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Something Wicked This Way Comes ()


The Image Top 100 Books of the Century

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.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A)

  

Websites:

Ray Bradbury Links:
Men with Lit Matches: a review of Fahrenheit 451, The Fiftieth Anniversary Edition by Ray Bradbury (A. W. R. HAWKINS, The University Bookman)
Montag’s seminal moment takes place as he and his fellow firemen are burning down a house that contains books, and the homeowner, rather than leave her books behind, stands among them determined to be burned with them as a witness to their value. Before she burns, she quotes from the English Reformers about whom she’d read: “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out!”

From that early point onward, Fahrenheit 451 shows Montag on a quest for truth. And he, the destroyer of books, becomes a hoarder of the same, until even his fellow firemen turn on him and burn his house to the ground in their sheer intolerance of learning.

Like so many of Bradbury’s works, Fahrenheit 451 is priceless. And it bolsters perfectly the point that Russell Kirk made when he wrote, “Bradbury’s stories are not an escape from reality; they are windows looking upon enduring reality.”

    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury, Master of Science Fiction, Dies at 91 (GERALD JONAS, June 6, 2012, NY Times)
    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury dies at 91; author lifted fantasy to literary heights: Ray Bradbury's more than 27 novels and 600 short stories helped give stylistic heft to fantasy and science fiction. In 'The Martian Chronicles' and other works, the L.A.-based Bradbury mixed small-town familiarity with otherworldly settings. (Lynell George, 6/06/12, LA Times)
   
-OBIT: American science fiction author Ray Bradbury dies age 91 (NICK CLARK, 06 JUNE 2012, Independent)
    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury dies aged 91 (The Telegraph, 6/06/12)
    -OBIT: Author Ray Bradbury, who fused sci-fi with morality, dies at age 91 (Agence France-Presse, Jun 7, 2012)
    -REMEMBRANCE: LOVING RAY BRADBURY (Junot Díaz, 6/06/12, New Yorker)
    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury, a passionate sci-fi writer with the gifts of a painter: Ray Bradbury wrote his more than 500 stories, novels, plays, and poems on a typewriter, creating imagery that helped bring sci-fi and fantasy into the mainstream of American popular culture. (Gloria Goodale, Staff writer / June 6, 2012, CS Monitor)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury vs. Political Correctness: The science-fiction author, who died Wednesday, was a fierce critic of thought-control. (SOHRAB AHMARI, 6/06/12, WSJ)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury, Pulp God: The fabulist of the Space Age was half doomsday prophet, half man-child. (Bryan Curtis, June 6, 2012, Slate)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Remembering Ray: A visionary science-fiction writer, and a dispenser of good advice. (Ted Elrick, 6/06/12, National Review)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury, Dead at 91, Taught Generations of Readers How to Dream: The fantasy writer Ray Bradbury scorned the label of “science-fiction writer” and taught generations of readers the benefits of letting their imaginations run wild, writes Malcolm Jones, 6/06/12, Daily Beast)
    -INTERVIEW: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203 (Interviewed by Sam Weller, Paris Review)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury: Finding Our Reflections Where We Didn't Expect Them (PETER SAGAL, 6/06/12, NPR)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Ray Bradbury (Imdb.com)
    -INTERVIEW: Rocket Man: In conversational orbit with Ray Bradbury (Steven Mikulan, 6/26/04, LA Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury (Alexander Zaitchik, NY Press)

Book-related and General Links:
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA : "ray bradbury"
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA : "bradbury, ray"
    -INTERVIEW : The Romance of Places: An Interview with Ray Bradbury (Robert Couteau, Quantum: Science Fiction & Fantasy Review. Spring 1991)
    -INTERVIEW : with Ray Bradbury (Joshua Klein, The Onion AV Club)
    -INTERVIEW : An interview with Master Storyteller Ray Bradbury (Jason J. Marchi, New Century Cinema)
    -PROFILE : Ray Bradbury: 'A poet of affirmation' (James E. Person Jr., Detroit News)
    -ESSAY : Ray Bradbury is on fire! At 81, the veteran author of sci-fi classics "Fahrenheit 451" and
 "The Martian Chronicles" is suddenly very hot in Hollywood (James Hibberd, August 2001, Salon)
    -ARTICLE : Ray Bradbury on Spiritual Aspects of Creativity in the Next 100 Years   (P. Clay Vollmer)
    -Green Town, IL : A Home for Ray Bradbury
    -Ray Bradbury (Alpha Ralpha Boulevard)
    -The Bradbury Scrapbook  For Mrs. Senner's Class | Due on 5.16.00 | Vadim Gordin
    -Ray Bradbury (Bio & Links)
    -SERMON : SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (Rev. Linda Smith Stowell, June 6, 1999)
    -LINKS : Top: Arts: Literature: Genres: Fantasy: Authors: B: Bradbury, Ray (Open Directory)
    -ARCHIVES : "ray bradbury" (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : "ray bradbury" (Mag Portal)
    -STUDY GUIDE : Study guide for Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles (1950) (Paul Brian)
    -ONLINE STUDY GUIDE : Farenheit 451 (SparkNotes)
    -STUDY GUIDE : Fahrenheit 451 (ClassicNote)
    -STUDY GUIDE : Fahrenheit 451 (CampusNut)
    -REVIEW : of Dandelion Wine (robert zverina, The Book Report)
    -REVIEW : of Something Wicked (James Seidman, SF Site)
    -REVIEW :  of Something Wicked  (Joe Hartlaub, The Book Report)
    -ANNOTATED REVIEWS : Bradbury, Ray (Medical Humanities)

FILMS :
    -FILMOGRAPHY : Ray Bradbury (Imdb.com)
    -INFO : Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) (Imdb.com)
    -BUY IT :  Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) DVD (Amazon)
    -DVD REVIEW : of Something Wicked This Way Comes (Mike Lang, DVD Review)
    -DVD REVIEW : of Something Wicked (John Larsen, Lightviews)

Comments:

I hope your're being sarcastic when you say "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." The man has been writing and publishing stories, plays, poetry, screenplays, articles, introductions and telescripts for sixty years.

- Daniel Springle

- Jul-15-2003, 15:36

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