The third book of the Sandman collection is a series of four short comic book stories. What's remarkable here (considering the publisher and the time that this was originally published) is that the main character of the book--the Sandman, King of Dreams--serves only as a minor character in each of these otherwise unrelated stories. (Actually, he's not even in the last story.) This signaled a couple of important things in the development of what is considered one of the great comics of the second half of the century. First, it marked a distinct move away from the horror genre and into a more fantasy-rich, classical mythology-laden environment. And secondly, it solidly cemented Neil Gaiman as a storyteller. One of the stories here, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," took home the World Fantasy Award for best short story--the first time a comic was given that honor. But for my money, another story in Dream Country has it beat hands down. "A Dream of a Thousand Cats" has such hope, beauty, and good old-fashioned chills that rereading it becomes a welcome pleasure.
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