What can you say about a collection of stories that includes everything from the disturbingly sublime to a tie-in story featuring the Matt Smith Doctor to poetry?
If it’s a collection from Neil Gaiman, you just say thank you and enjoy reading it.
In his introduction Gaiman notes that certain books these days comes with warnings about things that may be disturbing to certain readers. However, he notes that once you get beyond a certain age that good writing shouldn’t have to come with these “trigger warnings” but instead that readers should expect them. He then offers a wide variety of stories, including ones with a tie to previous novels and other universes and a lot of original material. And while not all of these stories triggered a response with me, there were some that connected with me more than other. Of course, the Doctor Who story to help celebrate the show’s fiftieth anniversary was a hit with this fan, if only to (once again) see Gaiman’s love of the long running show come through yet again.
Another hit was “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” in which Gaiman channels his inner Bradbury.
In the introduction, Gaiman admits that were it not for his reputation and name, many wouldn’t pick up a collection of short stories all by one author or see it as anything more than a vanity project. It’s kind of a shame to admit he may be more right than he knows — especially when you see just how good at the short story he can be. Like Bradbury, Gaiman works well in long and short form.
And while this may not be his best collection, it’s still got enough good and great stories to make it worth your reading time.