August 04, 2023

#08-333: The Sandman

Cover of the first issue of The Sandman graphic novel (Wikipedia)

Note: As usual. Neil Gaiman has created a convincing alternate reality, this one influenced by seven supernatural beings called "The Endless."

Get Ready: Do you believe that dreams have any importance to our waking selves?

The English writer Neil Gaiman is one of the most prolific authors working today. One of his biggest and most popular projects, The Sandman, started as a graphic novel spanning 85 issues. A simplified version was televised in 2022.

The Sandman is actually Dream, one of the seven "Endless." At the beginning of the story he is captured by an occultist named Roderick Burgess, who also takes Dream's totems of power: a pouch of sand, his helm, and a ruby.

But after 106 years Dream (also called Morpheus) escapes and returns to the Dreaming, his kingdom and the place where dreams come from. He learns that an exorcist named Johanna Constantine has his sand (which gives him his popular name of "The Sandman"); a demon in Hell has his helm; and John Dee, son of Burgess and a woman named Ethel Cripps, has his ruby.

He retrieves the sand from Constantine easily enough, but to get the helm he must fight Lucifer in a battle of wits. He does so by invoking Hope, whom even Lucifer cannot beat, but she promises to one day kill Dream.

The madman John Dee uses the ruby to prevent people from lying, which leads to murders and suicides. Dee believes he has defeated Dream by crushing the ruby. In fact, he has just released its power back to Dream.

In a second main plot, we meet Rose Walker, a human woman who is a vortex, a being who by nature attracts and manipulates dreams. Dream's sisters Desire and Despair (two more of the Endless) try to use Rose to bring down Dream, as does a rogue dream called the Corinthian whom Dream is trying to capture. 

Rose has lost her brother Jed to foster care; she and her friend Lyta Hall travel to England to meet Rose's great-grandmother, Unity Kinkaid, who will fund her search for Jed. Rose and Lyta enlist Dream and his librarian Lucienne in their search.

Rose's power grows, threatening the wall between "reality" and dreamland. Meanwhile, the Corinthian kidnaps Jed to lure Rose to a convention of serial killers. There, Rose's power enables Dream to unmake the Corinthian. The story "ends" with the death of Unity Kinkaid, the reunion of Rose and Jed and their friends, and Lucifer pondering revenge on Dream.


Practice: Match the term to its definition:

Term Definition
  1. exorcist
  2. foster care
  3. graphic novel
  4. madman
  5. manipulates
  6. occultist
  7. pondering
  8. rogue
  9. totems
  10. vortex
  1. a fancy comic book
  2. a power center
  3. influences the behavior of
  4. thinking about
  5. a person who casts out demons, ghosts, etc.
  6. a crazy person
  7. symbols of power
  8. a system of government homes for children
  9. no longer obedient; renegade
  10. a person who practices magic

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 4, 2023

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. h; 3. a; 4. f; 5. c; 6. j; 7. d; 8. i; 9. g; 10. b