August 5 brought us the release of the highly anticipated series adaptation of one of visionary author Neil Gaiman’s most revolutionary creations: The Sandman. Based on his comic series of the same title, the Netflix show beautifully takes us into the carefully crafted world of Gaiman. As we meet Morpheus, the King of Dreams, and traverse the realm of The Dreaming, we learn so much about humanity and the importance of hope.
Gaiman and The Sandman team even treated us with a surprise two-part episode. But, while we wait for a season 2 announcement, you may want to do some exploring in different worlds that give off the same “Sandman-esque” vibe.
Of course, you can start by reading the original The Sandman comics which have numerous editions to choose from, even novelizations of the entire series. If you want a sneak peek of what’s to come in Morpheus’ future in The Sandman show, then there is no better place to start. Although, if you don’t want to spoil yourself first, then why not check out these books that contain more of what makes us love Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
What better place to start than with the other worlds crafted by master Neil Gaiman? This book lifts another veil separating us from the many mythologies and gods which we might think are antiquated, revealing yet another story of their lasting effect on us all. American Gods is filled with Gaiman’s signature blend of humor and horror which makes us love the world of Morpheus along with the world of Shadow.
Shadow is released from prison days after his wife and best friend die in a car crash. Without many plans after his release, he meets the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday who takes an immediate liking to Shadow, hiring him on the spot as an all-encompassing personal assistant. And just like that, Shadow steps foot into an epic battlefield between the old and new gods, and his role in the fight is bigger than he might think.
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Another Gaiman classic, with additional power thanks to the contribution of legend Terry Pratchett. As funny a story that one about the apocalypse could be, and so much more. This novel, along with American Gods, have also been adapted into respective series as well. Good Omens may be more upbeat than The Sandman but Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s masterful worldbuilding continues to shine through this novel as it does in The Sandman.
The world is about to end, and someone has misplaced the Antichrist… Before witch Agnes Nutter exploded in 1655, she wrote a book of nice and accurate prophecies. It was indeed nice and accurate because it seems like the apocalypse she predicted is right on schedule. With forces of good and evil coming to take their place for the end of days, an unlikely duo isn’t all too excited about reporting back for duty. A bibliophile angel and violent plant dad demon have formed a love-hate relationship after living on earth among the mortals since The Beginning.
Trese by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo
Of course, there are more brilliant authors in the world than just Neil Gaiman. Since The Sandman was originally a comic, it only seems right to add a few comics to this list. Where better to start than with some local talent? Another comic turned into a hit series, Trese brings out the dark mischief in the mystical.
When Filipino crimes take a turn for the supernatural, there is no one better to turn to than Alexandra Trese. In the dark and gritty world of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, supernatural creatures of Filipino mythology lord over the criminal underworld of Manila.
Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Another story attesting to the author’s impeccable worldbuilding and manipulation of the mystical and magical. Unwritten is an epic story that magnifies the importance and effect of the written word on our daily lives.
Tom Taylor’s dad is the creator of a popular wizarding fantasy series. But when people start making connections with the protagonist to Tom, things start getting a bit complicated. A huge scandal forces Tom to travel the world to protect his identity while slowly learning more about it. In his odyssey, he learns that the world of fiction and reality are more intertwined than we might have realized.
The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Like The Sandman, The Wicked + The Divine stars endless beings, but unlike Morpheus and his siblings, this group of endless beings can still experience death.
The Pantheon is a group of 12 deities that are reincarnated every 90 years. With each reincarnation, they are adored by the world and become celebrities among men. But the catch? They must die within 2 years after their reincarnation. And so the cycle continues, but this time, something doesn’t seem right…
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman has many short story and non-fiction collections to give readers a short and sweet taste of his range while still seeing the distinctly Gaiman touch that he gives everything he writes.
“It was the fight of man against monster, and it was old as time.” This collection contains some of the more eerie and darker stories of Neil Gaiman. With some spooky childhood stories, one creepy circus, the wrong party address, and so much more. Fragile Things might have chills running across your spine whether you read it alone at night or out in broad daylight.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
If what made you love The Sandman was the mystical and magical element of the world of Morpheus, then this book will be a treat for you. Let Erin Morgenstern cast a spell on you as she works her own magic in creating the world of Celia and Marco. With some chapters even in the 2nd person point of view, Morgenstern fully immerses you into the world of The Night Circus.
Le Cirque des Rêves always pops up unannounced. It is a highly anticipated circus sporting black and white stripes and oddities for all to see. But this dazzling delight is only the stage for a far grander spectacle: a fierce duel between two young and powerful magicians. Celia and Marco have trained since childhood, but those around them have failed to mention that in the battle they have been preparing for, only one winner can remain. The circus is a testament to their skill and wit. But when the two meet and undeniably fall in love, the structure of the circus shakes as the two are rocked to their very core by the strong feelings they have for one another.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
While some of the characters in Anansi Boys make an appearance in American Gods, you don’t necessarily have to read American Gods to enjoy the spectacle that is Anansi Boys (or vice versa). Gaiman spins another colorful tale of gods pulled from different cultures and beliefs, merging them in this rich hotpot of origin mixed with courage.
Fat Charlie Nancy never knew his dad was a god. But now he does and now his dad is dead. Another thing that Fat Charlie didn’t know was that he has a brother. And now his brother is at his doorstep, ready to turn his whole world upside down.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness with Siobhan Dowd
This dark and heartwarming yet heartbreaking bestselling story may have a lot in common with The Sandman, specifically in terms of dreams and what they mean. Patrick Ness brings life to late writer and activist Siobhan Dowd’s concept. In A Monster Calls, dreams affect reality just as much as reality affects dreams.
Conor’s mom has been sick for some time now, and it seems like she isn’t getting any better. During the day, Conor usually has to take care of himself (and his mom), but at night, no one can protect him from his terrifying recurring dream. But one night is different. One night, he has a visitor. An ancient being with stories to share, in return it demands from Conor the most terrifying thing of all: it demands the truth.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
A dark and epic tale of the uses of the occult in making life easier, and the millions of ways things can go wrong if you do not execute things properly. Like The Sandman, almost anything is possible in the world of The Diviners if you are willing to pay the price.
Evie O’ Neill has been sent to the Big Apple. It’s 1926 and the city that never sleeps is exactly where she wants to be. The streets are flowing with champagne pouring out from all the scattered speakeasies. The one catch is having to live with her Uncle Will and his unsettling obsession with the occult. Born with a gift that feels like a curse, will she be able to keep her darkest secret hidden? But, after a murdered girl is found marked with an ominous symbol, Evie discovers that this might be the first time her gift won’t get her into trouble.
While the gap between seasons may be excruciating for some, let’s not forget that it provides more time for discovering more of what you like.
Meet new characters and discover new worlds that you’ll love just as much as The Sandman. While Morpheus continues his work in The Dreaming, do yours in the waking world and read up!
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