Friday, 20 December 2013
"The Dream of a Thousand Cats"
"A Midsummer Night's Dream"
"Three Septembers and a January"
"The Parliament of Rooks"
I get this now - more than I did before. These are three groups of single issue short stories. Thus, "Calliope" was originally published as no 17 of Neil Gaiman's monthly comic book, The Sandman, but also as the first of four issues sub-titled Dream Country, and so on. These four stories were collected under their collective title as what became Volume 3 of a series of Sandman graphic books as opposed to monthly periodicals. Thus, the title Dream Country had pre-existed the volume of that title.
Distant Mirrors and Convergence could each likewise have been collected as a single volume of the same title but instead these seven stories were incorporated into Volume 6, Fables And Reflections, together with a Sandman Special and a shorter story from an anthology, thus making Volume 6 considerably more voluminous than Volume 3.
Of the Dream Country stories, two feature the word "Dream" in their titles and the fourth discloses that:
"...mythologies take longer to die than people believe. They linger on in a kind of dream country that affects all [human beings]." - Neil Gaiman, Dream Country (New York, 1995), p. 109.
The Distant Mirrors stories are overtly connected by their titles and, when read, by the kind of historical figures on which they focus. Set in the past, they are relevant to the present, hence their collective title. Another Sandman story about a ruler is "The Golden Boy" in Volume 8, Worlds' End, but its US President is fictitional, not historical.
In the Convergence sequence, characters come together to tell stories although in very different settings. The second and third of the stories reveal that Morpheus has a new girl friend in the Dreaming and thus prepare the reader for the beginning of Volume 7, Brief Lives.