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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

4.3 13
by Neil Gaiman

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

James Herbert
“Neil Gaiman is a literary genius!”
Denver Post on ANANSI BOYS
“[T]here isn’t much Gaiman can’t do when it comes to writing.”
Washington Post Book World on FRAGILE THINGS
“[Gaiman] is a one-man story engine. . . . FRAGILE THINGS is a delightful compendium . . . [Gaiman] is indeed a national treasure.”
“The tales of FRAGILE THINGS are nibbles and bits of Gaiman’s immensely satisfying inner landscape. They are fiercely playful and very grim, wisps of whimsy and wonder buoyed by the happy heart of a tragic poet.”
Toronto Star on FRAGILE THINGS
“A powerful and oddly unified collection, a perfect introduction to Gaiman’s work for new readers and a thrilling reminder to his long-time fans . . . [T]he shorter prose form allows Gaiman a greater freedom of whimsy and provocation than even his graphic work, with stunning results.”
Sci-Fi magazine on FRAGILE THINGS
“GRADE: A. A feast of imagination, ranging from the eccentric to the terrifying, from the light as air to the genuinely horrific. . . . It is a fine dispatch from one of the wildest imaginations in the field.”
William Gibson on AMERICAN GODS
“Neil Gaiman, a writer of rare perception and endless imagination . . . is . . . an American treasure.”
The New York Times Book Review - Andrew O'Hehir
…there is an ordered and comforting quality to Gaiman's fiction, and not only because he possesses an unfailing sense of poetic justice and a Dickensian zest for punishing the arrogant, the proud and the wicked. More than that, Gaiman is such a powerful and evocative writer that almost everything he churns out serves to justify the…cultural triumph of fantasy literature over realism and modernism…Like all the best writers of fiction…Gaiman draws power not just from his storytelling gifts but also from his ability to work the crowd. He's like a conjurer who shows us how the magic trick is worked, joins us in laughing at its transparency and simplicity, and makes us believe in it anyway.
Publishers Weekly
★ 02/23/2015
Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) again delivers masterful compositions and style in his third collection. His decision to include poetry is vindicated by the concrete images in "Making a Chair" and the mournful tones of "Witch Work." Among the prose pieces are two works of stark horror: "‘The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains...'" and "My Last Landlady." The experimental "ORANGE" and the collected internet project "A Calendar of Tales" represent the rewards of Gaiman's fearlessness in storytelling. He also includes shared-world tales, revisiting Sherlock Holmes in "The Case of Death and Honey" and Doctor Who in "Nothing O'Clock." In "Kether to Malkuth" Gaiman creates a new mythology with the flavor of science fiction, while "The Sleeper and the Spindle" is a delightful fusion fairytale that subverts tropes and creates a new sense of wonder. Both enthusiasts of short fiction and fans of Gaiman's longer works may approach this volume with confidence. Full of small and perfect jewel-like tales, this collection is a thrilling treasure. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Feb.)
Washington Post
“[T]his collection of stories and poems doesn’t disappoint....Gaiman has warned us about the monsters, but then come magic and miracles. And love.”
‘All of [the stories] are told with an assured, masterly confidence that should please anyone who misses seeing a new Ray Bradbury collection on the shelf at the library.”
“Gaiman calls the stories a “hodgepodge,” with no real interweaving theme throughout. But each of the stories and poems celebrates a different aspect of storytelling that has informed the author’s life.”
“[Gaiman]’s prolific, like Stephen King, and apparently inexhaustible: He dreams up stories as naturally as he breathes.”
The Harvard Crimson
“Each short piece serves as an exciting foray into some macabre microcosm of his mind. ...It’s a testament to Gaiman’s versatility that he exhibits so many different styles of writing in this single anthology.”
“There is something for every type of Gaiman fan here, and those new to his work will find this to be a solid introduction to the type of stories he crafts: lyrical, literary, sometimes quite chilling, and always strange and provocative. ...This is a book to savor and enjoy.”
“Those who want to greet and shake hands, or settle in for a conversational catch-up with Gaiman’s delightfully dramatic minstrel’s tale-by-the-campfire style will love everything in Trigger Warning, naturally.”
New York Times Book Review
“Gaiman is such a powerful and evocative writer that almost everything he churns out serves to justify the aforementioned cultural triumph of fantasy literature over realism and modernism. Gaiman’s attention to craft, passion for language and profound respect for the mythological roots...come through even in his abbreviated prose fragments.”
San Francisco Gate
“Trigger Warning is a comfortable hodgepodge of material ... but there’s enough serious-minded and deeply felt fantasy and horror to make readers hope that it won’t be almost a decade before Gaiman completes another similar volume.”
Oklahoma City Oklahoman
“The short stories in this collection are shocking, disturbing, funny, insightful ... Trigger Warning offers a good introduction to the works of Neil Gaiman, or a delightful addition to the collection of someone who has been following him for a long time. If you’re a fan, don’t miss this one.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“[I]t’s the phenomenon of connecting mythology and modern life that makes Gaiman such a captivating author.”
“[T]his is not a ‘best of’ collection, though you’d be forgiven for thinking so at many instances, since Gaiman is, as always, a skilled storyteller.”
Boston Globe
“Gaiman displays an uncanny knack for compressing his expansive imagination into the close quarters of his stories’ caves, cottages, and creepy rooms....[he] takes full advantage of his wide range, and it makes for exciting, often musical writing.”
Financial Times
“[Trigger Warning] showcases the breadth and depth of Gaiman’s talent and the unique plangent warmth he brings to fantasy fiction. He is never anything less than a pleasure to read.”
“Gaiman’s is one of the most distinctive voices in modern fantasy.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Neil Gaiman’s writing is so present, so engaging, that it can send spasms of bone-chilling terror through your body and your reaction would still be, ‘Please sir, I want some more.’”
“Lovingly crafted...gleefully enjoyable.”
Huffington Post
“There’s much to revel in here, especially for those who’ve never read anything by Gaiman.”
Library Journal
I don't have to introduce Gaiman as the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy Award- and Newbery Medal-winning author of numerous spectacular examples of speculative fiction, do I? He's back with a third collection of short pieces, including a Dr. Who story written for the 50th anniversary of the series in 2013 and a brand-new story exclusive to this anthology. With a 150,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Review
The third collection of short fiction from a beloved modern mythmaker. Everything that endears Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane, 2014, etc.) to his legions of fans is on display in this collection of short stories (and the occasional poem): his gift for reimagining ancient tales, his willingness to get down into the dark places, his humor. Most of these stories have been published elsewhere, except for the new American Gods story "Black Dog" (which does not disappoint), but the collection as a whole does add up to something bigger than it seems (only partly because there's a TARDIS in it). Even the weakest of these tales have something to recommend them—an image, a turn of phrase, a mood. And the strongest are truly extraordinary. There's the grim implacability of "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains…," walking steadily on to its inevitable yet unexpected ending; there's the absurd Wodehouse-an charm of "And Weep, Like Alexander"; the haunting power of "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury"; and the skin-crawling, slow-building creepiness of the love letter "Feminine Endings." Sherlock Holmes is here, explaining the real reason he started keeping bees, and Sleeping Beauty, twice, and our old friend Shadow, and even David Bowie, in a way. Full of all manner of witches and monsters and things that creep in the night, this collection will thoroughly satisfy faithful fans and win new ones—if there's anyone out there left unconverted.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Brief Biography

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date of Birth:
November 10, 1960
Place of Birth:
Portchester, England
Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77

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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a sort of walking contradiction. I love short stories (especially writing them), but I've never been a huge fan of short story collections. I don't know what it is, but I've just always preferred novels. I have to say, this is certainly the exception--I look forward to going back and reading individual stories again and again on a whim. And while reading it almost felt like a novel, as if each story were an individual chapter of a larger piece, perhaps due to Gaiman's fantastic storytelling, and how each of his stories is very obviously a Gaiman story. Whatever the case, it kept me always wanting to immediately read the next one, just as his novel chapters do. Like I alluded to, every story here was amazing (which was also surprising, as often short story collections have a mix of good, bad, and okay stories), but of course I have a few personal favorites:  First off, quite possibly my most favorite, though I'm not sure, was his very short, less-than-one-page story in the Introduction, "Shadder." This is why I love Gaiman: even an incredibly short piece thrown into the middle of an introduction is amazing.  And speaking of, the Introduction was another favorite "story" of mine. It was incredibly enjoyable not only reading the intro as a whole, but also the small intros to each individual story. I've always loved reading how authors came to write certain stories, and Gaiman's voice makes it all the more enjoyable. Others include: "Making a Chair"; "The Lunar Labyrinth"; "Down to a Sunless Sea"; "A Calendar of Tales"; "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury"; "Click-Clack the Rattlebag"; "And Weep, Like Alexander"; "Nothing O'Clock"; "The Sleeper and the Spindle"; and before I start just listing every title, I'll end my favorites list with "Black Dog," another fantastic American Gods story.  The only story I did not read was "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains..." simply because I'm going to be reading the illustrated version (by Eddie Campbell) soon, and I wanted to experience it that way.  I really loved how Gaiman included not only short stories, but also poems and other experiments, such as the story "Orange" (which is in questionnaire format) or "A Calendar of Tales" which came from various Tweets, and also simply how there are Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, and American Gods stories. All in all, another amazingly fantastic book from Neil Gaiman. Highly recommended.
amberjc More than 1 year ago
I love this book! The myriad different stories have something for everyone. I really like how the author gave a thorough accounting of how each story came to be, and where it came from. Great set of stories from one of my most beloved authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this wee collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman very much. The explanation he provides for each tale prepares you for the experience of reading it by giving you a glimpse of what inspired him to write it in the first place. And of course it's nice to know that Neil likes Ray Bradbury and Tori Amos, too...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's an absolutely amazing collection of stories.
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GRSA More than 1 year ago
I had already read one of these too short stories (Songs of Love and Death). I would have to say they all left me wanting a little more. If you are a Gaiman fan you will like them but be prepared to be unfulfilled.
NY_Reader1 More than 1 year ago
I've made it my policy not to buy a book where the e-book costs more than the paper book. I know that the profit margin to the retailer, publisher and author is higher with e-books, so this strikes me as a greedy money grab. I'll wait for the book to show up in the local used book store.