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Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray…

Something Wicked This Way Comes (original 1963; edition 1977)

by Ray Bradbury

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7,494201461 (3.98)4 / 436
Title:Something Wicked This Way Comes
Authors:Ray Bradbury
Info:Grafton (1977), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:SF Classic

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Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (1963)


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English (198)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (201)
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[b:Something Wicked This Way Comes|248596|Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2)|Ray Bradbury|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1409596011s/248596.jpg|1183550] fulfills the "horror" and "book published in the decade you were born" categories.

I have no idea what to say about Bradbury's excellent writing and storytelling skills that hasn't been said before, so I'll just say that HE IS F**KING AWESOME!!!! and leave it at that.

Obviously, the lingo in the story that's used by the two boys, Will and Jim, is dated, but that doesn't discount the creepiness of the story as a whole. As a horror novel, the horror lies more in the existential fear of evil and death and alienation than in the sort of "Freddie Kruger" and "Jason" horror we are now accustomed to. No, the horror exemplified in this novel is more subtle than scary faces and blood-soaked nightmares. It has to do with an up-ending of time, of the social order, and reality itself.

One October, the carnival pulls into town, at 3 AM. Will and Jim, best friends who live next door to each other, decide to check it out, and that's how the story begins.

Mr. Cooger and Mr. Dark are the operators of the carnival. Mr. Dark is "The Illustrated Man": His body is covered with tattoos. They own and operate a mysterious carousel that can bring a person forward or back in the aging process. Who wouldn't want to be younger? What little kid wouldn't want to be older? These are the vanities of humanity that the carnival owners prey upon.

Will and Jim get in over their heads and it's up to Will's father, the very wise library janitor, to save his son and Jim, and the town, from the evil machinations of Mr. Dark and his minions, the sideshow of freaks he has collected in his travels.

Will's Dad, Mr. Halloway, figures out the secret to destroying the carnival people and he accomplishes this task with the aid of Will and Jim.

Order is restored, safety and normalcy return to the town once again, and the two boys and the middle-aged man, Mr. Halloway, are left wiser in the end.

Things I learned: Laughter is powerful. Use it freely! ( )
  harrietbrown | Jun 24, 2017 |
My favorite Bradbury book. This book is horror/fantasy rather then his usual SF. Some teens may try it but it really speaks to adults. Almost everyone likes better when they reread it after maturity.

If there was ever a writer who could be described as a "word smith" then it is Ray Bradbury. If an idea can be presented in an interesting or unusual way he is the master.

This book will take you to a childhood you wish you had...until it gets creepy. ( )
  ikeman100 | May 9, 2017 |
I've wanted Ray Bradbury to be one of my favorite authors for a long time now. It seemed the perfect fit. All of my other favorite authors seem to love his work, he's obsessed with Halloween just like me, I loved the animated adaptation of The Halloween Tree when I was a kid, and the first book I ever read of his was Zen in the Art of Writing--a collection of essays about writing craft that I adore to this day, and that still inspires me in my own writing.

Unfortunately, I am unable to love Bradbury with the fervor that I always imagine in my head, because every time I pick up one of his books I remember how much his prose gets in the way of his stories.

Bradbury's writing style is often beautiful and undeniably unique. He writes in a poetic style, full of short, choppy sentences, and there are several lines from his books that I truly love. But on the whole, this style gets in the way of the story far too much. Simple information is kept behind abstraction and metaphor and you always feel like the characters are out of reach--cold, cardboard approximations of human beings that are hard to care for.

To put it in the terms of another favorite author of mine, Brandon Sanderson, "You use a lot of concrete language to earn a little bit of abstract language."

It's a concept called the pyramid of abstraction. You build a foundation of clear, concrete language which makes up the majority of the novel, and that earns you the right to add abstract language. The more abstract something is, the less of it there should be in your book.

So what's an example of concrete language versus abstract? Well, something like love would be near the top of the pyramid. You'd be hard-pressed to find something more abstract. Unusual metaphors, of which Bradbury is a huge fan, are also rather abstract. Concrete language is straight-forward and evocative. It doesn't make use of complicated or unusual words or metaphor simply for effect. It's number one goal is to get the story across in a way that's clear and as concise as possible.

Unfortunately Bradbury must not have been familiar with this concept, because this book is overflowing with unusual metaphors and descriptions that may sometimes be pretty to read, but almost always bog the story down. Reading one of his books is like reading a typical book held sideways. Not impossible, or even terribly difficult, but more effort than it should be, and for no real reason other than, "I don't know man, he just writes that way I guess."

While his writing can be beautiful, it is also, paradoxically, extremely amateur at times. Dialogue especially falls flat or feels forced and his descriptions favor the unique to such an extent that you're often left with a muddy mental image of the scene. I can't help but imagine him trying to write an epic fantasy set in a different world. He would never be able to get the world-building across, let alone a complex plot. The only thing that kept me from getting totally lost while reading this was how mundane and simple it all was. It takes place in our world, and the plot isn't exactly complex or full of twists or head-scratchers. If it was, it would be practically impenetrable.

In the end I don't feel like I'm reading a great contemporary fantasy story, which is what I want, but instead several hundred pages of extremely hit or miss poetry that happens to tell a story on the side. A story that, honestly, would've been entertaining had it been written differently, but is by no means revolutionary and not worth the trouble.

Just go watch the movie. It's not amazing, but it's better than reading the book. ( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
I've never read Bradbury before, not even [b:Fahrenheit 451|17470674|Fahrenheit 451|Ray Bradbury|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1469704347s/17470674.jpg|1272463] which it seemed like everyone read in high school or university. This was selected as another spooky read, it is really meant for October, and it hits the mark wonderfully. People write about carnivals, but they seldom do it this well. People attempt to write poetic prose, but rarely succeed in the way Bradbury does. The strange thing is that his writing really struck me as the way I typically picture writer's craft teachers encouraging their students to write, with atypical word-constructions to make unfamiliar certain words or actions so that the reader really pays attention. I feel like they're borrowing from Bradbury in this style, except that it is so much his own that everything else is a very obvious imitation.

The only thing I take a star away for is that the women barely exist in this story. They are just wives, just gossips, or they are foolish Miss Foley, and it's all about the Special Magic of being a Boy, and I felt so strangely excluded. As if by not having a Boy's Childhood (TM) I had missed something essentially romantic and transcendental. And I know for a fact it's not true, that girls have the same magic to their childhood experiences and adventures. I also know that kids get socialised differently from a young age, and I know that Bradbury is reflecting on a childhood from a generation rather distant from my own, but that feeling of girls having no rich magical way of understanding the world in their heads that comes through a few times really rattles my bones. ( )
1 vote likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
We really went outside our square this month with our first ever fantasy title! Grant it, Ray Bradbury is considered one of the masters, but it was still a stretch for some of us, and not all together an enjoyable experience.
As often happens with our group, we were divided in our praise and criticisms. Some found it disturbing, too negative, distasteful and simply unnerving. Although, interestingly enough, these same voices were quick to add that the writing was very good! Maybe a little too good one might think ... is this why they were so uncomfortable with the story?

The remaining views were of a more positive nature. The theme was intriguing, the writing style wonderfully imaginative, and a first line grabber that had even Anne reading on. Viti found the circus theme drew her in and brought back memories of the travelling shows of her youth. She also found much symbolism throughout the story which is to her liking (and ours, we can always depend on Viti for these references!).

Similarities to Stephen King's style was mentioned and many of us agreed that the popular fantasy author no doubt read Bradbury as a young, promising writer.

Some were inspired to read more Bradbury, in particular Fahrenheit 451 and to also do a little research on the author. It was remarked that his wonderfully imaginative works may be attributed to his lack of higher education and not having his creativity educated out of him.
Certainly food for thought. Maybe we need more writers with a freer style. Then again, maybe someone as unique as Bradbury would then fail to stand out.
  jody12 | Feb 13, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionscalculated
康雄, 大久保Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary 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!
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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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