Sunday, February 22, 2015
REVIEW: TRIGGER WARNING
It is my firm belief that if you are a person who frequently reads and you have not yet encountered Neil Gaiman, you are missing out on one of the greatest treasures that the literary world has to offer. You owe it to yourself to head out immediately and buy a copy of Trigger Warning, sit down on the nearest comfortable chair, and immerse yourself in the worlds these pages present.
Trigger Warning is Gaiman's third collection of short stories, written specifically (as it says on the cover) to trigger certain memories or feelings within the reader. As Gaiman himself points out, a lot of novels or web pages now carry this label, as a warning to the unwary browser that what they are about to read may affect them intensely, usually in a negative manner. While the stories in this collection can and do trigger intense feelings, none of them do so maliciously or vindictively. Rather, they attempt to take the reader along the fringes of life, to show off the things that aren't common but are still kind of possible for the right kind of reader.
Those who have read Gaiman before will know that he particularly enjoys poking little holes in regular life, rather than writing some massive, epic tale. Gaiman loves to show the little touches of magic that everyday life can hold. This is evidenced in the stories "Calendar Of Tales" and "My Last Landlady," two of the best stories of the anthology, in which we catch the merest glimpses of the unusual and accept them as fact. There are higher fantastical tales in the book, such as "The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains," a revenge story in which the title becomes reflective of more than one aspect of the story.
There are also stories dedicated to the less magical, but no less important. Trigger Warning also includes a Sherlock Holmes and a Doctor Who story, and fans of either will enjoy both. There's also a story given to the late great author Ray Bradbury, which, without giving away too much, is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever read.
Trigger Warning is an apt name for this book, as each story causes a cavalcade of emotions and identifiable aspects that are not merely parts to be skimmed through, but pieces to be savoured. Many short story collections contain stories that vary between the excellent and the terrible, but Trigger Warning contains many of the former and none of the latter. The other stories, those that can be classified in neither category, are still memorable and noteworthy enough to linger long after the book's covers have been closed. I highly, highly recommend this book to you, to be read now and in many years to come, to relive old memories and perhaps create new ones.
Robert Green is a confirmed bibliophile and aspiring writer whose love of sci-fi has caused him to own many more books than he has physical room for. He is also the owner and creator of the up-and-coming company Verity Books, which can be seen at various cons throughout the year. Any questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/veritybooksanddvds.