Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Exiles is the story that haunts me the most from this particular collection. I very much like the idea that Dream finds folks out there who would make good… somethings… and offers them positions.

    They hinted at this with Abel’s story waaaay back there, but that was brought into question with The Furies’ speech when they killed him.

    They could easily do a one-shot devoted to the people who were offered jobs… and I’m certain that we could quickly and easily find ourselves back in horror territory for some of them.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Oh, and of course, the fact that, once again, we have an example of a guy saying “I need to complete my duty even if I am the only person who knows or cares about it.”Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

      I like the art and the writing in “Exiles” very much. Wasn’t much of a fan of “Soft Places”, but it was well worth revisiting here.

      Daniel knows he must one day smash his emerald, as Morpheus’ ruby was smashed; but Daniel knows this ahead of time, whereas Morpheus realized it after the fact.

      Everything changes, nothing is lost.

      Since time is…slippy in Sandman, the scenes with Shakespeare at the inn seem to be an echo of the scene from World’s End, when Morpheus’ body is paraded across the sky; here in gross parody with the drunken sailors parading their corpse of a “savage” (which nonetheless still inspires Will a bit).

      I wonder how much Will’s “Dark Lady” (referenced by Ben Johnson) parallels Morpheus’ own; the hints we’ve gotten of his long-running and possibly-tempestuous (Tempestuous?) relationship with Titania.

      Speaking of, that’s as good a place as any to segue into this:

      And as this is the end of the Sandman story proper (though it’s my understanding we may do Endless Nights and/or some other related stories) – what did everybody think?

      If this was your first time, did it live up to the hype?

      If this was a re-read, did you discover new stuff, or did the story change its character for you at all?

  2. My favorite aspect of “Exiles” is how nicely it encapsulates the moral ambiguity that has been a hallmark of the title character (and others) throughout the entire series.

    We have a character in Li who is, to my reading, meant to be considered sympathetic. Yet he mentions in passing that his wife tortured a servant to death, employing wire whips somewhere along the way, only to find her reasons for doing so baseless. Horrible, monstrous behavior, mentioned in passing by a man who presumably might have stopped it, a man wise enough to be invited to be Daniel’s advisor in the Dreaming.Report

  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    Man, not with a bang, eh? Where’d everybody go?

    Many, many thanks to Mike for bringing us on home, and to Jaybird for OK’ing this particular bookclub idea, and to everyone else who contributed recaps or commentary along the way. It’s been a long strange trip – 75 issues, which may not seem like all that much, except for the fact that each page often contained text, and subtext, and metatext – plus, you know, visual information! – all layered up like a big crazy casserole.

    An approximately-two-thousand-page casserole!

    I’ve read better books than Sandman, but I’m not sure there’s any single story that I love more. I love its sprawl, and its fractal nature, and its snippets of historical and literary trivia, and most of all its optimistic pessimism (or is it pessimistic optimism?)

    I will re-read it again in a couple years, as I always do, and I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough to read it.

    I said this early on in ROT13, but I will say it again now unencrypted, for those who didn’t read that for fear of spoilers – on my previous readings, it’s always been my take that the tragedy of Morpheus was that he couldn’t change – that it was an inability to be other than he was that ultimately doomed him.

    But this time around, I saw the mirror image – that it was precisely his efforts TO change, to be a LESS stupid, self-centered, appallingly pathetic excuse for an anthropomorphic personification on this particular plane; to take notice of others’ needs, to be better, that ultimately does him in.

    And on some level, he knows that it will; and he does it anyway.

    See? Optimistic pessimism.

    Pessimistic optimism.

    I love this book; and if Gaiman had never written another word, these would be more than enough.Report

  4. Avatar James K says:

    As good as Sunday Mourning would have been as an ending for Sandman, The Tempest was the right choice. It spells out, as much as this series spells anything out, what led Morpheus to his end.Report