Read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury Online


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 itsA 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....

Title : Something Wicked This Way Comes
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780380729401
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 293 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Something Wicked This Way Comes Reviews

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-04-25 14:47

    I read this when I was an insanely romantic teenager and since then the cruel world has beaten all that nonsense out of my brain with bars of iron and wires of barb, and left me bleeding and barfing in a vile ditch, so I should probably not have plucked my old Corgi paperback of Something Wicked out from my most cobwebbed shelf and thought to wander nostalgically recapturing the wonder and enrapturement I once perceived herein. In those faroff days I wanted to be the smile on the bullet, I wanted to be the weathervane, I wanted to run the dark carnival, and above all else I wanted a calliope so I could play mad twisting melodies at three in the morning from the caboose of a train made out of dead men's bones. Instead I got a job in an office, after a few detours, none of which involved a naked living woman in a block of ice. But anyway, when I did reread this book, I could not shake off the growing realisation that none of it made the least bit of sense. Not a single bit. And the dad is a complete steal - it's Atticus Finch back from the dead. And I saw that Ray Bradbury never met a pudding he did not want to over-egg or an emotion he did not want to wring dry. I had grown old. I didn't recognise the place. I didn't know who the boy was who loved this book so much. I knew his name but I couldn't remember his face.It was a bad idea, rereading a book which so knocked me out all those years ago. I'll give it 5 stars for the love I used to have for it, but I don't really recommend it to anyone now. The world has changed and no longer has the stomach for Ray Bradbury's 1950s goldenhued renderings of his own 1920s childhood. So goodbye, then, to Dandelion Wine, another one I loved. What I learned from this book is that Memory Lane has been mined. You walk down that street at your peril.

  • Carol.
    2019-05-19 12:51

    The Ray Bradbury I remember reading decades ago was not this poetic. Something Wicked was a surprise, his evocative language doing so much to capture the mood of early fall and the seasons of life, both literally and metaphorically. Clearly, he loves words in their many forms. Equally clearly, he is gifted as using those words to create a finely layered tale about two thirteen-year-old boys when the carnival comes to town. These boys are on the brink of change; longing to be older, to do more and be more. The father of one is a little bit lost in memory of what he once was, haunting their background and the library. Change is in the wind, and a few unusual events in the town seem to herald a larger shift. A lightening-rod salesman comes to call; the barber gets sick; a found playbill describes a carnival coming to town. The boys sneak out of their bedrooms to see it arrive, and it is with a mix of fascination and fear that they watch the carnival set up. Danger ensues--but is it the danger of growing up? Or of fear? Or something more malevolent?The language is a delightful mix of specificity and metaphor."One year Halloween came on October 24, three hours after midnight... both touched towards fourteen; it almost trembled in their hands."Each brief chapter is almost a poem, an image; a scene described so perfectly as to catch that edge between reckless and safety, age and youth, mystery and knowing. Threads of both exuberance and loss run through, and hints of change.And characters! In brief sentences, he encapsulates the complexity of a life:"And the first boy, with hair as blond-white as milk thistle, shut up one eye, tilted his head, and looked at the salesman with a single eye as open, bright and clear as a drop of summer rain.""Jim stood like a runner who has come a long way, fever in his mouth, hands open to receive any gift.""What was there about the illustrated carnival owner's silences that spoke thousands of violent, corrupt, and crippling words?"Bradbury's ability to uniquely characterize extends to the carnival, arriving at the dead time of 3 a.m., setting up in the dark:"For somehow instead, they both knew, the wires high-flung on the poles were catching swift clouds, ripping them free from the wind in streamers which, stitched and sewn by some great monster shadow, made canvas and more canvas as the tent took shape. At last there was the clear-water sound of vast flags blowing."Then there is the added bonus of the library. Clearly, Bradbury loves libraries and books, which guarantees affection in my books (I know, I know--the puns!). "The library deeps lay waiting for them. Out in the world, not much happened. But here in the special night, a land bricked with paper and leather, anything might happen, always did. Listen! and you heard ten thousand people screaming so high only dogs feathered their ears...This was a factory of spices from far countries. Here alien deserts slumbered. Up front was the desk where the nice old lady, Miss Watriss, purple-stamped your books, but down off away were Tibet and Antarctica, the Congo." How perfectly that meshes my own memory of the library!During the second half of the book, the tone shifts more and more from that cusp of fall into the fear of winter, of death. People change, quite drastically. Will's father has been hearing the carnival's calliope as well, and feeling every one of his fifty-some years in distance from his son. Between the boys and the father, Charles Halloway, the viewpoint of the reader is identified, explored, honored. Do we rush forward? Gaze backwards? Which way will we ride on the most sinister merry-go-round? ("Its horses...speared through their spines with brass javelins, hung contorted as in a death rictus, asking mercy with their fright-colored eyes, seeking revenge with their panic-colored teeth.")It's even more surprising that a book first published in 1962 stands the test of time so well. To my mind, nothing dated it. Bradbury's thoughts on meaning of life, aging and fear are well worth reading again. An amazing book that wholeheartedly deserves a second read and an addition to my own library.Cross posted at

  • Lyn
    2019-05-17 12:57

    Mark Twain famously died in 1910 and Ray Bradbury was born ten years later in 1920. And on that day, the shadow of Samuel Clemens touched a mark on the baby’s head, and nearby the shade of Charles Dickens looked on in approval.Bradbury is the bridge to our past, our bright and strong and colorful past. Twain’s world was as bold as a young America, full of steamboats, and fishing holes and jumping frogs. Bradbury, no less an American, but a resident of the October Country, revealed the long shadow of Twain’s history, echoing away like a train whistle far gone. As a citizen of Fall, Bradbury knows to beware the Autumn People and knows them and how to describe them.In Bradbury’s October country tale Something Wicked This Way Comes, first published in 1962, Tom and Huck have become Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade, one with a birthday a minute before midnight October 30th, the other born a minute after midnight, Halloween morning. Injun Joe is Mr. Dark, the illustrated man, the proprietor of the shadowy carnival that rolls into town every twenty or thirty years.Bradbury’s rich poetic prose is what was described by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, alive and Whitman-like vibrant and descriptive with a swaggering electricity. The author draws us in with his illustration of Green Town; here a simile, like the sound of leaves racing down a late summer’s sidewalk, there a metaphor, a witch’s brew dark and murky, filled with spider webs and green frog smiles, and the color of a ghosts sigh.In Mr. Dark, Bradbury has given us one of literature’s great villains, but drawn by the Grandmaster with empathy born of long familiarity.One of the great stories from a great storyteller and a book that everyone should read.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2019-05-03 09:44

    The carnival has come to town. I have to admit I love the movie more than the book because, well, I enjoy watching the creepiness! I think I need to dig the movie out now and watch it 😊Jim and Will are two young boys that are drawn into the carnival and they try to help stop the evil. Creepy good fun!! Mel ❤️

  • Matthew
    2019-05-01 07:36

    By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.MacBeth Act 4, Scene 1This book is straight-forward good vs. evil – and is quite terrifying at points! It goes beyond fantasy and mysticism and straight to the terrifying possibilities from the darkest reaches. This would be a great story to read if you are looking for a campfire tale, a Halloween scare, or a late night, nightmare causing fright fest. Some may find the scariness lost within the poetry of Bradbury’s writing, but for those who are comfortable with it, I guarantee you will be holding your breath at points throughout.On a side note – I remember as a kid being terrified of this movie, but I don’t think I ever actually watched it! It was the idea that it existed and that it was dark and mysterious that had me quickly changing the channel if it was on. The character of Mr. Dark (played by Jonathan Pryce) would grace the screen and I would instantly almost pee my pants! The thing is, it was produced by Walt Disney so it was probably the scariest thing on the Disney Channel (except for some parts of Fantasia). There I was, minding my own business watching cartoons, and suddenly programming would switch from daytime to evening and I would see this:Followed by some of the nopiest NOPE images ever!I could go on and on – it was scary. Even after reading this, I am not sure I will go back and check it out. Still too scared!

  • Apatt
    2019-04-23 14:02

    As I write it has been about a week since Ray Bradbury passed away, as you can expect for such an influential author, numerous tributes are being written by famous authors, celebs, columnists, and of course fans. Instead of adding another drop to the ocean of tributes I would rather pay my own little tribute through rereading and reviewing my favorite Bradbury books. This one is my favorite of them all.Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of Bradbury's best-known works. LikeFahrenheit 451 this is a fully fledged novel rather than a collection of interconnected stories likeThe Martian Chronicles orDandelion Wine. If this was written recently it would probably be classified as YA. Fortunately, it was first published in the 60s, so it escapes such unnecessary stigmata and was read far and wide by readers of all ages. This is a story of two boys Will Halloway and his best friend Jim Nightshade. How their lives are turned upside down when a mysterious carnival arrives in their Midwestern town and all hell proceed to break loose.From the 1983 film adaptationNovels centered around a friendship between two kids like Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn can be very wonderful if done well. There is something about friendship at that young age when walking always seems too slow to get to where you want to go to do what you want to do, so you must always run. If you have a "bestie" to run with better still; the race is always on and winning it is unimportant. Those days stay with you for the rest of your life even if the friend has gone his separate ways.Reading about Jim Nightshade and William Halloway makes me feel nostalgic and brings back a lot of happy childhood memories even though I did not have to battle creepy supernatural gentlemen from a dark carnival. That said, the fantastical element of this book makes the story even more vivid for me because that is how my mind works. The book is written in simple yet evocative prose, there is a poetic rhythm to Bradbury’s writing which is characteristic of him. Practically every paragraph contains something quotable as an example of written elegance. The book is also highly atmospheric, I love the portentous feeling of the impending arrival of the mysterious carnival; I can almost hear the creepy calliope music described in the book.The characters are beautifully drawn, Will Halloway is intelligent and earnest without being a mere cipher for the readers, his friend Jim Nightshade is impulsive, impatient and loyal. Will's father Mr. Charles Halloway is a lovable melancholic janitor who finds grace under pressure. Mr. Dark (AKA The Illustrated Man*) the villain of the piece is suitably suave, evil and formidable, his witchy henchwoman is even more creepy than he is. Beside a great story, there is plenty of food for thought, moral lessons and philosophical issues to ponder. I envy the boys their friendship, I do not want to go on that weird merry-go-round, and I love this book from first page to last. R.I.P. Mr. Bradbury.Art by FictionChickArt by SharksDen * Not to be confused with the eponymous The Illustrated Man from Bradbury's famous anthology.This would be my Halloween pick for any year.Notes:• If you like spooky circuses, check out The Night Circus.• If you type in GR's code for this book's title in a review or a comment, like this:GR will generate a link to this identically titled " Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Jenika Snow, which looks like a godawful book! 🤣

  • Jenn(ifer)
    2019-04-23 13:04

    ”Have a drink?”“I don’t need it,” said Halloway. “But someone inside me does.”“Who?”The boy I once was, thought Halloway, who runs like the leaves down the sidewalk autumn nights.***When Ray Bradbury was a boy of 12, he paid a visit to a carnival in his home town. It was there that he saw a performer, Mr. Electrico, sitting in an electric chair where he was charged with fifty thousand volts of pure electricity. Bradbury, seated in the front row, watched as the man’s hair stood on end; he held a sword full of electricity, tapped Bradbury on both shoulders and said, “Live, forever!”The day following this event, Bradbury returned to the carnival where he again saw Mr. Electrico, who was certain that Bradbury was his old friend reincarnated. It was then that Bradbury was introduced to all of the fantastical carnival creatures: the illustrated man, the fat lady, the dwarf and the skeleton, and most importantly, it was then that Bradbury was inspired to write. And what came from that writing was nothing short of pure magic.***Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show! I can’t think of a cooler name for a shady, sinister carnival act than that, can you? I can almost taste the cotton candy, smell the bonfire burning and hear the whirling of autumn leaves rustling in the wind. How f*cking creepy would it be to wake up at three in the morning, see a train coming into town with a calliope playing THIS: I have the shivers going up my spine just thinking about it. Bradbury took me back to a place and time that I had completely forgotten, or maybe it never existed at all, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind I remember it. I remember the wonder and awe I felt as a child going to the carnival, seeing the exotic performers, longing to follow them and learn their secrets. I remember sneaking peeks into the dusty tents and trailers, imagining what strange and spectacular lives these people must live. Of course the grand menagerie of my imagination was no match to the horror of Bradbury’s band of nefarious freaks. I have so much I want to say about this book, but the words are hiding from me so I'll leave you with this:The sun rose yellow as a lemon.The sky was round and blue.The birds looped clear water songs in the air.Will and Jim leaned from their windows.Nothing had changed.Except the look in Jim's eyes."Last night. . ." said Will. "Did or didn't it happen?”

  • Brooke
    2019-05-09 11:48

    Leveling any complaints against Bradbury seems like a literary crime, but I'm afraid I didn't enjoy Something Wicked as much I feel like I should have. The plot was really interesting, and right up my alley - evil carnival comes to town and preys on the unsuspecting citizens. The execution, however, left me wanting more.The first problem is that the prose is a bit outdated. It's like I ran into with The Haunting of Hill House, it just didn't age well over the last 40-50 years. It's not that it decreases the quality of the novel, but it makes you keenly aware that it was written during a different time, which, for me, made it difficult to really lose myself in.The other thing that kept me from really getting into it is Bradbury's lyrical style of writing. It's definitely very poetic and pretty, but it's not the most natural way of speaking. Quite a few times, I had to reread a sentence once or twice and really focus on the words, because my brain just didn't naturally follow what was being read. The focus almost seems like it's more on the way the story is being told, rather than the actual story. It doesn't intimately bring you in close to the characters and their situation; rather, it keeps you on the outside while you watch what happens. I couldn't sink into it, which is what I prefer when reading.Finally, the resolution is just a little too feel-good for me. Good conquers evil, I get it, but Bradbury didn't use this concept very subtly.This review sounds more negative than I feel about the book, but these issues did drag it down. I still really enjoyed the plot and the characters from the carnival. Mr. Dark, the carnival's tattooed proprietor, is definitely a villain to remember. If you're looking to experience some of the classic American authors, I'd recommend Bradbury over almost everyone else.

  • Jason
    2019-05-01 08:58

    One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of young adult books and coming-of-age movies is a certain generational disconnect between the protagonist and his forebears. I guess in a lot of ways this is like noticing the absence of Indian food from a French cuisine cookbook, because why would anyone expect otherwise? If a story is to feature the youth perspective, then it should follow logically that his parents’ thoughts, ideas, and motivations factor into the story only peripherally. Right, Mikey? But in Something Wicked This Way Comes, that gap is bridged to a really interesting end.Something Wicked is the story of two kids scrambling to be a day, a month, a year older, and an aging parent reflecting on the nostalgia of his youth and perhaps wishing to shave a few years off his own accumulated tree rings. The desire here, in the former to be older and in the latter to be younger, serves to drive the characters’ behavior but does so at the expense of sound judgment; and the desire—not unlike Macbeth’s desire to become king—is shown to be inextricably bound to a sense of malevolence on account of that clouded judgment. In fact, the very title of this novel harks back to the opening scene of Macbeth, in which a witch (in which a witch!) intimates the evil nature residing in the main character, and I think that line subsequently calls attention to the potential within each of us for evil to be realized, provided we let it.The other thing I liked about this novel was Bradbury’s writing, which is almost entirely atmospheric and metaphorical.Deep forests, dark caves, dim churches, half-lit libraries were all the same, they tuned you down, they dampened your ardour, they brought you to murmurs and soft cries for fear of raising up phantom twins of your voice which might haunt corridors long after your passage.The imagery of the phantom twin as metaphor for an echo is pretty brilliant here, and Bradbury repeats this feat throughout the book. It probably also helped, with regard to timing, that I read this book in October, as the story takes place in the same month, for the descriptive voice seemed to lend an extra layer of reality to the story.Something I did not care for, however, was a scene at the end in which (view spoiler)[Will’s dad essentially beats the crap out of his son in an attempt to get him to “laugh” (in order to destroy the curse of the Illustrated Man) (hide spoiler)]. I don’t know about you, but I get riled up when someone simply says to me, “Lighten up, dude.” Because, don’t fucking tell me to lighten up. I could not imagine someone clocking me over the head, boxing my ears, and slapping my face as a forceful means of conjuring a smile. I bet you would not be very happy if someone were to do that to you, right? And what’s good enough for you, is good enough for me.Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.

  • Trudi
    2019-05-04 11:02

    Sigh. I hate when this happens. I should have loved the shit out of this book. It's Bradbury, it's vintage horror, it's Stephen King recommended, it's a coming-of-age tale about young boys and a creepy carnival, and it's been on my reading list for years. This book and I should have hit it off like gangbusters. The chemistry should have been overwhelming and indisputable. But we got off to an awkward start. I kept putting it down and picking up other things. Finally, with the day off work, I took it in hand this afternoon with a desire to just dive in and -- for better or worse -- finish the damn thing. Alas, it was for the worse. No doubt, some of the writing is charmed and gorgeous. Bradbury's descriptions of the library in particular are wonderful. But the rest for me... imagine cracking open a freezing cold can of pop and expecting that sharp, satisfying bite of carbonation at the back of your throat and instead what you swallow is flat, warm, syrupy water. To me, no one writes children (especially boys) like King. He can catch, like lightning in a bottle every time, the way kids talk, think and act. I didn't experience that here. Jim and Will feel too archetypical of all boys rather than boys genuine to their unique story. Will is childish on one hand, and too mature on the other. And I don't know ... quite frankly I was bored. The mirror maze was sort of interesting, as was the carousel, but nothing ever felt really creepy and perilous.Ah shizzle. I can only conclude the book didn't fail me; I failed it.

  • Julie
    2019-04-23 07:59

    Once, when I was 19, I stood outside a stage door for an hour, awaiting the arrival of Ray Bradbury.Bradbury was 70 at the time, and he was scheduled to give a lecture at my school.I was determined that we were going to talk.If this sounds stalker-ish to you, let me comfort you. It wasn't stalker-ish. . . it was more. . . Hermione Granger-ish.I had my best pen and a special notebook, questions written down, and I just couldn't believe it, I was going to meet Ray Bradbury!After an hour or so of this anticipation and pacing alone before a stage door, a guy walked over from the box office to inform me that no one was going to meet or hear Mr. Bradbury on this night. Apparently, someone had just contacted the school to announce that Bradbury was ill and would not be appearing (take heart, he rallied and went on to live 21 more years).I was terribly deflated. I thought we were going to meet and talk about his writing process. Maybe grab a cup of coffee afterwards?It all seemed perfectly reasonable to me.I had wanted to ask him why he felt he gets lumped as a writer of sci fi and horror when he is so clearly the Father of Fantasy.And, where, WHERE does he come up with all of these words?I wanted to tell him that I had forgiven him for weak dialogue and character development, because, well, you know. . . HE CREATED A GENRE. (I'm sure this is when he would have invited me for coffee).Alas, I did not have my opportunity. And it took me a long time to get over my disappointment.But, I prevailed. I determined I would continue to honor Mr. Bradbury from afar, by reading and rereading his works, and I've devoured many of them. Something Wicked This Way Comes was a new one for me.It's fantastic, Mr. Fantasy. You've done it again. As usual, dialogue and character development just aren't the strong parts of his stories, but Mr. Bradbury was a wordsmith, an inventor, a man of ideas. And, he was a philosopher who possessed an uncanny knack of nailing the human condition:Oh God, midnight's not bad, you wake and go back to sleep, one or two's not bad, you toss but sleep again. Five or six in the morning, there's hope, for dawn's just under the horizon. But three, now, Christ, 3am! Doctors say the body's at low tide then. The soul is out. The blood moves slow. You're the nearest to dead you'll ever be save dying. Sleep is a patch of death, but three in the morn, full wide-eyed staring, is living death! You dream with your eyes open. God, if you had strength to rouse up, you'd slaughter your half-dreams with buckshot! But no, you lie pinned to a deep well-bottom that's burned dry. The moon rolls by to look at you down there, with its idiot face. It's a long way back to sunset, a far way on to dawn, so you summon all the fool things of your life, the stupid lovely things done with people known so very well who are now so very dead—And wasn't it true, had he read it somewhere, more people in hospitals die at 3am than at any other time?

  • Justin
    2019-05-19 14:43

    Oh, Ray Bradbury, you've done it again, man. I read Fahrenheit 451 again recently and decided to give this one another read as well. Now I have to read Dandelion Wine again and then read The Martian Chronicles and then basically everything, short stories, whatever. I think you're in my current list of top five favorite authors ever, Ray. You've been there all along, I just haven't really said it out loud or typed it or... yeah. Besides, it's not like it matters anyway. You've got much more prestigious awards and recognition. You don't need some rambling, bearded fartknocker with a Goodreads account to remind you how wonderful you are. But, I just wanted you to know where you stand so that selfishly I could put it out there. That's all. This book is beautiful. Is it a story really? Is it a poem? Could it be written any better? Can I name my next kid Jim Nightshade? These are all important questions. Charles Halloway elevated this book to five stars for me. Gee whiz, I could read an entire book of just Charles Halloway monologues. Every time it was his turn to talk, I automatically slowed down, my eyes taking their time dancing across the words, breathing them in nice and easy. It was like my brain and my eyes had a quick meeting and were all like, "Hey! Halloway's gonna roll on here about death for a paragraph or two. We're gonna relax for a minute and let you soak it in, man. We are your eyes and your brain. Have we ever let you down before?"This book could be read in the month of October, particularly the end of October, for an added bonus of it being Halloween and all. But I would just read it now if I were you and I were reading this review and I hadn't read this book before. I would immediately track down a copy of this and take my time reading it, letting the words pick me up and blow me away like the leaves on a crisp October evening. Wait, first I would read Fahrenheit 451. If you haven't read that book yet, I mean seriously. It's 2017. What have you been doing with your life? So read that. Then, you can come to this one and fall in love all over again. Like, man I loved reading about Guy and all that book burning stuff, and here I am loving this dark carnival story with two boys and a dad and a bunch of dark, scary people. Reading is just so gee darn awesome, isn't it?Happy Halloween. Watch out for the Dark Carnival. Nothing good happens at 3am. Remember that.

  • Eric
    2019-05-21 10:03

    I had an incredibly hard time reading this book, especially considering it's a 300-page linear story about an evil circus coming to a small town. I think it's because -- unlike Fahrenheit 451 -- Bradbury overwrote this book to the point of it being dense poetry rather than prose. The dialogue is sparse and stilted, and the descriptions are never-ending, and hard to follow.Reading the opening chapter, the language excited me. I falsely assumed it was just being used to set the mood and would taper off in due course, but it never ended. I wanted to scream at the book: "I get it -- the story is dark, macabre, spooky, and ethereal. Enough! Let the story through!"An example:It was indeed a time between, one second their thoughts all brambled airedale, the next all silken slumbering cat. It was a time to go to bed, yet still they lingered reluctant as boys to give over and wander in wide circles to pillow and night thoughts. It was a time to say much but not all. It was a time after first discoveries but not last ones. It was wanting to know everything and wanting to know nothing. It was the new sweetness of men starting to talk as they must talk. It was the possible bitterness of revelation.And another example, this one during an action sequence:Then the arrow, a long hour it seemed in flight, razored a small vent in the balloon. Rapidly the shaft sank as if cutting a vast green cheese. The surface slit itself further in a wide ripping smile across the entire surface of the gigantic pear, as the blind Witch gabbled, moaned, blistered her lips, shrieked in protest, and Will hung fast, hands gripped to wicker, kicking legs, as the balloon wailed whiffled, guzzled, mourned its own swift gaseous death, as dungeon air raved out, as dragon breath gushed forth and the bag, thus driven, retreated up.By the final third of the book, I was skimming entire paragraphs just to get through the book. Sadly, an interesting premise is lost somewhere in this mess. I am looking forward to reading the graphic novel adaptation, to see if a medium shift can cure the problem created by the bloated prose.

  • Susan Budd
    2019-05-12 07:56

    The first time I read Something Wicked This Way Comes was in my teens and it didn’t have much of an effect on me. The second time I liked it more, but I still didn’t like it as much as I did this time. And I think I know why. This is an October book. An autumn book. Maybe I couldn’t fully appreciate it until autumn—my autumn, that is. The autumn of my life. For I was in the spring of my life when I first read it, and a thirty-something on my second reading, but I am in middle age now, so I know why a tear slides down Mr. Crosetti’s cheek at the smell of licorice and cotton candy. I know what Miss Foley sees in the mirror maze. I know what Charles Halloway feels at three o’clock in the morning. Now, in my autumn, I hear the call of the calliope.Strangely enough, what I most remembered from my earlier readings—and remembered fondly—were the scenes of Mr. Halloway in the library. That’s what spoke to me in my spring, in my summer: the old man (Old? He’s only fifty-four!) , “a man happier at night alone in the deep marble vaults, whispering his broom in the drafty corridors” (35). Now, in my autumn, I can finally relate to the boys, the thirteen year olds.For this is a nostalgic book. Not nostalgia for a time that never was ~ this is nostalgia to a man who grew up in Illinois in the 20s and 30s ~ but nostalgia for a time that never was for me, a woman who grew up in New York in the 60s and 70s. Yet there is something about the atmosphere of the book that speaks to me across generational and geographical lines. Bradbury’s setting is the fictional Green Town, Illinois circa 1928, but his theme is the perennial one of the battle between good and evil for the human soul. And his thirteen year olds are the embodiment of all the hopes and fears of adolescence. Jim, too eager to be grown. And Will, afraid his friend will leave him behind. Where once I was drawn to the quiet library haunted by Mr. Holloway, this time I ran through the night, pulse-racing, thirteen year old legs pumping, young lungs relishing the crisp October air, reveling in the strength and bright freedom of youth. Nostalgia is not for the young. Not for the Wills and Jims of the world. It’s for the boy Charles Halloway once was “who runs like the leaves down the sidewalk autumn nights” (19). It’s for old library janitors, spinster school teachers, and itinerant lightning rod salesmen. It’s for people who lie awake at three o’clock in the morning. It’s for me. And someday it will be for you.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-05-14 10:50

    One of my favorite "semi-horror" reads. I suppose it could be called "horror" but it doesn't fit neatly into the mold. Like a lot of Bradbury's work the smell of late summer and early fall permeates this volume. The point of view is that of a boy on the brink of manhood as he gets to know more about certain concepts of "good and evil" than he ever really wanted to. I grew up on a farm within walking distance of a small (very small) town and this work hits home with me. There are books that can become or are iconic. While I don't think this one has reached that point with the general reading public I think it might deserve to. It holds a special place in my library and my "reading history". It reached right down and touched something, possibly because I could feel the nostalgia ruffling through the volume and wafting out of the book with each turn of a page. October with it's mixture of melancholy and fun for children, riding on the edge of a dying summer and setting on the cusp of a holiday season leading us into Thanksgiving and then Christmas...the apex of an American kid's yearly dreams. At least it was for my generation, the one before and the one just after.Is it that way still? Not as much I fear. Will children of the 90s or 2000s or 2010s have the same capacity for wonder and fantasy as the children of the 40s, 50s, and 60s or even the 70s and 80s? I guess we'll see.The traveling carnivals that traveled from town to town and showed up at county fairs of my own youth that set the background for this tale with their mysterious denizens, noisy rides, lights that filled the night while leaving pockets of darkness are almost gone. The barkers and their "side shows", the fixed games of "chance" are passing, a thing of a bygone era. Some of that is probably good...but not all. As you join Jim and Will here and delve into the dark and sinister world of Mr. Cooger, Mr. Dark and the Autumn people I suspect you'll see some corollaries to life, but I can't be sure of that. A lot will depend on your own past...and your own capacity for wonder.

  • Lou
    2019-05-19 11:38

    The Dark carnival is coming to town.Two boys and a father are the towns only hope. If only out of fear you stay home and not go down to the fair ground tonight for the dark man awaits. Two buddies, boys, they live next to each other and can see each others bedroom window when needed. Friends born two minutes apart, one 1min before midnight October 30th, and the other 1min after midnight, October 31st, Halloween.I loved the father son relationship in this story between Will and his father Charles Halloway. His father has a level of understanding boys and there needs, he acknowledges his sons growing up testing the waters of limitations in his obedience.A darkly poetic story with an elegant prose style, Page-turning and evoking great sense place and nostalgia.When you visit a maze or hall of mirrors again after reading this you will be reflecting back to this dark carnival that you have paid visit to by way of Ray Bradbury.A timeless story that is high up many readers lists of all time reads and that holds significant inspiration in writers pursuit in writing a story for the masses.As I finished re-reading it I can't help thinking I be paying a visit again to this treasure trove of weirdness, mystery and darkness involving weird characters of the carnival, two youthful buddies and a father. The illustrated Man a really interesting character and probably in my next stop after reading this i will be paying a visit to his novel 'The Illustrated Man,' a collection of stories involving a tattooed man similar to that of the Illustrated Man/The Dark Man in this tale.This one keeps you turning the pages with the fate of two friends in mind.Ray Bradbury says in his afterword..."Disney created Disneyland as a bright antidote. He made a new world. I finished a novel, with Mr. Electro at its centre, changed from a kind Christian mystic into an unfailing evil Cooger and Cooger an Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show."If you ever happen to notice a carousel at a funfair rotating backwards and music being played backwards steer well clear of the ride. For that backward ride, a carousel, of a carnival is driven probably by dark feelings, fear and anger.Excerpts that I had to take note of..."A carnival should be all growls, roars like timberlands stacked, bundled, rolled and crashed, great explosions of lion dust, men ablaze with working anger, pop bottles jangling, horse buckles shivering, engines and elephants in full stampede through rains of sweat while zebras neighed and trembled like cage trapped in cage. But this was like old movies, the silent theatre haunted with black-and-white ghosts, silvery mouths opening to let moonlight smoke out, gestures made in silence so hushed you could hear the wind fizz the hair on your cheeks.""In the meadow, the tents, the carnival waited. Waited for someone, anyone to wade along the grassy surf. The great tents filled like bellows. They softly issued forth exhalations of air that smelled like ancient yellow beasts. But only the moon looked in at the hollow dark, the deep caverns. Outside, night beasts hung in midgallop on a carousel. Beyond lay fathoms of Mirror Maze which house a multifold series of empty vanities one wave on another, still, serene, silvered with age, white with time. Any shadow, at the entrance, might stir reverberations the Olof of fright, unravel deep-buried moons. If a man stood there would he see himself unfolded away a billion times to eternity? Would a billion images look back, each face and the face after and the face after that old, older, oldest? Would he find himself lost in a fine dust away off deep down there, not fifty but sixty, not sixty but seventy, not seventy but eighty, ninety, ninety-nine years old? The maze did not ask. The maze did not tell. It simply stood and waited like a great arctic floe."" 'Three....'Three in the morning, thought Charles Halloway, seated on the edge of his bed. Why did the train come at that hour?For, he thought, it's a special hour. Women never wake then, do they?They sleep the sleep of babes and children. But men in middle age?They know that hour well. Oh God, midnights not bad, you wake and go back to sleep, one or two's not bad, you toss but sleep again. Five or six in the morning, there's hope, for dawns just under the horizon. But three, now, Christ, three A.M.! Doctors say the body's at low tide then. The soul is out. The blood moves slow. You're the nearest to dead you'll ever be save dying. Sleep is a patch of death, but three in the morn, full wide-eyed staring, is living death! You dream with your eyes open. God, if you had strength to rouse up, you'd slaughter your half-dreams with buckshot! But no, you lie pinned to a deep well-bottom that's burned dry. The moon rolls by to look at you down there, with it's idiot face. It's a long way back to sunset, a far way on to dawn, so you summon all the fool things of your life, the stupid lovely things done with people known so very well who are now so very dead-And wasn't it true, had he read it somewhere, more people in hospitals die at 3 A.M than at any other time...?""The music, thought Will, what was it? And how do I know it's backside first? He hugged the limb, tried to catch the tune, then hum it forward in his head. But the brass bells, the drums, hammered his chest, revved his heart so he felt his pulse reverse, his blood turn back in perverse thrusts through all his flesh, so he was nearly shaken free to fall, so all he did was clutch, hang pale, and drink the sight of the backward-turning machine and Mr Dark, alert at the controls, on the sidelines. It was Jim who first noticed the new thing happening, for he kicked Will, once, Will looked over, and Jim nodded frantically at the man in the machine as he came around the next time. Mr Cooger's face was melting like pink wax.His hands were becoming dolls hands.His bones sank away beneath his clothes; his clothes then shrank down to fit his dwindling frame. His face flickered going, and each time around he melted more.Will saw Jim's head shift, circling, The carousel wheeled, a great back-drifting lunar dream, the horse thrusting, the music in-grasped after, while Mr Coogar, as simple as shadows, as simple as light, as simple as time, got younger. And younger. And younger."" 'An old religious tract. Pastor Newgate Philips, I think. Read it as a boy. How does it go again?' He tried to remember. He liked his lips. He did remember 'For some, autumn comes early, stays late through life where October follows September and November touches October and then instead of December and Christ's birth, there is no Bethlehem Star, no rejoicing, but September comes again and old October and son on down the years, with no winter, spring, or revivifying summer. For these beings, fall is the ever normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. In guts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters. The spider-web hears them, trembles- breaks. Such as the autumn people. Beware of them.' "" 'Riding that merry-go round they shave off a year or two, any time they want, right?' 'Why, then--' The abyss opened at Wills feet -'they could live forever!' 'And hurt people.' Jim turned it over, again and again.'But why, why all the hurt?' 'Because,' said Mr Halloway.'You need fuel, gas, something to run a carnival on, don't you? Women live off gossip, and what's gossip but swap of headaches, sour spit, arthritic bones, ruptured and mended flesh, indiscretions, storms of madness, calms after the storms? If some people didn't have something juicy to chew on, their choppers would prolapse, theirs souls with them. Multiply their pleasure at funerals, their chuckling through breakfast obituaries, add all the cat-fight marriages where folks spend careers ripping skin off each other and patching it back upside around, add quack doctors slicing persons to read their guts like tea leaves, square the whole dynamite factory by ten quadrillion, and you got the black candlepower of this one carnival. 'All the meannesses we harbour, they borrow in redoubled spades. They're a billion times itchier for pain, sorrow, and sickness than the average man. We salt our lives with other peoples sins. Our flesh to us tastes sweet. But the carnival doesn't care if it stinks by moonlight instead of sun, so long as it gorges on fear and pain. That's the fuel, the vapor that spins the carousel, the raw stuffs of terror, the excruciating agony of guilt, the scream from real or imagined wounds. The carnival sucks that gas, ignites it, and chugs along its way.' ""Somewhere in the recumbent solitudes, the motionless but teeming millions of books, lost in two dozen turns right, three dozen turns left, down aisles, through corridors, toward dead ends, locked doors, half-empty shelves, somewhere in the literary soot of Dickens's London, or Dostoevsky's Moscow or the steppes beyond, somewhere in the vellumed dust of atlas or Geographic, sneezes pent but set like traps, the boys crouched, stood, lay sweating a cool and constant brine.Somewhere hidden, Jim thought: He's coming!Somewhere hidden, Will thought: He's near!'Boys....?' "Review also found @

  • J.K. Grice
    2019-05-20 12:59

    Ray Bradbury is one of my absolute favorite authors, and SOMETHING WICKED is a book I've read 3 times over the past 17 years. To me, no other author delivers so much energy and emotion with just a word or two than Bradbury. He was definitely one of our national treasures and this is his most magical book. Highly recommended.

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-05-04 12:05

    Not a review, really - just some thoughts.By the pricking of my thumbs,Something wicked this way comes.Other than being a rather creepy story, this novel is also a lament for the passage of time and the ending of things. Consider Jim Nightshade, who at the age of thirteen, has decided not to ever have children:‘You don't know until you've had three children and lost all but one.''Never going to have any,' said Jim.'You just say that.''I know it. I know everything.'She waited a moment. 'What do you know?''No use making more People. People die.'His voice was very calm and quiet and almost sad.This passage resonated incredibly strongly with me. Something Wicked This Way Comes is pretty melancholic and poignant, in its own fashion, and Bradbury’s lyrical writing style underlines that fact. It is also pretty creepy:A bad thing happened at sunset.Bad things do happen in this story. Perhaps not the same “bad things” as you would expect in a contemporary horror novel (there is, for example, no evisceration), but bad enough in its own way. Whether you can identify with the America of Bradbury’s youth or not (this should be considered a moot point, since we can’t identify with Dickens’s England or with Middle Earth either, and that’s never a problem), this novel succeeds on many levels; death and fear are, after all, universal and timeless.How do you hear it, how are you warned? The ear, does it hear? No. But the hairs on the back of your neck, and the peach-fuzz in your ears, they do, and the hair along your arms sings like grasshopper legs frictioned and trembling with strange music.Something Wicked is a very, very good story, and written beautifully. It’s a quick read, but it compensates for that in many other ways.The exact nature of the Carnival is somewhat obscure. It seems to be vested in mysticism and the occult, but it remains open to interpretation. The Autumn People theory is fantastic! Suffice to say, the whole thing remains suitably sinister…The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread. They butter it with pain.

  • Anton
    2019-05-10 13:51

    This book is infuriating. The prose is ponderous, self-indulgent and nonsensical, at every opportunity taking turns of phrase so purple and baffling, that I can only understand them as symptomatic of a woefully adolescent conception of what "poetic" or "serious" prose would look like. (I'd insert an example but really I can't face opening the book again to look for one). Probably connected to that, Bradbury's child characters talk and think like world weary 80 year olds. I can't remember the last time I stopped reading a book because it sucked: usually I vet my reading choices pretty accurately and if that doesn't work I'll find something interesting about it and plow through anyway. This book I threw down after page 60 with something approaching rage.P.S.: Here's a passage from the novel I plucked at random from one of the other reviews on Goodreads (no offense to that person or to the bazillion other readers who apparently worship this book):"Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make the flesh that holds fast and binds eternity. They live inside the gift, know power, accept, and need not mention it. Why speak of time when you are Time, and shape the universal moments, as they pass, into warmth and action? "I guess if you like this, you'll just love Something Wicked this Way Comes. I, however, can't help but see it is as a perfect specimen of the nonsense gibberish that passes for "profound" writing in this novel (and in this case it's a fairly essentializing and sexist bit of nonsense as well).

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-05-01 09:02

    'Something Wicked This Way Comes' is a glorious read, a smooth creation of poetic prose mixed together so wonderfully I was as delighted as if I had bitten into a honey-filled buttery scone. The story is also an adorable panegyric about a small-town childhood and male bonding which had me in tears at several points. Oh, wow, why can't more fathers understand how familial sentiment is rewarding and beautiful, especially between a father and his son? Age is barely a barrier between a boy and his father, if a father remembers and encourages the explorations and thrills of discovery for a boy reaching out into the world, yet stands near enough to safely catch his eager child while he is running blindly into a future of tests and trials.I have to take a moment here, gentle reader.Ok. My eyes are again clear. :' )The novel is actually a 1962 tale of Halloween horror about a traveling carnival which sets up tents and rides in early October next to a little town where 13-year-old William Halloway and James Nightshade live next door to each other. Born one minute apart, one on the night before Halloween and the other on Halloween, the two boys have spent every spare minute of their lives together, exploring the mysteries hidden in every natural cranny and wild space around town. They will be fourteen in days. Will is enjoying every moment of his life but thinks about things carefully, while Jim chaffs at needing to wait to grow up, impulsive, barely able to wait for his adventures to begin. A whiff of cotton candy foretells the arrival of Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, a circus and carnival in one! The boys run, eager to see the show arrive by train! But things are very odd right at the start. For one thing, the circus arrives in the dead of night and as they watch, the tents seem to set themselves up almost without human agency! There are men moving about, but in total silence. An eery wind blows a creepy balloon about as well as the tents - and then the wind disappears, along with the men and the balloon. Things are very weird about this circus, but after meeting the peculiar people in the carnival in the following days, the kids soon know it is evil. After they notice some of their neighbors have disappeared or seem to have been transformed into creatures, several of the circus' folk come after them, apparently meaning to do them harm.Who can they tell? Who will believe them? Frantic, they finally explain things to Will's father, Charles Halloway. He is the library's janitor and a very good man, wise to the ways of boys. Well-read, he believes them. But can the three of them rescue the missing townspeople and save themselves? As the scary threats become obvious attacks, the trio search books about ancient magic and black witchcraft. Will any of it help them? Examples of Bradbury's miraculous wordplay:"Why are some people all grasshopper fiddlings, scrapings, all antennae shivering, one big ganglion eternally knotting, slip-knotting, square-knotting themselves? They stoke a furnace all of their lives, sweat their lips, shine their eyes and start it all in the crib.""Yet this train's whistle!The wails of a lifetime were gathered in it from other nights in other slumbering years; the howl of moon-drenched dogs, the seep of river-cold winds through January porch screens which stopped the blood, a thousand fire sirens weeping, or worse! The outgone shreds of breath, the protests of a billion people dead or dying, not wanting to be dead, their groans, their sighs, burst over the earth!""In front of the United Cigar Store on this before-noon Sunday with the bells of all churches ringing across here, colliding with each other there, showering sound from the sky now that the rain was spent, in front of the cigar store the Cherokee wooden Indian stood, his carved plumes pearled with water, oblivious to Catholic or Baptist bells, oblivious to the steadily approaching sun-bright cymbols, the thumping pagan heart of the carnival band. The flourished drums, the old-womanish shriek of calliope, the shadow drift of creatures far stranger than he, did not witch the Indian's yellow hawk-fierce gaze. Still, the drums did tilt churches and plummet forth mobs of boys curious and eager for any change mild or wild, so, as the church bells stopped up their silver and iron rain, pew-stiffened crowds became relaxed parade crowds as the carnival, a promotion of brass, a flush of velvet, all lion-pacing, mammoth-shuffling, flag-fluttered by."Ray Bradbury, I wish I could kiss you!

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2019-05-08 09:44

    Something Wicked This Way Comes is a dark fantasy tale of the upheaval that a strange carnival of souls causes when they arrive in a small, unnamed town. It delves into heavy themes of regret, longing for lost years, and the desire for maturity and escape from one's lot in the world. You see, the Carnival, ran by Coogar and Dark, feeds on all the wretched, negative emotions that the humans they prey on exude. They will find much sustenance in this Midwestern town.Our main characters in this story are two 13 year-old boys, Jim and Will. They have been friends forever, but their friendship will be tried as Jim finds it increasingly difficult to resist the allure of the carnival and the sinister offer it can make its visitor. And their lives are put in jeopardy when they stumble on the very real threat that its merry go round poses.I liked the lessons in this story, about the importance of treasuring the now, instead of longing futilely for the past or the future. Jim's father, Charles Halloway is a man in his 50s who is feeling his age deeply. He married slightly older than most, when he was 39, and his wife seems to be a bit younger than he, and is content in ways he is not. Mr. Halloway longs for lost youth. In contrast, Jim longs to be older, so he can escape from his single mother's clinging, stifling embrace. Both will have to face their hollow desires head on if they want to survive the threat of the carnival.Other lessons that this story teaches of are loyalty, and the strong, powerful bonds of family and friendship. The first plays out through Jim and Will's enduring friendship, their intense bond, which helps to protect them and gives them the ability to fight the malevolence of Mr. Dark. With the second, we see the boys rely on Will's father, a seemingly unlikely hero, for their protection. I appreciated that although Halloway might seem like a frail knight in shining armor, he shows true heroism and fortitude against Dark. By means of his bookish ways and his thoughtful personality, he discovers and exploits the fatal flaw that Dark and his sinister folk hold close to their dark hearts.Unfortunately, I didn't find listening to this story as good an experience as I would have hoped for. It felt a little bit overwritten for an audiobook read. There was excessive use of imagery, similie and metaphor for my tastes. Normally, I love the use of these literary devices, albeit a bit more sparingly. Since I am a very moody reader, it could have been that I just wasn't in the right frame of mind when I listened. But I found the extended descriptions that didn't seem to further the plot as expediently as I hoped, rather tedious. That is not to say that I didn't like some aspects. Bradbury uses words beautifully, spurring the imagination fruitfully. I just wished that the story was a bit more straightforward. I have the feeling that this book would read a lot better than it served as a listening experience. I do think this story is a nice way to start out the fall season, to get a reader ready for Halloween and the spooky month of October. There were some spooky moments, and the evil of Dark, Coogar, and the Dust Witch give this story a very sinister vibe. Also, its look at the darker aspects of very human nature. I appreciated it from that standpoint. As I mentioned earlier in this review, the message is very good. As a person who sometimes feels her age deeply, I can appreciate Bradbury's gentle warning that humans can put too much stock in how old and how young they are and lose out on enjoying and experiencing every day, the Now. I needed that reminder. So that's for the good with this story.I am and always will be a reader who enjoys and admires Ray Bradbury. He inspires me as a writer. I think he has a very good imagination and quite a way with words and phrases. I just know now that I should save him for when I'm in the mood for that expansive, flowery language, and a story that relies heavily on allusion and imagery, instead of concise storytelling. Also, I think my yen for the short story medium is very much appeased by his type of writing, so I am glad that I do have several of his short story volumes to read in my book collection. I will definitely attempt to read another one of his novels one day. Maybe not on audio, though.My recommendation: Don't read this on audio if you don't care for expansive description and flowery language. This a book best experienced on paper.

  • Vivian
    2019-05-23 07:56

    Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway are neighbors born hours apart, the best of friends, inseparable. A life of mischief and adventure shared. One leans towards the shadows, the other, the light. They balance each other out, in a push-pull through the years. Their corner of the world is a playground, well-trodden and explored.Until... SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.The Carnival arrives and with it an unsettling change. Late in the year, it seems more than a little unusual. But it calls, calls to the boys... and the townspeople. Evil lurks.Bradbury's prose is laden with fantastical descriptions that are rich, evocative, and have a tangible quality. It's been awhile since I've read his work so I forgot the power of his words, their ability to completely illustrate the scene. I recommend this as a fall selection read.Resilience and being tested, tempted, is life. Two boys on the cusp of being teenagers, this is a book where childhood falls aside and the mantle of adulthood is donned. I loved the story of their friendship and the newly forged understanding between a father and son, for in such a dark book it lights the way out. I found the devotion in both relationships emotionally touching and hopeful. For as horrible as it all can get, there are a few things you should be able to look to and count on. Remember: the wolf is always at the door.

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-05-17 14:49

    By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. MacBeth Act 4, Scene 1When you are young, a carnival is all breathless effervescence and light. It’s fantasy, and music and motion. Cotton candy and screaming rides and three chances to win a stuffed bear! As you get older, though, in your teens, your parents warn you of the dangers of the carnival, the lures of the carnies, the dark shadows. The hall of mirrors, once a place of hilarious images becomes a surreal cosmic nightmare. In Scotland, PA, a parody based on Macbeth, the three witches, stoned, entice Macbeth to ride on a carousel, and a merry-go-round, to help enhance his confusion. The carousel figures in Bradbury’s tale, too, where evil characters lead children into darkness. Specifically, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery.“One year Halloween came on October 24, three hours after midnight. At that time, James Nightshade of 97 Oak Street was thirteen years, eleven months, twenty-three days old. Next door, William Halloway was thirteen years, eleven months, and twenty-four days old. Both touched toward fourteen; it almost trembled in their hands. And that was the October week when they grew up overnight, and were never so young any more. . . ” James and William in this 1962 tale of Bradbury’s 1920s upbringing in Waukegan (Illinois) say “gosh,” and “darn” and “boy Howdy,” and play baseball. They’re living in a fifties American apple pie bubble that will get popped soon by the sixties. Or, within the context of the book’s timescape, the Holocaust and Hiroshima, Hitler and Stalin. Evil.In one sense, this is just a scary book about Mr. Dark; in another sense it is a typically character-driven story by Bradbury of moral reflection turned on ourselves, on our own propensity for wrong-doing:“Now, look, since when did you think being good meant being happy? . . . 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. . . For being good is a fearful occupation; men strain at it and sometimes break in two. I’ve known a few.”I didn’t like this as much as did when I first read it in my teens; it creaks a little bit. But the speeches by Dad and Mr. Dark, Good and Evil, still sing persuasively in places. Bradbury is ever the poet-philosopher of Waukegan, whether in science fiction or this teen horror tale. "Oh, yes,” said Dad. "We got to watch out the rest of our lives. The fight's just begun."They moved around the carousel slowly."What will they look like? How will we know them?""Why," said Dad, quietly, "maybe they're already here."

  • Werner
    2019-05-22 07:04

    Published in 1962, this remains one of Bradbury's better-known works, and was adapted as a movie in 1983, starring Jason Robards (but although Bradbury himself wrote the screenplay, he wasn't happy with the special effects and felt that much of his vision had been destroyed by the filmmakers). Like Dandelion Wine, the novel is set (presumably in the 1920s) in Green Town, Illinois, the fictional locality Bradbury modeled on his own hometown of Waukegan, north of Chicago. Despite Goodreads designation of the book as #2 in the "Green Town series," however, none of the books and stories Bradbury wrote with that setting are part of any true series, as such; each work is a stand-alone, related only by the common setting, and sometimes by Bradbury alter ego Douglas Spaulding as protagonist. (Douglas doesn't appear here, however.)The cover copy (which the Goodreads description copies) describes the basic premise. We're dealing here with a traveling carnival behind which dark magic operates, ensnaring foolish humans with a deceptive promise to manipulate time to confer unearned maturity or restore vanished youth. And two 13-year old boys on the cusp of 14 stumble onto its sinister secrets. But despite these young characters, I wouldn't characterize this as juvenile or YA fiction. Young Will Holloway's father, a 54-year-old library janitor, is as much a protagonist as the boys are, and we see through his eyes and get inside his head as much as theirs. It's one of a number of novels for adults with young characters (though some teens could appreciate it). One reviewer has compared this novel to Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus. IMO, though, the similarity is only on the surface, in term of some of the formal elements (the mysterious traveling carnival/circus is which sub rosa magic operates, and the kid characters playing key roles both). But the tone, plotting, messages, and the whole ethos of the magic is quite different.There are certainly positives here. Few writers capture the sense of life's excitement and wonder as a boy experiences it as fully and authentically as Bradbury does (probably because few adults, writers or not, actually retain it throughout their lives to the degree that Bradbury did!). The message that life is something to savor and appreciate right now, rather than living in the past or the future, comes through strongly, and it's worth appropriating. Bradbury can be a dab hand at symbolism, and he writes with a unique style, brimming with sensory detail and metaphor. (It's not an exaggeration to say that his prose here communicates with a poetic quality, using metaphor and indirection in much the same way that a poet does.) For many older readers, this book evokes a strong nostalgia for the younger, more innocent America that preceded the cultural unraveling of the 60s and the later economic upheavals. And the author, who (like me) fell in love with libraries as a small child, evokes their magic in a way that hopefully can't fail to rub off on the reader.But for all that, I didn't like this book as much as I'd hoped to (though I'm in a minority among my friend circle in that respect). There are some loose ends in the plotting; and the poetic quality of the author's writing, experienced cumulatively at novel length (Bradbury was primarily a short story writer, and I suspect was always more comfortable in that format) can be as much drawback as asset; it can have a strenuous quality to it that slows the reading. The main problem here, though, for me, is what I perceive as a lack of solid substance at the core. It's a very atmospheric book, with a lot of trappings that make it a good read for the Halloween season. But under the seasonal and the atmospheric, good and evil here have kind of a generic quality; they're not really explored with genuine spiritual and psychological insight. Related to this, the denouement, for me, came across as too easy. Most readers liked it better; but I have to go by my honest reaction!This edition is enhanced by a short Afterword, in which Bradbury briefly explains how the book came to be written. There are also literary connections between this novel and the Bradbury story collections Dark Carnival and The Illustrated Man (heavily-tattooed Mr. Dark here is a.k.a. "The illustrated Man"). But we won't take time to explore these in detail here.

  • Edward Lorn
    2019-05-09 15:02

    This review is for this particular version of the audiobook, the one narrated by Christian Rummel. There's several versions. I will say that this is the best version there is. Stefan Rudnicki's version is terrible, and Kevin Foley's version is only slightly better than boring. Rummel does the best job... but it's still not right.Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of those books that needs to be read to be appreciated. I've read the book more than a dozen times, but I've yet to find an audiobook version I've enjoyed as much as the text. Rummel does a fine job, and his suitcase of voices is well stocked for this journey, but something in the narrative gets lost when read aloud. Bradbury's word choice is perfection, no matter the book or story. Every single word is used to give the reader a sense of atmosphere... of place... of character. But something gets lost in translation when read aloud. I cannot put a finger on it. My apologies to those of you who want to know why.The book itself gets all the stars. The narration of this one gets four.In summation: If you absolutely must listen to Something Wicked This Way Comes, Christian Rummel's version is the best yet. I will keep a lookout for new versions as they become available and let you know how they stack up against the text.Final Judgment: There's nothing wrong here, but it's not completely right, either.

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-05-13 13:59

    Ray Bradbury has never sat comfortably in the world of literature, nor with me; considered a "genre writer" by some and meant as an insult, a "serious writer" by others and meant as a compliment, it seems that I am always going back and forth about his merits in my head too, especially the farther away we get from many of the books' original publication dates. That said, how can you not love Something Wicked This Way Comes, which the older it gets the more can actually be appreciated as a historical document, instead of as a fantastical tale? A pastiche of horror story and childhood recollection of traveling county fairs, Bradbury paints such a vivid picture of a now-lost bucolic rural life here as to be almost heartbreaking to contemporary readers; oh yeah, and there's a horror story too, old enough now that its main twists have become well-worn cliches. This is always the problem with reading Bradbury in modern times, after all; he's been so influential, almost none of his story elements hold any surprise anymore, not to mention being written in a sometimes clunky way. A story that holds up better than, for example, "The Martian Chronicles," because of the historical small-town elements, or at least in my opinion.

  • Stuart
    2019-04-25 09:42

    Something Wicked This Way Comes: The thrills and terrors of early adulthood (Revised after BookChat at Fantasy Literature and hearing audiobook version):I didn’t read Ray Bradbury until age 40, so in my critical early years I missed out on his poetic, image-rich, melancholic prose and themes in books like The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit 451, and his short stories. Though I can’t go back in time to rectify this, I am glad I finally took time to explore his world.I’m sure if I had read him back when I was the age of his protagonists Jim Nightshade or Will Halloway, I would have loved his work immediately. But alas, I'm no longer a bright-eyed teen, my taste in books runs more to Neal Stephenson, China Mieville, Philip K. Dick, and George R.R. Martin, and my favorite TV shows include The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones. I'm very much a product of the conflicted and complex world we live in, and seeing my 13-year old daughter growing up in the concrete jungle of Tokyo, constantly connected to friends with her smartphone and text messages, the wistful world of Bradbury’s innocent Midwestern teens feels so divorced from today's world as to seem totally irrelevant at first glance. And yet I decided to give Bradbury another try. I discovered I could get his books (including this one) for just $3.50 on Audible since I had the Kindle editions. I hadn’t really enjoyed them last year, but I knew I must be missing something considering his legendary status. And when I started listening to The Martian Chronicles narrated by Scott Brick, I realized what had been wrong. Bradbury’s poetic prose DEMANDS to be read aloud, and it comes to life with the right narrator. His style of storytelling makes you feel like a kid curled up next to the fireplace in winter listening to your grandfather telling you stories of his life. In particular, Tim Robbins does a fantastic job with Fahrenheit 451, and Christian Rummel gives an impressive performance with all the characters in Something Wicked, including the innocence of Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade on the verge of becoming young men, the bittersweet wisdom of the father Charles Halloway, and the sinister hiss of the evil Mr. Dark. The story is simple but filled with vivid and memorable scenes. Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are two 13-year old friends growing up in rural Green Town, Illinois, the same setting for Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, and modeled after his own upbringing in Waukegan, Illinois. One night a mysterious carnival called Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show comes to town in late October, well past the usual season. The boys are drawn to it, and witness a frightening carousel that goes backwards while playing wild calliope music, reducing Mr. Cooger from an adult to a 12-year old boy. This metaphor for life and the desire to return to youth (or to get older quick, as Jim is drawn to it) is central to the story, and a very adroit image indeed.The two boys go through a number of adventures as they are being hunted by Mr. Dark and his minions, all the while not being believed by the adults of the town. Will then turns to his father Charles Halloway for aid. Initially he is skeptical, and there is a very touching late-night father-son talk in which they clumsily try to bridge their gap in age and life experiences. Eventually, Charles overcomes years of disillusionment and solitude to confront the sinister Mr. Dark and become a hero for his young son.There are amazingly described scenes throughout the book, particularly the 3am arrival of the carnival, Will and Jim’s first glimpses of the carousel’s powers, Miss Foley getting lost in the house of mirrors, the nighttime hunt of the boys by the Dust Witch in a balloon, Charles’ confrontation with Mr. Dark during a parade to hide the boys hiding directly below, a long expository interlude in the library where Charles explains his theories on how the carnival got its start as a parasitical evil force that feeds on fear and despair, the subsequent confrontation with Mr. Dark and the Dust Witch in the library, and the final battle against Mr. Dark and his crew of carnival freaks at the carnival.The themes of Something Wicked are timeless. For the young boys, the adult world is both enticing and terrifying, filled with dark and sinister forces. At the same time, the older Charles Halloway sees things from the opposite perspective, wishing for his lost youth and the wasted middle years of his life, and the pain of not knowing how to connect with his son. The carnival is also a powerful image of the temptations of dark powers and how they feed on the fears and vanities of people. Thus when Charles rises to the occasion to battle these powers, it is a titanic struggle between good and evil that is carried out in a very understated way compared to the pyrotechnics of today’s books and movies. The description language of Bradbury is quite colorful, sometimes perhaps too much, but never pedestrian. When I read it first I found it a bit overwrought and purple, but somehow hearing it narrated it really let it sink into my mind’s eye. Here's a sample to give you a taste:"Mr. Dark came carrying his panoply of friends, his jewel- case assortment of calligraphical reptiles which lay sunning themselves at midnight on his flesh. With him strode the stitch- inked Tyrannosaurus rex, which lent to his haunches a machined and ancient wellspring mineral- oil glide. As the thunder lizard strode, all glass- bead pomp, so strode Mr. Dark, armored with vile lightning scribbles of carnivores and sheep blasted by that thunder and arun before storms of juggernaut flesh. It was the pterodactyl kite and scythe which raised his arms almost to fly the marbled vaults. And with the inked and stencilled flashburnt shapes of pistoned or bladed doom came his usual crowd of hangers- on, spectators gripped to each limb, seated on shoulder blades, peering from his jungled chest, hung upside down in microscopic millions in his armpit vaults screaming bat- screams for encounters, ready for the hunt and if need be the kill. Like a black tidal wave upon a bleak shore, a dark tumult infilled with phosphorescent beauties and badly spoiled dreams, Mr. Dark sounded and hissed his feet, his legs, his body, his sharp face forward."In the end I found myself carried away by the power of Bradbury’s writing and also the poignancy of the story of Will and Jim on the cusp of manhood, while Will’s father Charles struggles to come to grips with life at the other end of experience. As a father of a teen, I suddenly realized how much I could empathize with Charles, even more so than Will and Jim. It is a story that any parent can appreciate, or anyone who has lived through life’s bittersweet experiences but still thinks back fondly of more innocent times.

  • Paul
    2019-05-19 13:39

    Bradbury’s famous allegorical novel still packs a punch today. It is a follow up to Dandelion Wine and contains many of the same characters and is based on Bradbury’s own childhood. It tells the story of Jim and Will two boys who live next door to each other and who are almost 14. The Carnival comes to town; only this is no ordinary carnival and there is something sinister about it. It contains a wonderful collection of characters: Mr Dark, who co-runs the carnival who is tattooed all over, Mr Cooger (his partner), the dust witch, the skeleton, Mr Electrico and so on. However the real hero of the story is Will’s father Charles Halloway, who is in his 50s. There are suitably nasty sideshows and rides and the danger that one might become a permanent part of the carnival as it rolls on around the country. The themes are age old (the struggle between good and evil) and coming of age, but also the importance of being young at heart. The power that things and people have over you is dependent on how much power you invest them with. Not wholly convincing, but the real message is to live life with enthusiasm and zest and an open heart. Evil is defeated by laughter and a smile (if only it were thus). It’s a good read, suitably atmospheric and chilling.So what am I doing reading it at my age, rather than in my teens? I wouldn’t have been allowed to read it when I was younger. By the time I left home for university and I could read what I liked I was reading Camus, Sartre and Kafka, so this one missed out. However it was rather gratifying that there was a character of my age at the centre of things; there’s hope yet!! Not only that the hero was a librarian and loved books. A simple heart-warming tale that, on the whole has stood the test of time.

  • Anthony Vacca
    2019-05-17 11:04

    Well, this one was an all-out treat for me. First, the prose caught this reader completely by surprise. A rambunctious attention to making every image vivid and every emotion heightened lends to the story a sense of both dreamlike play and menacing immediacy. And while Bradbury writes with an expressionistic style, he never once loses his sense for storytelling, even when his over-reliance on turning nouns into adjectives can cause for some clunkers. But overall the spell Bradbury weaves is intoxicating. How can a reader resist a sinister carnival that feeds off of the foibles of humanity? Or its demonic proprietor, Mr. Dark, an illustrated man whose tattoos are a seething mass of monsters? Or his menacing dust witch that hunts for children in the night with a hot hair balloon that oozes silver slime? Or a treacherous carousel that promises children a means to skip ahead to adulthood, and that seduces adults with dreams of youth reclaimed, but instead only warps its riders into horrific configurations? But as delicious as the story's fantastical representation of evil is, Bradbury really shines with his protagonists, both young and old, and their many nuanced meditations on friendship, the impatience of youth, the regrets of aging, and the manifold disappointments of living a life based on decency. A tale of wonder and terror for readers of all ages, I proclaim!

  • Carol
    2019-05-23 07:39

    SOMETHING WICKED is a story about two young thirteen year old friends who live next door to each other in a small town, Jim Nightshade born one minute before midnight on October 30th and Will Holloway born one minute after on October 31 HALLOWEEN. Autumn is in the air when the Cooger and Dark's carnival comes to town and creepy things begin to happen, a lightening rod salesman turns into a dwarf, a school teacher becomes young again, the barber is missing and the boys become more and more interested and fascinated sneaking out their windows late at night to watch the spooky events evolve. When they see an old man, Mr. Cooger ride the carousel in reverse and become a young boy, they become frightened and Will finally confesses to his father all the strange events including his encounter with the evil witch surprised that his father believes him. I love the entire book, but especially the relationship that grows between Will and his father when he realizes what he never saw before....that his dad is his hero. Will's dad, Charles, an unhappy man who often speaks of his old age of 54, works cleaning the town library by day and returns at night to read. After Will discloses his secrets about the carnival, Charles discovers Mr. Cooger and Mr. Dark have been traveling with their carnival (always in October) since 1846. The evil Mr. Dark now aware of the boys knowledge begins tracking them and the boys go into hiding. Charles finally saves the day when he learns what can finally destroy the EVIL......SMILES, LAUGHTER and HAPPINESS!Love the Shakespeare quote, "BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES".The Afterward is also interesting explaining why the book is dedicated to Gene Kelly. Author states that "Singin' in the Rain" was actually a science-fiction musical describing how silent films reinvented themselves as a technology of sound, dreaming a concept and then birthing it....started with a fiction and ended in a science.