There are things in this book, as in life, that might upset you. There is death and pain in
here, tears and discomfort, violence of all kinds, cruelty, even abuse. There is kindness, too, I hope, sometimes. Even a handful of happy endings. (Few stories end unhappily for all participants, after all.) And there’s more than that: I know a lady called Rocky who is triggered by tentacles, and who genuinely needs warnings for things that have tentacles in them, especially tentacles with suckers, and who, confronted with an unexpected slice of squid or octopus, will dive, shaking, behind the nearest sofa. There is an enormous tentacle somewhere in these pages.
That’s right, folks… as per Marina’s personal Bookstravaganza tradition, it’s time for some Neil Gaiman.
Longtime Bookstravaganza fans and friends of mine will know how absolutely enamoured with Neil Gaiman I am. He’s probably one of my favourite writers, and I’ve never been disappointed by anything of his. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances is no exception.
Trigger Warning is Gaiman’s third short story anthology (though that’s not exactly the best description because, as usual, he has snuck a few poems in there as well). In the introduction Gaiman discusses talks about how much he loves short stories, both as a reader and a writer, for how concisely they create whole worlds and for how they let writers experiment and play with strange new ideas.
And that’s really what Gaiman does with his anthologies. While most of his writing is, admittedly, kind of weird and creepy (in a good way!), Trigger Warning (and Fragile Things and Smoke and Mirrors before them) is full of some grade-A creepy weirdness. He plays around with new styles and formats and genres, and it’s a delight to read.
Trigger Warning is full of some truly great stories. Some of my favourites are “The Thing About Cassandra”, “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury”, “The Return of the Thin White Duke”, and “Feminine Endings”. There’s a truly strange story featuring Sherlock Holmes, a Doctor Who story featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond, and a novella staring Shadow, the main character of American Gods (one of my favourite Gaiman novels).
Basically… Neil Gaiman. Amazing.