Trigger Warning is the newest short story collection by Neil Gaiman.
Finished on: 16.03.2015
Trigger Warning is a good collection, with a wide range of stories – from fanfiction (Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who) to tributes (among others to Ray Bradbury); from fairy tales to horror; from fantasy to science fiction; and everything in between. And it has a new short story sequel to American Gods. In his introduction, Gaiman describes the context of origin of each of the stories, which I loved but would have prefered as a paragraph just before each of the stories – it would have saved me from a lot of going back and forth in the book. As usual with these collections, not every entry can be a winner for everyone, but altogether I was very content with what I got to read.
[I have my misgivings about the title and Gaiman’s explanation in the introduction why he’s using it. Trigger Warnings don’t exist to create an all around safe world that coddles people so much they never have to confront pain or negative feelings. Trigger Warnings exist as a specific(!) warning of potentially triggering (as in: making traumatized people acutely relive their trauma) content to create a space for the traumatized which is insofar safe as they can choose whether they’re in the mood to engage with that topic right now, or not. It will never be possible to make the entire world such a safe space – people will still be confronted with that topic without being prepared for it – nor will it be possible to issue warnings for all potentially triggering things for all individuals. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t try to make the spaces we can control good spaces for the traumatized to be in.
That Gaiman chose a blanket Trigger Warning as his title, that the only actual warning he gives is for tentacles, after having basically derided people for needing trigger warnings, seeing as they’re only too weak to grow through the disturbing content they read, leaves a very bad aftertaste in my mouth. Especially considering that, while some of the stories are scary, none really needs (any of the big) trigger warnings.]
After the jump, I’ll talk about each of the stories individually.