At long last is my review of Neil's "Trigger Warning". Sorry it has taken me so long. I got to see Neil and Amanda last week and that was fantastic. I wrote a blog about it: that blog entry is here.
For some reason I put off reading this book for a long time. Why would I, such an avid fan of Neil Gaiman, put off his most recent book? I judged this book by its title and by some of the reviews on Goodreads. I thought it may be too much of a horror book for me. I thought it may be his nod to Stephen King and his ilk. I can safely tell you that neither is the case. This book is a collection of poetry and short stories, which are very Gaiman. Is there some horror? Definitely, but it is not any more terrifying than "Coraline" or other short stories of his. 5/5 stars for sure.
This book includes 24 pieces, if you do not count "Calendar of Tales" separately. His Introduction explains each work, which I read after reading the particular story. Some of these stories and/or characters are familiar. I actually saw him perform "July" from "Calendar of Tales" at the event on July 11th in Providence.
Here's a run down:
Making a Chair-simple poem about the writing process
A Lunar Labyrinth- I kept thinking about the movie "Pan's Labyrinth" while reading this this movie. This story was inspired by Gene Wolfe's "A Solar Labyrinth"
The Thing About Cassandra-I will not tell you about this one as I don't want to spoil the surprise. I loved this story.
Down to a Sunless Sea-inspired by Grand Guignol. Certainly an interesting story about the sea.
"The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains"-oh this one is good. Neil performed this at the Sydney Opera House with FourPlay and Eddie Campbell, as well as other places. It's about a dwarf, a local man, and supposed treasure in a cave in the Black Mountains.
My Last Landlady-This is one creepy story. It was written for the World Horror Convention in Brighton.
Adventure Story- This was supposed to be written for a radio show, but the producers didn't like it, so here it is. Neil writes "It's a sort of companion piece to my novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I think, in that respect [about death]."
Orange- An odd one about "something elses"
A Calendar of Tales- a story for every month. Fantastic. Neil asked questions, people answered, and he wrote stories about them. October Tale is my favorite.
The Case of Death and Honey-A Sherlock Holmes story that I must have read in another book.
The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury- definitely a tribute to the author's mentor. Fantastic read.
Jerusalem-This was commissioned by the BBC for William Blake week. I am not a big fan of Blake but I like this story.
Click-Clack the Rattlebag-if there is one true horror story in this collection, it is this one. A tribute to the scary stories of childhood.
"An Invocation of Incuriosity-inspired by Jack Vance. An adventure in time travel.
"And Weep, Like Alexander"- a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke Interesting story about why we don't have certain inventions.
Nothing O'Clock: Doctor Who. Enough said.
Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale-for Amanda.
The Return of the Thin White Duke- not my favorite. About Bowie.
Feminine Endings-a love letter and Amanda
Observing the Formalities- Maleficent narrating her side of the story
The Sleeper and the Spindle-An EXCELLENT Sleeping Beauty story.
Witch Work-a witch, a box, and limits of magic
In Relig Odhrain- poor Saint Columba and his demise
Black Dog-I love this story. We meet Shadow Moon again.
So, please go read this. This anthology is a great showcase of Gaiman's imagination and writing talents. This will also be posted on Goodreads.
Find the book: It's available in e-reader, paperback, hardcover, and audio in most places.
Barnes and Noble
The illustrious Neil Gaiman can be found on-line in lots of places. He tours annually too, although that may be slowing down now that Amanda is pregnant and due very soon.
His next book out is the Author's Preferred Text of Neverwhere. Read more here on his website.