealing with, since parents very likely were in the same situation before. Love is a matter of trust. Love doesn’t need eyes. Therefore, if you really love someone, you don’t need to try to look back. Love is there, right behind you. You have to trust, with close eyes on it, or... ...it isn’t really love. Maybe something else, but not love. Neil Gaiman takes us in a fantastic journey melding lore and folklore, from many cultures, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, American, European, and from many time periods, since the very beginning of history as well as visiting times of terror and times of wonder. Neil Gaiman can be calm since the rooks will fly away without making any harm, and after that... ...he will fly too.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Re-Read: 6/1/20 I still like all the things I've always liked about this volume, but with special emphasis on Fiddler's Green and Marco Polo. That one really got to me this time. And strangely, The House of Mystery bits. The brothers always did have a special place in my heart, but it was the Rook that really sparked me up. :) Original Review: I'm really in the swing of my Sandman re-read and loving every second of it, now. I love the retelling of Orpheus. Hell, that entire sequence sent chills down Re-Read: 6/1/20 I still like all the things I've always liked about this volume, but with special emphasis on Fiddler's Green and Marco Polo. That one really got to me this time. And strangely, The House of Mystery bits. The brothers always did have a special place in my heart, but it was the Rook that really sparked me up. :) Original Review: I'm really in the swing of my Sandman re-read and loving every second of it, now. I love the retelling of Orpheus. Hell, that entire sequence sent chills down my spine and kept making me think along with the original storyline, making fantastic connections. It's not for the faint of heart. My only complaint was the script. It wasn't the easiest to read. Still, what lies underneath is the most important. French-revolution and the Furies, indeed! I liked all the stories, really, and even while they don't come with the same kind of kicks I'm used to, quiet reflection isn't exactly a bad outcome. Watching Emperor Augustus play a beggar was priceless, as was the examination of what makes an everlasting empire. But the First and Last Emperor of America was brilliant. Nuff Said. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    My long overdue journey through Sandman continues (I’m not sure which streak lasted longer—my not reading Sandman or my virginity…well, no, that’s not true; we all know which streak lasted longer). Another excellent volume, though the one-off nature of each of the issues contained herein made the flow a bit more uneven than the past couple of volumes. Still, the series as a whole gets better with each volume, and my passion for it has grown considerably since the end of Vol. 2, at which point I My long overdue journey through Sandman continues (I’m not sure which streak lasted longer—my not reading Sandman or my virginity…well, no, that’s not true; we all know which streak lasted longer). Another excellent volume, though the one-off nature of each of the issues contained herein made the flow a bit more uneven than the past couple of volumes. Still, the series as a whole gets better with each volume, and my passion for it has grown considerably since the end of Vol. 2, at which point I wasn’t wildly enthused (not unlike my first lover, though, in her case, she felt that way halfway through Vol. 1). Onward to Vol. 7!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Collects all of the single issues and short stories that occurred between issues #29-50. There are some real gems here. A standout for me was The Song of Orpheus retelling the Greek myth of Orpheus while making Orpheus Dream's son. The other one is Ramadan. This remains the best artwork of P. Craig Russell's long career. While some of these are just great stand alone stories on their own, others do add to the overall Sandman mythology. Collects all of the single issues and short stories that occurred between issues #29-50. There are some real gems here. A standout for me was The Song of Orpheus retelling the Greek myth of Orpheus while making Orpheus Dream's son. The other one is Ramadan. This remains the best artwork of P. Craig Russell's long career. While some of these are just great stand alone stories on their own, others do add to the overall Sandman mythology.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    Absolutely LOVED The Song of Orpheus and Fear of Falling. A fun collection but I’m left wondering if the stories are meant to be connected or not? Who knows with Sandman 😂 Full review to come!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    Dreams are composed of many things, my son. Of images and hopes, of fears and memories. Memories of the past, and memories of the future... Volume six is a collection of shorter stories, one-shot issues that may or may not be related to the main story arc, but they offer the author the chance to explore different aspects of the way Dreams shape our world and define our personalities. I actually believe Gaiman is better in this form than in the longer sequences, as he has more creative liberty a Dreams are composed of many things, my son. Of images and hopes, of fears and memories. Memories of the past, and memories of the future... Volume six is a collection of shorter stories, one-shot issues that may or may not be related to the main story arc, but they offer the author the chance to explore different aspects of the way Dreams shape our world and define our personalities. I actually believe Gaiman is better in this form than in the longer sequences, as he has more creative liberty and can concenrate better on the core message he wants to tackle with each issue. Another positive outcome of these innovative experiments is the invitation extended to guest artists to come and try their hand at illustrating the universe Gaiman imagined. The resutling diversity in subjects and visuals is rekindling my interest in the overall series by avoiding routine and predictability. Without further ado, let's look at each issue, in the order from the original run: Thermidor - features Lady Johanna Constantine, who has graced the series with her presence previously, and who merits, as far as I am concerned, her own spin-off story arc. Set in the darkest hour of the French Revolution, the story is an adventure romp coupled with a look at how absolute power corrupts, and how the victors are attempting to erase the past and rewrite history in accordance with their own ideology. Despite praising liberty and fraternity, free thinkers and independent spirits are seen as dangerous enemies of the state. August - Emperor Augustus spends one day each year disguised as a beggar, in the company of a dwarf actor / jester. More than trying to understand the lives of his subjects, Augustus is attempting to exorcise demons of his youth (Dreams as nightmares) and also decide about the benefits of absolute imperial power : is it a force of progress or a path to corruption, decadence, dissolution? Three Septembers and a January - is the clear winner for me of this sixth volume, because it deals with a real character from late XIX century in San Francisco, not a prime mover of the wheels of History, but an oddball nobody whose only importance came from the yellow pages of scandal sheets looking for an unusual story. What's so special about Joshua Abraham Norton - the first, last and only Emperor of the USA? Gaiman answers the question by making him the subject of a wager with his fellow Endless, proving that our Dreams are stronger than Despair, Desire, Delirium and even Death. The Endless fight it out over the soul of Norton in a fashion that reminded me of the myth of Dr. Faustus, with each immortal trying to trick him, to steal his sanity, his amiable disposition. More than the battle between the Endless, the story of the Emperor of San Francisco is the story of his contemporaries, who instead of cruelly mocking him or locking him up in a mental asylum, played along with his delusions, offered him free meals and drinks, and proudly showed him off to visitors from out of town. Sometimes kindness is more important than sanity. For more about Joshua Norton, check out the great portrait of him in the fiction of Christopher Moore, which I read without knowing the character was based on a real person. Ramadan - Harun al-Rashid, another ruler who likes to wander in disguise among his subjects, reflects on the transience of beauty, and makes an appeal to Morpheus to preserve the most magnificent city in all history (Baghdad) by moving it into his realm of Dream, becoming the stuff of legends and myths, the only form of beauty that transcends Time. I liked in paerticular the colour palette and the Oriental scrollwork of this anniversary issue (no. 50) The Hunt - goes for inspiration to the Russian endless forests ( Trees there were, old as trees can be, huge and grasping with hearts black as sin. Strange trees that some said walked in the night ) and touches on the legends of Koschei the Deathless and Baba Yaga, as well as a variant of Sleeping Beauty. The sory has a personal appeal to me, as I grew up reading some of these Slavic fairytales, and recently the same subject came up in Deathless by Catherynne Valente. Gaiman explores here family relations, the call of the unknown (a princess in a tower, an adventure in far off lands, a magical artefact), the importance of traditions and of living among your own kin. Soft Places - has Marco Polo as a protagonist and is set in a desert, where it is very easy to cross the border between Reality and Dream. It ties up with previous stories featuring Fiddler's Green and the initial imprisonment of Morpheus at the start of the series. This is the one issue where the artwork was below the high quality I have come to expect from the series, and it had the curious effect of making me less interested in the actual story told. The Parliament of Rooks - follows the toddler Daniel Hall, who can cross into Morpheus Realm at will, as a consequence of being born there (his story is told in one of the previuos volumes) . Daniel gets to play with the tiny gargoyle while Eve, Cain, Abel and Matthew are telling him stories. Gaiman is at his best at these stories within stories, subtly altering the familiar ones and inventing weird new others, like the myth of the three wives of Adam. As a bonus, I loved seeing the denizens of Dream, and the endless portrayed as children. I understand Daniel will play an important role later in the series, so probably this issue is part of his build-up, training for what is to come. The Song of Orpheus - closes the collection in a symetrical fashion, seeing as Thermidor is concerned with the recovery of Orpheus head. Here we learn how the head became separated from the body of Dream's son. Gaiman mixes the Greek Gods with the Endless in the story about the power of art to defy Death, but also the ultimate defeat of the artist in trying to rise above his limitations. As with the previous volumes, I look forward to a re-read after I finish the series, eager to see how the isolated pieces of the puzzle will fit into the big picture Gaiman is telling here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rowena

    I read a lot of graphic novels (Asterix, Tintin etc) as a child but this was probably my first adult graphic novel.I was seriously impressed. Despite the fact that it was a comic book, and I generally expect to see simple writing in those, the calibre of the writing was very high and the stories were quite intellectual and thought-provoking. The graphics were great too. And, as a history lover, seeing all the famous historical characters in this book was really quite cool. Just one teensy little I read a lot of graphic novels (Asterix, Tintin etc) as a child but this was probably my first adult graphic novel.I was seriously impressed. Despite the fact that it was a comic book, and I generally expect to see simple writing in those, the calibre of the writing was very high and the stories were quite intellectual and thought-provoking. The graphics were great too. And, as a history lover, seeing all the famous historical characters in this book was really quite cool. Just one teensy little gripe: in one of the earlier stories, the cursive writing was extremely hard to read (and I have excellent eyesight). I am definitely going to read the other books in the series. Speaking of which, I started the series on Volume 6 because I received this volume for my birthday (thank you Shirley <3) but I don't think that hurt my enjoyment of the book in any way.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    This 6th volume is, as the title suggests, a collection of fables and reflections. People remembering and reflecting upon certain events in their past; fables from all around the world that have to do with morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. The individual tales are about: 1. the French Revolution => Orpheus’ (Morpheus’ sons’) head returned to Greece by one of Constantine’s ancestors 2. Augustus Octavius Caesar and his dreams/nightmares about the future of Rome that tie into the deeds of his long-dead u This 6th volume is, as the title suggests, a collection of fables and reflections. People remembering and reflecting upon certain events in their past; fables from all around the world that have to do with morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. The individual tales are about: 1. the French Revolution => Orpheus’ (Morpheus’ sons’) head returned to Greece by one of Constantine’s ancestors 2. Augustus Octavius Caesar and his dreams/nightmares about the future of Rome that tie into the deeds of his long-dead uncle 3. the first and last emperor of the US 4. the „old people“ in the „old country“ and of dreams better left unfulfilled 5. Marco Polo and Rustichello in a soft place where dreams and reality whirl around and time runs differently - I loved the notions of such places being gone because explorers bound them on maps 6. three stories told to Daniel (a special child that had contact with the world of dreams in a previous volume) in the House of Secrets: one about Adam and his wives (yes, plural), one about the parliament of rooks and one about Cain and Abel themselves. 7. Baghdad back when it was the jewel of Arabia; it is Ramadan and we are taken to the palace of pleasure and wisdom where a very troubled ruler lives and makes an interesting bargain (Jafar was is vizier *lol*) What they all had in common was that they are fables and tales of magic and wonder and the source of both: dreams. There was a definite parallel between the second and second-to-last story, which was kinda weird and also kinda cool. The best one, though (at least to me), as the 7th story about Baghdad. That one sent shivers down my spine. One of the tales had one of my all-time favorite rhymes in it: One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told. That, like many other mythological easter eggs and nods, was a delightful extra. It’s Gaiman’s ability to not only tell a great story but to pepper it with cultural context and oh so many details that make him a truly fantastic writer. The art, it has to be said in every review, is still nothing too nice though I seem to find an improvement at least in some issues. Or maybe I’m just getting used to it. This has easily been my favorite volume of the series thus far. The single issues / tales do not all take place after the 5th volume but since they are all self-contained and only have a few hints at previous events here or there, it really doesn’t matter. I love fairy tales and this volume definitely has the fairytale vibe to it. That plus all the magical elements strewn in to make the world(s) even more colorful and fascinating had me marveling at every page.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    So, thought when I initially read this years ago that this was a very good volume in one of the best comics series of all time, and now, reading it more slowly, I think it is even better than I initially thought. Modestly titled Fables & Reflections, it appears on the surface to be a possibly random compilation of a range of stories across time. A volume between arcs. But now that I have read it again and in the context of hundreds and hundreds of comics since first reading it I see that it is a So, thought when I initially read this years ago that this was a very good volume in one of the best comics series of all time, and now, reading it more slowly, I think it is even better than I initially thought. Modestly titled Fables & Reflections, it appears on the surface to be a possibly random compilation of a range of stories across time. A volume between arcs. But now that I have read it again and in the context of hundreds and hundreds of comics since first reading it I see that it is a very ambitious phase in this series about the process of exploring the importance of imagination and dreaming in the history of the world. The range of tales ion this volume alone is impressive, encompassing a range of styles and tones, revealing the scope of Gaiman’s reach of interest in stories from the Bible to Greek mythology, to stories at Grandpa's knee, across history. The volume includes stories taking place in the French Revolution (Robespierre and St. Just); during the time of Augustus Caesar in Rome; Marco Polo and Fiddler’s Green; Adam and his three wives (and Cain and Abel) and a Parliament of Rooks, a story of the San Franciscan Joshua Norton (self-proclaimed Emperor of America)—and the last and best of which is one set in Baghdad, during Ramadan (Caliph Harun al-Rashid). I also love the retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, always powerful and affecting. So it’s about rulers and empires, shaped by dreams, and by hope. But there’s also a wry and intimate story of a grandpa telling a story to his disinterested granddaughter, I liked that one, too. This volume is crazy ambitious and accomplished, more about history and fantasy than it is about horror, as some others are.and as the title suggests, more reflective. Amazing, really.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This is my least favorite volume so far, most stories bored me and I couldn’t care about the characters and the conclusion of the story especially since they aren’t connected. Issues 29-31: 2 stars The Hunt (#38): 4 stars Soft Places (#39): 2 stars The Parliement of Rooks(#40): 3 stars Ramadan (#50): 3 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    Due to my decision to read The Sandman in original publication order, rather than the ‘shuffled’ order it’s presented in in these collections, I finished volume seven before volume six. I hope that hasn’t confused anybody (he says as though anybody is paying that much, or indeed any, attention to these ‘reviews’). This volume collects a group of done-in-one issues, plus a very short story from an anthology book. They are all excellent stories. Neil Gaiman proves over and over that it is still pos Due to my decision to read The Sandman in original publication order, rather than the ‘shuffled’ order it’s presented in in these collections, I finished volume seven before volume six. I hope that hasn’t confused anybody (he says as though anybody is paying that much, or indeed any, attention to these ‘reviews’). This volume collects a group of done-in-one issues, plus a very short story from an anthology book. They are all excellent stories. Neil Gaiman proves over and over that it is still possible to tell a complete story in one issue; something I wish today’s comicbook writers with their sprawling, decompressed writing styles would remember. In fact, my favourite story in this collection is Fear of Falling (the aforementioned tale from the anthology book), which is just eight pages long. The artwork is mostly really good as well, particularly P. Craig Russell’s work on Ramadan from issue fifty. Absolutely beautiful work. Right, now on to volume eight... (See what I mean about confusing people?)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    ***I read some of these stories in a different order to how they are arranged here, so this review is just the thoughts I put a previous review, that I've taken out and put under the book that they actually fit with!*** My omnibus also had the three issues between volumes 4 and 5, which I'll just mention quickly here because I'm not sure where else to put it. I loved these. I really enjoy the short story style issues, especially between the more grand stories told in each of the main books. They ***I read some of these stories in a different order to how they are arranged here, so this review is just the thoughts I put a previous review, that I've taken out and put under the book that they actually fit with!*** My omnibus also had the three issues between volumes 4 and 5, which I'll just mention quickly here because I'm not sure where else to put it. I loved these. I really enjoy the short story style issues, especially between the more grand stories told in each of the main books. They were: Distant Mirrors: Thermidor Distant Mirrors: August Distant Mirrors: Three Septembers and a January My favourite was the last one, I think it's one of my favourite issues so far. As ever, Death is joy, Desire and Despair continue to repel and intrigue me in equal measure and Delirium proves a welcome presence. After Death, she is the character I want to learn the most about. I find myself just wanting to give her a hug, and I'm not really the kind of person who typically feels like hugging people. Sandman Special #1: The Song of Orpheus "Dreams are composed of many things, my son. Of images and hopes, of fears and memories. Memories of the past, and memories of the future..." I began this issue a little reluctantly because it is the last one in my omnibus, and finishing it meant the beginning of the wait for the next volumes to arrive. I'd considered leaving it for a while, but I couldn't resist knowing what happens, especially since the title made it clear that it centres around Orpheus, a mythological favourite of mine, whose presence in The Sandman was an unexpected thrill. I think this was the best take on his story that I have ever read. I'm not sure why I've always been so enthralled by this extremely tragic tale, but there is something about it that pulls me in every time. The other highlight of this issue was Death. She's always the highlight really, but this one was especially great. There were several outfits, all of which I adored (especially the third one), and a glimpse of her house. Also, I got my first introduction to the missing sibling. He was not at all what I had expected!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    THE SERIES When introducing people to graphic novels (especially those who think they're just comic strip superheroes for kids with no depth) I point them in the direction of this beloved series. It chronicles the trials and tribulations of Dream, an Endless being who is something like an Old God who is superior to most known godly beings. He operates in many worlds most specifically Earth. The Sandman was one of Vertigo's flagship titles, and is available as a series of ten trade paperbacks. It THE SERIES When introducing people to graphic novels (especially those who think they're just comic strip superheroes for kids with no depth) I point them in the direction of this beloved series. It chronicles the trials and tribulations of Dream, an Endless being who is something like an Old God who is superior to most known godly beings. He operates in many worlds most specifically Earth. The Sandman was one of Vertigo's flagship titles, and is available as a series of ten trade paperbacks. It has also been reprinted in a recolored five-volume Absolute hardcover edition with slipcase. Critically acclaimed, The Sandman is one of the few graphic novels ever to be on the New York Times Best Seller list, along with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. It was one of five graphic novels to make Entertainment Weekly's "100 best reads from 1983 to 2008", ranking at 46. Norman Mailer described the series as "a comic strip for intellectuals." (Wiki) The Sandman #19, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", won the World Fantasy Award in 1991 for Best Short Fiction. Also, The Sandman and its spin-offs have won 26 Eisner Awards, including three for Best Continuing Series, one for Best Short Story, four for Best Writer (Neil Gaiman), seven for Best Lettering (Todd Klein), and two for Best Penciller/Inker (one each for Charles Vess and P. Craig Russell). The Sandman: The Dream Hunters was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Related Book in 2000. BothEndless Nights and The Dream Hunters won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Illustrated Narrative in 2004 and 2000, respectively. Also in 2004, Season of Mists won theAngoulême International Comics Festival Prize for Scenario. IGN declared The Sandman as the best ever Vertigo comic. (Wiki) There have been several attempts to bring this series to the screen yet none have been viable as of the writing of this review. VOLUME 6 (“FABLES AND REFLECTIONS”) This volume divides up into several tales which are mostly thematic rather than connecting to the overall story (though one could argue they are story related as there are many ties to Dream's son, Orpheus, and their dysfunctional relationship). “Fear of Falling” (C plus to B minus story) (storyteller is afraid of failing at his storytelling). “Three Septembers and January” (B plus to A minus story) (Dream and Despair go at it, using the Emperor of the United States as a playing piece in their competition. The emperor really existed, by the way). “Thermidor” (B plus story) (the aftermath of the French Revolution with an appearance by the talking head of Orpheus. Gaiman's personal feelings jump into the tale.). “The Hunt” (B story) (more interesting for the the people telling the tale and the “aha” moment rather than the past tale; Slavic Folklore with Baba Yaga). “August” (A minus to A story) (a dwarf has intimate conversations with Emperor Augustus while they are both in disguise; answers given as to why the emperor never expanded the borders of the Roman Empire further. Most appreciated by enthusiasts of Roman History. References to “I, CLAUDIUS” and Suetonius' superlative “Twelve Caesars”). “Soft Places” (B story) (Marco Polo runs into Dream while the latter is returning from exile). “The Song of Orpheus” (B plus) (Orpheus marries and loses his wife and then goes to the Underworld to recover her). “The Parliament of Rooks” (B minus to B story) (More interesting for the mythologies than the present time characters and arguably a setup for later in the series). “Ramadan” (A story) (The caliph of Baghdad makes a deal with Dream to preserve the memories of his fabled city for all times showing that stories will be told and retold forever. Wonderful artwork presentation). ARTWORK PRESENTATION: B to B plus; STORY/PLOTTING: B plus; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B plus to A minus; INTELLECTUAL FOCUSES: A minus; OVERALL GRADE: B plus to A minus; WHEN READ: 2005 (reread and reviewed end of September to early October 2012).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Himanshu Karmacharya

    Fables & Reflections contains a number of short stories, some of which are really great, while some are just so-so. But the stories that really stand out are 'Ramadaan' and 'The Song of Orpheus'. 'Ramadaan' is a story that is nothing short of being genius. The reveal at the end of the story, was very powerful. The story is the sole reason why this book gets 4 stars, instead of 3. 'The Song of Orpheus' is a retelling of the classic mythological story. Very well written and poignant. Fables & Reflections contains a number of short stories, some of which are really great, while some are just so-so. But the stories that really stand out are 'Ramadaan' and 'The Song of Orpheus'. 'Ramadaan' is a story that is nothing short of being genius. The reveal at the end of the story, was very powerful. The story is the sole reason why this book gets 4 stars, instead of 3. 'The Song of Orpheus' is a retelling of the classic mythological story. Very well written and poignant.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    Fables & Reflections was probably my least favorite Sandman volume so far. While I delighted in the single-issue stories in Dream Country, the ones contained in this one didn't thrill me as much. I lost my focus a few times and wished there weren't so many grouped together without a common theme. Dream Country, on the other hand, was the perfect taste of outside-the-plot mini tales. The stories about Orpheus were the most interesting, being the most relevant to Dream, and I found myself wishing m Fables & Reflections was probably my least favorite Sandman volume so far. While I delighted in the single-issue stories in Dream Country, the ones contained in this one didn't thrill me as much. I lost my focus a few times and wished there weren't so many grouped together without a common theme. Dream Country, on the other hand, was the perfect taste of outside-the-plot mini tales. The stories about Orpheus were the most interesting, being the most relevant to Dream, and I found myself wishing more issues were devoted to his story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Madeline O'Rourke

    Like Dream Country, Fables & Reflections is a collection of unconnected stories of dreamers throughout history. I really liked that a number of these stories included real historical figures and connected their lives to an interaction with the Sandman. Beyond just showing a different idea of history, they reveal an interesting side of Morpheus. I feel like I tend to think of him as a neutral figure—one who doesn't intefere and make dreams come true. I'm wrong to think this, because it is repeate Like Dream Country, Fables & Reflections is a collection of unconnected stories of dreamers throughout history. I really liked that a number of these stories included real historical figures and connected their lives to an interaction with the Sandman. Beyond just showing a different idea of history, they reveal an interesting side of Morpheus. I feel like I tend to think of him as a neutral figure—one who doesn't intefere and make dreams come true. I'm wrong to think this, because it is repeatedly shown otherwise, but particularly here in Fables & Reflections, a relatively benevolent side to Morpheus is revealed. (Another random thing I've been wrong to think: in my head, Morpheus is this kind of asexual entity. So it was kind of weird for me, reading about his son and ex-wife in The Song of Orpheus.) Art-wise, this definitely wasn't my favourite instalment. I never like criticising the art in graphic novels, because I am certainly not a gifted artist, but I just noticed that I didn't enjoy this art nearly as much as in previous volumes. The exception, of course, is the last story, Ramadan, which was colourful and vibrant and gorgeous (and served a narrative purpose, too). All up, I enjoyed this volume and am very excited for what is hinted to happen in volume 7!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wing Kee

    A wonderful pallet cleaner of little tales that build the world. World: The art is just as beautiful as the rest of the series, so good. The world building here is great, after the huge arcs we've had it's a great little change to have small little intimate character stories that build on the world as a whole. I like the characters we meet and Dream showing up and the interactions are just brilliant, then we get the son and the Greek myths and it's fun. Fantastic. Story: Little tales that were cha A wonderful pallet cleaner of little tales that build the world. World: The art is just as beautiful as the rest of the series, so good. The world building here is great, after the huge arcs we've had it's a great little change to have small little intimate character stories that build on the world as a whole. I like the characters we meet and Dream showing up and the interactions are just brilliant, then we get the son and the Greek myths and it's fun. Fantastic. Story: Little tales that were character based and a step back from grand arcs makes it a fresh nice palate cleaner. I really like it, I can't express that enough. Then we get the nice little tale of Dream's past and his family and it's poetic and beautiful, I don't want to spoil it. It's both empathetic and distant like Dream as a whole. Characters: Dream is Dream and he's perfect, a manifestation and a force of nature, distant and close and emotionless and full of heart at the same time, fascinating. The characters we meet in this arc are great, historical and a new spin on them that made it fun and unexpected. Good stuff. I liked this beautiful palate cleans of an arc. Onward to the next book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Chavez

    Being the sixth volume in the Sandman series, "Reflections and Fables" takes a different twist than readers are accustomed to - a volume entirely of the past. There are nine stories in the volume, each relating to the Sandman universe in its own way, yet each remarkably different and unique in their own way (minus the Orpheus volumes). The opening chapter, Fear of Falling, really a prologue, is in itself wonderfully written and in only a few pages it packs a powerful message. Other notable chapte Being the sixth volume in the Sandman series, "Reflections and Fables" takes a different twist than readers are accustomed to - a volume entirely of the past. There are nine stories in the volume, each relating to the Sandman universe in its own way, yet each remarkably different and unique in their own way (minus the Orpheus volumes). The opening chapter, Fear of Falling, really a prologue, is in itself wonderfully written and in only a few pages it packs a powerful message. Other notable chapters include Ramadan, August, Parliament of Rooks, Three Septembers and a January, and The Hunt. Gaiman's short stories are always well written, you can tell Gaiman does his historical homework. He always weaves Dream into that tale splendidly, and he touches on myth, fable, and legend that most readers might know a little about, or have heard about somewhere, and expand and teach the readersomething; moreover, the deviation from a direct story line in this collection may appeal to some readers, as it did me, but then again it may not to all. Gaiman enriches the universe and the power of Dream, without using Dream as a main character, as he has done before in volumes like "Dream Country." Some readers will enjoy this aspect, and perhaps enjoy the historical aspect of the stories; whereas, others may wish to stay on track with the Dream as the main character. I am not the latter, I love these short stories, and how Gaiman weaved Dream into them in very clever ways. Regardless, Fables and Reflections is a volume that should not be missed, and is one of the better Sandman volumes so far. Excellent work by Gaiman. I also thought the art was great in this volume, maybe the best so far, it was nice to see Dream's brother Destruction for once instead of just hearing about him and to get some background for the Calliope story that was in a previous volume. I also loved the chibi Death and Dream in "The Parliament of Rooks," and I'm always fascinated by how different artists represent Dream and his family.

  21. 5 out of 5

    James DeSantis

    This goes back to more standalone stories. Which means we're going to having varying quality as you read through the book. There's some great ones in here like Fear of Falling, which is a nice short story about someone not wanting to fail, but too scared of trying. I liked this one a lot. August is great tale of Ceaser's nephew, and a dark past, but we all knew this was coming. I also really enjoyed the main tale here of The Song of Orpheus which is probably the highlight to see Dream's son and This goes back to more standalone stories. Which means we're going to having varying quality as you read through the book. There's some great ones in here like Fear of Falling, which is a nice short story about someone not wanting to fail, but too scared of trying. I liked this one a lot. August is great tale of Ceaser's nephew, and a dark past, but we all knew this was coming. I also really enjoyed the main tale here of The Song of Orpheus which is probably the highlight to see Dream's son and his downfall. You know it's going to be sad but I wasn't prepared for how sad. There's a few stories that miss the mark for me. especially the last one. Not a fan of the story, the structure, or the art. Kind of downer for me overall. I also didn't love the Marco Polo story. But overall it had a lot more good than bad, and that's what I've come to expect of Sandman. A 4 out of 5.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    1/9/2017 - This is my 3rd time reading this collection. I decided to add to the previous review I did last year, since writing an entirely new review for each of the stories seemed like too much work. (Also, I've edited this review so the only spoiler tags are for later volumes; I haven't said anything about major twists in these stories.) I think this is my favorite of the short story collections, especially for the stories "Thermidor," "Orpheus," and "Ramadan." The 9 stories in this volume all 1/9/2017 - This is my 3rd time reading this collection. I decided to add to the previous review I did last year, since writing an entirely new review for each of the stories seemed like too much work. (Also, I've edited this review so the only spoiler tags are for later volumes; I haven't said anything about major twists in these stories.) I think this is my favorite of the short story collections, especially for the stories "Thermidor," "Orpheus," and "Ramadan." The 9 stories in this volume all focus on a different aspect of history or myth. Gene Wolfe’s introduction gives some background on the historical & mythical figures in each story. This collection was originally published in two arcs: The “Distant Mirrors” arc focuses on political power (in original publication order these are "Thermidor," "August," and "Three Septembers & A January." "Ramadan" was supposed to end this arc but ended up being published after The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives, due to art delays). The other arc, which revolves around storytellers, consists of "Convergences," consists of "The Hunt," "Soft Places," and "The Parliament of Rooks." "Orpheus" is separate. On my 3rd reading of this volume, I’m starting to think that the arcs should have been kept together, and I read them in that order. "Three Septembers & A January" - In which Dream makes a bet against Desire, Despair, and Delirium over the fate of a man who has lost all his wealth. Can Dream keep him from entering Despair’s realm? This character, Joshua Abraham Norton, was a real person, who decided that he was the Emperor of the United States of America. He was prescient in calling for a bridge crossing connecting San Francisco to Oakland, and a corresponding tunnel to be built under San Francisco Bay. Both projects were eventually built as the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Transbay Tube. In contrast to the authoritarian governments portrayed in "Thermidor" and "August" Emperor Norton, given the dream of becoming the first and only Emperor of the United States, secures the respect of his people and implements his legacy without repression. This story has one of Sandman's rare happy endings. 4 stars This isn’t as dark as a few of the other stories, but it gives the reader a glimpse of the dark side of the Endless as they play games with people’s lives.  Favorite line: "His madness keeps him sane."  "Thermidor" - This story is named for the month of July in the short-lived The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country as the son of Dream and the muse Calliope. (In the original legend, Orpheus’s mother is Calliope but his father is the king of Thrace, Oeagrus.) When I first read this I had already read story of Orpheus from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. (So far it’s still the only part of the Metamorphoses that I have read, but I’ll get to it eventually.) In Ovid’s version, Orpheus dies when the Bacchante - aka the Maenads, violent, crazed women in service to Dionysus - tear him apart. So I wasn’t expecting Orpheus to turn up as a still-living severed head. (There is a version of the story in which his head is taken to the island of Naxos. It's referred to in The Argonautica, but the idea of Orpheus’s surviving head is original to Sandman, as far as I know.) As the story opens, Orpheus’s head has been stolen from the sanctuary on Naxos. Dream knows where he is, but he won’t get directly involved, so he asks Lady Johanna Constantine to rescue Orpheus for him. She agrees, and finds him in France during the Reign of Terror. Johanna's errand for Dream was mentioned way back in "Men of Good Fortune" from The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll's House. I won’t go into the rest of the plot, but this is a story about the power of the imagination. (view spoiler)[This is a repeated theme in Sandman, but clearly it can’t solve everything; the story ends with Orpheus, restored to Naxos, asking Johanna to let his father know he misses him. (What happened between them is explained in “Orpheus.”) (hide spoiler)] 5 stars Favorite lines: Johanna asking Dream for help (in a dream, naturally) when she’s imprisoned by the Jacobin government: "Your son’s head is valuable to you, and I am attached to mine. Indeed, hitherto we have been inseparable." This exchange, between Robespierre and Johanna: - "The myths are dead. The gods are dead. The ghosts and ghouls and phantoms are dead. There is only the State, and the People." - "No, Monsieur Robespierre. There is much more than that…"  Johanna trying to comfort Orpheus (she’s quoting Thomas Paine): "What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly, Orpheus…" The Hunt - This one is about werewolves, and is also a love story and a fable about the value of unfulfilled dreams, told by a grandfather to his skeptical, rational teenage daughter. Her comments are pretty funny. This one is a good use of the unreliable narrator, in ways that only comics can do, with the words telling one story and the panels another. I like this one, but it doesn't have the emotional depth of some of the other stories in this collection. 3 stars Favorite line: "You shouldn’t trust the storyteller; only trust the story." August - This one, set in ancient Rome, is extremely disturbing. It is a story about revenge, and also about abuses of power. It’s not the best story in the collection, but it’s a memorable one, and has some interesting thematic ties to the rest of the series. The narrator tells of a day he spent with the Emperor Augustus, on the one day a year that Augustus leaves his role as emperor and spends the day as an anonymous beggar. His reasons for doing this are revealed later in the story, but this time around I was struck by Augustus wondering, at the end of the day, whether he was an actor, or whether this was the one day on which he did not have to act. This aspect of the story is a nice parallel with Lucifer’s abdication of Hell in The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists, and with (view spoiler)[Destruction leaving his realm, and of course with Morpheus's death - as, one after the other, these kings surrender their kingdoms in order to be free of their corresponding obligations. (hide spoiler)] 4 stars Favorite line: "They follow leaders — queens or kings, chiefs or emperors. We tell them what to do, and they do it. We know no more than they, but still they follow us, blindly, as people lost in the catacombs would follow a child carrying a flaming torch." Soft Places - In which Marco Polo gets lost in a sandstorm and crosses into Dream’s realm. This story is unique to this collection, in that part of it takes place in contemporary times and part of it takes place in Marco Polo’s time. I like this one, but it doesn’t really stand out. 3 stars Favorite line: "Any view of things that is not strange is false." Orpheus - I already knew how this would end when I first read it, and I was surprised that it hit me so hard since I knew the story. Still does. This is a mostly straightforward retelling; it’s really the backstory for later volumes. But it does explain why Orpheus didn't die when the Bacchante attacked him, and provides an explanation for why they attacked him that fits in with Sandman. Besides, I think it adds emotional resonance to later events. 5 stars some spoilery reactions: (view spoiler)[The story of Orpheus was sad to begin with, but rereading it and knowing the repercussions makes me want to tear my hair out. *flails* There’s one thing that doesn’t quite make sense to me, though: Dream’s response to Orpheus at the beginning of this issue. "I’m your son. Why won’t you tell me what you know?" "Because you are my son." So, Dream knows what Orpheus’s prophetic dream is about. Later, Destiny refuses to wish Orpheus well at the wedding ("I am Potmos. I do not wish. I know. What must happen will happen") and Dream could have simply said the same thing - that it’s not his place to get involved. But what he says here is slightly different from that. Why? (hide spoiler)] Favorite lines:  - Orpheus to Death: "My other uncles and aunts, Aunt Teleute. I wish they could also have stayed for the party." "They had  things to do, Orpheus. “But you stayed." "I also have things to do, Orpheus." (She has business at the wedding, but he doesn’t know that…) - (view spoiler)[Destruction’s (hide spoiler)] assessment of Orpheus: "You’re a romantic fool. But that’s no surprise: you get that from your father." - Orpheus, asking where Death lives: "She has a house?" "She has lots of things, although she seldom has much use for them. You should see her floppy hat collection." The Parliament of Rooks: A 'parliament of rooks' is an old name for a group of rooks, just as a group of crows is a 'murder of crows' and a group of ravens is an 'unkindness of ravens.' In this one Eve, Cain and Abel take turns telling stories in the Dreaming.  Cain’s story is the one referred to in the title. Why do they call it a parliament of rooks? Eve’s story is about Adam’s three wives. (The narration indicates that this story is from the Midrash; I'd come across Lilith before, but not the second wife.) The first was Lilith, expelled from Eden because she would not submit to Adam. The second had no name. Adam saw her being made, and was disgusted; he wouldn’t have anything to do with her. So to replace her, God made Eve from Adam’s rib. Abel’s story is about how Cain and Abel came to the Dreaming. It’s adorable, as is Jill Thompson’s art. 4 stars. Favorite lines: "You find out that inside someone you know there’s just mucus and meat and blood and bone. They menstruate, salivate, defecate and cry, you know? Sometimes it can just kill the romance." "I keep telling you: It's the mystery that endures. Not the explanation. A good mystery can last forever." Ramadan - Set in Baghdad during the reign of Haroun al Rashid, who makes a bargain with Dream. (view spoiler)[Dream ensures that Baghdad will never be forgotten, but it lives on only in stories and dreams. (hide spoiler)] The artwork here is the best in the collection, possibly the best in Sandman. The line art, by P. Craig Russell, is stunningly intricate, and the colors, by colorist Lovern Kindzierski, are amazing too. And the writing is just gorgeous. One of the interesting things about this story is how it contrasts the romanticized elements of a fairytale Baghdad with the more disturbing ones (things like the king’s torture chambers). Dream and Haroun al-Rashid have a great deal in common; both distant and proud kings, quite ruthless when something gets in their way, and unwilling to let go of the past. In fact, Haroun reflects Dream's negative qualities so strongly that Dream comes across as the reasonable one in this tale. Neither of them, though, has the power to stop time. There's an insightful essay on this story by Harry Edmundson-Cornell at Sequart. I'm not going to try to summarize it, but it's well worth reading. It’s one my two favorite pieces of critical analysis of Sandman that I've seen so far. I’ll link to the other one in a later review, when it's relevant. Incidentally, there was foreshadowing for this issue: (view spoiler)[in vol. 4. Morpheus puts the globe in which he locks up Azazel next to the city-in-a-bottle of Baghdad. (hide spoiler)] 5 stars Favorite lines: all of them?! Maybe "Ambassadors come here from the ends of the earth to see this miracle; and they return to their kings, saying, we have seen the perfect city, there can be none like it; and their kings are then dissatisfied with their own small fiefs and domains, for they know that never can they compare to to Baghdad, jewel of cities." My previous reviews: The Doll’s House: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Dream Country: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Season of Mists: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... A Game of You: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ronyell

    After reading the fifth volume in Neil Gaiman’s fantastic “Sandman” series, “A Game of You,” I just had to read the sixth volume of the “Sandman” series called “Fables and Reflections.” In this volume, we are introduced to more miscellaneous stories that involve Morpheus and his siblings’ involvement with various characters’ dreams. Just like the third volume of the “Sandman” series “Dream Country, “ “Fables and Reflections” is mainly a collection of different tales that detail the adventures tha After reading the fifth volume in Neil Gaiman’s fantastic “Sandman” series, “A Game of You,” I just had to read the sixth volume of the “Sandman” series called “Fables and Reflections.” In this volume, we are introduced to more miscellaneous stories that involve Morpheus and his siblings’ involvement with various characters’ dreams. Just like the third volume of the “Sandman” series “Dream Country, “ “Fables and Reflections” is mainly a collection of different tales that detail the adventures that Morpheus and his siblings encountered when they are interfering with many people’s dreams. There are a total of nine stories in this volume and they are: 1) Fear of Falling Morpheus helps a young man overcome his fears of possible failure in his acting career. 2) Three Septembers and a January Morpheus and his siblings all pitch in to help an old man named Joshua Norton become emperor of the United States of America. 3) Thermidor Morpheus helps a young woman named Lady Johanna Constantine retrieve the dismembered head of Orpheus in 17th century France. 4) The Hunt A Grandfather tells his granddaughter an old tale that details the adventures of Vassily and his visit to claim the hand of a beautiful princess. 5) August This tale relates about how Augustus Caesar receives a special visit from Dream and decides to play the role of a beggar. 6) Soft Places Marco Polo, famous explorer meets up with Fiddler’s Green and Dream. 7) Orpheus This relates the dark tale of Orpheus who loses his love after she is killed by a snake and he decides to go down to the underworld to get her back. 8) The Parliament of Rooks Matthew the Raven, Cain and Abel and Eve all tell twisted versions of certain biblical stories to Morpheus’ baby son, Daniel. 9) Ramadan This relates the tale of a famous king in Baghdad named Haroun Al Raschid, who wishes to give up his city to Dream. Like the third volume of the “Sandman” series, “Dream Country,” this is basically a collection of miscellaneous tales that detail the adventures that Dream and his siblings have with dealing with other people’s dreams and is not technically apart of the major story that was presented in “Preludes and Nocturnes,” “The Doll’s House,” “Season of Mists” and “A Game of You.” Neil Gaiman never ceases to amaze me with his talented writing and brilliant retelling of classic fairy tales and myths. I always loved the dark and surreal world of Dream and his siblings and it was great seeing them do their duties in the dream world while meddling a bit in the dreams of various people. Probably my favorite stories in this volume were “Thermidor,” “Orpheus” and “The Parliament of Rooks” because they were all mysterious and intense at the same time. What I loved about the story “Thermidor” was how a young woman was coming up with a plan that would save France from the Tyranny it was place on and the idea about a talking decapitated head was truly creepy yet interesting at the same time! I loved “Orpheus” as it was a truly sad tale with a gruesome ending that really made me feel for Orpheus’ loss of his wife. “The Parliament of Rooks” was a truly unusual story as it retold many biblical stories such as “Adam and Eve” and “Cain and Abel” and put a dark twist to those stories. I really enjoyed how Neil Gaiman wove various mythologies (in the story “August”) and fairy tales (in the story “The Hunt”) into the “Sandman” stories and created a dark and interesting world within these stories. Bryan Talbot, Stan Woch, P. Craig Russell, Shawn McManus, John Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson, and Kent Williams’ artwork just truly stood out in this volume as they are truly beautiful and frightening to look at, especially of the images of the beautiful world that Orpheus lives in as we see green hillsides and gorgeous cliffs. Since I am a huge fan of gory images, the details being made in the images where characters are beheaded and being torn to shreds was done expertly and I really cringed at the gory images of the characters being killed off in a gruesome fashion. As with the other volumes in the “Sandman” series, this volume contains many gory scenes such as some scenes of rats being smashed and one scene where a person is beheaded and you can see blood spurt everywhere. For readers who do not like reading gory scenes, these scenes might be a bit too uncomfortable for them to read. Also, another problem I had with this volume is that some of the stories lack a bit of action and I often got a little bored with some of these stories and I wished that there was some kind of action going on in some of these stories that would keep me interested in the stories. Overall, “The Sandman: Fables and Reflections” is a great volume that details the random adventures of Dream and his siblings, but it could have been a bit better if there was more action in the stories. Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections: Luminous tales of rulers, adventurers, dreamers After Vol 5: A Game of You, my least favorite Sandman volume so far, I’m happy to report a resounding return to form in Vol 6: Fables and Reflections, a collection of stand-alone stories centered on various prominent figures in different periods of history, including the Emperor of the United States in 19th century San Francisco (“Three Septembers and a January”), Robespierre in early 18th century revolutiona Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections: Luminous tales of rulers, adventurers, dreamers After Vol 5: A Game of You, my least favorite Sandman volume so far, I’m happy to report a resounding return to form in Vol 6: Fables and Reflections, a collection of stand-alone stories centered on various prominent figures in different periods of history, including the Emperor of the United States in 19th century San Francisco (“Three Septembers and a January”), Robespierre in early 18th century revolutionary Paris (“Thermidor”), a mysterious huntsman deep in the forest (“The Hunt”), Augustus Caesar in ancient Rome (“August”), Marco Polo roaming in the desert (“Soft Places”), Orpheus and Eurydice in the Underworld (“The Song of Orpheus”), Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden (“The Parliament of Rooks”), and finally Haroun Al Raschid, Caliph of Bagdad (“Ramadan”). It’s hard to easily summarize the disparate stories of this collection. I found the quality of the narratives and artwork to be very high, but the themes were so rich and varied that it would wrong to say what, as a whole, the collection is “about”. As with all of Gaiman’s SANDMAN series, the art of story-telling itself is a central feature, along with various mythologies, dreamers, powerful rulers, and of course dreams. The way these themes are interwoven is what gives the collection a unified “feel”, even though each story is unique. Frequently there is a framing device, an overt narrating voice, that sets the stage for the stories, but some of my favorite stories keep the identity of the story-teller deliberately concealed in order to be revealed at the end and force us to rethink the story’s overall message. My particular favorites in this collection were “The Hunt”, which has a timeless appeal as a grandfather tells a story to his teenage granddaughter, who would rather watch MTV. The longest story is “The Song of Orpheus”, which takes the traditional tale and incorporates The Endless into the story for a very different interpretation. It is quite a powerful story with a shocking ending. Morpheus has a major role to play here, as do his siblings. “Ramadan” is the centerpiece of the collection, an amazingly illustrated story that is so beautiful to look at that you simply have to read it more than once. The artist’s name is P. Craig Russell, and his drawing of the towers, mosques, minarets, and markets of Bagdad are strongly reminiscent of the art of Moebius. It’s story of the mighty King of fantastic Bagdad, who despite his limitless power and wealth is troubled deep in his soul. It is very much in the vein of The Arabian Nights, but once again Morpheus is a seamless part of the tale, and the ending…ah, that is truly sublime. Interspersed within and between these stories, we continue to learn more about the nature of The Endless, including the missing sibling who makes his first appearance in “The Song of Orpheus”. So in that sense it has more continuity with Vol 4: Season of Mists than Vol 5: A Game of You. One of the best things about SANDMAN is how Gaiman can explore traditional mythology in such fresh and unique ways by overlaying The Endless and their heretofore hidden roles in the stories that humankind has created throughout history. There are so many tantalizing hints dropped by Morpheus and his siblings about their various roles and duties, which again begs the question of “Who made these rules and why?” If The Endless came before the gods, then who created them? Clearly these questions point us to the Creator, who remains behind the scenes even in Vol 4: Season of Mists, when his Angels are they to represent his will. Will he ever make an appearance before this series ends? Only one way to find out…

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lancelot Schaubert

    The further I get in this series, the more I'm convinced of five things: 1. Neil Gaiman changed what was possible in graphic novels by virtue of reminding visual artists how broadly graphic art has told stories in the past. On that front, these novels are underrated. 2. The stories can be bland at times. Even... lame? In the strictest sense? On that front, these novels are overrated. 3. He's not an epic writer, but a brilliant miniaturist. 4. He has no clue what he's talking about when it comes to The further I get in this series, the more I'm convinced of five things: 1. Neil Gaiman changed what was possible in graphic novels by virtue of reminding visual artists how broadly graphic art has told stories in the past. On that front, these novels are underrated. 2. The stories can be bland at times. Even... lame? In the strictest sense? On that front, these novels are overrated. 3. He's not an epic writer, but a brilliant miniaturist. 4. He has no clue what he's talking about when it comes to Chesterton. 5. Or myth, mythmaking, and basic philosophical categories. And that's okay. Because this volume contained one of the most heartbreaking stories of The Iraq war that I've read. Also of Orpheus and a homeless man who gets to be king.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Though the first seems more like a preface than a fully realized story, I was impressed by every one of the nine short stories in this volume, thus the 5 stars. While it's true that each is a standalone, some contain themes that seem to comment (reflect?) on each other; or include recurring characters, such as Orpheus, or even characters from the main storyline, such as Lyta and Johanna Constantine. I discovered another "comment/reflection" as I was, fittingly enough, falling asleep. I was amused Though the first seems more like a preface than a fully realized story, I was impressed by every one of the nine short stories in this volume, thus the 5 stars. While it's true that each is a standalone, some contain themes that seem to comment (reflect?) on each other; or include recurring characters, such as Orpheus, or even characters from the main storyline, such as Lyta and Johanna Constantine. I discovered another "comment/reflection" as I was, fittingly enough, falling asleep. I was amused by Olethros telling Orpheus that Teleute (Death) has lots of things, although she seldom has much use for them. You should see her floppy hat collection. and by the images of Abel's sanitized pablum (as Cain calls it) of a story. Though I anticipated the ending of the last story (dealing with Baghdad), it was nevertheless poignant, pointing out the power of a story's mystery in an otherwise despairing world.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    In this sixth book of the Sandman series, Gaiman takes a brief pause from the main storyline. There are nine of new stories in here, some short, others longer, with characters from earlier stories and a host of new ones. Compared to earlier books, this is not as dark or bleak, and Gaiman has dusted the stories within with a touch of whimsy, but they still have depth and the ability to make you think. Some are based in America, but he travels time and the world in the tales, with Morpheus appear In this sixth book of the Sandman series, Gaiman takes a brief pause from the main storyline. There are nine of new stories in here, some short, others longer, with characters from earlier stories and a host of new ones. Compared to earlier books, this is not as dark or bleak, and Gaiman has dusted the stories within with a touch of whimsy, but they still have depth and the ability to make you think. Some are based in America, but he travels time and the world in the tales, with Morpheus appearing in some of them. Having read some of the others, I didn’t feel that it was as strong, but he picks up on the dreams of the characters all the way through the stories. They are still intense and richly illustrated, and that it what makes these such a pleasure to read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alondra Miller

    4 - 4.5 Stars I loved almost all of the fables, except one; but who cares?? This is the Sandman series, and it's all good. 4 - 4.5 Stars I loved almost all of the fables, except one; but who cares?? This is the Sandman series, and it's all good.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sud666

    Fables and Reflections was a collection of short stories (most of which were, obviously, single issues). Many of them I'd read before, but in the continuity of this series I didn't mind reading them again. They are universally good. They are as follows: "Thermidor", "August", "Three Septembers and a January" and "Ramadan" are all stories I've read and reviewed individually. They are all excellent and weird. This volume doesn't have much to do with the "normal" arc, but rather are stories that hel Fables and Reflections was a collection of short stories (most of which were, obviously, single issues). Many of them I'd read before, but in the continuity of this series I didn't mind reading them again. They are universally good. They are as follows: "Thermidor", "August", "Three Septembers and a January" and "Ramadan" are all stories I've read and reviewed individually. They are all excellent and weird. This volume doesn't have much to do with the "normal" arc, but rather are stories that help flesh out this wonderful world. "Ramadan" was superb and one of my favorite NG short stories. "Convergence" was a three-issue story arc. Originally they were "The Hunt" in which it tells the story of Vassily and his hunt for the Duke's daughter; "Soft Places" which tells the story of Marco Polo's encounter with strange individuals and Morpheus himself; finally we have "The Parliment of Rooks" which is a nice story about Caine and Abel hosting a party where everyone tells stories. The one about Adam having THREE wives was interesting. Finally it has the "The Song of Orpheus", which is sort of the "central" story line, wherein we meet Orpheus, son of Dream and learn the tragic story of his wedding, his search for his wife and his ultimate fate. Well done! Again, this is a volume that doesn't have much to do with the main arc. I read it in this order due to the issues, but you could easily finish the main arc and return to these later. A great collection of short stories.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    Like volume 3 this part also consists of short stories from several different authors where Sandman himself is more or less secondary character. Stories in this collection where lot better than those in volume 3, which I thought was low point of the series. It's definitively not as good as volume 2 or 4 but still worthy read for fans of series. Like volume 3 this part also consists of short stories from several different authors where Sandman himself is more or less secondary character. Stories in this collection where lot better than those in volume 3, which I thought was low point of the series. It's definitively not as good as volume 2 or 4 but still worthy read for fans of series.

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