February 7, 2015

Stories to Treasure, and a Book to Pass Along: Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning



First off, I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman. So I’m just going to call him Neil from here on out.

Neil is one of those writers, that if they were dead, you would say, “Man, I wish he were still alive”. I feel that way about Orwell and Camus. Thankfully, Neil is still alive and making art. We are lucky for that.

This collection is a continuance of Neil’s awesomeness. I have read his other two collections – both Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things – and loved them. Fragile things was one of the first presents I got for my wife when we were first dating. I waited for her to finish then I asked to borrow it. It is now part of our combined collection. Thanks, Neil.

That said, I have a quibble. The title of this collection sounds too de mode. It is brought of current discourse in the left. In 20 years, the title will have to be explained to new fans. “Oh, a Trigger Warning was a way of saying…”. Other than that, these stories are awesome. Neil has a way of creating an atmosphere that is just creepy, but in a good way. There’s no exposition dump, or if there is it doesn’t stand out. That’s good, because the format is made for immediacy, and quick intimacy. You have to know who the character are, and live in them right away.

The problem with short stories by Neil is that they are too short. I want a new book by  Neil, I want to fully live in a world that he creates. Thankfully, some of the stories are long enough for you to stretch out your legs in, and you’re not confined by the page count. There is a nice selection here – the good long stories are Lovecraftian, Grimmish, and Whovian. The best, most haunting story is just a few pages.

Somewhere Neil once said that adults need fairy tales too. Thankfully he’s still giving them to us. I’ll now hand this book to my wife, glad that I had a chance to read it first when she wants to talk about the stories.