Books of 2015, #6: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

It is a very weird thing, my relationship to Neil Gaiman’s work.

More specifically, the fact that his novels often leave me pretty cold, but I find his short story collections to be wonderful.

I mean, how could I like an author as much as I like him, and yet I have read his second novel Anansi Boys precisely once. For me, that is seriously weird—I am inveterate re-reader. There are books I own that I haven’t read at all, but the list of books I’ve read just once is very, very short. The only list that’s shorter is the list of books that I didn’t finish.

Anyway, I find Trigger Warning to be eminently worth the time. The stories are varied in style, even if all of them have a certain darkness to them. The introduction, which walks you through them, is almost a bonus story in itself.

I have a particular affection for “The Lunar Labryinth”, whose homage to Gene Wolfe I believe I would have seen even without the introduction. It reminded me quite strongly, in fact, of Wolfe’s story “The Tree is my Hat”, which, in turn, has a Gaiman connection.

“Orange” just makes me giggle a little bit to think about. The unconventional structure reminds me a little bit of the organizing principle of one of Steven Brust’s early Vlad Taltos novels, that prefaced each chapter by an entry in a (literal) laundry list that ended up referencing some event in the chapter.

“Nothing O’Clock” reads like the 11th Doctor story it is.

“The Sleeper and the Spindle” was simply unexpected.

“Black Dog” was a good story—much like “Monarch of the Glen”—about a character for whom I feel no affinity; again, it’s that weird thing about his novels, and though I’ve read American Gods a few times, there’s still something about it, and its lead character, that just doesn’t do it for me.

There’s several more stories in it, and I enjoyed all of them to a greater or lesser extent, but I don’t want to go point-by-point to talk about each of them: just buy or borrow it and read them yourself.

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Michael Alan Dorman

Yogi, brigand, programmer, thief, musician, Republican, cook. I leave it to you figure out which ones are accurate.