As I snail crawl through this series, we reach this kind of in between volume, which is really just a series of unrelated stories that mostly include Morpheus as a minor character instead of the focus. I found this refreshing, although the stories are not evenly enjoyable. I'm just going to give a quick opinion on each.
"Calliope" is the first, and also my favorite of the set. It tells the tale of an author, who makes a trade with another author for an entrapped muse named Calliope. The author, Richard Madoc, is experiencing extreme writers block after writing one successful novel, and he hopes the muse will pull him out of it. Calliope's misery is extreme, and I really felt for her. She's also interesting as a concept in general, and I'd love to learn more about muse's in the Sandman universe.
"A Dream of a Thousand Cats" is a bizarre and deeply uncomfortable tale about cats, who want to take back the power they supposedly once had and become the dominant species of the world. It's both amusing and unsettling to see humans from an outside perspective, the arrogant and callous beings that we are. I also really liked how it implied that dreams have world altering powers.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" has Shakespeare's acting troupe performing the title play to an audience of fae. This is such a clever idea, that I almost wish an entire story arch had been built around it. I want to know more about these characters and how they might fit into the universe and what their relationship with Morpheus might be. As it stands, though, it's a bit too vague to get really excited about.
"Façade" is easily the weakest of the stories. It's about Elemental Girl, who was transformed by an Egyptian curse, and can now turn her body into various materials. She basically looks like a huge mess, can't go out in public, and has completely lost her will to live. She's visited by Death, who tells her that all things will end in time. While I find Death really interesting as a character, this story was disinteresting overall. It was depressing and hard to get into.
When I sum up the parts, it was an enjoyable book. It's hard to grade, but I'm going to go with an even 4 stars.