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Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012) published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are 'Fahrenheit 451,' 'The Illustrated Man,' and 'The Martian Chronicles.'
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.Read more ›
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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"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.Read more ›
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. GRADE : A
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