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Those of you who regularly read this blog will know that I very seldom think directly onto it. Most of what I post here is worked and reworked offline in Word documents until I present them as finished pieces.

This evening I am making an exception. It was my birthday this week and my parents bought me a copy of Neil Gaiman’s new collection of ‘short fictions & disturbances’ entitled “Trigger Warning”.

Early on in the book there is a story called “The thing about Cassandra”. This is one of those stories so full of minor and incidental details which correspond to actual events in your own life or the lives of those closest that you actually start to feel that there must be a hidden message in there for you.

I don’t Think this of course I Feel this. It is irrelevant that it doesn’t make sense.

There is mention in there of a character who dies under general anaesthetic during a minor operation. As I’m due for a minor operation under general anaesthetic soon; and what with the story ‘speaking to me’ and all, I spent a long time getting to sleep thinking about the 1 in 700,000 chance a person has of dying in this way.

The other strange thing is that the story is almost an exact mirror of one of my own stories (published before this book was released I’m pretty sure so don’t nobody start thinking plagiarism) – adding to the uncanny feeling as a whole.  I won’t go into any more detail than that here so that “Trigger Warning” doesn’t become “Spoiler Alert”.

It’s made me think about how dangerous fiction can be. Or perhaps just how dangerous words can be. The right combination of words at the right time can hack and reset human consciousness in ways we don’t understand.

It can lead to magic. It can lead to horror. It can lead, in the end, to more words.

 

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