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                         The Annotated Sandman
               Edited by Ralf Hildebrandt and largely written by Greg Morrow
                       Issue 44: Brief Lives Four
              Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, and Vince Locke

Notes:  See #41.  The subtheme of the issue is color.  Note that Del has
not changed clothing since the middle of last issue.

1: The Other Side of the Sky

Page 1 panel 1:  Midnight sun:  Above the Arctic Circle, the lengthening of
days that occurs during the summer is so pronounced that there are days
in which the sun never sets.  The North Pole is the most extreme example
of this, receiving six months of sunlight followed by six months of
darkness every year.
	Panel 2:  Borealis:  The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, a 
glowing atmospheric display visible in the highest northern latitudes
caused by charged particles in the solar wind interacting with Earth's
magnetic field.  There is an Aurora Australis in the highest latitudes of
the Southern Hemisphere as well.  Retinal purple:  rhodopsin, the eye
pigment which is sensitive to light and dark, found in the rods of the eye.
Firework yellow:  Possibly achieved by including sodium, which burns with a 
bright yellow flame.  (There are two, closely-spaced, yellow lines in the 
sodium spectrum.)  VDU green:  the color of many Video Display Units, such 
as some computer terminals; possibly specifically the Amstrad PCW 8256/8512, 
a word processor popular with British writers.
	Panel 3:  The strength of Earth's magnetic field fluctuates
seasonly, growing stronger during the summer and thus reducing the aurora.
	Panel 4:  Lapps:  The inhabitants of Lapland, a region of northern
Scandinavia.  Lapps speak a language closely akin to Finnish which is,
therefore, unrelated to English.

Page 2 panel 1:  Cerulean:  A deep sky blue.  From the Latin caelum, "sky".
In other words, the sky turns sky blue, a tautology.

2: A Bear and His Shadow

Page 3 panel 5:  Leib-Olmai:  Lapp for "Alder Man".  A mythical bear-man or
bear-god.  He protected the bear, a holy animal, and provided good luck to 
hunters that honored him. If hunters did snub Lieb, they would often lose 
their prey and occasionally Lieb might help a bear if it were to attack the 
hunters.  He is a bit of a male chauvinist. Lapp women were not allowed    
to walk around a tent where hunting equipment is kept.                    

3: Departed Secrets

Page 7 panel 4:  Kruggerrand:  A South African gold coin weighing exactly
one ounce of 24 karat gold.
	Panel 5:  Smack:  slang for heroin.  Raw heroin is brown; when
processed, it becomes white.

4: "Twinkle's a Nice Word.  So's Viridian."

Page 9 panel 3:  Del's balloon should be multicolored.

5: Three Keys

Page 10 panel 5:  Del refers to _A Season of Mists_.

Page 11 panel 4:  Note the various bubble-shapes Del makes.  The owl-like
creature with the umbrella in the upper left is "Totoro", from the film 
_My Neighbor Totoro_.  Totoro is a magical being who ruled the forest;
only children and animals could see him.  Below and to the right of the 
alarm clock is a bubble which is probably Max, the rabbit from Purcell's 
"Sam and Max" series.  Note the cat-shaped bubble and the "c", "a", and "t"

Page 13 panel 3:  Foreshadowing:  Your guide to quality literature.

Page 15 panel 5:  Ishtar:  A Babylonian goddess.  See the Appendix to the
annotation for #45.  Note that the manager's list does not say "Ishtar" in 
the appropriate place, but rather "Ca" plus obscured letters.  Significance?

6: A Treatise on Optics

Page 17 panel 3:  The Corinthian is wrongly colored white.
	Panel 6:  Pillory:  A wooden device holding the head and hands
fast, used to display prisoners for public scorn.  Akin to the stocks,
which more often held ankles fast.
	Panel 7:  Ninny-hammer:  Probably just an extension of "ninny".

Page 18 panel 1:  Transportation:  The practice of deporting English
criminals to penal colonies.  While the most well-known of these is 
Australia, the first penal colony there was Port Jackson, founded in 1788,
which is evidently significantly after this scene.
	Panel 2:  Tyburn Tree (an elm?) was the site of the London gallows.
It is now known as Speaker's Corner, at the northeast corner of Hyde Park.
	Panel 4:  The stone is Dream's ruby, of course.  
wight: 1. a living being, CREATURE, MAN
       2. [archaic]: a preternatural being (as a fairy or witch)
       3. courage in warfare

It evidently also has the unlisted meaning "monster;
undead creature; creature of darkness"; this usage derives its modern
presence from J.R.R.Tolkien's use of "barrow wights" in _The Lord of the
It seemed strange to me that Tolkien should have given the word a new
meaning, and indeed it seems as he has used the archaic sense of the word.
In the Norwegian translation of L.O.T.R., this word is translated as "vette",
which still means a preternatural (and usually sinister or dangerous) being.
The word vaettr (old Norse for vette) is mentioned in the etymology of
"wight" in Webster's.
	Panel 5:  Dream is wrongly colored human, and the Corinthian's
forehead is wrongly colored white.

Page 19 panel 1:  Invisible College:  A phrase dating back to at least
1646, possibly coined by Robert Boyle.  Thomas Birch notes in reference to
Boyle's Works that "the Invisible College probably refer[s] to that assembly 
of learned and curious gentlemen, who...at length gave birth to the Royal 
Society."  Dream and the others are therefore standing in front of the
Royal Society.
	Note that an "Invisible College" appears in Mary Gentle's works,
and an "Unseen University" in Terry Pratchett's; both of these writers are
close associates of Gaiman's.  Alfred Bester also made use of an "Unknown
	Panel 3:  The ballad "Diddle Diddle, or the Country Lovers", from
1680.  Also known as "Lavender Blue", a cover version by Dinah Shore from
the Disney movie _So Dear to my Heart_ (1948).  The version presented in
Peter Blood-Patterson's _Rise Up Singing_ goes:

        Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,
        When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen.
        Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so?
        'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so.

        Call up your men, dilly dilly, set them to work,
        Some with a rake, dilly dilly, some with a fork,
        Some to make hay, dilly dilly, some to thresh corn,
        While you and I, dilly dilly, keep ourselves warm.

	Panel 4:  Homo sylvestris:  An obsolete classification of the
orangutan, meaning "man of the woods", which is also the literal
translation of the Malay phrase which became the common name.  Note that 
taxonomy did not begin to standardize until the 1732 publication of Carl von 
Linne's great botanical treatise on the subject.
	The earliest known citation of "orangutan" in English dates from 1691.
	In 1699, Edward Tyson published a treatise on the anatomy of what
he called an Orang-Outang (which was actually a baby chimpanzee), based on
a dissection he performed in June and July 1698.  The chimp had come from
Angola and had died on the ship two months earlier in April.  The skeleton
was displayed for many years at the British Museum, and may still be
visible there.  The body pictured here is clearly an adult orangutan.
	ObPratchett:  Ook!
	Tyson's dissection is thought to be one of the earliest in England,
and may be used to fix the earliest possible date of the scene.  Note that
Despair met Destruction (in #41) in 1665, and remarks at that time that
the last time she saw him would be "thirty years on".  Allowing some
slop in her figure, we can place the family meeting at which Destruction
announced his departure around 1700, of which more in the appendix.
	Panel 5:  Guinea:  An English unit of money equivalent to one pound
and one shilling.

Page 20 panel 3-6:  See Appendix.  Note that Destruction's quote in panel 5
dates from a 1706 edition of _Opticks_, which suggests that the date
of the family meeting should be pushed even further back.  Destruction's
concern over the intraconvertibility of matter and light is probably
related to Einstein's famous equation governing the conversion of matter into
energy, a reaction which powers atomic weapons.  Thus, Destruction sees the
asking of Newton's question as the precursor to the inevitable creation of
weapons of mass destruction.
	Panel 7:  The Corinthian, of course, likes to eat eyes with his

7: The Perils of Smoking in Bed?

Release history:              
Version 1.0 released 15 May 93
Version 2.0 released 15 August 93

Contributors include:
	lsmith@deci.cs.umn.edu (Lance "Squiddie" Smith) researched the
Alder Man.  Lance and Enrique Conty (conty@cbnewsl.cb.att.com) spotted
Totoro.  Lance spotted Max, provided exhaustive details on the orangutan 
and _Optics_, cited a use of "wight", spotted the color of the
Corinthian, and identified the "Invisible College".
	Lance, Gavin Steyn (steyn@cs.rochester.edu), and Peter Trei
(ptrei@bistromath.mitre.org) identified Tyburn Tree.
	Colonel G.L. Sicherman (gls@windmill.att.com) identified retinal
purple and "Diddle Diddle".  Mark Lippert  quoted
"Diddle Diddle".
	Tanaqui Weaver (tweaver@nyx.cs.du.edu) noted Mary Gentle's use of
"Invisible College" and M.Ellis (cs9h2mme@swan.pyr), Maurice Beyke
(mabeyke@infonode.ingr.com) and Andrew Ducker 
noted Terry Pratchett's use of "Unseen University".  Steve Simmons
(scs@lokkur.dexter.mi.us) notes Alfred Bester's "Unknown University".
	Andrew Ducker also cited Tolkien's wights.
	R.J.Johnston (R.J.Johnston@newcastle.ac.uk) identified VDU green.
	Damon B. Crumpler (dbc3@po.CWRU.Edu) noted some of Delirium's
bubbles and explained "Totoro".

Appendix: On Newton's Opticks (by Lance Smith)
[This was compiled from several notes and may read in a jumpy fashion.

Newton's first paper was on the refractive index of different colors. 
This was published in the Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society
in 1672. (This was the same year he had been elected as a member.) He had
started experimenting with light about 10 years earlier. Since the paper
received harsh criticism from some of the Society members, Newton was
reluctant to publish additional papers on the subject. This may help
to fix the time of Dream's remembrance.

Newton's _Opticks_ was published in 1704. In the front of the book he 
included the following statement:

"Part of the ensuing Discourse about Light was written at the *Desire* of
some Gentlemen of the Royal-Society, in the Year 1675, and then sent to
their Secretary, and read at their Meetings, and the rest was added about
twelve Years after to complete the Theory; except the third Book, and last
Proposition of the Second, which were since put together out of scatter'd 
Papers." [Emphasis added; all capitalization Newton's]

A Latin translation was published in 1706. (Latin was the lingua franca of 
the scientific community.) Samuel Clarke did the translation at Newton's 

With the new edition came an additional 7 queries. (Queries were Newton's
observations and often served as areas for further research. All ended with
a question mark.) In the 1706 edition these were queries 17-23. They were 
eventually bumped to spots 25-31 of the second English edition published
in 1717. There was also a third English edition published in 1721.

The query we're probably most interested in is number 30 in the 1717
edition. The query begins, "Are not gross bodies and light convertible into 
one another, and may not bodies receive much of their activity from the 
particles of light which enter their composition?" This is something like 
what we hear on page 20 of issue #44. The query continues on about ways in 
which bodies may change into light and light may change into bodies. I'm not 
sure that this query and the thoughts behind it are as significant as the 
Prodigal seems to think.

As mentioned above, material for _Opticks_ dates back to 1672  with
additional material added in 1687. The third book, that includes the 
queries, was only 5 pages long and was "put together out of scatter'd
Papers." There is also some connection between Newton's queries and his
lectures on optics as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. However, I 
couldn't find any connection in an annotated copy of his lecture notes.

So I'm afraid this doesn't do much to place the period of the events at
the end of issue #44. Despair's remembrance in #41 would put the abdication
at about 1695. (My impression was that it was about 30 years from 1665
and not precisely that long.) The dissection of the orangutan is 
unlikely to be before 1698. Query 30 comes after 1706, though this may
only be the first time Newton put it into print.

Further, Newton is referred to as "young." (Young by Endless standards,
standards of the time or our standards?) Newton was born in 1642. He
started experimenting with light in 1662. When he first decomposed light
is hard to say. We could place it between 1662 and 1672 (when he published
his first paper on it). That would give us a range of 20-30 years old. 
Certainly youngish.

(BTW, there's one theory that states that ROYGBIV came from Newton trying
 to match colors to available paint pigments. Thus we're stuck with indigo.)

OBInterestingFact: Newton's opening statement in _Opticks_ is dated April 1st. 

© by Ralf Hildebrandt
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This file was last modified 27. Jan 2007 by root