My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked this, I’m not that into short story collections as a whole but Neil Gaiman can’t do much wrong. I think I liked his introduction best of all, which I think is possibly a bit of a weird, not particularly complementary thing to say about a short story collection but I like the way Gaiman thinks. Gaiman’s choice of title has drawn some controversy, as he disagrees with the move, so it seems, to put trigger warnings on almost anything vaguely upsetting. Personally I do think the term Trigger Warning does have its very important uses, as long as it doesn’t get used for everything. I for example can be ‘triggered’ by something that comes up in everyday media quite a lot, something that never gets trigger warnings and I am certainly not sitting here expecting trigger warnings to be put on, I just have to be a grown up and monitor my own reading / viewing material. HOWEVER certain things like self harm or suicide, that could encourage people with mental health problems if read / watched, yes, those definitely need trigger warnings, also material covering sexual assaults.
But back to the actual short story collection, as can be expected with any collection, I liked some of the stories a lot more than others. Favourites include Orange with its unique format, Down to a Sunless Sea for atmospheric spookiness and people being utterly miserable, The Sleeper and The Spindle for it’s unique take on Sleeping Beauty and it’s guest star appearance and Black Dog, an American Gods short story involving Shadow and a northern village that was both lovely and absolutely not lovely. Some of the stories in the collection I’ve read before, Nothing O’Clock, Gaiman’s Doctor Who short story, Calendar of Tales, the Blackberry project and The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, it was definitely nice going back to The Truth is a Cave but the others didn’t improve with a second reading.