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Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray…
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Something Wicked This Way Comes (original 1962; edition 1962)

by Ray Bradbury

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,399151603 (3.99)4 / 340
Member:sturlington
Title:Something Wicked This Way Comes
Authors:Ray Bradbury
Info:William Morrow (1995), Reissue, Hardcover with dustjacket
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Key books
Rating:*****
Tags:Boys, Male friendship, Fathers and sons, Dark, Juvenile fiction--fantasy, Slipstream, Love, Good and evil, Dark and light, Carnival, Children's literature, Weird, *****all-time

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Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (1962)

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English (149)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
An impressive look at the darker side of human nature. ( )
  Bill.Bradford | Aug 30, 2014 |
I finished this over the weekend, but had to think about my review for a while. Bradbury has some of the greatest imagery around & really captured the view from young boys' eyes. The magic & horror were very well done. I liked the overall message & point, too. Unfortunately, it just took too long to get around to it all.

It didn't help that the reader had a low, deep voice. At times I'd miss words. Possibly that's just my old hearing causing issues, but I don't think that was the only problem. I liked the voice otherwise.

Anyway, it wasn't a bad story, just too long for what it contained, possibly just in this format, although I seem to recall trying to read it years ago & getting bored, too. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
Sometimes it just takes a while to get around to things. I know it may seem incomprehensible that someone who claims to be a science fiction fane – someone who was alive when this book was published, someone who became a fan in that particular golden age, someone with over 650 books tagged "science fiction", someone who has a decent representation from Bradbury in that collection - would never have read this book. My only defense is that the list of books I should definitely read is infinitely longer than the list of ones I have read.

And so, with over 50 years passing since its publication and a similar number of years added to my life experience, I dove into a classic.

I will spare the plot summary; you either already know it or can find it somewhere else. Suffice to say that a dark and mysterious carnival comes to town and affects the lives of two 13-year-old best friends.

First, at the risk of using a cliché that comes partially from this novel, this is classic Bradbury. Yes it is one of his classics, but it is also enveloped in the magic and wonder that all of his best writing contains. Bradbury is a master of creating atmosphere – often an atmosphere of youth and remembrance of innocence. And yet, in the writing, you get a sense for the pending loss of that innocence. So it is in this novel. You feel the small town, you feel the arrival of the carnival, you feel the horrors that are slowly brought forward, and you become immersed.

And, as is so often the case, Bradbury is doing more than just telling a story. Wrapped within that plot is the recognition that evil exists, but can be forgiven. But that all of this does not occur without the potential for repercussions. He does not preach it, but it is there and you get the message.

The only problem with this entire endeavor is that those 50+ years have not been as kind to the story as one would hope. It is not that the story is no longer relevant. The story is more relevant than ever. And, even though it was written to represent the current times or recent past, it can now easily be read as a time from a further past. There is no loss in that regard. No, it is just there are certain styles and approaches within that have a certain "old-time writing" clunk. They don't destroy the beautiful symphony, but every once in a while you can tell that a violin's string has slipped slightly out of tune.

That is but a minor flaw to this marvelous piece. (And it should be noted that it stands up much better than any number of science fiction written in the 60s, 70s, 80s, keep going.) It is easy to see why it has been accepted as a classic. And no one else should make the mistake I did of waiting 50 years. ( )
  figre | Jul 22, 2014 |
I read this book twice, once when I was 13 and once over 30 years later, and it was perfectly suited to me both times for different reasons.

The basic plot: two boys on the edge of teenage-hood encounter a mysterious traveling circus that holds terrifying and beguiling secrets - from the members of the circus to a cursed mirror maze to a magical carousel that can add or subtract years to one's life. Finding themselves hunted by the Illustrated Man (covered in tattoos), the Blind Witch, and others, the boys must rely on both their wits and one of their fathers, while trying to avoid the horrible seductions of the carnival.

The first time I read it, I was visiting Las Vegas, so the fantasy/circus/outlandish otherworldly themes were perfectly matched by my environment. I loved the thrilling and scary moments and remembered the Illustrated Man, the bewitched carousel, and the adventure of the story.

Three decades later, I read a whole different story. I was moved by the relationship between the father and the son; the themes of love, nostalgia, and family; the yearnings of the young to be older and the older to be younger; and throughout, the wonderfully inventive and beautiful language. ( )
  sylliu | Jul 18, 2014 |
This was a book that has been on my list of books to read. I finally did. This was a very enjoyable read and very creepy. This is definitely a book that would be suitable for younger readers as well. ( )
  bibliophile_pgh | Jul 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
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Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary 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
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.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:12 -0400)

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

(summary from another edition)

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