early notes on intro to entrepreneurship

Capitalising on:

1. Unexpected Success

2. Unexpected Failure

3. Unexpected Outside Events

So my big idea is to find a solution to my design problem. I have a design idea but it has no form. The design is a 36-page document describing a narrative for an interactive house.

1. I have recently tested my knowledge-base against others in my field and I found I had proficiency in python, which I’ve only recently started learning. This could be called an unexpected success. This success has motivated me to continue learning python and to also learn Unity, Twine and others.

2. I also found that I had novice-level knowledge in both Adobe Photoshop and Javascript, both of which I’ve spent some time with. In fact, I took a course in Photoshop and have been using it to create cartoon artworks for the past five years. From this I have decided to train up in Photoshop, technical drawing and Javascript. And to also study product design and science.

3. I don’t see many opportunities in outside events. Climate change and the boost in sustainable design? The wane in crowdfunding as people begin to realise how saturated the market is? The recent increase in awareness and positive messages about mental illness? The fact that one of the people I look up to as a person of authority in the literature field (a usually conservative organisation) has come out as transgender?

And even if any of these things are significant – in what way could I capitalise on these opportunities and also how would that affect my entrepreneurial focus, or would it at all?

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I learned a new word today…

Incongruity


The relevant use of this term in business is something that just doesn’t make sense.

1. Economics

I feel we’re pretty lucky in New Zealand, that though the world economy is fraught with problems, many of our economical institutions and constructs seem to work. Which poses a dilhemma for me, because without a problem to seek a solution to, how do you discover opportunity? The only thing I can think of that might be relevant is WINZ – RealMe login allows you to keep on top of most things going on with your benefit (I think there is a similar system for student living costs.) But what if your situation but not your finances change and as a user you need to talk to somebody? You have to either sit on hold listening to Tim Finn for 3.5hrs or make an appointment, wait in the waiting room and hopefully eventually talk to a (usually very friendly, accommodating and helpful) advisor/case worker. The part that seems like most people ‘just get over it’ is as a user the experience is terrible. Why is it allowed to stay like that? Because just like students at a horrible factory-for-beneficiaries (emulating the prison system) high school or most Ivy League colleges in North America – the institutions have forgotten that they are there to serve the user not the other way around. The government pays them to help us. They are not the ones giving us money (we are users, not inmates) – but that’s how they perceive the system and as the result of an indirect contamination (like a virus) – as do we.

2. Reality

Okay so my industry is writing and design. This is my reality. What problems come from my reality? 2.1 Access to research material, 2.2 Online distractions – while simultaneously requiring the consistent access to the internet – for research, for backing up documents, for writing this blog, answering crucial emails and messages. 2.3 Staying motivated to keep writing every day without a human being who understands my process reminding me and consistently inspiring me – like McKee’s book did or like my tutors in all years of the college where I earned my creative writing degree and all of my tutors at my first college in Television, Theatre and Radio. This is more interesting to me – I see alot of problems that could be opportunities for innovation. But a solution needs to be simple and invent-able using existing technology.

3. Values

I hear this alot. If you come up with an innovation and you haven’t talked to your target market, you are cutting yourself off at the knees, because you don’t know what your user wants. On the other hand as a writer, I am my user. As an artist I don’t pander to my audience – because that’s the first caveat in the creator’s code. This paradox could itself be a problem i.e. an opportunity.

4. Rhythm

Here, I’m reminded of my first section – economics. Daily/weekly/monthly life rhythms are interrupted by things that we tend to bear the attitude of ‘just get over it’. It’s part of life and we accept that there are things that we don’t like, but who are we to change them? Well, we are the innovators, so we are exactly the correct people who should be charged with changing them. So what rhythms in my life are interrupted? The business of other people walking in and out of my life – this is a distraction as much as it is a positive one. ‘Just get over it’. Okay, fine. But what if I don’t. What if I come up with a simple solution using existing technology that allows me to stay connected and close with my people, yet still have enough time devoted to focus on quality writing and design, without demanding that my others accept (which they would never do, and I would never ask) my routine? What if there was a solution that would solve this perfectly? My first thought is a man shed. My second thought is a tiny home in a foreign city or a town in the mountains (or a cabin in the woods – not a Drew Goddard one.) My third thought is something like the Saent (google it, a crowd-funded system for turning off distractions on the computer. Apparently it works, but I found the software-version far too simplistic.)

I think that one thing will happen alot when attempting to innovate; the problem you are trying to solve has already been solved. But perhaps it isn’t as effective as you think you could make it, maybe you could create an improvement. Or just move on to the next problem.

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My first meme – thoughts?

myfirstmeme.jpgHere’s how I see this going down

Captain Atom dematerialises Mr Gone and the JSA except for Spectre who is impenetrable and he forgets to dematerialise Nny because Nny is just lucky that way. He doesn’t bother to dematerialise Curse of Spawn, because he can rematerialise anyway and is already dead – Cap knows this.

Mr Gone is now dead along with most of the JSA sorry Alan (the first Green Lantern) – you didn’t see it coming. Nny tries to kill Captain Atom – but as we all know he’s pretty unkillable, he stuns Nny knocking him unconcsious, and again forgets to kill him.

Eddie and Rick get drunk and fart. Rick pops out for a wank.

Eddie punches Spawn in the head, which makes him angry, but before he can kill Eddie, Dr Strange pauses time. I would love to see the two Doctors go at it, but Dr Fate isn’t impenetrable so Cap would oust him at the first opportunity, like I said.

 

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super meat boy – level 1

Level One

I got through the main stages of level 1 – forest, quite easily. Once I got to the boss stage, I found frustration. I gave up for a while. Recently I had another hardcore attempt at beating it. I succeeded but it took me two hours. I found that while earlier I had thought that there is only one solution to each problem. That is, in fact, not the case. There is a swinging saw x 3 construct where you wait for the right time and then you run back and forth, then full on through them, without dying. But in fact you can combine the right time with jumping over the last saw and if you do it this way then you don’t have to be quite so precise about the timing.

I found that there are some tricky bits toward the end of the stage that are not so difficult, it’s just that you have only a second to decide how to approach them and because they are so far towards the end of the stage, you will have experienced these problems very little. Whereas the earlier problems will be by now like second nature. Except that fatigue sets in and you keep making stupid mistakes, which gets you killed repeatedly at the early, easy obstacles.

I find Ed McMillen’s design to be deliciously precise and particular, which may seem a bit formulaic at first, but I think it’s more that he pays attention to structure with this game. It’s not less artful. And I think structure and style, with substance, can make a game like this shine. There is quite obviously attention paid to style – and it’s unique. The substance comes through in the modern approach, the older target audience and the precision and difficulty level of the game’s many and interesting obstacles. Most stylish in this game are the character design, the quirky gore aspect, and the fun, slightly edgy graphics (not quite as edgy as some of McMillen’s earlier works, or even as what came later – The Binding of Isaac.)

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2 poems

Lips

Nothing out here is colourful.

The fluffy brown stuff,

On the brick steps, is just that.

I shouldn’t let this place get me down.

The wood is just wood,

A tree is just a tree.

The rocks show no faces,

I am my enemy.

We were there together.

An end without a tail,

No stories of her,

Just turns of the hand of a clock,

And lying in each other’s arms.

Fair Prey

Minds at rest, children’s,
These prowl the night, and find the Beast to torment.
Rays of dark upon my ear, ripping my mind to shreds.
The Beast is in sight, the scavengers’ screams of hunger, I hear.
Lines of dead souls, ripped out from their faithful bodies and strewn on the ground.
To never foresee minds coming,
To never again feel their master’s scent of justice and ego-testicleness
in their bones.
For, what would you have me say,
Or do, to you,
Fair prey?

 

see more here

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a day in the life (this is fiction)

My day has two beginnings. I wake up, firstly at 9am. Get out of bed, walk down the hall and into the kitchen to take my pills. I never remember doing this, but I always do it. It’s an automatic routine now.

Then I return to bed and wake again at about 11am. I collect my daily diet soda (zero sugar as I’m prediabetic) and arrange myself in my study. I set up my laptop on my desk and start checking emails, website inboxes, facebook comments, twitter notifications. Respond to anything interesting.
Update my goals on the goal tracking website and check in with my habit tracker. You can list 7 habits that you want to start. Then you can tick off every day that you’ve done it. The idea is to keep tracking these tasks, and improving your follow-through until they become habits. You can rank them by priority, high, medium or low. And set up how many days of the week you want to do them.
Then an algorithm assigns points to each habit. Your total points for the week should be 80 or above – is the goal, I’m normally about 45. If I do achieve 80-100 (100 is 100% of habits achieved) I’ve decided to give myself a reward.
Rewards are difficult for me, I love my work (though still not really even part time and very low pay) and part of my work is appreciating entertainment which is also my leisure. So a reward that has nothing to do with work is hard for me to come up with.
A few ideas I had were a special meal at my favourite café – waffles, 2 strawberry thick-shakes and a gelato. I couldn’t do that more than once a month because I have to keep my sugar low. But I was going to do that anyway.
Another idea was to watch a tv marathon for a day, or half a day. But I already watch at least a movie each day.
One more idea was to go to my local department store and spend $20 on 2nd hand dvds or games, but that could get pretty expensive and I already have a lot of regular weekly expenses. So I’m a bit stuck for rewards.
And although B. F. Skinner will be rolling in his grave (he created the positive reinforcement system and was very against punishment) – I’m thinking maybe I should punish myself for not being above 80% achievement.
After I’ve done all that, keeping in mind I’m still slowly waking up and I haven’t left the house in at least six days. And I have paranoid delusions which I’d like not to go too far into detail about, except to say that I have them and it’s about this time that they are the most difficult.
After all that, I usually watch some television. I know I should read a book or something, something intellectual rather than ‘opium for the masses’, but there are some pretty good shows out there and though I’ll not say it relaxes me, I feel it at least distracts me for a while.
It’s now 5pm. For some, most of the day is wasted. For me, I’m just waking up, getting energised. So I talk to my family and at 6pm on the dot, I take a long walk. Shower and hopefully clean teeth later, I take two hours for the delusions again, or distract myself with the internet.
At 9pm I begin my work. The first hour is for 350 words of my young adult novel. In the second hour I either work on rewrites (currently 20pgs each day on my script for a graphic novel.) Otherwise I write 2pgs of each of two screenplays. With the goal of finishing 2 screenplays (or equal sized manuscript – stage plays, video game storylines) every 3 months; so I’ll aim to have 11 manuscripts completed by this time next year.
Next year will be a year for promotion and distribution, I’ll just research, submit and prepare documents for submission – I’ll still write, but I’ll take a lot of would-be writing time to try and get my work out there. For the final hour I write 3pgs of a short story.
It’s now midnight, I’m a bit tired but not as lethargic as the morning. So I devote an hour and a half to reading 15pgs each of two textbooks on computer programming, animation or adobe software. I self-study and my favourite way to learn is a combination of reading books and trying stuff out on the computer.
I’m also learning 2d digital painting, one day I’d like to sell some of my works, maybe on t-shirts. I have this one piece I did called The Evolution of Derek. Derek is a character in my graphic novel.
The first sketch I did, (before the graphic novel was even conceptualised and some of the story was based on the ideas within the sketches themselves – rather than the other way around,) was terrible, but I liked bits and pieces of it, so I redrew it keeping and elaborating on those pieces. Eventually I settled on a character and spent several hours in Photoshop evolving him, colouring him digitally and stretching/filters until I was happy.
Lots of people think he is very disturbing, but he’s just a face, a face I created. The Evolution of Derek is milestone sketches representing each stage of Derek’s evolution as a character, with a large image at the end, of the final design.
I have to go to bed before 2:30am, because I get up around 11am-12:30pm – and if I don’t get around ten hours of sleep I’m a zombie who behaves a bit like a heroin addict.
That’s my day and I have one more thing to say. I take my pills before bed. This is my least favourite time of day because I worry. I worry constantly until I fall asleep. And before I do, I get up several times for drinks of milk and 3 hot cheese sandwiches. I worry about the closest people to me and how the consequences of my choices and behaviour has affected them. Apparently they worry all the time about me, but I can’t think why. Sometimes I cry for about an hour before falling asleep.
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Excerpts from a Critique of My Stage Play – which I’m rewriting as a feature film screenplay

“Okay, he is an intellectual risk taker, no doubt about it. He deliberately defies the format requested for this feature-length film script assignment and writes outside the square. He’s a rebellious writer, anarchistic and defiant to the end. So, what’s the central question raised by this work? What exactly is the point of his piece? Honestly, I’m not sure if I can answer that within this assessment. This ‘script’ reads like a sharply observed, fiercely intelligent, densely layered, yet arguably barely cohesive thesis. The very premise (audacious as it is) on which he bases this piece of writing, is arguable. It felt like an emotionally charged, philosophical discussion in the extreme, about the crafting of storytelling through film ‘script writing’ to be precise. It reads like his bleakly humoured, self-aggrandizing intellectual critique on the foundations and processes of scriptwriting itself. The piece starts in BLACK (funny that). He has written in a richly layered prose-like style, in the present tense, mostly third person, with characters and sporadically, with dialogue. Up until ‘Dystopia’ I follow these internalised monologues with their basic storylines as I would read prose. His descriptive language is vivid and complex. His novel contains morbidly precise, detailed action with some sequences (the orang-utan and the red monkey get the most action in the first part). His perfectly formatted short film script contained at the end of the whole piece, ironically titled ‘Dystopia’ is a kind of philosophical argument about why we could never attain Utopia (n- imaginary place with perfect social and political system, Oxford Concise). And he gives us Adam Bennett, a central protagonist with whom we struggle to empathise, as well as a host of other characters including, rather humorously, the unfortunate Mr Desmond (Des) Harper, the script writing teacher whom Adam dislikes and has an uneasy and competitive alpha male relationship with. Anti-narrative and non-linear as it is, whether the writer likes it or not (and I suspect it would be deliberate) there’s even a sense of three acts to this piece as a whole, or am I unconsciously reading these acts into his writing because I just can’t help myself? The work also brought to mind Linklater’s (2001) ‘Waking Life’, the animated drama fantasy where “a man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meaning and purpose of life and the universe.” (Internet Movie Database, 2010) Except that Adam shuffles through his consciousness discussing the meaning and purpose of scriptwriting. Trawling through these densely layered and often contradictory epiphanies that take you ultimately “nowhere” (because that was the “point” of Adam’s “hero’s journey”) was a pain in the cerebral butt and I truly felt like having a stiff whiskey afterwards. On the one hand, he is a very clever, erudite and acerbic writer, using his own life as a template for this philosophical discussion about filmmaking. On the other hand there is a certain smugness that comes with his voice that tends to alienate the reader, a kind of intellectual snobbery that the writer thinly veils behind his character Adam. And his overall tone is misanthropic. This forces us ask the obvious question; “Why the obscurity? Why alienate your reader/audience to the point of confusion or frustration?” Isn’t storytelling ultimately about communication? Isn’t it ultimately about passing on concepts and knowledge in some kind of entertaining way? ‘No!’ Adam might cry, ‘Not at all.’ This also brings us back to (arguably) the central question inherent within this story that drives our obsessive central character: Will Adam finally achieve his dream and write his iconoclastic and revolutionary novel about filmmaking? Who knows…?”

I think she pretty much hit the nail on the head. In my next draft, the material I am adapting back to the screenplay format. And I am addressing some of her concerns, while still keeping to the soul of the original piece.
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Nightwatch (the watch trilogy: book one) By Sergei Lukyanenko

Originally Published in Another Language (Russian)

Others, they walk among us. Others are magicians, sorcerers, shape-shifters, demons. Those who use magic. Who see the twilight. Who have great power, power that allows them to live a life beyond what we know as ordinary. They serve the dark, or the light – or they have yet to decide their own destiny. Eventually their choices in life will decide for them.

On each side, there is a policing faction – called The Watch. The Night Watch are light Others, who police the dark Others at night. And the Day Watch are dark Others, policing the Light at day.
Our protagonist is a light other, a mid-level magician and member of the Night Watch. Inside all of this magic, war and power is a very complicated mystery/spy story – told in almost a detective novel style.
Lukyanenko has created a quite unique magical hierarchy and world; with some fascinating characters – lovers, pawns, heroes and leaders of the revolution/rebellion/domination. He provides us with a story about a man, who has chosen his path, but doesn’t quite know what to do with it – Anton. 
We are seeing the war between light and dark from the point of view of mere pawns in the struggle; after a treaty has been signed long ago – an agreement between both sides to obey a permanent order of laws. These laws dictate that without permission, without bureaucratic means, no action can be taken by either side which affects ordinary lives (outside of what is allowed) – if this happens, the Watch will hold the accused accountable. These laws are strict, and for the guilty, punishment is almost always permanent death. (Death is different for Others, for example some Others are vampires who do not ordinarily die. A permanent death would be for some, disintegration. For others, lost in the Twilight. Decided on a case by case basis.)
The Twilight is a way of seeing that is only available to Others, but it is also a physical anomaly. The twilight has many layers; the deeper you get, the more likely you will die before you can get out. The first layer of twilight basically allows you to see the magical appearance over the physical appearance of the world. Greater magicians have more skill at getting down deep into the twilight. And the Twilight behaves the same and is the same and one thing to both light and dark. However, when one is in the twilight, one’s true self is visible to others who are also in the twilight within viewing distance.
The magic in this story is thoroughly designed and examined. Curses, arrangements between dark and light, the struggle for one’s destiny, the struggle to be a good person, the responsibility of being a watchman, all of these are really interesting concepts, and beautifully conceived, carefully revealed.

But the tightest line of this story is one man, his lover and his job – all directed towards trying to do what he thinks is right, and solve the mystery; the conspiracy by the greatest magicians in the world; The leader of the dark ones, Zabulon and the leader of the light, Gesar.
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Speaker for the Dead (Beyond Ender Series) by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead is the first book in the Beyond Ender series, but it is also a standalone sequel to the Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction epic novel, Ender’s Game. Speaker also won both Hugo and Nebula awards.
Ender’s Game was about Andrew Wiggin, a gifted young boy, whose mind was his greatest asset. Because he was the third child, under government enforced breeding restrictions – if he was suitable as a soldier, the government could take him from his family to a place in Space called Battle School where he would be trained to fight, to lead, to command – against the aliens called Buggers who when first discovered, attacked and killed many humans years before.
The Buggers were defeated by luck and one hero – Mazer Rackham, during the First Invasion. It was expected that they would come back, and Earth needed to be ready. So Andrew, Ender – a nickname his sister, Valentine gave him when they were kids, was trained to become a brutal weapon against the aliens, to prepare for the Second Invasion. What he didn’t know is that the games he played in Command School were actual battles taking place via ansible (like faster than light speed internet.)
He destroyed the buggers, won the war and blew up their home planet in the first book.
But the more he learned about the buggers, the more he realised that this war was a mistake and that he loved the buggers. So he wrote a book which began a religion – Speakers for the Dead – who talk about the lives, choices and desires of those who died, in order to fully understand and love those who have died. His book enabled the world to love the buggers, and as a result they hated Ender, calling his war, Xenocide.
The original Speaker for the Dead, Andrew Wiggin is also Ender, but nobody knows this. The discovery of the ansible was mostly accident, it was something called philotic strands that the buggers used and left behind when they were defeated and killed. The humans don’t know how it works, but are able to use this scientific discovery to provide instantaneous communication via ansible and also faster than light travel using the same technology, but it is expensive. Andrew is rich, though and he has powerful friends. Now an outcast, he travels the Universe speaking for the dead – and, unknown to the rest of the world, looking for a place to hide the cocoon of the last bugger queen, so she can be reborn.
History is about to repeat. The first discovery of an alien species since the buggers, has come about on Lusitania; a planet under Catholic licence. But some scientists were tortured to death by this new alien species – Pequeninos, called the Piggies. And people are starting to hate again, war will come.
So Andrew decides to go there to learn to love the Piggies and save them. And perhaps this will be a place where he can save the Buggers as well. But Andrew’s main reason for visiting Lusitania is a young girl, Novinha. She will be middle-aged by the time he gets there in 2 weeks – due to relativistic travel. Her parents were killed while discovering the cure to a plague which almost wiped out Lusitania’s people years before. There is sadness, and suffering in her face. Andrew loves her, and he wants to go to her, to try and save her also. And perhaps earn redemption for the Xenocide.
Speaker for the Dead is about religion, redemption, anthropology, history, war, politics, love, betrayal, suffering, technology, aliens, and family.
Ender’s Game was about a brilliant tactician who is also a young boy, who lives a life that is more vicious and violent than most grown men live. And he does this because he is Earth’s only hope to survive.

Speaker for the Dead undoes everything that Ender’s Game creates, and yet takes nothing away from the power of the first book. These and all books in the Ender series and Beyond Ender series can be read in any order, and are each standalone stories. My advice is to read in this order: Speaker for the Dead, Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, Xenocide, Children of the Mind.
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adminSpeaker for the Dead (Beyond Ender Series) by Orson Scott Card
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Graphic Novel – The Sandman: vol. 1, Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

I am new to Neil Gaiman and to the hit graphic novel series The Sandman. Although I am familiar with the character who inspired the series (The Sandman from DC comics’ Justice Society of America – the very first superhuman team, preceding the great and wonderful Justice League of America and written in the same world. In fact some of the JSA characters have stuck around long enough to enjoy small roles in Justice League stories and a few characters like Michael Holt aka the second Mr Terrific and Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern as well as Dr Fate – were gifted with major roles in other DC properties such as Checkmate and Justice League International) and I have wanted to read Gaiman and his Sandman ever since I first learned of his works when he wrote a book called Good Omens (which I didn’t read) with Terry Pratchett.
All of my friends and associates would rave about Gaiman and assured me I would love his work, based on what they already knew about my tastes. I didn’t doubt them, I simply never found myself in a situation where I could read his work. Until now; I paid my fifty cents and borrowed the first volume of The Sandman from my local library. I was excited, despite myself. This was a challenge, this was a new experience, here was a new author, here was a story that most people thought was good and the people who thought so were my kind of people as well.
You want to know if I liked it? Well, I will let you off the hook, I did and then some. But I want to express and explain to you what finally discovering Neil Gaiman’s most famous work was like for me as an experience. There are some books that are incredibly easy to read, entertaining, funny and you consume by the truckload – I would think of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels as an example. Other books are thick with a unique kind of language, not so easy to read, but rewarding and massive depth to the stories – Greg Egan’s novels come to mind. Then there are books that you laugh and grin evilly because you know the secret, you’re almost too excited to read, that you readjust yourself and jump in your seat – you have realised that this is a wonderful author who is doing something new and exciting with his stories and you are actually in a love affair with his work. I feel this way about Orson Scott’s Card’s Ender’s Saga and Beyond Ender’s Saga – and I felt this way when I finished reading the first volume of Gaiman’s Sandman – he calls it Preludes and Nocturnes.
This graphic novel is a collection of the first few single issue comic books in the series; it also comes with a forward written by Sandman’s original publisher, Karen Berger. I feel it is essential that violence be innovative. Here, the violence, if not particularly shocking, is inventive, interesting, guided by the story and necessary. The bad guys are intriguing, but not yet scary. I think there is room for improvement – which hopefully happens in the books that follow in this series. According to Berger, this first volume is only the beginning, so I certainly look forward to more.
A group of inept magicians cast an incantation to attempt to summon and bind Death. However, instead they receive our title character, Dream; the sandman. Despite the fact that this was a mistake, they decide their only option is to keep him imprisoned until he agrees to grant them power and promises to not seek revenge. He waits them out. Dream can wait a long time. He is one of the endless; one of the few elite characters in the story of the Universe, who never die; immortals whose responsibility is to curate life. To each keep their tasks in order, to maintain existence as it has always been. Without these immortals there would be no life, only chaos.
Upon trapping dream, the magicians also steal his toys; artefacts which he has filled with some of his power in order to use them as tools in his craft. Because he has used them in this way, the artefacts are magical.
Dream stays imprisoned for a very long time. His captors grow old and die, his toys are stolen, lost, scattered. Eventually we realise that the Sandman is not simply an antagonist, or a voice for the story, but is the central character. And that, people who choose to mess with the structure of reality, effect consequences which are felt by all mankind; that summoning Dream with the ambition to trap Death and earn power is about the most selfish act one could take. Dream is more fearsome than the Grim Reaper, yet he is simply trying to put things back as they should be. The punishment for those involved will be harsh, but deserved. The Sandman’s power is unequalled, but he has been down there a long time, weakened, starving, forced into an absence of action/reaction. It won’t be forever and he is patient.
Dream’s powers are hinted at for a while, eventually we get to see what he can do and this does not disappoint. One of the coolest things about the writing of this story is finally getting to see the Sandman unleash his powers on people; to see how absolute power (but only over dreams) can be used. The Sandman’s most useful skill is in fact his cleverness; his smarts are like those of a chess player. Yes, he is a very powerful character, but sometimes he is weakened, or his power is compromised for one reason or another. It’s due to his intense cleverness that he is able to negotiate the problems he tackles and always come out on top, when he does use his powers (we get to see the innovative ways he can slay or punish) it is the flexibility and ingenuity of his mind that make him so powerful, not simply that he has absolute power over dream (also he is not always at full power; sometimes he is vulnerable.)
The characters are the most dazzling element of this graphic novel. I didn’t expect the Sandman to be such an interesting character; deep, complex, cool yet vulnerable, powerful yet humble. The story is a bit straight forward; mostly concerned with the binding/kidnapping of the Sandman and the effects of that on the world, of when he gets free – punishing his captors and finding his toys. But the way these scenes and sequences are written is fantastic.
One of my favourite scenes is when Dream is forced to visit Hell to reclaim a toy that was gifted by a man to a demon. So Dream has to mind-fight the demon which is a really cool sequence; again some great characters in Hell – the demon, Lucifer, and the rest of the triumvirate. I love to see Dream using the power of dreams in creative ways; one time he punishes the descendant of his captor with ‘eternal waking’; which is when you think you’re awake then you wake up – nightmares within nightmares; in my opinion his creative choice of punishment is probably one of the worst punishments anyone could have dealt.
A central character to the sequence about cleaning up the mess that formed in Dream’s absence, started out as a comic book villain in the DC world, but is recreated here as a horror villain. He is really interesting. His origin story and the scene where he escapes Arkham Asylum are really cool, but the peak of his storyline is probably when he manipulates a scene like something out of Stephen King, where regulars in a café begin behaving like morally bankrupt lost souls and sex, violence and death ensues.

Overall, I think the writing is excellent, very imaginative and original but also thorough and clever. I think the story is good as a setup, though not the most original concept or structure. I think the art is very effective in creating the tone to match Gaiman’s story, but not mind-blowingly artful. I think the characters are the strongest element in this book – and the cleverness, or otherwise effectiveness of these characters is due to great writing. This book is highly re-readable and I’m very excited about reading more of this series.
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adminGraphic Novel – The Sandman: vol. 1, Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
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