Build me up, then break me down. Why, Neil Gaiman? Because you excel at it. Here I was thinking the wheels were turning once again and there would be no more pointless side-ventures to distract us from reaching our destination, then out comes Worlds’ End, another of your short-story collections thinly disguised as being part of The Sandman series.
There was a certain novelty to that the first time around in Dream Country. I wasn’t yet bemoaning the whole idea of a breather, of filler, two words which aptly describe these particular volumes. Thus, I was more receptive to the stories and, at that point in time, to the series as a whole, the disappointments having yet to pile up.
With Fables and Reflections, though, I became instantly dubious of any other such installment, and Worlds’ End went to show why. This time, Gaiman barely even makes an effort to tie these stories into the lives of his characters. They’re the frame to this story, and that frame is rather thin and dinky, for lack of a better word.
So if, like me, you read The Sandman for its characters, and to see the plot move forward, little would be lost if you were to skip out on Worlds’ End and move onto the next volume. I’ve not yet read it myself, as my forced move back home to Butler left a pricey, hour-long bus ride between me and the final two volumes, the Butler library not carrying a single entry in the series, but I’m sure it’ll be refreshing when placed alongside these recent disappointments.
Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.