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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

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Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Fantasy (2015)
Multiple award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction following Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things--which includes a never-before published American Gods story, "Black Dog," written exclusively for this volume.

In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning 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, exclusive to this collection.

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In "Adventure Story"--a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane--Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience "A Calendar of Tales" are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year--stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother's Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale "The Case of Death and Honey". And "Click-Clack the Rattlebag" explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we're all alone in the darkness.

A sophisticated writer whose creative genius is unparalleled, Gaiman entrances with his literary alchemy, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and amusements, Trigger Warning is a treasury of delights that engage the mind, stir the heart, and shake the soul from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.

310 pages, Hardcover

First published February 3, 2015

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Neil Gaiman

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Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,310 reviews120k followers
March 16, 2023
The monsters in our cupboards and our minds are always there in the darkness, like mold beneath the floorboards and behind the wallpaper, and there is so much darkness, an inexhaustible supply of darkness. The universe is amply supplied with night.
There is a diversity of material in Neil Gaiman’s third and latest collection of short fiction, Trigger Warning. It is a potpourri of twenty four pieces, if we take as a single piece the entry called A Calendar of Tales, which, itself, holds a dozen. They are not all, despite the collection title, dark or frightening. He brings in some familiar names, David Bowie, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, Maleficent, Snow White, a traveler from other Gaiman writings, Shadow Moon, twists endings into satisfactory curls for the most part, wanders far afield in setting and content, well, within the UK anyway, tosses in a few poems for good measure, and even offers up a few chuckles. He is fond not only of science fiction as a source, but of Scottish and Irish legends as well. If you are not smitten with the story you are reading at a given moment, not to worry, there is another close behind that is certain to satisfy.
Neil Gaiman Photo by Kimberly Butler – on Harper Collins site
Gaiman is overt in noting the absence of connective tissue among the tales. But there are some themes that pop up a time or three. Living things interred in walls, whether after they had expired or not. A bit of time travelling. Fairy tales are fractured. Favorite writers are admired.

In the introduction, Gaiman tells us a bit about the origins of each of the 24, a nifty item to check back on after one has read them all. Some of the material has been developed for other media. I added a link at bottom to a more-than-text offering re the Calendar of Tales, for one.

Overall I found Trigger Warning is a pretty good survey of Gaiman’s impressive range. He seems able to realize the dreams of the alchemists by transforming what seems every experience he has and every notion that crosses his interior crawl into gold. And some of the stories here are glittery indeed.

I quite enjoyed the collection. The uplift of the best more than made up for the downdraft of the lesser. If you enjoy fantasy, with a good dollop of horror, you could definitely give it a shot.

==============================THE STORIES

1 – Making a Chair – a poem about the writing process.

2 – A Lunar Labyrinth – a tribute to Gene Wolfe – a traveler who enjoys roadside oddities is brought to a maze that is brought into a form of darkness by the full moon.
Here is a link to a site that will clue you in on roadside oddities in the USA. There is a book on such things for the other side of the pond, but I did not find a comparable link

3 – The Thing about Cassandra – An imaginary connection becomes real, with a delicious twist

4 – Down to a Sunless Sea – an abominable feast, but with some just desserts

5 – The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountain - A not wholly human dwarf engages a local man to lead him to a cave reputed to be filled with tainted gold – I could not get the image of Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister out of my tiny mind while immersed in this one. Sometimes the truth hurts.

6 – My Last Landlady – the rent is definitely too damn high

7 – Adventure Story – a bit of fun guaranteed to make you smile

8 – Orange – A teen who thinks she’s all that may indeed be – another smile-worthy item

9 – A Calendar of Tales – I won’t go into each – the collection was written from ideas received on-line. I found it a mixed bag, with March (Mom has a big secret), August ( a tale of fire and foolishness), September (a magic ring with the quality of a bad penny), October (a sweet tale, involving a Jinni), and December (a hopeful time-travel piece) my favorites

10 – The Case of Death and Honey – a fantastical tale in which a certain Baker Street resident takes on the mystery of death itself

11 - The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury – a tribute to Gaiman’s mentor

12 – Jerusalem – on one of the dangers of visiting the city

13 – Click-clack the Rattlebag – stories can be scary, regardless of the age of the teller

14 – An Invocation of Incuriousity – a time-travel piece – don’t touch the settings

15 – And Weep, Like Alexander – one possible reason why we do not have some of the futuristic inventions we expected long ago – cute, not scary

16 – Nothing O’Clock – a Doctor Who tale with a timely solution

17 – Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale – a fable with a moral

18 – The Return of the Thin White Duke – the completion of a story begun and abandoned while back for a magazine project on Bowie

19 – Feminine Endings – beware of street statue-performers

20 – Observing the Formalities – Maleficent as narrator of a poem about proper forms

21 – The Sleeper and the Spindle – A fairy tale with a nice twist

22 – Witch Work – a poem on the limits of witchy magic

23 – In Relig Odhrain – a poem on a saint who suffered an awful demise

24 – Black Dog – Shadow Moon stops in an ancient pub and is drawn into some serious darkness, scary fun.

Review first posted – 3/20/15

Publication date – 2/3/2015

This review has been cross-posted on my site, Coot’s Reviews. Stop by and say Hi!

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, Tumblr and FB pages

Here is a link to his separate blog

For a full-on media-rich offering the Calendar of Tales piece in Trigger Warning can be seen here

Harper has an on-line reading guide

Other Gaiman books I have reviewed
-----The View from the Cheap Seats
-----The Graveyard Book
-----The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Profile Image for Snotchocheez.
595 reviews336 followers
July 15, 2015
Wow, I'm certainly in the minority on this one. (Or maybe not. Once the dust has settled and adoring Gaiman fans are finished slobbering over this truly uninspired collection of "short fictions and disturbances"...{read: cast-off ideas and random vanity-noodling}, I think that 3.94 cume might come crashing down).

(Or maybe I'm just a rock-hurling philistine. But, no, I really liked American Gods, I adored The Ocean at the End of the Lane, ditto Coraline and Neverwhere. Ok, not a die-hard fan here, but I sure appreciate his vivid imagination, if not his "literary alchemy" {huh? hyperbolize much, blurb writers?})

All I can say is, of this previously-published collection of 24 entries (including 4 lackluster poems), maybe three of them seemed remotely worthwhile. (In baseball parlance, 3 for 24 is a .125 batting average, hardly a collection to drool over).

I should have been leery with the inordinate amount of time Gaiman used in the introduction to preface Trigger Warning, almost like a used car salesman trumping up the virtues of a shiny retread, knowing full well that underneath the fresh wax job is an engine just waiting to throw a rod. Seriously, if it weren't for the strength of the very last tale, "Black Dog" (not coincidentally, the longest offering, and really the only one with a consistently enjoyable plot arc, somewhat tied to the American Gods metaverse) this probably would've gotten one star from me. Most everything here (except the last story, and, perhaps, "Nothing O'Clock" {an episode of "Doctor Who" Gaiman penned}) needs to be returned to the idea box, and either expanded upon, or scrapped.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
May 9, 2017
Gaiman has written so many weird and wonderful things over the years. I find his talent truly remarkable, especially the way he can dip in and out of different genres. He does not restrict himself to one style, but plays around with words and stories like a true master. He is one of the most multi-talented writers alive today.

And in here there is a collection of very diverse pieces. We have fantasy and horror. We have those drawn from myths and the writings of other authors. My particular favourite was The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury. It’s more of a recognition piece than an actual story. Gaiman pays homage to a man who influenced him artistically and intellectually; he even sent the work to Bradbury in hospital shortly before he died, and he responded with a thank you video. It’s a touching story, but it felt at odds with some of the others in here.

As far as typical short story collections go, this doesn’t quite work. Only in the sense that short story collections are supposed to be a collection of similar stories, at least in terms of theme and purpose, successful ones speak to each other as you progress through. I’m of course thinking about the writing of Alice Munro and James Joyce here, and other greats of the short story form. However, this doesn’t quite do the same thing. This isn’t new work by Gaiman, as his recent collection of stories Norse Mythology is. Instead, short stories he has written over the years (some as many as seven years apart) are published here altogether for the first time. It’s completely random.

They are all brought together by this very loose idea of a “trigger warning.” It’s an idea that there will be a trigger within the writing, a glimpse of something unusual or uncanny that reveals the unseen. It’s an immediate shift of tone. Gaiman defines it in the introduction:

"There are little things that upset us. That’s not quite what we’re talking about here, tough. I’m thinking about those images or words or ideas that drop like trapdoors beneath us, throwing us out of our safe, sane world into a place much more dark and less welcoming. Our hearts skip a ratatat drumbeat into our chests, and we fight for breath. Blood retreats from our faces and our fingers, leaving us pale and gasping and shocked. And what we learn about ourselves in those moments, where the trigger has been squeezed, is this: the past is not dead."

Certainly, such a descriptor fits some of the stories perfectly, and in some cases I could sense the exact line or phrase: it was blatant. In other cases, there was no semblance of one. The Bradbury story, though in itself a fantastic piece of writing, does not have one. I can only conclude that such a thing was used as an attempt to bring unrelated stories together and market them as a collection of writing. So I found this rather difficult to review. Most of the short stories in here are really good pieces of writing, Gaiman at his best, though they don’t all fit the model the book is trying to prescribe. Think of it this way: you have a bunch of lovely ingredients and each in their own right are enjoyable, but when thrown together the result is a big mess.

However, I can’t overlook those original ingredients. They don’t work together, but on their own they are still good; thus, I only recommend this to loyal fans of the author, those that love his writing and are perhaps willing to overlook some of the issues here if it means reading more of the said writing.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
October 3, 2017
I have opined before that Neil Gaiman is the literary heir to Ray Bradbury’s rich legacy, being of mind to celebrate imagination whilst acting as a guide to the shadowy places in the calliope we call life.

Trigger Warning is Gailman’s 2015 collection of shorter work and much of it is in the spirit of Bradbury but with Gailman’s special voice. Twenty-three separate pieces are presented to delight those readers accustomed to visiting that country between dusk and shadow frequented by Gailman and Bradbury. Gailman also pays tribute to Jack Vance with a visit to the dying earth, “The Case of Death and Honey” a Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes story, “Nothing O’Clock” a Doctor Who short work, several reconstructed fairy tales, and “Black Dog” a special appearance by Shadow Moon of American Gods fame.

My favorite (made me smile) is of course “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury”. Something that can never happen.

Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 10, 2020
I'm generally not a huge fan of short stories and this book was no exception.

By far, my favorite short story was Click-Clack the Rattlebag that was brilliant and eerie and just everything wonderful. There were some other spooky stories (i.e. The Truth about Cassandra or Feminine Endings) that I enjoyed but (as usual) I didn't like most of them AND only one of them was actually new. The rest are republished from other anthologies. Some were even published fully on their own before (i.e. a book).

And of course, because this is Neil Gaiman, he throws in a bunch of weird sex. Sigh.

Without further ado:

Introduction - Felt like he was trying to justify these short stories to get people to read them.

Making A Chair - A poetic comparison between a chair and the writing process. Not particularly interesting.

A Lunar Labyrinth - A traveler, a maze and the darkness of the full moon. There's references to Gene Wolfe but that went over my head.

The Thing About Cassandra - Quite good! An imaginary girlfriend drops back into the main character's life - just as his career reaches a pinnacle. The twist ending had me setting down this book and pondering how crazy it was.

Down To A Sunless Sea - A woman loses her son to the sea. An encounter years later reveals a cruel and terrible fate.

The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains - THIS DOES NOT COUNT - it was published once in Stories (2010) and again as a fully illustrated short story (2014). A man, a dwarf, a cursed cavern and a burning desire for revenge.

My Last Landlady - The renter reflects on his quirky past landlady. The landlady makes short work of her renters and despite being gone they still linger...

Adventure Story - An older woman refers to the most mundane aspects as an adventure and the craziest moments ad normal reality. This one was actually fun - exactly how I aspire to live my life.

Orange - orange hair dye + ancient goddess =/= great combination. His older sister rubs some orange goop into her skin in an effort to become tanner, turns out that allowed the goddess to take over. Told only through the answers of a questionnaire form - quirky and interesting.

A Calendar Of Tales - Each month told its own story. Most were uninteresting. I feel like this should have been longer than death.

The Case Of Death And Honey - A Sherlock themed story - probably the longest and most boring I've read. Sherlock's even bored in the story (and not in the fun BORED of BBC's version, more like he's literally raising bees.)

The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury - Tribute to a mentor. I never read much of Ray Bradbury, thus this was all lost on me.

Jerusalem - A brief look into the madness that comes with extreme devotion. A woman pilgrimages to the holy city only to go crazy once she gets there.

Click-Clack The Rattlebag - Brilliant and shockingly so. This made the whole book worth the read. Seriously. This could be a great book on its own. A teenager is babysitting his girlfriend's little brother and makes the mistake of asking the kid for a scary story. That kid delivered.

An Invocation Of Incuriosity - A terrible father has no qualms regarding his youngest son's life and inheritance. Felt vaguely cinderella-ish with the way the son had to serve the other family despite being the true heir.

And Weep, Like Alexander - One man stands in the way of complete and terrible inventions. His sole job - unmake everything that leads outside of the normal realm of invention. Anything annoying or overpowering (i.e. jetpacks) were unmade by him.

Nothing O'Clock - My first Dr Who book. The characters seemed a smidge off from the episodes but this was an intriguing issue.

Diamonds And Pearls: A Fairy Tale - Modern fairy tale(ish) kind of like the one where the good girl is nice to a fairy and every time she speaks jewels fall out. But with cocaine and hookers. About as bad as you think it would be.

The Return Of The Thin White Duke - David Bowie themed fan fiction (in Gaiman's words). It's strange.

Feminine Endings - Creepy one about a living statue that set his eyes on one particular girl. As usual with Gaiman, it got weirdly sexual and included panty-inspections.

Observing The Formalities - Narrated poem. Not memorable.

The Sleeper And The Spindle - THIS DOES NOT COUNT - it was published as a fully illustrated short story (2014)

Witch Work - Poem on witch magic

In Relig Odhráin - poem about saint and church.

Black Dog - THIS WAS LITERALLY THE ONLY NEW ONE. It's an American Gods short story. Marginally interesting but I haven't read American Gods before picking this up, thus it was somewhat lost on me.

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Profile Image for Melki.
6,047 reviews2,391 followers
April 30, 2015
I built an igloo out of books in my backyard.

I slept in my igloo made of books. I was getting hungry. I made a hole in the floor, lowered a fishing line and waited until something bit. I pulled it up: a fish made of books - green covered vintage Penguin detective stories. I ate it raw, fearing a fire in my igloo.

When I went outside I observed that someone had covered the whole world with books: pale-covered books, all shades of white and blue and purple. I wandered the ice floes of books.

I saw someone who looked like my wife out there on the ice. She was making a glacier of autobiographies.

"I thought you left me," I said to her. "I thought you left me alone."

She said nothing, and I realized she was only a shadow of a shadow.

This is a fine collection of short fiction and poetry. I honestly liked this more than any of Gaiman's novels I've read so far, but then, I'm a huge fan of short stories. Even the few tales here that I wasn't too fond of were engaging and well written.

There are too many wonders in these pages to count them all.

One of my favorites was The Sleeper and the Spindle in which a queen blows off her impending nuptials to rescue a sleeping beauty. (Good for her! Handsome Princes are boring and not nearly as good in bed as they think they are!)

I also liked "And Weep Like Alexander," which answers once and for all the question of "Why don't we have personal jet-packs by now?"

My absolute favorite, though, was the poignant The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury. I never stopped to think that when you have Alzheimer's, you not only forget everyone you love, but your favorite books as well.

*from A Calendar of Tales
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,641 reviews2,158 followers
January 11, 2015
I prefer Gaiman's novel-length work, but you do get something in this collection you don't get in longform: his huge range and vast depths of creativity. Most readers will probably only connect with a few pieces here, but it's worth it to read the ones you don't dig as much because they're just so different and so inventive and it's hard to believe they all came from one brain.
Profile Image for Char.
1,682 reviews1,558 followers
April 3, 2015
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (narrated by Neil Gaiman) "The Man Who Remembered Ray Bradbury"was an outstanding story! It made  me think of my favorite short story by James Everington titled "A Writer's Words". (Which is included in his collection The Other Room. )It also deepened my sadness about Terry Pratchett.  I can only imagine what it's like for a man of words to start losing those words. Just the thought of it makes me sad and gives me goosebumps. 5 big fat stars for this tale!
Unfortunately, I hated the rest of this audio book.  So much so that I'm throwing in the towel at 85%. I am going to go ahead and rate it even though I don't usually rate my DNFs. Since I made it through 85%, I feel that I am sufficiently qualified to rate it and I do so at 2.5 stars. If it weren't for the Ray Bradbury story I would probably have given this a one star, instead.
I know, I know-it's Neil Gaiman. The stories were well written, of course, but perhaps it's the author himself reading the stories that I don't like? I just found my mind wandering almost the entire time I was listening. I've listened to audiobooks of short stories before and have liked them, so I'm not sure why this one didn't work. Maybe the stories themselves were just boring? It's most likely some combination of the two. 
In any case, I'm glad to be done with this audio book, since I found myself dreading it every time I went to resume listening. I think it's obvious at this point that I don't recommend this collection. But if you see it in the library or bookstore, pick it up and quickly read "The Man Who Remembered Ray Bradbury" and then put it back down and leave. 
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews797 followers
January 13, 2018
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!
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,795 reviews962 followers
May 19, 2017
I meant to just read this book when I was on my trip to Ecuador next week, but decided to finish it now since my library has a bunch of books I put on hold come up for me to borrow. If I can finish a few others one before Monday I am going to be happy.

Back to this collection. Meh. And you also get an eyeroll.

Gaiman begins this going into how he became fascinated by "trigger warnings" and how they morphed from being a warning you saw onto the internet to them being used by professors in colleges are using this now for warnings to their students before they read a book they fear may upset them. Then he does a huge condescending take about how as adults we should read without any warnings besides knowing what you read is at your own risk.

First, many reviewers like myself use trigger warnings in order to warn potential readers about something that may upset them. For me, I always warn other reviewers about a rape scene being depicted in the book. Since every 98 seconds someone is raped in the United States, I feel like for a lot of us out there, we have experienced that first hand, we don't want to read about it if we have the option to skip over it. Heck, people won't watch movies that show an animal being hurt/killed and I don't mock people for feeling that way.

Second, there seems to be two things going on in his introduction. People using trigger warnings on the internet to warn someone about a picture or image that would be hard to see I think is always a good thing. I do agree that college is a time for learning and to stretch yourself. Heck, I didn't even know you could refuse to read a book or material because it upset you. Do I think that things like that have gotten a little out of hand? Yes, possibly. But I think the intentions behind it are good.

Third, you don't have to be condescending about what other people do and don't read. And also if you are going to act as if your stories in your collection are going to be so dark and so scary that you have to warn readers you better damn well bring it. He did not. This was a mediocre collection at best. I only liked/loved two stories and wish that they were available to buy solo. I refuse to buy this book just to have those two stories.

"Making a Chair" (1 star)-I called this, great Neil Gaiman is writing another poem that I can just skip right over. I am not a fan of his poems. My streak continues alive.

"A Lunar Labyrinth" (2 stars)-This was confusing. I also got really bored. I think that main narrator was a bad person and or possibly a murder. I have no idea. I was mildly intrigued by the idea of a labyrinth that you could walk during a full moon. The images that it evoked in my mind while reading were more interesting than actually finishing this story.

"The Thing About Cassandra" (1 star)-Nope. I don't even want to get into this whole thing besides I found it to be a waste of time.

"Down to a Sunless Sea" (1 star)-I don't know. I can't even say something pithy. It didn't move me beyond wanting to get to the next story so I could be done with this one. At least it was fairly short. It only ended up being like three electronic pages.

"The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains..."(4 stars)-This one was actually interesting. I think that it could have been a bit longer since I found myself very fascinated by the main character who comes to call on a man named Calum MacInnes who can lead him to a cave full of gold. I did love the foreshadowing that Gaiman sets up in this story. And it's a long winding road but you start to realize why this little man was so intent on hiring Calum MacInnes. The ending was good.

"My Last Landlady" (1 star)-It's not a poem, but is trying to be. Enough said.

"Adventure Story" (1 star)-I still don't get the point of this story.

"Orange" (3 stars)-I liked the whole idea that it was a story, but a subject's response to a questionnaire. I really wish that we could have seen the questions too though. I spent more time trying to guess what the questions were to make the answers work.

"A Calendar of Tales" (3 stars)-You get 12 mini short stories that are pegged to the calendar. So you get a January Tale, February Tale, and so on. I imagine that these are the tales that were told by the months that came to life that are featured in one of Gaiman's other short story collections. Some were interesting, some were not.

"The Case of Death and Honey" (1 star)-This is a Sherlock Holmes tale and it's a story within a story within an even stupider story. It didn't make any sense. The changing text size and fonts were hard to read and just helped make things worse.

"The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury" (1 star)-Shrug.

"Jerusalem"(3 stars)-This was an interesting story about a couple that travels to Jerusalem and the affect the place has on them. I wish this could have been longer or provided some more details here and there.

"Click-Clack the Rattlebag" (3 stars)-The only semi-scary story in the whole book.

"An Invocation of Incuriousity" (3 stars)-An interesting idea that intrigued me but then the story kind of fell apart for me.

"And Weep, Like Alexander" (2 stars)-If I ever met the guy who is the uninventor in this story I would have probably have moved away from him cause he sounds really annoying.

"Nothing O'Clock" (3 stars)-This is a Doctor Who short story. I honestly cannot even remember if this made it into the series or not since I have stopped watching that show (sorry it got ridiculous and boring and if it makes you dislike me, have at it) so it was nice to read a story starring Eleven (The Doctor) and Amy Pond. It really felt weird that it was in this collection though. And it definitely highlights my issues with The Doctor and his former companions that were not Rose or Donna.

"Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale"(1 star)-This was short and weird. And not in a good way.

"The Return of the Thin White Duke" (1 star)-I feel like I am missing out on some big idea that Gaiman was going for in most of his stories. I feel like mumbling the phrase "try hard" when I read most of these stories.

"Feminine Endings" (2 stars)-Oh joy, we get to read about a stalker (possibly a living statue) that is judging a woman who watches him on her trips back and forth just enjoying her life. I don't give it 2 stars because of that. I give it 2 stars because it was boring and just lame.

"Observing the Formalities" (2 stars)-I am just going to pretend this is the lead in to the next story and ignore it being some weird spoken poem sort of thing.

"The Sleeper and the Spindle" (5 stars)-I really enjoyed this a whole lot. I could read about a kick ass Snow White all day. I wonder about any further adventures she is going to have.

"Witch Work" (1 star)-Another poem. It's short.

"In Relig Odhrain" (1 star)-A poem.

"Black Dog" (5 stars)-We see what Shadow has been up to since we have read of him in "Monarch of the Glen". I loved it. It has callbacks to characters we know like Bast and references to Odin too. Due to Shadow and who he is (no spoilers) I liked how this was done. And honestly I was stunned by misdirection I got. I definitely did not see any of this coming.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews928 followers
December 31, 2021
"We think we have moved on, put them out of mind, left them to desiccate and shrivel and blow away; but we are wrong. They have been waiting there in the darkness...killing time until we came back that way.”

6 Neil Gaiman Short Stories to Haunt Your Dreams - B&N Reads

Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances is filled with quirky, dare I say Gaimanesque, tales. Some made me think or put a smile on my face. 'The Thing about Cassandra' stood out for me as inventive and entertaining. I also enjoyed 'A Calendar of Tales' (I like how this essentially grew out of online prompts/ideas from fans, 'Nothing O'Clock' (a Doctor Who story), 'The Lunar Labyrinth' and 'The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountain.' I understood from Gaiman's introduction that the collection wasn't connected by any unifying theme or tone. However, when I read stories that I both didn't like as well and didn't seem connected, for me, this made reading the collection a less satisfying experience.

“We are all wearing masks. That is what makes us interesting."
Profile Image for MLE  .
Author 3 books88 followers
April 6, 2015
A fantastic collection of short stories and poems by my favorite living author. While I didn't love every story in this collection there were ones that were just perfect.

The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury was powerful, and especially moving considering his friendship with Terry Pratchett. A beautiful, and haunting reflection on the power of words, of ideas, of books, and of stories. A story that addressed some of my personal biggest fears.

Click-Clack the Rattlebag was just the kind of creeping, and atmospheric horror story I like. Scary, and dark without being obvious and silly.

Nothing O'clock was the perfect fusion of my favorite author and one of my favorite shows. Exactly how much love the author has for Doctor Who shines in these pages. His grasp of Amy and the Eleventh Doctor was perfect, and I could see the story playing out in my head just like an episode of the show. The balance of humor, and darkness was just right.

The fairy tale re-imaginings were all different, but each drew on the feel of the original tales. Each dark, and more than a bit gruesome in their own way. No traditional happy endings, or Princes to the rescue here.

Black Dog was an excellent addition to American Gods universe. I don't think that you have to have read American Gods before you read this. It might give you a little more context, and it might be helpful to know and that , but I don't think it's vital to understanding the story either. Just know that after some difficulties Shadow has been traveling or wandering in Europe. I love the history, and mythology in this story. It only makes me long for more.

Overall a good, darker selection of Neil Gaiman stories. The kind of horror that sneaks up on you. The kind built from suggestion, atmosphere, and character and not copious amounts of blood and gore. In short my favorite kind of horror.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,077 reviews31.3k followers
March 9, 2018
I have enjoyed this collection of stories. I think this winter has been a perfect time to read them too. I feel almost like the crinkle and crackle under my feet like leaves as I read them. Or I am in my dark room with the reading light on under a mound of covers in the cold winter night. It has been enjoyable. There are some interesting stories in here. There is poetry and all different stories.

I will admit, I am a Neil Gaiman fan and he rarely, if ever, lets me down. I found this collection did what I needed it too. I feel like Neil is always opening new doors in my head to unknown destinations in the universe I never went to. Its strange; I usually only read creepy horror writers for short stories. I like Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and Neil Gaiman short stories. Otherwise I don't read much of it. So, this was my cup of tea.

Want to read
October 6, 2019
Whew! I must finish this soon. I'll be freaking back!
We are all wearing masks. That is what makes us interesting. These are stories about those masks, and the people we are underneath them. …
Make sure you secure your own mask before reading. (c)
There are things that wait for us, patiently, in the dark corridors of our lives. (c)
The universe is amply supplied with night. (c)
We build the stories in our heads. We take words, and we give them power, and we look out through other eyes, and we see, and experience, what others see. (c)
Few stories end unhappily for all participants, after all. (c)
Sometimes huge truths are uttered in unusual contexts. (c)
Secure your own mask before helping others.
And I think of us, all the people, and the masks we wear, the masks we hide behind and the masks that reveal. I imagine people pretending to be what they truly are, and discovering that other people are so much more and so much less than they imagined themselves to be or present themselves as. And then, I think about the need to help others, and how we mask ourselves to do it, and how unmasking makes us vulnerable . . .
We are all wearing masks. That is what makes us interesting. (c)
There are stories you build, and there are stories you construct, then there are stories that you hack out of rock, removing all the things that are not the story. (c)
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,118 followers
March 23, 2015
As usual with short story anthologies - some I was not interested in, some I loved. What I wish was less often - how many of these stories I'd read already, published in other compilations. I know it's an author's prerogative how they bundle and republish their work, but I'd prefer to be given new stories.

Don't skip the introductions. They put each story into context and one has a hint of a future novel (very exciting!)

My favorites:

-The Thing About Cassandra

-The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains (recommended: the separate Audible production with the FourPlay String Quartet)

-Black Dog
It is important to note that depression is often referred to as the "black dog."

-The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury - a lovely tribute to an author and more generally, ruminations on what happens to works once they're out there

"I sometimes imagine I would like my ashes to be scattered in a library. But then the librarians would just have to come in early the next morning to sweep them up again."

-In Relig Odhráin - largely because it was set on a tiny island that both the author and I adore. I would love to go back and read this story again while standing near this place.

Stories I'd already read:
-Click-Clack the Rattlebag
-The Sleeper and the Spindle
-Feminine Endings

ETA: This book was discussed on Episode 024 of the Reading Envy podast.
Profile Image for Paul Nelson.
641 reviews144 followers
January 10, 2016
'I don’t understand parents. Honestly, I don’t think anybody ever does.'

Trigger Warning is a short story and poem collection by Neil Gaiman intent on finding those little pressure points that cause the most unease and arouse reflection, maybe even disturb you a mite.

There's some little gems here but first I'll explain why I like Gaimans wondrous prose and fascinating stories. He thoughtfully exploits the story twist and role reversal better than anyone but it's the little things that stick with me, shown perfectly in The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury.

'I went to the shelf and the dictionary was gone, just a dictionary-sized hole in my shelf to show where my dictionary wasn’t.'

Now that sentence probably wouldn't appear in most people's favourite quotes and to be fair it's easily passed and forgotten, but it stayed in the forefront of my mind as I listened to the audio. So much so that I spent 30 minutes desperately trying to find it in the kindle version. This perfectly shows the way Neil Gaiman thinks and writes, exploration of a mute fancy that no-one else would even consider wasting a second on, all in a sentence and that's why I love it.

Gaiman travels far and wide in this collection, from the last of the Time Lords to Sherlock Holmes and honey bees, from the fancifully dark fairy tale to Shadow from American Gods traveling through my home region of the Peak District encountering ghosts and murder.

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains is a haunting tale of travel and treasure, family and murder, darkness, revenge and regret, desire of the soul. A true delight and I will certainly revisit the illustrated version of this story.

‘The Misty Isle is not as other places. And the mist that surrounds it is not like other mists.’

Nothing O'Clock sees the return of the Doctor and a foe worthy of terror, what can only be described as strangeness beyond belief starts with a person wearing an animal mask buying a house for cash. It soon becomes wholesale as property everywhere is being bought for cash by people wearing animal makes and they want one thing, for you to ask them the time.

Sherlock Holmes makes an appearance in The Case of Death and Honey as Mycroft breathes his last and case of research in a far off land into honey and a particular bee. The Sleeper and the Spindle is a delightful cross of fairy tales with Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and the seven dwarfs.

There's far too many stories and favourites to mention them all but safe to say I enjoyed this immensely, Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors and an incredibly talented guy. The absolute perfect medium to pull back that thin veil between worlds and explore the darkness beyond. A simply masterful story teller.

Just as captivating is Neil Gaiman himself talking about the stories and those little triggers, things that upset us, leave our heart beating overtime, shock, not gore but mind messing at its best.

'What we read as adults should be read, I think, with no warnings or alerts beyond, perhaps: enter at your own risk.'

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...
Profile Image for Ron.
394 reviews97 followers
August 21, 2016
Trigger Warning: a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc., alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material (often used to introduce a description of such content). Cool huh? Gaiman opens his book of short stories with why he decided on the book’s name, and then states, “What we read as adults should be read, I think, with no warnings or alerts beyond, perhaps: enter at your own risk”.

To me, that’s a challenge. So I took the risk. It was worth it. Here are a few of the reasons why:

The Thing About Cassandra - This tale would have been good even without the ending that baffled my brain. Flippin’ loved the way Gaiman did that, especially because I did not see it coming. A dozen or so years after high school was left in the past, a friend and Stuart Inne’s mom tell him how they’d each run into Stuart’s first girlfriend. “Who?” asks Stuart. Then we read this line:
"The thing about Cassandra is this: I’d made her up.”
Made up: yes. Is she somehow real? Could be. That’s all I will say, except to mention that the story will suck you in and spit you out.
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - A man’s daughter has been missing for a decade before he seeks the cave that holds treasures of gold. You might ask, as I did, “What does gold have to do with his daughter?” The answer is in the tale and its title. Like many of these stories, this one has an ambiguous beginning. Pieces are subtly added until the full picture is revealed. It reminds me of the building of a jigsaw puzzle without the use of the box as a guide.
The Case of Death and Honey - It makes sense that Arthur Conan Doyle would influence Gaiman’s work. He pays homage to Doyle by writing a case that maybe only Sherlock could solve. What’s so interesting is the way it’s put together, in letters and correspondence. Again, I could not figure the direction until near the end which makes the final paragraphs so satisfying.
The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury - You don’t have to be a Bradbury fan to love it, but it helps. Only a few pages long, and all of it’s good.
The Black Dog - I can almost hear the fans of American Gods hooing and haaing because Shadow is back. That’s so cool. In truth I have pretty well forgotten the plot and feel of American Gods, but still, this was a pretty decent short. Another mystery, and is Gaiman once again recalling Sherlock here? He drops a little hint when mentioning The Hound of the Baskervilles. This one comes with some evil and magic.

I recommend Trigger Warning to Gaiman fans. If you’re new to his work, then in my opinion Neverwhere or Stardust are the better starting point. Trigger Warning is fascinating in the shear vastness of imagination because every story is different. So why the 3 stars (3.5 to be exact)? Well, some very good stories (see above + a few others) are mixed with others which were good, but a tad less interesting – to me anyway (note: this does not mean bad).

Thank you for reading this review!
Profile Image for Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile).
851 reviews123 followers
March 7, 2020
Trigger Warning
Making a Chair
”Stories are waiting like distant thunderstorms
grumbling and flickering on the grey horizon”

I’m not an expert when it comes to poetry, as I only recently started reading and appreciating it. But I did like the picture that this poem painted in my mind.
A Lunar Labyrinth
”Lips touching skin under the moonlight”
Unexpected twist at the end, made this one worth the read. It place the entire tale the old man told in a different light.
The Thing About Cassandra
"The Thing about Cassandra is this: I’d made her up"
photo booth strip
This was bizarre and thought-provoking. What will you do if someone you "made up" come looking for you?
Down to the Sunless Sea
"The sea took him."
This was bone-chilling creepy. I literally got shivers down my spine at the crux of the story.
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountain
"Everything has its cost"
I would love to see the performance with the string quartet and Eddie Campbell’s art.
This is one of those deep stories, where you just keep falling, and falling. And every time you think about it, you can’t help but fall deeper.
This Graphic Novel is moving to the top of my Wish list.
My Last Landlady
”but why must they stand so still?”
Gave me the chills when I read the end and release the narrator is talking to the reader.
Adventure Story
”any minor disaster we survived”
To me this felt like a rambling of a mad person, but then again it might be exactly that.
”The weirdest thing was that I could still see it with my eyes closed”
While I appreciate what Gaiman tried to do here, this story delivery just doesn’t work for me.
A Calendar of Tales
”Did they tell you that a year would be a lifetime”
This is a compellation of 12 shorter stories. Each somehow connected to their month. Some I enjoyed more than other.
My favorites are February, March and October. (a lost pendant, a Pirate and a Genie)
The Case of Death and Honey
”I am only alive when I perceive a challenge”
I’ve been meaning to read Sherlock Holmes for a while now, but never seem to get around to actually doing it. This dazzling little story just gave me that longing to again move it up on my TBR.
The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury
”I am forgetting things, which scares me”
 Ray Bradbury
Losing words and concepts is a scary thing. I can’t even imagine how it would feel to look for a word and only find an empty space where it used to be.
”It’s still the Holy City”
And this is why I read… to learn. I have never heard of Jerusalem syndrome before today.
I would have like for this story to be a bit longer… maybe know what his wife will say when he listens this time.
Click-Clack the Rattlebag
”Mostly they come from the dark”
Creepy; but not really that surprising or shocking.
An Invocation of Incuriosity
”That is the nature of time. It flows faster when it is younger and the course is narrower.”
I love when stories stretch my mind, when it makes me think… ”What if…
And that is exactly what this story did. I seems I love stories with Doors.
‘And Weep, Like Alexander’
I made a list of inventions the world would be better off without and, one by one, I
uninvented them all.

Interesting concept, but I would like a whole novel - Following Obediah around on his adventures of uninventing.
Nothing O’Clock
”Watch out for masks”
Fascinating concept, but I didn’t connect with this story. Don’t know if it is because I never seen a Doctor Who story before, or if it was just not 100% for me.
Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale
”Once upon the olden times”
Fairy Tale
This doesn’t feel like a story, it feels more like an idea of a story.
The Return of the Thin White Duke
”I wonder if any of us set out to be monsters?”
And that is how Gaiman believe Bowie came to existence. His imagination surly is something different.
Feminine Endings
”Too often people will not see what does not move”
This is the creepiest love letter I’ve ever read. It gives me You vibes.
Observing the formalities
”Manners are all, and the formalities. When we lose those We have lost everything.”
Talk about changing the point of view… This was certainly something different and unexpected. But I can’t say I liked it that much.
The Sleeper and the Spindle
”She’s old as the hills, evil as a snake, all malevolence and magic and death”
I do like fairytale retellings, especially with unexpected twist like this. My only complaint is that we never learn why the spiders was not influenced by the sleeping curse.
Witch Work
The witch was as old as the mulberry tree
She lived in the house of a hundred clocks

This one kind of confused me…
I liked the parts were the focus is on the witch, but the other parts just didn’t work for me.
b>In Relig Odhráin
”God is not what you imagine”
Relig Odhráin & St Oran's Chapel
This one sure is disturbing, burring people in walls
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,425 reviews215 followers
March 18, 2018

So many wonderful and amazing short stories all wrapped up in an amazing book! Seriously! I have no idea how I even came across this book but I'm so happy that I did. I think this is my second book from him that I've read.. it could be my third too.. I have no idea. I just know that I have a bunch of his books on my TBR.

Trigger Warning gave you stories from Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who to some creepy or romantic stories. It gave you a wide variety of stories that you are bound to fall in love with at least one of them.

I liked a lot of them, like: The Case of Death and Honey mostly because I just love Sherlock Holmes. Anything that has to do with him is obviously awesome and I'll probably end up loving it. Click-Clack the Rattlebag, was a super creepy one that had such good twists in it. It made me cringe (in the good way - if there is one?) and I just ended up loving it. Sometimes you need a good scary story in your life. Thank god it isn't Friday the 13th or Halloween because I'd probably crap my pants. The Sleeper and the Spindle was AHHHMAZZZINGGG. It had strong female characters. It also gave you a bad ass queen to fall in love with. I mean who doesn't love a good fairy tale cross over kind of book. Anything that resembles a disney princess (yes I said that because I grew up with disney!!) is alright in my book.

I could go on and on about all of the stories within this amazing book but I wont. WHY? Well, because you people need to go get this book and read it for yourselves! Honestly, it wont take that much time off of your hands. You'll breeze through it and hopefully you'll love it and thank me for it.

Seriously, go read it. NOW!

Profile Image for Amanda.
411 reviews44 followers
January 29, 2015

I’ll be honest and say that Neil Gaiman could publish his grocery list and I’d read it. American Gods is pretty much my favorite book in the world. I reread it once a year and I always find something new. So I basically stood up and danced around my office when I received an early copy of these short stories. I know I just said last week I don’t really do short stories, but people, it’s Neil Gaiman. I would rather have a full length novel, but I really enjoyed these overall.

To begin, I actually loved the lengthy prologue. Gaiman goes through each story and describes why it was written or who it was written for. I really liked that extra personal touch and I felt it made for richer reading-despite the short format. I loved the female pirate in “A Calendar of Tales” and “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” touched my heart. There’s even a story of an igloo built of books-what booklover wouldn’t be drawn to that? “The Sleeper and the Spindle” was a fantastic fairy tale twist and definitely gave me the shivers while I was reading. “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” was deliciously creepy.

My issue often times with short story anthologies is the tie-ins to other books or series that I might not have read. Two stories in Trigger Warning reflect two of Gaiman’s own books, American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. “The Case of Death and Honey” is Gaiman’s Sherlock Holmes story but also with a nod to Laurie King’s Mary Russell and Holmes series. Though that series is still on my lengthy to be read list, I still found that story to be one of my favorites. I’ve never read a Doctor Who book, despite the fact that I’ve been watching the show since I was 3. While I doubt I’ll seek out a full length book, I did still like “Nothing O’clock”, the story featuring the Doctor.

In the past when I’ve read short stories I find my mind wandering trying to figure out how much is left-because its not usually enough. The best praise I can give Trigger Warning is to say that I was completely immersed in most of the stories. I was intrigued, entertained and even a bit rattled by Gaiman’s words.

4 stars!

Thank you William Morrow and Edelweiss for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion!
Profile Image for RJ - Slayer of Trolls.
824 reviews192 followers
June 5, 2017
Gaiman admits his short stories and poems are his opportunity to experiment as a writer. Some of those experiments turn out good, others don't. There are a few poems scattered throughout - most of them are at least fleetingly enjoyable, regardless how you might otherwise feel about poetry. The American Gods story at the end is worth reading for Shadow Moon fans.

- The Chair (poem) - 3/5 - you have to love an author who can make an amusing poem of out the assembling of an office chair
- A Lunar Labyrinth - 2/5 - might like it better if I got the Gene Wolfe references
- The Thing About Cassandra - 3/5 - imaginary girlfriend in Canada? Did he meet her at Niagra Falls? (see: The Breakfast Club)
- Down to a Sunless Sea - 3/5 - ...and that's why you should always have plenty of snacks along during long trips
- The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - 4/5 - you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you'll find you get what you need
- My Last Landlady - 3/5 - my 2nd favorite poem about landlord-tenant relations, after the lyrics to George Thorogood's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"
- Adventure Story - 3/5 - keep your eye on parents; never know what they get up to when unsupervised
- Orange - 4/5 - best set of deposition answers I've ever read
- A Calendar of Tales - 4/5 - 12 separate tales, each based on a different month of the year
- The Case of Death and Honey - 4/5 - putting the "Bee" in 221 B Baker Street
- The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury - 3/5 - Gaiman's love letter to Bradbury
- Jerusalem - 3/5 - informed by the author's visit to the Holy City
- Click-Clack the Rattlebag - 4/5 - Moral of the story: never agree to babysit your girlfriend's little brother
- An Invocation of Incuriosity - 4/5 - Jack Vance would be proud
- "And Weep, Like Alexander" - 4/5 - fun little homage to Arthur C. Clarke's White Hart tales
- Doctor Who: Nothing O'Clock - 4/5 - I wonder if I would have liked it more if I had ever seen an episode of Doctor Who?
- Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale - 2/5 - modernized fairy tale mashup to supplement Mrs. Gaiman's vanity project
- The Return of the Thin White Duke - 1/5 - probably should have written about the Spiders of Mars instead
- Feminine Endings - 2/5 - not a lot happening in a story about a statue
- Observing the Formalities - 2/5 - some of Gaiman's poems are kind of fun...but not this one
- The Sleeper and the Spindle - 3/5 - Snow White/Sleeping Beauty mashup with an interesting twist but it doesn't quite work
- Witch Work - 2/5 - poem about a witch
- In Relig Odhrain - 2/5 - poem about a church
- Black Dog - 4/5 - Shadow Moon story set in England
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,065 reviews1,477 followers
September 15, 2016
Actual rating 3.5 stars.

Gaiman is undoubtedly a master of the art of writing: his prose his sublime, his imagery evocative and his characters raw and real. His writing alone is worthy of garnering all five stars. The subject matters were also of a varied and intriguing nature that aroused my initial interest. As the title describes, each story deals with themes that could be deemed as triggers, or unsuitable for those of a sensitive nature, and this both excited and charmed my morbid curiosity and I.

My only problem with this is that it features short fiction. It seems unfair to rate a short story collection lowly precisely because it is what it says it is! I just couldn't get over the format enough to fully immerse myself in each story as much as I would have liked to. Gaiman's bizarre and beautiful prose is, in my belief, better suited to longer fiction. My opinion was reinforced by my enjoyment of the longer length stories in this collection. This is just a personal preference has in no way impacted my enjoyment of Gaiman's writing or my interest in reading more of his unusual and astounding creations.
Profile Image for Edafe.
90 reviews2 followers
February 9, 2015
Neil Gaiman is a bastard. A beautifully talented writer and an absolute bastard for getting into my head and rooting about. Right from the start I got the chills and I hadn't even reached the stories, this was just the introduction. I know I'm loving a book, a song, a film, any piece of work because it short circuits my logical brain and sneaks in. I feel tingles. When Neil describes his love for short stories, his journey to writing this compilation, it hit like a whirlpool: strong and unexpected.

After kicking up emotional debris, I had to put it down and have a cup of tea. I collected myself, then I started to read. I can't say I loved every story, that would be a lie and this book deserves Truth. The truth is, some were hard going, one was dull, one made me ache a little for my Doctor but all made me think. Each story got my brain revving and pinging with painful, delightful ideas, thoughts and a touch of wistfulness.

I posited once that "Reading is the closest thing to sharing a stream of consciousness; to being inside someone’s head without barriers" and writing like this means "someone somewhere can share my soul, just for the briefest of moments".
Profile Image for Chad.
8,148 reviews906 followers
January 17, 2019
Some of the stories are great, some are just OK. There is a Doctor Who story with the 11th Dr. It's just as good as the episodes he's written for the TV show.
Profile Image for Rikke.
615 reviews649 followers
February 24, 2015
Beautifully sinister. Filled with irresistible darkness. Neil Gaiman is a writer of fantastic fiction, and 'Trigger Warning' is fantastic.

Some of the fragments in here bids me welcome from the past. "The Sleeper and the Spindle" is a sensational masterpiece, I read multiple times last year, living in the fairy tale while it lasted. "A Calendar of Tales" is as beautiful as it is haunting, and the story behind the little stories is mesmerizing. The idea of writing an entire story based on a single sentence from a stranger is complex and rich, ultimately suggesting that inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources.

Some of the fragments in here were surprises. Things I did not expect to find within a collection of Neil Gaiman-stories. As someone who has never watched a single episode of 'Doctor Who', I was not prepared to read a story about the TV-show. But I did, as Neil Gaiman had written it, and I enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible. It didn't matter that I didn't have a firm grip on the structures within the Whovian-world, what mattered was Gaiman's words, and they told me everything that I needed to know.
Neither did I expect to read a crime-story by Neil Gaiman. Even if it was based on Sherlock Holmes, it came as a pleasant surprise. Elegant, well-crafted and mysterious; classic Sherlock Holmes blended with Gaiman's trademark mystery.

And, of course, some of the fragments in here were classic Gaiman-productions. Something you'd expect a true magician to write with ink of liquid beauty. "Feminine Endings" is brutally claustrophobic, a stalker circling in on his victim, manipulating words to express caressing love while speaking of a violent obsession. "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains" was equally drawing, made up of vivid imagery and told as a fairytale-esque myth. Exactly as original, beautiful and disturbing as one would expect.

"Trigger Warning" is a wonderful story collection, filled with monsters, things and words that will creep under your skin and stay there. Gaiman's stories are triggers, and do consider yourself warned.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,682 followers
July 6, 2015
I discovered Neil Gaiman as a teen, thanks to the Science Fiction Book Club. The selection of the month one month was GOOD OMENS, by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and their glowing and hilarious review made me order it immediately. It didn't disappoint, and remains one of my favorite books. Then I found STARDUST. Different, strange, but still wonderful. The next thing I read was SMOKE & MIRRORS, and there my growing love for Neil Gaiman ran into a bit of a hitch. I didn't like most of the stories. And I realized, then and now, that I was probably too young for them. I remember being disturbed by a couple of the stories for years. I still have my copy, but I've never opened the book again. And for a while I felt like maybe there was something wrong with me. Like maybe I was too immature, and now as an adult, am I being an old fuddy-duddy for not thinking they are all genius and racing to reread them? But no. I contend that I'm not. It's interesting, because we are so caught up, as parents, as a reading culture, in urging more and more advanced books on readers, because they can handle the vocabulary, because it's important that kids know that Things Happen. Death. Divorce. Violence. Drugs. But I think we fail to see that you can tell a kid the nuts and bolts of sex or violence, but reading about it in fiction is still going to be rough for them, that emotionally they weren't ready. And I like to think, having read this, that Neil Gaiman would actually agree with me.

So the title of this collection is TRIGGER WARNING. And he talks in the introduction (which is wonderful) about why it's called that. And he mentions that growing up he read a lot of books that were beyond him, and some he just didn't understand, and some he wished he hadn't read. And I thought Yes. See. I have things I wish I hadn't read. Or that I had read later in my life, which is the case with SMOKE AND MIRRORS.

But is not the case here.

Now that my digression about emotional maturity and books is done, I can tell you: I loved this collection. I think this was overall his strongest collection of stories. Usually anthologies are a mixed bag, and one or two at the very least is awful, and/or forgettable. But there isn't a bum story in the bunch. Every one is a shining gem, a delight to behold, and I loved them all. What shocked me about his earlier collection, and continued on in FRAGILE THINGS as well, was that so many of the stories were just . . . grim. STARDUST and NEVERWHERE get pretty dark, yet I still think of them as having a playful tone overall. I see them as being written with love, and a certain sense of whimsy that is lacking in so many of Gaiman's shorter pieces. Even in ANANSI BOYS, which gets darkity-dark-dark, there's the whole bit about Fat Charlie and the lime. So what pleased me about these new stories is that the sense of playfulness was back. Some of the stories were freakin' creepy, but the memory of them still makes me smile, if that makes sense.

If you're looking to discover Neil Gaiman, you could do worse than read this. I would also recommend his M IS FOR MAGIC, which contains his stories suitable for children, including my two favorites, "Chivalry" and "Sunbird." Also, if you are a fan of AMERICAN GODS, which I most assuredly am, the last story is a novella about Shadow, which made me endlessly happy.

Profile Image for Peterpan23 Jeremy Perrault .
51 reviews34 followers
December 12, 2022
4.5 ✨..

For my first Neil Gaiman experience, I am taken aback on how much I can enjoy certain fantasy, but not all. I was skeptical, but pleasantly surprised on the nature of the book. I love short stories. I am excited to read more works of his.
Here are a few reviews of my favorites in this book.

* The thing about Cassandra: Early in his childhood, he would dream about meeting girls. His fellow mates for make life hell for him due to his, “lack there of” in the female world. Casandra was a made up fit bird that became the talk of the town. Little to his belief, was his fairytale maiden a real live girl. Be careful for what you wish for. Karma has a funny way of catching up to you. However, what would you do if you met face to face the girl, woman, or Saint of your own personal figment of imagination? Would you say your dreams came true? Or the Devil was playing tricks on you? All is fair in love and war, despite reality; our mind is a fickle thing to challenge.

* The truth is a cave in the black mountains: a story about the urban legends in the Scottish isles. Based on a soft fantasy, and urban legend about a cave of gold. The riches reap you of your youth, life, memories and happiness while you endings yourself in the selfish nature of your ego. With everything, there comes a price. But what price would you give for endless gold? Is your life worth your ego? Only one lives on to tell your tale.

* Adventure story: “Adventures are all very well in their place, but there is a lot to be said for regular meals and freedom from pain.”.. In his family, adventure means, “any minor disaster you survived,” or “any break from routine.”

* A calander of tales: Junes tale is about the arguing of the father and the mother. How simple little egotistical “wants” in a relationship become the “opposites attract” to the childish minds we all have in not getting our way. Love is the ability to know what you want, and having the other person you share life and love with to never hold you back from pursing it. This story brings out the childish egos of the two parents, and the cute romance we all never lose when we find, “the one!” The September tale hits home. It is my mothers birthday month, and the story is about a mother and a passed down possession to her daughter. It is a lions head ring. The ring has a magic of its own. It is never lost, and always found. It kinda resembles to me a memory. A memory may be lost at times, but it is found in nostalgia, de ja’ vue, photos, books, movies etc. We think we lose things, but our memory plays tricks on us. what was once lost, is never lost, and found within us, always there, waiting to be resurfaced. This is a brilliant analogy to write about. Brilliant story! Octobers tale is a brilliant rendition of a true love story. To be confident, and suffice with all. You have. A genie could not grant a wish for this perfect girl. She had all she ever wanted. The genie was determined to give her something, to aide her with anything she could ever desire. He was taken aback when she would always answer the same thing no matter what thought he came up with, ‘No, i am good.” Surely, the genie always was meant to please, but he never knew what “feeling” pleased meant. Enjoy the little. Things, I say. This is the morale of the story. He stayed with her, and was pleased but the small imperfections of himself, that she made him feel were perfect. With that, he had everything he could have ever wished for!

* Nothing O’clock: Roman numeral II; has to be the weirdest rendition of “the purge” in a fairy tale form. The most theatrical rendition of a millionaire lottery winner. Mind boggling but amazing. Ok, between the tv show I am sure he is describing to be, “Doctor Who”, there is definitely a thriller here. Omg. The toss between fantasy and thriller is amazing. You can’t stop reading. It makes your mind bored (for me with fantasy), but alive with the mix of thriller and just overall, (pardon my French) fucked up massacre of brilliance! …..”I would have helped you find a place your people could have lived. But there was a girl called Polly, and she left her diary behind. And you killed her. That was a mistake. “”You never even knew her,”” called the kin from the void””. She was a kid, said the doctor. Pure potential, like every kid everywhere. I know all I need!!……Amazing short.

* The rerun of the thin white Duke: ..[question: what can you never give back?] “Only one answer, and it is this: The heart, “Said the queen. “The heart is greater than the universe, for it can find pity in it for everything in the universe, and the universe itself can feel no pity. The heart is greater than a king, because the heart can know a king for what he is, and still love him. And once you give your heart, you cannot take it back.”…. Brilliant!
Profile Image for Milica.
116 reviews54 followers
March 1, 2015
Ne postoji zbirka kratkih priča u kojoj je svaka priča odlična, bar se ja nisam susrela sa takvom još uvek. Prednost kratkih priča u odnosu na romane, je što nije neophodno da vam se svaka priča dopadne da biste na kraju knjige bili oduševljeni. Ukoliko vam pisac "ne pogodi žicu" u romanu nema izlaza. U zbirkama, ako vam se neka priča ne svidi tu je neka druga,treća,peta... I za svačiji ukus i raspoloženje će se naći nešto (osim ako ste potpuno promašili žanr ili uopšte nemate ukusa u tom slučaju vam nema pomoći).

Treća zbirka Nila Gejmena (treća za "odraslu" publiku) se sastoji od 24 priče i veoma informativnog uvoda. Sastoji se dugih priča i od veoma kratkih pričica. Nisu mi sve bile po ukusu i samima im ne bih dala visoku ocenu, ali one druge...Oh, one druge! Jezovite, maštovite, duhovite i tako gejmenovske u onom čudnom, gotovo bizarnom stilu.

Smatram da nije neophodno da svaku priču ponaosob ocenjujem, ali istaćiću par omiljenih:

* " Lunar Labyrinth"
* "Click-Clack the Rattlebag"
* "The Sleeper and the Spindle"
* "Down to a Sunless Sea"
* "Nothing o'clock"

"FINAL WARNING There are monsters in these pages, but as Ogden Nash pointed out in my first short-story collection, Smoke and Mirrors, where there’s a monster, there’s also a miracle. There are some long stories and some short ones. There are a handful of poems, which perhaps might need their own warning for the people who are frightened, disturbed, or terminally puzzled by poetry. (In my second short-story collection, Fragile Things, I tried to explain that the poems come free. They are bonuses for the kind of people who do not need to worry about sneaky and occasional poems lurking inside their short-story collections.) There. Consider yourself warned. There are so many little triggers out there, being squeezed in the darkness even as I write this. This book is correctly labeled. Now all we have to worry about is all the other books, and, of course, life, which is huge and complicated and will not warn you before it hurts you. Thank you for coming. Enjoy the things that never happened. Secure your own mask again after you read these stories, but do not forget to help others.”
Profile Image for Mangrii.
901 reviews262 followers
September 25, 2016
Nunca había probado a mi querido Neil Gaiman en su formato corto, y la publicación de su última antología en castellano era la oportunidad perfecta. Desgraciadamente me llevo un sabor un tanto agridulce. Si bien reconozco que siete relatos me resultan memorables y solo por ellos merece la pena la lectura de la antología, el resto de los veinticuatro relatos paso sin pena ni gloria por mis garras lectoras. Eso sí, los que me atraparon me resultaron excelentes, y son los que en realidad más se publicitan en la contraportada del libro.

La gran mayoría de los relatos proceden de otras publicaciones anteriores del autor en otras colecciones, por lo que se nota una especie de remix con diferentes producciones como poemas, relatos cortos o relatos más largos combinadas con algunos experimentos del propio autor. No sé si mejora la experiencia lectora o no, pero me ha parecido interesante ir leyendo la breve introducción que hace Gaiman hacía cada relato tras leerlo, me ha resultado curioso en más de una ocasión y a veces he comprendido mejor que quería desarrollar con dicha producción.

Dentro de la colección hay tengo que destacar cuatro grandiosas obras, y las cuales además son las tres de los relatos que más paginas ocupan. En El caso de la muerte y la miel, Gaiman nos lleva al universo de Sherlock Holmes, así como el homenaje al Doctor Who con “Las nada en punto”, la delicia que supone la lectura del cuento La verdad es una cueva en las montañas negras o el regreso al universo de American Gods, con el relato Black Dogs.
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,011 followers
Want to read
March 13, 2016
I don't feel like it and I don't know why. I read only the prologue and not even one of the stories, that's why I am not shelving it as DNF. I'll just pick it up again when it calls to me a little more.
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