Book Review: “Trigger Warning” (2015) by Neil Gaiman



Much like Fragile Things before it (review here), Gaiman’s third short-story collection, Trigger Warning, is a collection of bits and pieces, scraps of stories that he has collected over the years and has now thrown together into a single volume. In the introduction, Gaiman admits that this book does not play by the rules:

I firmly believe that short story collections should be the same sort of thing all the way through. They should not, hodgepodge and willy-nilly, assemble stories that were obviously not intended to sit between the same covers. They should not, in short, contain horror and ghost stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry, all in the same place. They should be respectable.
This collection fails that test.

The good news is that the quality of Trigger Warning‘s material does not vary quite as wildly as the entries in Fragile Things did. Some tales are still significantly better than others, but overall, the bar has undoubtedly been raised; it seems that Gaiman is still growing as a writer and getting better all the time, making world domination a likely prediction for, say, 2020. There are still some duds in here though, ranging from generally “meh” to deeply silly, which is why I decided this collection only three stars, like Fragile Things before it.

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Reading List: Artificial Intelligence


“The Iron Giant” (1999).

Artificial intelligence is a source of both excitement and fear for writers. Yes, we all dreamed of having our very own Iron Giant as a child, but what if our robot friend turns on us? What if he gets out of control and we can’t stop him? What if he turns on us completely? What if all that cold logic results in a lack of empathy? We fear that our creation will ultimately be our destruction, much like in Frankenstein, and that we will powerless in the face of what we ourselves have put together. In effect, we fear our own hubris and dread the day that science will finally cross that line, with no going back and no one but ourselves to blame.

…So naturally we can’t get enough of these stories!

(And this Flight of the Conchords song.)

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