Much-loved and oft-nominated author Neil Gaiman, herein releases his third body of short fiction, with an exceptional introduction about the nature of fiction, short stories as an ideal medium, and circumstances that led to each creation in this book. Be warned, all of Gaiman’s work deserve their own trigger warnings. What else can I say about Mr. Gaiman and this release in particular? He gets me. His magic is real and haunting and lovely. This book in particular displays the breadth of his creations, from poetry to fairy tales to horror, to silly and wonderful Dr. Who, to intense and disturbing statue stalkers, to dark and wispy places where reality is thin, and if you’re not careful, you may well slip through.

My 5-star stories of the collection are

  • Lunar Labyrinth—dark and surreal, where a corny tourist trap becomes something else in the dark
  • The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains—a pilgrimage for greed, but revenge is found instead
  • Adventure Story—in which memories are subjective and slowly leak away over time
  • The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury—about losing people you love and stories that made the world a better place, and cease to exist once forgotten, which is a much better version of a short story I wrote years ago
  • Click-Clack the Rattlebag—a moody monster story in an old creaky house
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle—a haunting re-telling of the classic fairy tale
  • Black Dog—the only original story in this collection, set in the world of American Gods, where Shadow’s travels take him to rural England

There are a lot of treats (24 stories) in this collection, and a several gems as well.  Whatever your preference, there’s something in here for you. If you seek horror or wonder or dark, speculative or literary fiction, this wide range of imaginative tales is a banquet of delights from one of the best.

“I wonder, Are fictions safe places? And then I ask myself, Should they be safe places?”