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Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray…

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1963)

by Ray Bradbury

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Green Town (3)

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7,062188511 (3.98)4 / 405

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English (186)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (188)
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
Felt a lot like when I used to read Goosebumps when I was a teenager. ( )
  kale.dyer | Apr 11, 2016 |
Quite boring really. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
I am approx 50 pages into this book (which is about 25% of the book) and am still having a difficult time getting into it. I hope it gets more interesting.
  bhabeck | Mar 6, 2016 |
The novel opens on a cloudy October 23rd. Two friends, William Halloway and Jim Nightshade, both on the verge of their fourteenth birthdays, encounter a strange lightning rod salesman who claims that a storm is coming their way. Throughout that same night, Will and Jim meet up with townsfolk who also sense something in the air; the barber says that the air smells of cotton candy. Among the townspeople is Will's fifty-four year old father, Charles Halloway, the janitor of the local library, who broods philosophically about his position in life, including on how he misses being young like his son.

Later on in the night, Will and Jim discover a flier advertising the coming of "Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show," a traveling carnival with many wonders and delights. At exactly 3 a.m. (the supposed anti-hour of Christ's birth, and a sign of evil),[citation needed] the boys hear an old train rolling past their homes, and they follow it to watch the carnival being silently assembled.

When the sun has risen, Will and Jim head to the carnival. It appears to be an ordinary carnival — until Miss Foley, their grade school teacher, gets lost in a Mirror Maze, and claims that she saw a girl in there that looked just like her when she was young. The mystery surrounding the carnival deepens when, at sunset, the boys meet the flame-haired Cooger and Mr. Dark, an illustrated man covered in tattoos, in person next to an apparently broken-down carousel. When the boys hide in a tree to spy on them, they witness Cooger riding the carousel backwards, growing a year younger with each revolution, until, after 28 revolutions, he becomes a twelve-year-old child.

The boys learn that the twelve-year-old Cooger is posing as Miss Foley's nephew, trying to get her to ride the carousel. That night, Will begins to fear that Jim will attempt to ally with Cooger, realizing that if he rides the carousel forward, he can become an adult. His suspicions prove true; Cooger invites Jim to ride the carousel with him, but Will stops Jim by starting a fight with him. He also causes the carousel to spin madly forward, so that when it stops, Cooger becomes an extremely old and withered man.

Frightened, the boys tell the police what happened, but Dark at the carnival convinces them that Cooger's aging was an elaborate stunt of "Mr. Electrico." Will becomes frustrated when he realizes that Jim still hasn't completely renounced the carnival yet. When they get home, they learn that they have been accused by Miss Foley of stealing her jewelry, thanks to Cooger's scheming — a plot by the carnival to ensure that nobody will listen to them if they attempt to warn anybody about its dangers.

During that same night, a hot air balloon with the Dust Witch, a fortune-telling carnival member, is sent to find out and mark the location of the boys' homes. Will and Jim see the Witch leaving a huge splotch on the roof of Jim's house. After the Witch leaves, Will and Jim hastily wash the mark off. After Jim has returned to his bedroom, Will takes the initiative and lures the Witch to an abandoned house, puncturing her balloon with an arrow, in the shape of a smile, to ensure that she will not be able to scout them out for a while.

The next day, Will and Jim, while walking the streets, hear the sound of a little girl crying under a tree. Will recognizes the girl as a more youthful form of Miss Foley, and appears to be confirmed when he and Jim check her home and find it deserted. However, when they come back, they find that the girl has been picked up by the other carnival freaks, presumably after promising to restore her to her original age.

Aware that Dark and his followers are seeking them out, Will and Jim decide to hide from the carnival in town, so that the freaks will not follow them to their families. Charles Halloway, watching the carnival superficially parade (while in actuality scouting for Will and Jim), happens upon their hiding place in a storm drain and manages to prevent Dark and the Dust Witch from finding them. After the freaks leave, Charles tells the boys to meet him in the library where he works, to discuss their plan on dealing with the carnival.

When they meet, Charles explains his views on the nature of the carnival, and how it preys on weak, sinful souls for energy. He says that the carnival was created by the "autumn people" to feed on the greediness and unhappiness of people; they entice people to ride the carousel by exploiting their fear of death. When the newly young (and miserable) people realize that they want to return back to their normal age, the carnival employs them to their line of freaks, probably for eternity.

In the middle of their discussion, they suddenly hear someone enter the library. The boys hide, and Charles finds that the visitor is Dark. Dark first attempts to seduce Charles into helping him in exchange for becoming young again. When Charles refuses, Dark locates the boys at the back of the library. When Charles tries to stop him from taking the boys, Dark crushes his left hand and leaves. The Dust Witch comes in to "slow down" Charles' heart. She almost succeeds, but Charles suddenly laughs at the sight of her "tickling" him, and the Witch flees.

Charles chases after Dark, who is leading the boys to the carnival. He volunteers to participate in a magic bullet catch act with the Witch, where he takes advantage of the freaks' fear of others' happiness by carving a smile on the wax bullet and shocking the Witch to death by firing it with Will standing by as his "good left hand."

As the carnival closes, Charles and Will run after Jim in the Mirror Maze. Charles almost gives way when he sees progressively older versions of himself in the mirrors, but when Will tells him that he doesn't care if he's old, he suddenly understands who he is, and professes his acceptance with a laugh, which shatters the Mirror Maze. In addition, Mr. Cooger crumbles to dust when the Freaks attempt to rejuvinate him on the carousel.

The carnival is in disarray now, but Jim is successfully lured into stepping on the carousel. Will tries to pull him from the carousel, but ends up knocking Jim unconscious. Meanwhile, Charles is led away by a boy who claims that Dark frightened him, until Charles realizes that the boy himself is Dark, age-regressed by a carousel ride. He kills Dark by embracing him, knowing that he cannot endure love, and revives Jim by having Will and himself sing and dance away all misery, experiencing only pure joy. The novel ends with the two boys and Charles walking away in the night together as comrades, Charles having found self-acceptance.

( )
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
YA classic....."seductive promise of dreams and youth regained"....father-son relationships...strange, sinister, nightmarish...vivid adventures.

"Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade are boys born two seconds apart -- one on Halloween, the other on the day before.
Will is the ultimate innocent, while Jim is darker and more knowledgeable about the world.
These two have been inseparable friends all their lives, despite their different personalities and tiny events that divide them on subtle levels. Then, one day, a strange carnival comes to their town, with a freak show and a carousel." (Publisher note) ( )
  pennsylady | Feb 11, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
康雄, 大久保Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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
First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.
The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm.
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
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380729407, Mass Market Paperback)

A masterpiece of modern Gothic literature, Something Wicked This Way Comes is the memorable story of two boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a "dark carnival" one Autumn midnight. How these two innocents, both age 13, save the souls of the town (as well as their own), makes for compelling reading on timeless themes. What would you do if your secret wishes could be granted by the mysterious ringmaster Mr. Dark? Bradbury excels in revealing the dark side that exists in us all, teaching us ultimately to celebrate the shadows rather than fear them. In many ways, this is a companion piece to his joyful, nostalgia-drenched Dandelion Wine, in which Bradbury presented us with one perfect summer as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, he deftly explores the fearsome delights of one perfectly terrifying, unforgettable autumn. --Stanley Wiater

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:18 -0400)

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Ray Bradbury's classic tale of a mysterious carnival arriving in a small town.

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