Sandman

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I’ve always been a reader. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a book or two or more in “currently reading” status with another bunch on Mount To-Be-Read. Since the minions came around, a large part of my reading has moved formats to audio books or podcasts, but nevertheless, I still consume a tremendous amount of story on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, high school English did a really good job of making me hate what could be called “literature.” To this day I have an unrelenting distaste for Dickens. It was also in high school that I actually got into trouble for enjoying Beowulf. I could read and understand the story without listening to the teacher fail to explain the importance of meter and rhyme. This, an ancient story carried through the generations by people who couldn’t read, and I got a verbal reprimand for being able to read it. Go figure Continue reading

Scarydad Review: Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Trigger Warning (Neil Gaiman)

 

You say, “Man, that week came out a couple weeks ago and you’re just now getting around to writing a review on it? What took you so long?”

Yes, I bought it the day it came out and, yes, I’ve only just finished reading it today. And I wish that I could have stretched it out a little bit longer. I read a story or two at a time and then forced myself to close the book so that there would be some left over for the next day. I don’t usually do that.

Neil Gaiman is, as most of you know, my favorite author. I’ve been a fan since I discovered him back around 1991 when he was doing Sandman and other stuff for DC comics I reviewed his last novel here, and in the past little while I’ve been collecting the original Sandman series comics and other miscellany.

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A shelf in my office.

So, this is a collection of short stories, and I believe most of them have been published before in other anthologies. That was okay with me because with the exception of A Calendar of Tales,” which was released for free online a couple years ago, I hadn’t read any of them. Hey, I never said I wasn’t a lazy fan, ok?

As always, Gaiman spins yarns full of matter-of-fact magic and strangely familiar horror. His tone changes constantly. One moment you are lost wandering an ancient maze in a world that is too surreal not to exist, the next you are helping the Eleventh Doctor stop a bizarre real estate bubble from popping. There’s also a Sherlock Holmes story so astoundingly good, I imagine Gaiman found some way to channel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For real.

When I was a teenager, perhaps under the influence of ahem, teenagerism, I really listened to Pink Floyd for the first time. I remember it being difficult to focus on any one instrument because the sum of the whole was so seamless that what you thought was guitar revealed itself to be bass seconds later. It was so finely crafted that I couldn’t tell what was what other than the song was really, really good.

That’s what it’s like to read Gaiman fiction. You take it in as it is and it’s good in its own way. But it leaves haunting melodies that stay in your head for weeks and you can’t figure out why that one thing struck you the way it did but it’s the most honest few words you’ve ever read. Then you go back to look for that one perfect line and realize that it wasn’t just a few well-strung words. The phrase you want doesn’t exist. It was the story itself that left you with that impression.

Buy this book. Read it. And then read all the others. You won’t regret it.

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Summer Reading: The Ocean at the End of the lane

Ocean at the end of the lane

I was in high school when I first read The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes and it changed my life. I’ve read and re-read the Sandman series dozens of times over the years and have loved every page and panel. When Gaiman broke out of the comics world and released Neverwhere, I was first in line to buy it. Well that’s not actually true. There wasn’t a line to buy it. I just walked in and grabbed a copy. But had there been a line, I would have probably been close to the front. And I’ve gotten everything else pretty much on the day it was released.

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Summer Reading: The Graveyard Book

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Summer is nearing its blessed end but you still have time for a couple more.

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is the story of Bod Owens, the little boy who lives in the cemetery. Bod is looked after by various ghosts and spirits who haunt the graveyard and protect him from the Jack, the man who killed his parents.

Although The Graveyard Book is intended for children, Gaiman’s storytelling deserves to be enjoyed by all. He is the Scarydad’s favorite author and so I am almost forced to command you to read all of his books. But definitely read this one. I can’t guarantee you’ll like it, but I’m pretty darn sure.