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For those of you unfortunate enough enver to have encountered Neil Gaiman, or his creation The Sandman, here are some things you need to know.
Neil Gaiman is an author who works not only in novel and short story form, but also in the graphic novel genre. He's one of the key players in transforming this into a 'serious' genre rather than just comic book. 'Sandman' was a comic series that was re-released as graphic novels. While it helps in terms of understanding characters and plots to read these in order, they do stand alone reasonably. 'World's End' is quite late on in the series, and to be honest, it isn't a good place to start - the book is full of allusions, and you'll only really understand what's going on if you can get the many refernces.
At points in time, across many worlds, where there is crisis, there exists a pub. Two travellers from our world, Brant and Charelene, are driving long distance when they get caught up in a dreadful storm and find themselves at the inn. It's clar as soon as they step through the door that this si no ordinary place - some of the clientel look like mythicial beings, some are in period costume, some are well, strange doesn't begin to cover it.
Huddled in the inn are beings who have all walked out of storms and into this place of refuge. They don't know when the storm might end, or what it emans. To pass the time, they tell each other stories.
The book is largely concerned with the tales told in the inn - a boy called President, who was resident of a different America, a girl who dressed up as a bnoy, went to see and had strange encounters, and a few familair faces. Enthusiasts will recognise Cluracon the faerie, and a certain Mr Gadding. Fans will recognise the Endless as they crop up in various guises in different tales. The tales are good, they're interesting, protraying strange worlds and peoples. There's a fair few new faces, all fo them excellent.
Behind all the little stories, is the answer to the storm, the reason that there's so much chaos. It's there to be seen if you know what to look for, and in the final pages there's a big hint. I cry every time I read it. But if you haven't read any other Sandman comics it isn't going to make any sense at all.
I would recommend reading it in context, in the series. it youw ant to make a start, buy yourself a copy of 'Preludes and Nocturnes.' and enjoy! However, for people who are already fans, this is a must own (well, they all are really).