Tag Archives: Samuel R. Delany

A Game of You (Graphic Novel)

Author: Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, vol. 5

My rating: 4.5 of 5

WARNING: Mature Audience

Barbie used to be married to Ken, and now she lives in a New York apartment building next to her best friend Wanda who used to be a guy. Barbie is a princess traveling with her animal friends on a quest to save her kingdom from the evil Cuckoo. Both worlds are real . . . or maybe neither is? But as her two realities bleed into each other, Barbie finds herself locked in a fight for survival and depending on her friends in both her worlds.

A Game of You is definitely a trippy ride, perhaps the most trippy of any of the Sandman books I’ve read so far. Which isn’t to say that it’s not good; it most certainly is. It’s just that describing or defining it presents a share of challenges. For one thing, this whole volume deals with a lot of symbolic significance that I am wholly unqualified for (and uninterested in) discussing, so on that topic I’ll just say to read the preface by Samuel R. Delaney in the 2011 edition. It’s brilliant and really helpful in understanding a lot of the symbolism. But even if you don’t feel like delving into all that, A Game of You is just a great story, taken simply at face value. You’ve got interesting characters, an almost Alice in Wonderland sort of feel to parts, plots, magic, worlds ending, ancient promises being honored–with Morpheus watching over it from a godlike position. I can’t explain it properly, but this volume really feels like a Gaiman story in the best sense; the writing, the characters, all of it has the flavor and depth that I really love in his writing. As for the art, it still holds to a more traditional comic book art style, so I don’t exactly love that. Not that there’s anything wrong with that style; it’s just never been my preference. Having said that, the art is certainly well done, and the style works well with the storytelling, plus there’s some great use of coloring and lettering styles to emphasize the meanings in numerous places. Overall, A Game of You is an excellent addition to the Sandman stories, and I continue to look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Covers & Design by Dave McKean/Illustrated by Shawn McManus, Colleen Doran, Bryan Talbot, George Pratt, Stan Woch, & Dick Giordano/Colored by Danny Vozzo/Lettered by Todd Klein/Introduced by Samuel R. Delany

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Unnatural Creatures

Editors: Neil Gaiman & Maria Dahvana Headley

Authors: Gahan Wilson, E. Lily Yu, Frank R. Stockton, Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, Saki, Edith Nesbit, Maria Dahvana Headley, Larry Niven, Samuel R. Delany, Megan Kurashige, Anthony Boucher, Nalo Hopkinson, Avram Davidson, & Peter S. Beagle

Illustrator: Briony Morrow-Cribbs

Griffins and mermaids and werewolves, oh my! You never know what sorts of unusual beings you’ll run into in this wonderful short story collection. Unnatural Creatures is a masterfully selected volume of stories about, well, unnatural creatures. It contains a nice mix of old favorites such as The Griffin and the Minor Canon and The Sunbird as well as a variety of stories and authors that were completely new to me, including a few that were original to this volume. Regardless of familiarity, I found all of the stories to be tasteful, inventive, and illuminating. Plus, some of them were just plain fun! I definitely recommend this collection, especially to anyone who likes fantasy short stories.

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