“Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances” by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2015)

Trigger Warning
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In Neil Gaiman’s third short story collection, fans can expect a similar collection to the last, Fragile Things, with an introduction explaining the origin and history of each of the works, a wide selection of short stories and poetry they have likely not read before, and a nice thick novella set in the world of American Gods. The title, however, may have been in poor choice for, while he does talk about it in his introduction, the more correct and appropriate meaning of the term has little to do with being scared and/or entertained with some stories.

The collection runs the true gamut, showing Gaiman’s breadth and spectrum as a writer, and would make an ideal introduction to the author for anyone wanting to read him for the first time. “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” is the haunting story of a dwarf in search of a guide to take him to a cave where riches lie. “The Sleeper and the Spindle” is a fairytale that blends Snow White with Sleeping Beauty. “Nothing O’clock” is an original Doctor Who story from Gaiman. “The Case of Death and Honey” looks at an aging Sherlock Holmes looking to solve one last mystery.

No two stories are alike in Trigger Warning, which is what you really want in a short story collection. The stories here cover all the genres and take the reader to interesting and unusual places. There is joy and sadness and everything in between.

Originally written on April 18, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Trigger Warning from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Hansel and Gretel” by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti (Toon Books, 2014)

Hansel & Gretel
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We’ve heard the story of the siblings Hansel and Gretel told numerous times throughout our childhood, often in slightly different versions, and often vastly different from that first version recorded by the Brothers Grimm long ago. And now bestselling author Neil Gaiman, of Neverwhere and American Gods, joins forces with talented artist Lorenzo Mattotti to provide a new telling for an old favorite fable.

You can tell from the opening lines that you’re reading another great Neil Gaiman story, as he does a great job of providing some back story to that of Hansel and Gretel , of the struggles their family has gone through and why their mother and father are looking to get rid of them. Eventually they end up lost deep in the woods and stumble upon a house made of gingerbread and candy. You know the rest of the story.

The artwork, which is on every other double page, is not your usual pretty fairytale scenes, but done in harsh black ink with sketchings and shadings that lend a tone that hasn’t really been seen with the story since the original Grimm telling. It is a powerful artwork that adds greatly to the story and keeps the reader fully engrossed. At the end of the book is a brief history of the story, enlightening the reader on its various changes and versions over time.

Originally written on January 1, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Hansel and Gretel from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds” by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Eddie Campbell (William Morrow, 2014)

Truth is a Cave in teh Black Mountains
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Neil Gaiman’s novelette “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” was originally published in the collection Stories: All New Tales edited by Gaiman, which went on to win an award. It is now reprinted and made available in this beautifully illustrated and collectible version. This four-color edition is illustrated by renowned artist, Eddie Campbell.

It is the moving story of one man’s journey with an untrustworthy guide in search of a specific cave in the black mountains of Scotland where they hope to find gold. Along the way they meet some strange characters and face daunting odds. Told with the powerful, haunting words of Gaiman showing his talent for the craft, the illustrations help to make the story fuller and more complete. Sometimes the illustrations show small scenes of the ongoing story, other times they simply add to the feel and emotion of the page. A mixture of media and color help to enhance the story and make a journey for the reader also.

Originally written on August 1, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow, 2013)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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In the first novel from bestseller Neil Gaiman since 2005’s Anansi Boys, he creates a magic tale that straddles between a short story and novella that feels like a wonderful fairytale, possessing the magic and feel of The Graveyard Book with the wonder and beauty of Stardust. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is for adults what The Graveyard Book was for kids and teens; though both can be read and enjoyed by anyone ages 5 to 95. Gaiman wrote this as a gift and semi-biographical explanation to his wife; if this is your first Neil Gaiman book, it’s a great place to start.

The story centers around a seven year-old boy who is an unusual and eccentric and misunderstood by his parents, especially his father, but discovers down the road some neighbors – a girl, her mother and grandmother – who aren’t the sweet ladies they appear, but part of something immortal that has been around for a very long time. Soon he is whisked away on an unforgettable journey to take care of a little problem and ends up bringing something alien back into this world, and then everything starts to go wrong.

The story is sweet and small, but also large and complex; it feels too short to be told fully, but by the end the reader is left feeling satisfied and complete. It is classic Gaiman, mixing his unique blend of fairytale and mythology with real emotions and life choices that stick with the reader long after they have finished the book. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an innocent-looking little story that soon sucks you in and shows its claws as well as its soft, warm spots; leaving you left full of thought and wonder.

Originally written on July 30, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

American Gods  Graveyard Book  Stardust

Halloween Recommended Reads

We’re coming up on Halloween once again when everything goes spooky and dark, and we like to get scared by things.. Well, here’s a Halloween story I wrote and a list of recommended reads for kids and adults of books that will really give you some shivers . . .

Click on the image below to read the free Halloween Story

A Halloween Story

 

And now some recommended Halloween reads to chill your bones and make your blood freeze . . .

FOR KIDS (OR ADULTS) —

Among the Ghosts Coraline The Graveyard Book

Halloween Tree Rot and Ruin

FOR ADULTS —

Neverland I am Not a Serial Killer Feed Horns
Death Troopers
The Strain The Terror The Living Dead
Living Dead 2
World War Z Full Dark No Stars Handling the Undead
Illustrated Man Handling the Undead Handling the Undead Handling the Undead

BookBanter Boon #11: “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman 10th Anniversary Author’s Preferred Edition SIGNED Giveaway!

American Gods SIGNED Edition

American Gods

BookBanter Boon #11 is another special one (but then aren’t they all, since there’s a free book in it for one lucky person!).  This one is for a hardcover finished copy of the new “author’s preferred edition” from Neil Gaiman of American Gods, and it just so happens to be autographed by the great author himself too.  Not too, shabby.  And since it’s so special, I’ll be running this giveaway through the whole month of August.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Anyone in the US can enter.
  2. To enter simply leave a comment on this post.  The question for you for this BookBanter Boon is what’s the first thing of Neil Gaiman’s that you read, and how did you find out about it?
  3. Entries will be accepted from August 3rd until August 31st, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time .
  4. The winner will be randomly chosen, contacted, and announced on this post on September 1st.

Be sure to either subscribe to the BookBanter Blog, or like the BookBanter Page on Facebook (or both) to get all the updates on BookBanter.

If you have any questions, please email me at alex@bookbanter.net.

And finally, here’s proof this autographed copy:

signed

06/29 On the Bookshelf . . . “7th Sigma” & “American Gods: Author’s Preferred Edition”

    7th Sigma    American Gods

A captivating cover and I’m just a sucker for anything cool sounding to do with time travel.  So looking forward to this from Steven Gould.

Also received a review copy of the new tenth anniversary edition of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, referred to as the “author’s preferred text.”  It was ten years ago that I first discovered Neil Gaiman with this book, and I still have that first edition, and published my review in February 2002.  And then when I opened the book, discovered this thrilling surprise . . .

Neil Gaiman 1

Neil Gaiman 2