Tonight, Jason Tank and Mike S complete Endless Nights, and, in fact, the MD series of Sandman discussions, by recapping stories about Destruction (JT) and Destiny (Mike). It has been a bit over fifteen months, with about 45 posts covering roughly 85 issues of Sandman. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to, commented on, or read these posts. This installment of the MD Bookclub was a real success, and we can all pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. We’ll take a few weeks off and then resume with a book that’s almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Sandman. More about that soon.
A Doll’s House recaps here: KatherineMW took on the first two issues, then the next two issues. KatherineMW and Jason Tank then reviewed the fifth and sixth, respectively. Mike Schilling reviewed the final two issues.
Dream Country recaps here: Glyph reviewed Calliope then Jaybird and Maribou reviewed Dream of a Thousand Cats in the first review post for Dream Country. Alan Scott reviewed A Midsummer Night’s Dream then Mike Schilling reviewed Façade in the second.
Season of Mists recaps here: Jaybird reviewed the first two in this post. Jason Tank reviewed the next two here. Boegiboe reviewed the next two after that here and here. Ken reviewed the final two here.
Fables and Reflections recaps here: Ken and Jaybird reviewed the preview plus the first two issues here. Mike Schilling and Jaybird did the next two issues here. KatherineMW did the next issue here. Glyph, Ken, and Russell did the Sandman Special issues here.
Brief Lives recaps here: Jason Tank recapped Chapter 1 and Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 2 here. Reformed Republican recapped Chapter 3 and Jaybird recapped Chapter 4 here. Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 5 and Glyph recapped Chapter 6 here. Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 7 and Glyph recapped Chapter 8 here.
World’s End issues #51 (A Tale of Two Cities) and #52 (Cluracan’s Tale) reviewed here by Jason Tank and James K. Issues #53 (Hob’s Leviathan) and #54 (The Golden Boy) reviewed here by KatherineMW and Reformed Republican. Ken reviewed Issues #55 (Cerements) and #56 (“World’s End”) here.
The Kindly Ones recaps here: Mike Schilling recapped the Prologue to and Part One here. Glyph and Jaybird recapped parts two and three, respectively, here. Jason Tank recapped parts four and five here. Mike Schilling recapped issues six and seven here. Jaybird and Jason Tank tackled issues eight and nine here. Jaybird recapped ten and eleven here. Mike recapped twelve and thirteen here.
It’s very difficult to discuss this book without discussing the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that (if there were one after that, anyway.[/efn_note] If you want to discuss something with a major plot point: please rot13 it. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them.
We good? We good! Everybody who has done the reading, see you below!
I like this story. Honestly, I do. But if you make me review it , well, I have to look at it closely and show you all the problems I never noticed the first time through. Like, for instance, how this is a story about Destruction that tells us next to nothing about Destruction. Just little things like that.
“I had been having bad dreams,” she says. Freezing to death. Burning to death. The cancellation of Firefly. That sort of thing.
She gets an offer to sign her life away and start digging on a small peninsula off that large Italian island that isn’t Sicily. The peninsula is called San Rafael. (Perhaps it’s near Porto Rafael, near Palau, Sardinia? The sun seems to set over the water, which fits in with Porto Rafael’s location.) Oh, why not? Taking long air and sea voyages to drop my life and start anew? That’ll surely stop me from having bad dreams!
Ooh look, a future penny! (I wish they had gone with a more future future. In five years, that future will be the now.) Ooh look, Destruction and Delirium! (Even this story starts and ends with dreams, we do not see Dream. Small favors.)
Rachel and Stanley drink, and then they fuck. Rachel thinks of Destruction (that’s got to be a dangerous way to get off), Stanley thinks he’s someone else. (Flip two pages back and you can see
Stanley Glasses McHardbody checking out another well-endowed woman. That’s about all you get for character development with him. Or anyone, really.)
The next day, Big D helps Rachel pull a futuristic phone-type thing (futuristic for a future that didn’t have an iPhone, anyway) from the erect mound of the future… geez, there’s a lot of sex and death stuff in here, isn’t there? Especially when you consider sex is how you get more people for the future. Hope she doesn’t have a little glasses-wearing horndog growing in her belly.
Anyway, she hires him to help work the dig. There’s lots more foreshadowing, like an issue of Time with the caption “WAR!” (Must be an international edition.) Then she removes a glowing thing, which he immediately chucks a few kilometers into the sea before it blows. “A hunter-killer slug. Still live…. They’re like knives or clubs. The patterns are different, but the purpose of the object is obvious.” So, glowy things like to hunt and kill, but really just kill, because they suck at the hunting part, since being all glowy tends to give your position away, and they sorta suck at the kill part, since it took long enough to blow up. Maybe it just wanted to kill some fish? I dunno. I’m very snarky tonight, bear with me.
Big D doesn’t show up the next day, so she goes to talk to little D. The story takes place after Delirium’s inner voyage, and somehow the family has gotten word to Destruction to come look after her? And yet, no Barnabas to be seen. Ugh, there’s so much this story doesn’t tell us that would be so much more fascinating than what it is telling us! Oh, and the future-boner may or may not be the fault of either or both of the Endless there. And it’s just stuff that might be, which is why that thing didn’t look like an iPhone.
But the conversation with Delirium is fun enough, and she sends fireflies to light Rachel’s way home. On the way, she finds Big D, and he explains more about Del’s story instead of this one, and there’s some sexual tension that doesn’t go anywhere.
Next day, helicopters. God, I love the smell of napalm… sorry, wrong story. Nope, it’s government (or chemical company?) goons who want to bulldoze (oh, cool!) the erection so they can make weapons with it (oh, same old-same old, nevermind). She pulls some stunt about how a robot will send a story to slashdot if she doesn’t stop it that evening (which would naturally mean they should bug the web traffic from the tiny, isolated village and watch it until midnight, then swoop in and get her), so she manages to get away before the bastards blew it up, goddamn it they blew it up, damn them all to hell!
The papers say it was an earthquake or volcano or something, which is hilarious since Sardinia’s the only part of Italy that doesn’t get either of those things. But no one snatches her, and her dreams are now peaceful, because she doesn’t dream about destruction anymore, she just dreams about Destruction.
I have this feeling that Gaiman never really got a clear handle on Destruction as a character, except through interacting with Dream and Delirium, and this was the only way he could revisit that character.
This is not a story, really, more of a character sketch. Destiny is blind, and walks through his garden along paths that twist, turn, divide, and rejoin. (No metaphors here!) The garden contains statues of all seven Endless, though Destruction is facing away. His house has paintings of all seven, though Destruction’s is covered. Everyone follows the other six at times — by dreaming, desiring, destroying, etc — but you follow your destiny all the days of your life.
Destiny has a book, in which is written the histories of all things, living or otherwise. As he walks, he turns its pages, and the universe moves. One day the book will end, and Destiny will close it. And after that? No one knows.
1. Actually, Jason volunteered, and we were going to give him the photos back either way.