Fiction Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

book review, fantasy, horror, neil gaiman, sci-fi, suvudu

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. While I make every attempt to avoid spoilers, please be aware that an ARC synopsis, press release, or review request often include details that are not revealed in the published cover blurb.


With his third collection of short fiction, Neil Gaiman presents us with stories, verse, and even a 50th anniversary Doctor Who story, all previously published (please note that Black Dog, the one story exclusive to the collection, was not included in the ARC).

Having only read him in novel or graphic novel form, Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances was my first introduction to Gaiman's short fiction. It was an interesting read, largely entertaining, and even if there was a long, deep stretch of works in the middle that just didn't grab my attention, there were more than enough strong entries to book-end that gap.

Rather than review every tale in the collection, I thought I'd just offer my observations on those that worked best for me:

The Thing About Cassandra was most definitely an early highlight, and even if I saw the twist coming a few pages early, it was still a great story.

Down to a Sunless Sea was one of the shorter tales here, but powerful in the depths of its sorrow. The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains . . . was absolutely fantastic, with the stunning image of a girl perhaps too-tightly bound by her ponytail, and marked by the cleverness of a promise. Adventure Story was too short, but unexpectedly comic, while Orange was odd, oddly told, and oddly compelling.

Click-­Clack the Rattlebag was really just a tease, ending just as we get to the meat of it, but I quite liked the monstrous concepts of the Click-Clack and the Rattlebag. An Invocation of Incuriosity was a great story within a story, full of myth and fable, while “And Weep, Like Alexander” was a fun story about un-inventing and the unintended consequences of progress. Nothing O’Clock, the Doctor Who story, was one of my favorites, taking as its inspiration the simple question of "What time is it, Mr. Wolf?" and making of it something perfectly creepy, properly Who-amusing, and entirely unsettling in its resolution.

Pearls: A Fairy Tale was just that - a faery tale - but a contemporary one of drugs, dogs, hookers, stepmothers, and magic, that I quite enjoyed. Kether to Malkuth and The Sleeper and the Spindle both continued the classic faery tale theme, but in a more familiar setting . . . even if Gaiman puts a few unexpected twists on the traditional tropes.

Introductions are always a tricky thing when it comes to a collection, and you wonder/worry about how much the author might give away, but I think it fits here as an intro (rather than an appendix). Gaiman really sets the stage for each tale, telling us less about them and more about how they came about. They allowed me to appreciate some stories (such as A Calendar of Tales), even if I didn't enjoy them, and really served to expose his inspirations. All in all, Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances is a solid collection, despite the dry spot in the center, and perfect for those of who don't follow his short fiction obsessively.

ebook, 352 pages
Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by William Morrow

© 2015 Beauty in Ruins All Rights Reserved

Star Wars Posts

Sep 06, 2015

Force Friday Galactic Madness

By The Ralphnerd

For the sake of ultimate transparency, I've never been a huge Star Wars fan. In fact, I've been known to commit the act of blasphemy, in loving the second trilogy...

Aug 03, 2015

Signing at Barnes & Noble on Friday

By Morbid Is as Morbid Does

This coming Friday afternoon — August 7 from 1 pm to 4 — I’ll be signing my new novel, The Dangerous Type, in Flint, Michigan. Even if you’re not into...

Jul 26, 2015

Raena’s Foremothers: Jeri Cale

By Morbid Is as Morbid Does

Those Annoying Post Bros. #7: The Moray Caper When I first started thinking about the Raena stories, I’d just seen Star Wars.  The only main female character was a princess....

Jun 30, 2015

A New Hope: The Funniest Star Wars Parodies

By The Ralphnerd

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is getting closer by the day, and excitement is growing everywhere. It's not just Star Wars fans, sci-fi nerds, and movie buffs who are amped...

Jun 10, 2015

Book Review: The Tar-Aiym Krang

By No Wasted Ink

Alan Dean Foster’s first original novel is "The Tar-Aiym Krang", It is a light-hearted space opera filled with dead ancient alien civilizations, uncharted worlds and the search for an artifact that could threaten the galaxy. Come learn more about this vintage science fiction classic and the popular author who wrote it.

Jun 05, 2015

The Padawan Lives: My Journey With Ahsoka Tano

By The Wookiee Gunner

(Photo: Lucasfilm) When it was announced that Anakin Skywalker would have a Padawan, most people found the idea to be ridiculous. To me, it was a stroke of genius. It...

May 31, 2015

BookCon 2015: New Adaptations of the Star Wars Saga

By The Wookiee Gunner

Bestselling children’s book authors Tony DiTerlizzi (The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight), Alexandra Bracken (Star Wars: A New Hope), Adam Gidwitz (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), and Tom...

May 28, 2015

Rex and Ahsoka’s Friendship From Clone Wars to Rebels

By The Wookiee Gunner

“Who’s the youngling?” Rex asked as he eyed the young Togruta. “I’m Master Skywalker’s Padawan. The name’s Ahsoka Tano,” she replied, and a friendship was born. A friendship that’s been...

May 22, 2015

Review: Black Series 3.75-inch Captain Rex Action Figure

By The Wookiee Gunner

DorksideToys kindly sent me a review copy of the Star Wars: The Black Series 3.75-inch Phase II Captain Rex action figure. It’s not the first Rex figure to own, but...

May 18, 2015

Review: Star Wars Crochet by Lucy Collin

By The Wookiee Gunner

As someone who enjoys making DIY crafts inspired by Star Wars characters, when I saw the Star Wars Crochet kit months ago, I said to myself, “I need that!” I...