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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
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Archive - Award Winners > Trigger Warning - August 2016

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message 1: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6117 comments Mod
Winner of the Fantasy Award

Trigger Warning Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

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.


Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments I got this from my library and I'll definitely read the Doctor Who story. However, I didn't like American Gods (or anything else of Gaiman that I've read) and I'm not a fan of short stories in general... So I'll likely just skim the remainder of the book. I think this was the most frustrating category for me as I love fantasy, but this is just not fantasy to me at all.


message 3: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6117 comments Mod
I don't love Gaiman's stories either and I don't typically care for short stories either, so this one is not something I'm really interested in either. Neil Gaiman seems to be a very popular author though.

Fantasy isn't my favorite genre, but there are a few books and series that I enjoy.


message 4: by Lynn, Moderator (new)

Lynn | 4165 comments Mod
I have a theory about Gaiman (which may be biased because I've not been a fan of the books I've read of his either) that the reason he's loved so much is the non-UK readers gush over him so much because they listen to his audio books and love his accent.

Which for me is nothing special .....


message 5: by ally ¯\(ツ)/¯ (last edited Jul 31, 2016 04:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯ (allykennedy) | 1002 comments Janina wrote: "I got this from my library and I'll definitely read the Doctor Who story. However, I didn't like American Gods (or anything else of Gaiman that I've read) and I'm not a fan of short stories in gene..."

The Doctor Who story was great. So were
Down to a Sunless Sea,
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains,
And Weep, Like Alexander.

Gaiman is really hit and miss with me. Most of the time, I find him overrated.

"Orange" was just bloody awful.


Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments I really enjoy Gaiman, both in audio and in print. In audio format, I like them better with other narrators, so I'll have to disagree with you on that score, Lynn.

So, I am not generally a fan of short stories. In any given compilation, some are good, others are not. The same goes for this compilation, but for me there were more of the good and really good to tip this over to a 4-star for me.

I also really enjoyed the introduction and how Gaiman explained his thought process while writing the stories. Of course, immediately after, I thought the first stories were ho-hum. I stuck with it and was rewarded by the second half of the stories.


Katy Mann | 278 comments Valerie wrote: "I really enjoy Gaiman, both in audio and in print. In audio format, I like them better with other narrators, so I'll have to disagree with you on that score, Lynn.

So, I am not generally a fan of ..."


I'm about half way through the anthology. I really liked "Click-Clack the Rattlebag", which, as mentioned above, explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we're all alone in the darkness.

Yep. I love scary stories.


message 8: by Owen (new) - added it

Owen Banner (owenbanner) Lynn wrote: "I have a theory about Gaiman (which may be biased because I've not been a fan of the books I've read of his either) that the reason he's loved so much is the non-UK readers gush over him so much be..."
Ha ha, you may have a point, Lynn. I did think Neverwhere was interesting, more because of his understated British depictions of violence and villainy, but haven't really fallen in love with him the way that others gush over him.


message 9: by Lynn, Moderator (new)

Lynn | 4165 comments Mod
How does everyone rate anthologies? Do you just wait until you've finished for an overall feeling or (like me) rate each individual story and then take an average?


Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments I rate the anthology overall when I am finished, but in my review might comment on specific stories.


Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments I rarely ever read anthologies and if I do, I usually end up loving some stories and not enjoying others which I'll comment on in my review. Using the average for the whole book I guess?

I'm about half-way through Trigger Warnings and I can safely say that it is so far without any doubt whatsoever the most boring book I've touched all year. And it has so far nothing whatsoever to do with Fantasy of any kind. (I guess one of the 2 page stories did use the term Vampire once .. that must be it).

The Doctor Who story was okayish. Read like any other Doctor Who fanfiction story out there. Not terrible, but I have yet to encounter a story that manages to capture the spirit that good episodes of the TV series (aka as the pre-Moffat era) exhibit. (Though I do love 12 and Clara).
This book ... I'm just hoping Valerie is right and it gets better from here on. Can't get much worse for sure.

(I do admit that I'm mostly angry that a story of everyday tales with a touch of horror was not only nominated, but actually won the fantasy category. It would have be a fine nominee in the horror category ... but this is just frustrating. Or maybe the second half is actual fantasy ...)


Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments why is this appearing so many times? I only clicked post once.


Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments Janina, I have to agree that this should not have been the top in the fantasy category. But, given the nature of the GR Choice voting, it is the type of thing that rises to the top. People just want to vote, so they vote for authors that they enjoy or that they think should win.


message 14: by Lynn, Moderator (last edited Aug 06, 2016 03:14AM) (new)

Lynn | 4165 comments Mod
Janina wrote: "why is this appearing so many times? I only clicked post once."

I've delete all but one


Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments Thanks, Lynn!

I've read the final few stories this morning (I didn't read the neverwhere thing at the end) and I'm not as frustrated anymore. I think this book has nothing to do with fantasy .. there are some fairy tale stories in there .. so maybe that's why some people consider it fantasy. However, fairy tales (or folk tales) are allegories often intended to convey a message (often educational). The snow child is another wonderful example. Fantasy (even the urban kind) is something completely different and it saddens me that people misunderstand fairy tales for what they are. I do love a good fairy tale, but these were just not able to pull me in. (And most of the stories are just everyday things with a touch of the unknown which based on his introduction was his intention in writing the book).

That being said .. I think the book aims to follow works like the ones by Edgar Allen Poe or Roald Dahl and it's not bad as such. It doesn't come close to those masters of writing imho, but it would have been a worthy candidate for the horror or fiction category.

I didn't like the book. I think Gaiman has a very vivid and impressive imagination (just thinking about sth like Coraline), but the execution, i.e. his writing ability, is just lacking ... to me he neither writes in a thrilling manner, nor does he have a way with language that elevates him above the ordinary. It's just plain boring for long stretches and it could be so much better.


Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments And I just realized that I haven't read American Gods yet .. it was Good Omens that I read and disliked completely. So, I think I should give Gaiman another chance. Short stories are not my thing, so it's not surprising I didn't like this one. And while I felt The Ocean was a little lacking in depth, I enjoyed the book overall. So, either Neverwhere or American Gods it is next (someday not too soonish).


Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments I wasn't a huge fan of Good Omens, either. I thought I would love it, but it was too rambling. But then, the two other Pratchett books that I've read have been that way.


ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯ (allykennedy) | 1002 comments Janina wrote: "And I just realized that I haven't read American Gods yet .. it was Good Omens that I read and disliked completely. So, I think I should give Gaiman another chance. Short stories are not my thing, ..."

American Gods was very disappointing for me and Neverwhere bored me to death.

I really liked Coraline though. It's probably my favourite book by NG.


ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯ (allykennedy) | 1002 comments Did anyone else feel like it failed on its "Trigger Warning" theme?
I don't recall felling distressed or offended (although I'm not easy to offend...)
But I feel like overall it failed in that regard.


Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments I think the term trigger warning has lost its power due to it being overused. Anything can be a trigger for someone, so even talking about the weather gets a trigger warning.

I think the stories were intended to be a little creepy in terms of those little things that give us pause and goosebumps in everyday life which are also naturally different from person to person.


message 21: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6117 comments Mod
@Janina - I'm not a real NG fan, but I thought Ocean was pretty good too. I agree it lacked in depth. I've read five Gaiman books and they are all 2.5-3.5 stars for me. Unlike Ally, Neverwhere was my favorite of them.


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