It is funny how one can initially misjudge a book. When I first picked this volume up it was because I saw Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker's names on the cover. Then, on first perusal, I saw that Gaiman had not even written the introduction. Moreover, Barker's only contribution was the frontispiece- a drawing of Death. Nor did I immediately recognize the names of any of the contributors to the collection. I felt cheated. I jumped to the conclusion that this was a hack written collection of short stories intended to exploit the popularity of the Sandman series. I threw the book down in disgust.
Then, a little over a year later, I came back to it. Upon actually reading it, I discovered that Gaiman handpicked these stories. Indeed, he actually wrote the brief introductions for each writer and story. As for the stories themselves, there are some hauntingly, lovingly, skillfully, written tales here. What is more important, most of them genuinely capture the atmosphere of the Dreaming from the graphic novels. I could not have been more wrong about this fine collection- it was exactly what I was looking for.
These stories are so faithful to the original that the reader might want to read the entire 10 volume Sandman Library before attempting it. There is much here that assumes a familiarity with the entire series.