And what we learn about ourselves in those moments, when the trigger has been squeezed, is this: the past is not dead. There are things that wait for us, patiently, in the dark corners of our lives. We think we have moved on, put them out of mind, left them to desiccate and shrivel and blow away; but we are wrong. — From the Introduction to Trigger Warning
What it’s about: Trigger Warning is Neil Gaiman’s third collection of short fiction and poetry. I read in the introduction to his last collection, Fragile Things, that Gaiman only writes short fiction on commission, which I think is why his short stories don’t seem to have the same energy or passion as his novels. As in Fragile Things, Gaiman explains the origin of each story and poem in the introduction. While a bit of a hodgepodge (it contains a Doctor Who story, for pete’s sake, and a Sherlock Holmes story, which I actually thought was quite good), I enjoyed this collection more than Fragile Things.
What I liked about it: There are a couple of genuinely creepy horror stories, a wonderful retelling of the “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty” fairy tales, and a terrific homage to one of my favorite writers, Ray Bradbury. In fact, much of the work in this collection showcases Gaiman’s appreciation for the storytellers who came before him, which I can also appreciate. For fans of American Gods, there is another Shadow novella at the end, which I thought was much more interesting than the Shadow story in Fragile Things. I could have done without the poetry, but as Gaiman says in the introduction, the poetry is free, meaning you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, and it won’t affect the overall value of the book.
Who might like it: Recommended for fans of Gaiman, certainly, but also for anyone who enjoys creepy stories, fairy tales or well-written fan fiction.
For those readers who aren’t familiar with the fairly new term “trigger warning,” you may find this interesting reading.