The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (The Sandman #1) (DNF)

Title: The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes
Series Title: The Sandman
Author: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Various
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: April 4, 2018
Date DNF: April 15, 2018
Reading Duration: 9 days
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror, Mythology

The Sandman: Preludes & NocturnesPages: 240
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 1989
Media: Paperback (Library)


New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.


I’d been wanting to read this for years, and since many of my friends love Neil Gaiman, it’s been recommended to me a number of times.  In theory the graphic novel has everything I love: mythology re-workings, old gods, darkness, horror, death rituals, releasing something ancient and seemingly evil, and sleeping all the time.  You know…my typical Saturday.  I actually couldn’t get into Gaiman’s writing when I first attempted either American Gods or Neverwhere years ago, but I really liked Stardust and absolutely loved The Ocean at the End of the Lanefinding after I read those, I was able to stomach AG more easily.  I think I just needed to get used to his style.  There’s also a novel illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, who was the concept artist for Final Fantasy.

Sandman illustrated by AmanoI think it was Amano more than anything that encouraged me to seek this series out, and I erroneously believed the artist illustrated the entirety of Sandman.  Had that been the case, I probably would’ve finished not only the first one, but read them all, despite my issues with the narrative.

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Gyo by Junji Ito (Gyo #1-2)

Title: Gyo
Series Title: Gyo
Author: Junji Ito
Date Added: September 14, 2017
Date Started: November 26, 2017
Date Finished: November 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Manga, Science Fiction, Horror

Gyo coverPages: 400
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: September 2003
Media: Hardback (Library)


Something is rotten in Okinawa… The floating smell of death hangs over the island. What is it? A strange, legged fish appears on the scene… So begins Tadashi and Kaori’s spiral into the horror and stench of the sea. Here is the creepiest masterpiece of horror manga ever from the creator of Uzumaki, Junji Ito. Hold your breath until all is revealed.


Gyo is creepy story about dead bodies that remain active even within a state of advanced decay due to strange machines that attach to their bodies, powered by the gases of putrefaction.

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Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender (Low #1) (DNF)

Title: Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope
Series Title: Low
Authors: Rick Remender
Artists: Greg Toccini & Dave McCaig
Date Added: September 4, 2017
Date Started: October 25, 2017
Date DNF: November 8, 2017
Reading Duration: 14 days
Genre: Science Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Graphic Novel

Low coverPages: 144
Publication Date: March 25, 2015
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback (Library)


Millennia ago, mankind fled the earth’s surface into the bottomless depths of the darkest oceans. Shielded from a merciless sun’s scorching radiation, the human race tried to stave off certain extinction by sending robotic probes far into the galaxy to search for a new home among the stars. Generations later, one family is about to be torn apart in a conflict that will usher in the final race to save humanity from a world beyond hope. Dive into an aquatic fantasy like none you’ve ever seen before, as writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Uncanny Avengers) and artist Greg Tocchini (Last Days of American Crime) bring you a tale mankind’s final hour in the cold, deathly dark of the sea.


Low is about the sun going super nova far sooner than expected, and humanity taking refuge beneath the waves, while sending probes out into space to search for a new home.  It has more of a Rapture (BioShock) vibe to it insofar as there’s a city under the sea as opposed to SOMA’s derelict facility horror.

Per Remender’s foreword, the author was inspired by our sun’s eventual violent death, which will scorch the Earth beyond recognition (if humanity hasn’t already), and how if we don’t discover a new home among the stars (or a way to stop it), our species will be rendered extinct.   While this time is billions of years away, it’s still a reminder that everything is temporary and nothing ever lasts: a recipe for nihilism if ever there was.  Of course the ephemeral qualities of the universe could imbue it with meaning for some, though when you recall the nature of memory and how there needs to be someone to remember, this argument falls apart.

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Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key #1)

Title: Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Series Title: Locke & Key
Author: Joe Hill
Illustrator: Gabriel Rodriguez
Date Added: September 28, 2016
Date Started: July 3, 2017
Date Finished: July 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 12 days
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural/Paranormal, Graphic Novel
Recommended By: Cupcakes and Machetes

Pages: 168
Publication Date: September 29, 2008
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Media: Paperback


Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

 This book had some big shoes to fill since the last graphic novel series I finished was Saga (and I’m still impatiently waiting for Volume 8 to come out in January).  Once I became used to the different art style though, I realized the excellent creepiness of the story.  The beginning is a bit confusing with how it jumps back and forth between the then and now, a very important distinction since the demarcation is a horrendously tragic event.  There’s some obfuscation on who the central character of the story is going to be, and though there’s a little bit of point of view switching, the protagonist is most decidedly Bode (whose name I’m not sure how to pronounce.  As is?  Boh-dee?) instead of his older brother who captures more of the focus at the beginning, but is much more of a minor character with Kinsey, the sister, filling a more important role in both the present and the past.

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The State of the Writer: 9/24/17

<–The State of the Writer: 9/17/17          The State of the Writer: 10/1/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include (but not be limited to) any and all work(s) in progress (WIPs) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, and reviews.  Additionally, this post will showcase what writing projects I’ve completed in the past week as a sort of weekly roundup, as I’ve seen other cooler bloggers do.

Finished This Week: 1

Project: Book Review
Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author:
Sarah J. Maas
Date Posted: September 21, 2017

I’ll hopefully be adding audio to this an my other book reviews soon.  I have one recorded for Gaslight Hades, but I need to edit it.  I’ll obviously have to figure out a schedule for doing this as well, but I will say the recording process is enjoyable.


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 260,329
Prior Word Count: 260,062
Word Difference: +267
Status: Editing/Planning Revision
Progress: First edit of Chapter 11

The above picture has pretty much been me for the past week, sipping coffee, taking notes…thinking, which is always a dangerous thing.  Even though I write fantasy, I’m actually quite a bit of a realist, which isn’t really that anathema.  Fantasy worlds are only fantasy to us; they’re quite real to their inhabitants, and one of the things that’s always made Final Fantasy VII stand out is how closely it aligns to our own world.  With taking place in an analogue for New York City, focusing on our abuse of the Earth/Planet, delving into bioethics and warfare, and the subtext of man’s hubris to name a paltry few.

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Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Saga #7)

Saga

<–Saga: Volume 6                                                                               Saga: Volume 8–>

*******Spoilers for all the volumes prior.*******

Title: Saga, Volume 7
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Started: June 24, 2017
Date Finished: July 2, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera, LGBTQ+

Pages: 152
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback


From the worldwide bestselling team of Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained Saga event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience.


Be warned, this volume of Saga is absolutely devastating.  When I reached the final pages, I just sat there, turning them with my mouth agape and tears streaming from my unblinking eyes.  Image and word combined into heartbreaking artistry, and I’m thankful the author promised the next volume will be more upbeat.  I don’t think I could take another story line like “The War for Phang.”

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Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Saga #6)

Saga

<–Saga: Volume 5                                                                               Saga: Volume 7–>

Title: Saga, Volume 6
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Started: June 17, 2017
Date Finished: June 22,, 2017
Reading Duration: 5 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera

Pages: 152
Publication Date: June 29, 2016
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback


After a dramatic time jump, the three-time Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series continues to evolve, as Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.


I think I’m going to do this review in bullet points and pretty much just copy and paste from my notes, because I’m lazy, and I just added two more books to my review pile.  So here goes:

  • Blue (Wreath’s tongue) is definitely a Romance language.  I can kind of understand what they’re saying.  Thank you junior high to college level French.
  • Hazel is combination of colors just like Hazel (Alana and Marko’s daughter) is a combination of worlds.  Also holy shit *spoiler* she has four wings. *end spoiler*
  • The two reporters, Doff and Upsher, actually did pick up that obscure Oswald quote Alana says on the Circuit when she can’t remember her lines.  Someone warned her that that might happen, and she completely brushes off and then gets high.
    • Speaking of the reporters, Doff (the green-skinned one) recognizes the similarities between Alana and Marko’s story and him and his partner, which is a double entendre because they’re gay, but homosexuality isn’t accepted on their planet Jetsam.  Upsher, though, is too caught up in getting the story and refuses to see it.  His argument is that them kissing won’t send shock waves through the universe like Alana and Marko’s relationship and offspring will, but he’s missing the point Doff is trying to make.  They all just want to live their lives free of persecution based on whom they love and whom their family is.
    • Upsher (blue) is also kind of an asshole.  Doff actually has a heart and cares more about others over just getting a story.
  • Only the royal robots have colored screens.  I didn’t notice this until a character mentioned it, but then I remembered that Dengo the janitor only had a black and white face.  Also at least the royals literally have blue blood.
  • Again this series kicks ass with its inclusion.  Petrichor (which refers to smell of rain) is a trans woman from Wreath who *spoiler* accidentally finds out Hazel’s secret. *end spoiler*  She (Petri) is someone who 100% understands having to keep certain parts of your body secret to protect yourself and possibly your family.  I think it’s an awesome parallel, though I’d love to hear a trans person’s perspective at some point.

If you’re not yet reading Saga, and you enjoy science fantasy, space opera with brilliantly written characters, amazing artwork, and a story that will both keep you on your toes and make you think, I’d highly suggest you buy or borrow it.  I’m lending my Volumes 3-7 to my friend next week, because no one should miss out on this story because they’re currently short of funds.

And so it goes on…

<–Saga: Volume 5                                                                               Saga: Volume 7–>

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