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Something Wicked This Way Comes (1963)

by Ray Bradbury

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Green Town (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,855236606 (3.98)4 / 493
Few American novels written this century have endured in th heart and mind as has this one-Ray Bradbury's incomparable masterwork of the dark fantastic. A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show's smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes -- and the stuff of nightmare.… (more)
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English (233)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (236)
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)

Since goodreads now equals Amazon, my reviews will be found elsewhere.

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/something-wicked-this-way-...
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |

Since goodreads now equals Amazon, my reviews will be found elsewhere.

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/something-wicked-this-way-...
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |

Since goodreads now equals Amazon, my reviews will be found elsewhere.

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/something-wicked-this-way-...
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
What would you do if given the chance to alter your age as you see fit?

Good premise, creepy moments, fine plot and characters but terribly convoluted prose... perhaps the audiobook makes it worse than it really is. I have to say though that the whole smile vs fear thing did feel a bit silly. Though I can see why this book is so widely loved. The development of the father son relationship is quite good. As a reader I can identify myself with both Charles and Jim even if the latter acts a bit stupidly at the end... after all it is his fault we have to go through that excruciatingly painful resurrection scene. Overall it is a fine story that transcends time as it revolves around the oh so very human struggle with growing up and growing old. ( )
  Miguel.Arvelo | Jun 9, 2020 |
I remember watching the Disney movie back in grade school. It fostered my horror of carnivals and men in top hats, music played backward, and the eerie irreality of people changing ages as they would change hats. As an adult reading the text, I was understandably awed by the rich metaphor and playful language.

Re-reading it now makes me melancholy.

Gone are the years that would support friendly neighbors in small towns where everyone knows everyone else, when the death of a barber actually makes a stir.

The fact is, this is an extremely bucolic coming of age tale centered on the choice to be good or bad with a lot of supernatural help.

Add a spattering of Stephen King's IT, a dab of Mary Poppins, stir firmly into a smooth wordplay of rife with the pastoral, and you've got Something Wicked This Way Comes. 1961.

I honestly don't know if it would stand the test of time for the newer generations. It is theoretically timeless by design, but despite my own personal memories, my objectivity wonders if it falls into a different category.

Mark Twain has appeal because it hits both the historical and the universal in just the right ways. Does Small Town Illinois during a carnival have the same staying power? Maybe. But let me be honest... my tastes have changed a lot since grade school. :)

This is not flashy even though it has great horror scenes. It's slow to develop although it goes at a whirlwind pace in places.

I'm still giving it 5 stars because it is objectively a beautiful piece of writing, but some of its power is slipping from my heart. Alas.
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionscalculated
康雄, 大久保Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foy, GrayIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wölfl, NorbertÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Man is in love, and loves what vanishes.
W.B. Yeats

They sleep not, except they have done mischief;
And their sleep is taken away,
  unless they cause some to fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And they drink the wine of violence.
Proverbs 4:16-17

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.
Stubb in Moby Dick
Dedication
With gratitude to
Jennet Johnson
who taught me how to write the short story
and to
Snow Longley Housh
who taught me poetry at Los Angeles High School a long time ago
and to
Jack Guss
who helped with this novel not so long ago
With love to the memory of GENE KELLY, whose performances influenced and changed my life
First words
Prologue
First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.
The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm.
Quotations
Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience. Billions of prickling textures. Cut one sense away, cut part of life away. Cut two senses; life halves itself on the instant. We love what we know, we love what we are. Common cause, common cause, of mouth, eye, ear, tongue, hand, nose, flesh, heart, and soul.
"Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin. Will, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells. Times come when troughs, not tables, suit our appetites. Hear a man too loudly praising others and look to wonder if he didn't just get up from the sty. On the other hand, that unhappy, pale, put-upon man walking by, who looks all guilt and sin, why, often that's your good man with a capitol G, Will. For being good is a fearful occupation; men strain at it and sometimes break in two. I've known a few. You work twice as hard to be a farmer as his to be his hog. I suppose it's thinking about being good that makes the crack run up the wall one night. A man with high standards, too, the least hair falls on him sometimes wilts his spine. He can't let himself alone, won't lift himself off the hook if he falls just a breath from grace."
And, Will thought, here comes the carnival, Death like a rattle in one hand, Life like candy in the other; shake one to scare you, offer one to make your mouth water. Here comes the side show, both hands full!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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