: Neil Gaiman
: Jill Thompson
s: Vince Locke
, Dick Giordano
: Todd Klein
: Daniel Vozzo
Covers: Dave Mc Kean
Foreword: Neil Gaiman
Afterword: Peter Straub
Previously published in single magazine issues as Sandman #41-49, Brief Lives covers Delirium's search for her prodigal older brother, and the reactions of the rest of the Endless to her quest. It includes the following chapters:
- Blossom for a Lady, in which Delirium is smitten by a desire to find her missing brother. Her twin sisters Despair and Desire both refuse to help, Desire out of selfishness, Despair for less obvious reasons. Despair recalls their brother fondly, and recollects a conversation with him about whether things always change, or never.
- It Always Rains on the Unloved, in which Delirium enters the Dreaming to ask Dream to help find their missing brother. He agrees to help, but not because he thinks they will succeed; rather, because he thinks it will be a pleasant diversion. Dream asks, rhetorically, "What could possibly go wrong?"
- The People Who Remember Atlantis, in which Dream and Delirium make travel arrangements, and in which several persons who know their brother's whereabouts are harmed or killed. It would seem prudent to go into hiding. Dream recalls a conversation with his brother about Isaac Newton, Opticks, and reason. Dream's brother asserts that "times are changing."
- The Other Side of the Sky, in which the siblings continue their search, and in which more destruction befalls their journey. Delirium gets to drive.
- The Things We Do To Be Loved, in Matthew the Raven gives Delirium Drivers' Ed. Dream takes them to visit a strip club where one of the dancers used to be romantically involved with their brother. Desire notes that some people aren't smart enough to come in out of the rain.
- Life Isn't Pleasant, Petrified, in which Dream calls off the search after the destruction of the strip club. Delirium petulantly sulks--this search was not just a flight of fancy for her; she genuinely wanted to see her brother again. Checking with Bast and Lucien, Dream finds no further clue to Destruction's whereabouts. Death attempts to check a book out of Lucien's library, and convinces Dream to pick up the scent for the sake of their little sister.
- Cooking Considered as One of the Fine Arts, in which Dream and Delirium consult Destiny on how to proceed with the search. Destiny reminds Dream that there is an oracle who is "of the family," and suggests that if he is willing, the answer is to be found there. Delirium, here eyes the same color for once, reminds Destiny that "coins have two sides". Dream consults the oracle.
- Journey's End, in which Dream and Delirium are reunited with Destruction. Over dinner, they discuss Delirium's eyes, Destruction's talent in the creative arts, Dream's ability to delude himself, and the quirks of the other Endless. Destruction recalls a conversation in which Death asserted that "everyone can know everything that Destiny knows. And more." Destruction retires, Delirium gets a pet.
- Farewells, in which Dream pays the oracle's price, oversteps his bounds for a moment, and a new flower is created. Delirium thanks Dream for his help. Desire gets what Desire wanted, and retreats to the eyes of hir domain to wonder why s/he isn't ecstatic--perhaps wanting is better than having. A beautiful day.
with gratitude to Ralf Hildebrant's excellent annotated Sandman site