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Trigger warning : short fictions &…

Trigger warning : short fictions & disturbances (edition 2015)

by Neil Gaiman

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2,4201513,991 (3.99)111
This third collection of short fiction by Gaiman 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.… (more)
Title:Trigger warning : short fictions & disturbances
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:London : Headline, 2015.
Collections:Your library
Tags:short stories, fantasy

Work details

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

  1. 40
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (sturlington)
    sturlington: A short story in Trigger Warning is an homage to Ray Bradbury.
  2. 20
    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (LAKobow)
  3. 00
    Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (LAKobow)
    LAKobow: Another short story collection by Neil Gaiman.

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Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
This was a decent collection of mixed tales from Neil Gaiman. The thing about them is that they are such a mixed bag that you will find those that you really enjoy and those that you do not at all. That is the conundrum. The introduction tries to get you to understand that these tales reach for a "trigger warning" of the different themes (typically death, fear, abuse, etc) that are associated with the works. Nevertheless, it is work reading.

3 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Aug 21, 2019 |
As the back cover of this volume, ‘Trigger Warning: Short Stories & Disturbances’, shows, Neil Gaiman is a writer who gets rave reviews even in the quality press, a part of the fourth estate where fantasy and Science Fiction used to get short shrift. His novels top bestseller lists and win awards but short story collections by even the greatest are, alas, difficult to sell nowadays. Happily, he loves them and continues to produce them and this book is a nice mixture of short stories, shorter shorts, very short shorts indeed and poems.

I’ll start with a few of the longer shorts.

There’s always been a lot of pressure on teenage lads to get a girlfriend, now more than ever, so it’s not surprising that some might lie to impress their mates. ‘The Thing About Cassandra’ is based on a clever premise and proceeds with it quite nicely but I found the end a bit flat. It’s worth mentioning here that Gaiman portrays real, everyday life in modern England very accurately. A man chatting to his mum or mates out for a few pints, edgy first dates and so on. This is probably what makes the fantastic or horrific twist work so well when it happens. Stephen King does the same trick with carefully crafted mundane American life.

Another of the longer stories is ‘Black Dog’, about a traveller in the English countryside who falls in with an odd couple and discovers an ancient secret. It stands alone very well but is probably even better if you’ve read Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ as it features Shadow Moon, a character from that novel.

A few of the tales are about other people’s characters. There’s a delightful Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Case Of Death And Honey’ which makes it clear why the great detective took up beekeeping in retirement. Set far from the foggy London underworld, it’s not at all what you would expect.

The ‘Doctor Who story,’ on the other hand, is what you would expect if you’re a fan of the show. It’s clever and involves big concepts and a bit of Time Lord history, too. ‘Nothing O’Clock’ was previously published in ‘Doctor Who: 11 Doctors, 11 Stories’ so if you’re a rabid Who fan who isn’t interested in the other stuff you don’t need to buy this book to get it, you can buy that one. Gaiman won’t mind. He’s a fan himself and sells quite a lot of books anyway.

‘The Thin White Duke’ is a fantasy that’s kind of about the Bowie character of that name but I should point out that ‘Diamonds And Pearls: A Fairy Tale’ has nothing to do with Prince, even though the late lamented had a name fit for such a story. He was still around when this was published.

‘The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains…’ is set in Scotland. A dwarf turns up at the house of Callum MacInnes and asks to be taken to the Misty Isle where there is a cave he seeks. The dwarf has secrets that are slowly revealed as the tale progresses. Gaiman tells it in gentle, rhythmic prose like a classic fairy tale but there is plenty of darkness here, not just in the cave. It won both the Shirley Jackson and Locus Awards for best novelette and it’s a treat. The book is worth buying if only for this.

There are, however, many other reasons to buy it. Some of the shorter tales are startlingly effective and Gaiman manages to get a lot of impact with few words. ‘Jerusalem’ is nicely evocative of the extreme atmosphere of that place and tells a story, too. ‘Click-Clack The Rattlebag’ has a nice young man putting his girlfriend’s little brother to bed because the little chap is scared then getting scared himself.

At his best, Gaiman can out-Bradbury Ray Bradbury. He pays homage to his predecessor with ‘The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury’. Not a particularly great yarn but does a nice job of referencing the best stuff from that classic author.

The sheer quantity of briefer works means that it would be tedious to mention them all individually so I’ll focus on the highlights. ’Down To A Sunless Sea’ is a shipwreck story with a nasty twist. ‘My Last Landlady’ is set in the seedy Brighton of old and laid out like a poem but that works in getting the story across. ‘A Calendar Of Tales’ consists of a dozen short shorts of varying quality. In general, these are quite good, given the limitations of the form, and even the poetry makes sense

The legions of would-be, amateur and semi-pro writers like a collection that has some words from the author about how the stories came to be. Gaiman admits in his introduction that he liked those sorts of collections, too, especially from his favourite writers like Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. Therefore he gives us that kind of introduction with a bit of information on every story. It’s interesting.

It seems to me that the fantasists are better writers or at least better prose stylists, than Science Fiction writers. This may be because the latter are focused on new ideas and need clarity more than anything else while the fantasists are, let’s face it, recycling the same hoary old stuff about ghosts, goblins, vampires, werewolves and so forth and rely more on mood and character. The best writers I have read in my long reviewing career are Fred Chappell and Peter S. Beagle. Neil Gaiman is in their league. He doesn’t always hit the spot – what author does? – but work like ‘The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains…’ puts him up there in the first division. His outpourings are recommended by Philip Pullman, A.S. Byatt, Hugo Rifkind and, for what it’s worth, me.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/ ( )
1 vote bigfootmurf | Aug 11, 2019 |
This book is that uneasy feeling of visiting an abandoned building. It's the knowledge that there are dark things waiting for you to fall, anytime, any place. It's the folk tale that refuses to go away despite the multiple attacks from reason and common sense. It's the legend that declares the end of all things, and the prophecy that led a man to an early grave.

It's a book by Neil Gaiman. With all the wonderful and terrible things that come from his head. ( )
  andycyca | Aug 6, 2019 |
Most of the stories were good and Neil read them to me. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Trigger Warning is a collection of short stories and some poems by Neil Gaiman. What I like about collections like this one is that they usually have something for us all. Not everything is to one's liking, but if you are lucky most are. And, Trigger Warning is mostly, in my opinion, a very good collection of stories. Of course, some are better than the others and I think personally I liked the ones that were a bit longer. The "bad" thing with collections like this is they are sometimes hard to put down because it so easy to just say to yourself "just one more story" they are short. And, then you happen to stumble over a Doctor Who story that isn't that short, but you have to read it because it is Doctor Who, even despite the fact that is an 11 Doctor story (Long story short, not my favorite Doctor).

Anyway, instead of writing about every story in this collection will I mention some of my favorites like:

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, one of the longest stories in this book and a very intriguing to read.

Orange, the kind of story that grows on you. I found questionnaire format of the story odd in the beginning, but then I started to like it.

The Case of Death and Honey, a Sherlock Holmes story, I have read it before in another collection, but I read it again since it was a while ago. One of the best Sherlock Holmes short stories I have ever read and I have a feeling I like it even better than the first time I read it.

Jerusalem, what I enjoyed with this story was that I had no idea that Jerusalem Syndrome was a thing and I really enjoyed the wonderful twist in the story. Would I dare travel to Jerusalem in the future?

Click-Clack the Rattlebag, the only story in this collection that actually was a bit scary. I mean I wasn't scared when I read it but reading this when you are alone in a house and hearing sounds in the attic would probably not be that nice.

"And Weep, Like Alexander", oh that ending, marvelous! A charming and funny story.

Nothing O´Clock, the Doctor Who story and as I wrote above not my favorite Doctor but Gaiman can write stories so good that I enjoyed this one despite that. And last but not the least,

The Sleeper and the Spindle, for some reason I thought the title was the Sleeper and the Spider. I think sometimes your mind plays tricks on you. Anyway, Spindle makes much more sense and I liked this once upon a time story very much.

There are several other good stories, but these are some that I appreciated.

Thanks to William Morrow and Edelweiss for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
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I'm not sure how I wound up with an honourable Hollywood agent who reads books for pleasure but I did, eighteen years ago. He's still my agent, still honourable, and he still likes short stories best of all. This book of tales is for Jon Levin.
First words
There are things that upset us.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
Contains the following short stories/poems:
Making a Chair
A Lunar Labyrinth
The Thing About Cassandra
Down to a Sunless Sea
'The Truth is a Cave in the Black Montains ...'
My Last Landlady
Adventure Story
A Calendar of Tales
The Case of Death and Honey
The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury
Click-Clack the Rattlebag
An Invocation of Incuriosity
'And Weep, Like Alexander'
Nothing O'Clock
Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale
The Return of the Thin White Duke
Feminine Endings
Observing the Formalities
The Sleeper and the Spindle
Witch Work
In Relig Odhráin
Black Dog

Also contains an interview with the author in Extra Material in the appendix.
Haiku summary
Reader, proceed with
caution: monsters prowl this book.
Read at your own risk.

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