Title: Trigger Warning
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Short Stories
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: February 3rd, 2015
Source: Borrowed from my local library
In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction–stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013–as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.
Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In “Adventure Story”–a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane–Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience “A Calendar of Tales” are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year–stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale “The Case of Death and Honey”. And “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.
A sophisticated writer whose creative genius is unparalleled, Gaiman entrances with his literary alchemy, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and amusements, Trigger Warning is a treasury of delights that engage the mind, stir the heart, and shake the soul from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.
Neil Gaiman could write an instruction manual for an IKEA bookcase and I’d probably love it. But that said, this was everything I hoped it would be. Gaiman has a delicious way of utilizing language and expectation to create truly disturbing, thought-provoking, and unique things. This anthology contains both short stories (of varying length) and poetry. Some are familiar, some are new (to me, anyway). Some were disturbing, some were amusing, all were entertaining and a joy to read.
I’ve found it rare to encounter an author who is as good with full-length novels as short stories, considering the very different styles each requires. But Gaiman’s masterful art of wordplay really supports his talent with these short stories. Each one has a ‘how it came to be’ story in the prologue, which was fascinating. Of all of them, The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury was the most deeply personal. Not creepy at all, but it felt like reading my own inner self (only, more poetic). I don’t know that I’ve ever read something so intimate it felt like I wrote it, before. And I can’t help thinking I would LOVE to hear Neil read it- what luck, he narrates the audiobook version of Trigger Warning! Also: there was not a single story or poem in here that was forgettable or ‘meh’.
Whether you like classic horror, or Doctor Who, or fairytale retellings, or novellas tied into longer works of fiction, or dark fantasy, or poetry, or folktales, or musings, there will be something in here for you. Probably multiple somethings. I highly recommend this collection.