English Author

Neil Gaiman Best Short Stories

Neil Gaiman is a versatile writer that has written several works of short fiction. Most have been published as collections over the years, some of which include “Fragile Things,” “Smoke and Mirrors,” and “Trigger Warning.”

Known for his ability to transcend genre and writing style, Neil Gaiman is popular for his short stories as well. He has released 6 short story collections to date, all of which contain masterpieces that have been critically acclaimed in literary circles. Each short story collection contains short fiction stories that vary in tone and genre starting from science fiction and horror to experimental narratives and retellings. 

Neil Gaiman Best Short Stories


Trigger Warning 

Trigger Warning is the most recent collection of short stories and verses by Neil Gaiman. Published in 2015, this book is meant to disturb the reader in various ways. Neil Gaiman plays around with the idea of a trigger warning and concludes that stories are not meant to act as “safe spaces.” Instead, they are meant to shake things up for the reader.

This collection contains many sinister fiction stories, all of which leave the reader with a feeling of unease and discomfort. Some of the most popular short stories from this collection include The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, a short story that was written in honor of Ray Bradbury’s 90th birthday, as well as The Thing About Cassandra, which was inspired by Gaiman’s imaginary girlfriend from his childhood. The stories are all different in structure and form, starting from innovative narratives and quaint little nuggets to clever retellings and modern spins on old stories. One particular story called Orange, which is written in the form of answers to a list of unknown questions, stands out from the entire collection as a highly experimental form of writing.

Neil Gaiman also included a short story sequel to his most famous novel, American Gods in Trigger Warning. Titled Black Dog, the story features the beloved protagonist, Shadow from American Gods once again.

Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions

Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions is perhaps the most well-loved collection of short stories and verses by Neil Gaiman. First published in 1998, this collection contains stories that are reprints from various other sources including anthologies, magazines, and other collections. 

The collection contains 30 pieces of short fiction and much like Trigger Warning, most of these stories transcend genre and span several tones and writing styles. Perhaps that is the reason that Smoke and Mirrors successfully appeals to a wide audience across the world. The narrative in the collection follows a dream sequence set against a background of complete and total normalcy, which is extremely jarring to the senses and highly memorable. Always on the edge of reality and pushing the boundaries of fantasy, these stories reflect the title of the collection perfectly.

The collection showcases the versatile nature of Neil Gaiman as an author. In the book, you will find short stories like Snow, Glass, ApplesIn the End, and Bay Wolf, all of which are excellent retellings of popular old stories. You will also find other stories such as How Do You Think It Feels, Tastings, and Vampire Sestina which explore the erotic fantasy genre with chilling supernatural elements and sexual encounters. Murder Mysteries and We Can Get Them for You Wholesale are fascinating short stories in the thriller genre that feature a detective and an assassin respectively. 

Fragile Things: Short Fiction and Wonders

Published in 2006 in both the United States and the United Kingdom, Fragile Things: Short Fiction and Wonders is one of Neil Gaiman’s most celebrated collections of short stories and poetry. Much like its predecessor, Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things is also a compilation of short fiction stories that are taken from anthologies, magazines, and CD sleeves.

Neil Gaiman has mentioned that the original title of the collection was supposed to be These People Ought to Know Who We Are and Tell That We Were Here – a line that has been included in his short story, Bitter Grounds

The most popular story from this collection is How to Talk to Girls at Parties, which won the Locus Award for Best Short Story in 2007 and was nominated for the Hugo Award as well. A Study in Emerald, which is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche written in the style of the Cthulhu Mythos is well appreciated in literary circles as well. Other short stories included in this collection include Harlequin Valentine, which was originally written for a Lisa Snellings-Clark book, Strange Attraction. Fragile Things also features The Problem of Susan, a short story that revolves around the character of Susan from The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as October in the Chair, a short piece that was written as a dry run for The Graveyard Book

Fragile Things won the Locus Award for Best Collection in 2007, while some of the stories included in the collection won individual Locus Awards as well. These stories include Sunbird, Forbidden Brides of the Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread DesireA Study in Emerald (which also won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2004), October in the Chair, and Closing Time

Angels and Visitations

Angels and Visitations is one of the first short fiction and nonfiction collections by Neil Gaiman. Published in 1993, many of the stories contained in this collection are accompanied by illustrations by popular illustrators such as Charles Vess, Randy Broecker, and Steve Bissette.

Angels and Visitations is a collection of 22 stories that are reprints from anthologies and magazines. Some of the stories included in the collection are The Mystery of Father Brown, Looking for the Girl, Chivalry, Webs, Virus, and Being an Experiment Upon Strictly Scientific Lines

A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Things

A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Things was published by Borderlands Press in the United States in November 2011. However, this collection of short stories is not as popular as Neil Gaiman’s other works. 

A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Things is similar to a collector’s item full of seldom published material. It is a collection of “B-sides and Rarities” that includes a collection of short stories, articles, and poems that were previously published in magazines, newspapers, and Neil Gaiman’s blog. This includes stories such as Before You Read This, Featherquest, Jerusalem, Feminine Endings, Orange, Orphee, Ghosts in the Machines, and 11 other short pieces. 

M is for Magic 

While the rest of the short story collections in this list are meant for adults, M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman is meant for children. This collection contains several child-friendly short fiction works that were selected from previously published works. This collection contains 10 short stories including The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Troll Bridge, Don’t Ask Jack, and How to Sell Ponti Bridge. It also contains an excerpt from The Graveyard Book (which was published after the release of M is for Magic) called The Witch’s Headstone. All of the stories in this collection also appeared in another collection known as Coraline and Other Stories which was published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury in 2007.

FAQs

Who writes like Neil Gaiman?

Some authors who write in a similar genre and style to Neil Gaiman include Tracey Baptiste, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Theodora Goss, Diana Wyne Jones, and Madeline Miller. These authors offer vibrant storytelling, a sense of wonder, and great fantastical pieces that fans of Neil Gaiman are bound to love.

What is How to Talk to Girls at Parties?

How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a short story written by Neil Gaiman in 2006. This is a science fiction story that revolves around two boys, Enn and Vic, who attend a party to meet girls. However, they find that the girls they meet are extremely different from their expectations. 

Who is Mr. Nancy supposed to be?

Mr. Nancy is a character from the Neil Gaiman books, American Gods and Anansi Boys. He is modeled after a popular folk tale character, specifically a West African trickster God named Anansi. Mr. Nancy passes away at the beginning of the story of Anansi Boys, leaving his two sons behind to pick up the pieces. Over the years, he has come to be considered a cultural hero from Ghana. 

About Neesha Thunga K
Neesha graduated in 2020 with a degree in MA English. Before that, she has spent several years teaching English and writing for various organizations. As a lover of English literature, she truly believes that crafting stories through words is the greatest achievement of mankind. She is now pursuing her passion for literature as an Expert on the Book Analysis team.
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