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Something Wicked This Way Comes (1963)

by Ray Bradbury

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Green Town (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,163272576 (3.96)4 / 554
Fantasy.Fiction.Science Fiction.HTML:

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.

The carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour of 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. Young boyhood companions James Nightshade and Will Halloway are the first to heed its call. From a place of safety, they watch a midway come to spectral life, their emotions a riot of eagerness, trepidation, bravado, and uncertainty. For they can sense the change that's in the air; that this is the Autumn in which innocence must vanish in the harsh, acrid smoke of disillusionment...and horror.

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 mazes and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes and the stuff of nightmares.

All those who still dream and remember? ?and those who have heard the whispering but have yet to experience its dark, poetic power? ?you are welcome. A shadow show like none other is about to begin...again… (more)

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English (265)  Spanish (4)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (271)
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
I thought I’d read this when young, but I remembered little of it. It’s more likely someone told me the story, because had I read this, there’s no way I would have forgotten the writing. I can’t help thinking had I ever turned in a story written in such a style, my teachers would have thrown fits, siting grammar rules until I grew dizzy. But this is the indomitable Bradbury and not only does he know how to break the rules, he does it so well. Some of my teachers would have cited that many sentences don’t make grammatical sense, and they don’t in a purist way, but what they do is conjure up sensations and emotions. Take the title alone, which at least one teacher would have told me should read Something Wicked Comes This Way… but it would never have been so memorable; would never be so visceral. Plus, there’s the multi-layers of subtext: a book about good and evil, being young, growing old, accepting these things, not harping on them, not worrying about them and not fearing them so much one forgets to live, to enjoy and feel blessed every day. It also speaks of friendship and family, of love, and of laughing in the face of despair as a way of pushing back the darkness — the sorrows of life and the eventual darkness. I’m sure others will find their own interpretations, but for me, this book covers the gamut of life and death in all its joys and woes. Chilling, full of dread, atmospheric, mesmerising, thrilling, captivating, and masterfully executed. ( )
  SharonMariaBidwell | Jun 17, 2022 |
A beautiful, lyrical, confusing book. Boys don't talk or think like this, but certain scenes ring through with brilliance. The scene with Will outside with his father, loving and finding each other- that scene redeemed the book. The rest was difficult to read, one metaphor after another, all strung together to make something like prose, but it should have been poetry. ( )
  AlainaZ | Jun 5, 2022 |
Great read, especially during Halloween and Fall season. Great narration. I love Ray Bradbury. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
Heillandi hryllingssaga. Tveir strákar átta sig á því að eitthvað er meira en lítið bogið við komu sirkuss til smábæjarins þar sem þeir búa. Svo virðist sem að ætlun sirkussfólksins sé önnur og verri en bara að skemmta bæjarbúum. Bradbury byggir upp hrylling og spennu á áhrifaríkan máta í sögu sem er barátta milli góðs og ills. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
2.25 stars
This is a full cast play that takes all the narrative out and leaves a bit too much to the listener to interpret with the help of the Foley operator and amazingly sparse dialogue. Even radio plays have more to offer than this version of the story. I plan to listen to the full book next. ( )
  fuzzipueo | Apr 24, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 265 (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.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Fantasy.Fiction.Science Fiction.HTML:

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.

The carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour of 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. Young boyhood companions James Nightshade and Will Halloway are the first to heed its call. From a place of safety, they watch a midway come to spectral life, their emotions a riot of eagerness, trepidation, bravado, and uncertainty. For they can sense the change that's in the air; that this is the Autumn in which innocence must vanish in the harsh, acrid smoke of disillusionment...and horror.

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 mazes and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes and the stuff of nightmares.

All those who still dream and remember? ?and those who have heard the whispering but have yet to experience its dark, poetic power? ?you are welcome. A shadow show like none other is about to begin...again

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Tantor Media

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