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Something Wicked This Way Comes Mass Market Paperback – September 26, 2006

514 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Greentown Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Something Wicked is Avon's latest installment in its ongoing series of reprints of Bradbury's works in quality yet affordable hardcover editions. Appearing in 1962, this is the story of a diabolical carnival that wreaks havoc on the lives of the people of a small Illinois town, much like the one in which Bradbury grew up. This edition also sports a new afterword by the author.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380729407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380729401
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (514 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on January 27, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If there's one thing that Ray Bradbury excels at, it's his ability to recapture the range of emotions and attitudes that were present in all of us when we were just young, impressionable children. It's a sign of a talented writer if he or she is able to make the reader feel nostalgic for a childhood that one didn't have. SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES pushes all the right buttons in reminding us of the wonder that was present in everyone.
A lot has been said about the prose of this book, and it's certainly of a higher quality than one would be expecting from a "horror" story. It's quite poetic and most of the time it is excellent at painting the scene. However, there are a number of places where it feels forced and pretentious, as if Bradbury is writing that way just to show off his thesaurus-reading skills. But for every turn of phrase that falls flat, there exist several chilling moments that will be forever etched in the mind of the reader. It's a step above the sort of material that one usually finds in genre works.
The point of view from the two children is executed amazingly well. As in his other novels and short stories, Bradbury demonstrates his superb ability to realistically portray the beliefs and emotions of children. They aren't overly mature, but neither are they childish. He's hit the nail so perfectly that it really feels as though one is reading a true-life account of some curious boys, rather than a fictional account. On the other hand, breaking up the action between two children means that we never really get extremely close to either one. There's some nice interaction between one of the boys and his father that deals with the grown-up's attempt to develop a backbone and to stand up to the evil carnival people.
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." This quote from Shakespeare adequately describes this now-classic work of horror by Ray Bradbury. Bradbury manages to use evocative language and charming characters to draw the readers into what is almost a parallel world.
Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade are boys born two seconds apart -- one on Halloween, the other on the day before. Will is the ultimate innocent, while Jim is darker and more knowledgeable about the world. These two have been inseparable friends all their lives, despite their different personalities and tiny events that divide them on subtle levels. Then, one day, a strange carnival comes to their town, with a freak show and a carousel.
But a more sinister undercurrent runs in this carnival: The freak show, with its tattooed "illustrated man," blind gypsy witch, and murderous dwarf, is more menacing than the townspeople expect. And when Will and Jim see the carousel change a man's age, they become the targets of Mr. Dark and his evil cohorts -- for fates worse than death.
Bradbury's writing is a mixed bag. While it's extremely evocative and often surreal, it becomes a little clumsy at times. He refers to the carousel horses having "panic-colored teeth," but never explains what this description means. His metaphors occasionally become very strained, and at times the lapses into philosophical musings become distractions to the overall plotline.
However, he expertly draws out a feeling of horror with only a few words, never overdoing the descriptions of something that terrifies Jim and Will.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Bradbury at his greatest is truly a great read. Any avid reader can remember the first time they read Farenheight 451. The thoughts and issues contained in that novel were truly amazing, causing one to pay attention to the glory our society can create and destroy. Something Wicked This Way Comes is as wonderful.
The novel is ultimatly about a battle between good and evil, or truth verses deception. The main character is confronted with secrets he doesn't want to know and given the chance to live out long hidden dreams. The book plays out well, leaving the reader wondering until the last pages.
Most important is Bradbury's ability to describe the elements in the novel. One could taste breath, feel the wind, and smell the carnival. Something Wicked This Way Comes is a wonderful book and should be enjoyed by readers of science fiction and other genres alike.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on August 29, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
No one has ever written better about the enchantment of childhood than did Ray Bradbury in Dandelion Wine. Its a book that's all about the bright possibilities of youth, when the whole world seems magical. With Something Wicked This Way Comes, he looks at the flip side, how as we get older we discover that evil exists in the world too, and not just that it exists but that it is alluring, to us and all those around us.
It's 1929, in Green Town, Illinois, and Jim Nightshade and William Halloway are thirteen, right on the traditional cusp of manhood. They are still boys when the dark carnival, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, comes to town, but by the time it leaves they'll have grown up, for Mr. Dark, ringleader of the carnival, offers people their deepest darkest desires in exchange for their souls. Many of the townfolk, including Will's own father will be seduced by the offer of a return to youth, while Jim will find the offer of growing up fast irresistible. But Will can see what's going on and first saves his father and then the two of them fight to save Jim and the town. This book is thrilling, scary, and, most important, wise in the ways of man. Bradbury well understands that evil is such a powerful force not because it is so awful, but because it is so attractive. The people of Green Town aren't necessarily bad people, but in their willingness to exchange their very souls for an easy chance to be something that they are not, they head down the path of evil. What Mr. Dark is offering is unnatural in the strictest sense of the word, it violates the laws of nature, and Will's struggle against him is truly heroic, maybe even Biblical. You'll not often hear him listed among the great American authors, but with this book, Dandelion Wine, and Fahrenheit 451 to his credit, Ray Bradbury may deserve at least a mention.
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