GN 12. The Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Steve Erickson and Kelley Jones. 160 p. Published September 1991.
The third volume of Sandman focuses on the world. But more specifically, it involves the role of dreams, and Morpheus’ place as a force of existence. The first story, Calliope, centers on an author so starved for material that he captures a muse – a mystical spirit of inspiration. The muse, named Calliope, was once kindred to Morpheus, and calls upon his newly developed morality to aid in her bid for freedom.
The second story, A Dream of a Thousand Cats, presents an alternate view of our reality. A kitten undergoes a nighttime pilgrimage to hear a tale. A tale of loss so devastating that it drove the storyteller into Dreamland seeking a means of making sense of the world. There the cat meets Morpheus and learns a truth that sparks a movement among felines to turn the destiny of their species – and the world – away from mankind.
Yet another tale, Facade, involves a female Metemorpho whose transformation has kept her from entering society. Wishing for her own end, she is visited by Death, Morpheus’s older sister, who brings revelation and clarity to this characters destiny.
The third tale in Dream Country, tying into our challenge, is entitled A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This tale focuses on Shakespeare, who met Dream in the last volume The Doll’s House, and engaged in a deal with him. We now find out what part of the deal was, as Morpheus’s patronage has Shakespeare producing the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Led into the middle of the countryside, Shakespeare’s troupe of actors find themselves preforming before an audience like no other – for Morpheus has taken the opportunity to gather his friends the Faerie, who rarely find themselves in the mortal realm. Entertained by a parody of their own existence, Faerie meddling changes the production into something truly magical.
This third volume of The Sandman begins to describe the “normal” existence of Morpheus. While the last two volumes were singularly set on repairing the damage caused by Dream’s absence, Dream Country brings the reader a different vision. Here we begin to see Morpheus as he truly is – as a focussed reflection of those who step into his realm. Interacting with man, animal, and Faerie, Dream provides each with that they truly require to maintain a balanced existence.
Rating: 4 out of 5