Thursday, 27 August 2015

Parallel Fictions

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman fantasy graphic novels reveal that William Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest for Dream of the Endless, one of seven anthropomorphic personifications of aspects of consciousness. Poul Anderson's alternative history fantasy novel, A Midsummer Tempest, is a sequel to both.

In The Sandman, characters from different universes shelter in the Inn of the Worlds' End during a reality storm caused by the death of Dream. In A Midsummer Tempest, characters from different alternative histories meet in the Old Phoenix Inn between universes. Odin is a character in The Sandman as in three fantasy novels by Anderson.

The Sandman is like Anderson's Time Patrol series in that many of its installments are set in past periods and may feature historical figures. Gaiman has Augustus and Harun al Rashid among others while Anderson has Cyrus and Hiram among others. Gaiman also hints at time travel which does occur elsewhere in the fictional universe to which he contributes.

This explains why reading Anderson reminds me of Gaiman and vice versa.

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