Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury


Avon, 1962

ISBN 0380729407 


Known as Bradbury’s “masterpiece of Gothic literature,” Something Wicked This Way Comes is the story of two boys and the evil carnival that comes into their town one night.  The carnival seems to offer everyone their wildest dreams while trapping them inside it forever.

Throughout the novel Bradbury reveals people’s preoccupation with time; the old want to slow it down and get it back, the young want to speed it up and be an adult.  The novel reveals that time can be the scariest monster of all, because we can’t control it, and when we try, we become a slave to it.

Ultimately, Bradbury’s book teaches us that the only way to beat time is to laugh at it and to stop focusing on it.   At least that is what I got from it.

I loved the rhythm of the book, the way the story unfolded.  The characters were scary and the carnival itself was creepy.  I liked the blind witch in her balloon and Mr. Dark.

I also loved the relationship between the two boys, James Nightshade and William Holloway.  It is the kind of relationship that you can only have with a friend when you are young and you are perfectly in synch with each other, before romantic relationships or complications.

I found William’s father to be the opposite of James.  The father always regretting being so old, and James always wanting to grow up.  William was the happy medium, enjoying life in the moment, enjoying being a kid, not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.

I can see how a lot of other books that have been inspired by Bradbury’s novel.  The ghoulishness of the carnival is magnified in Katheine Dunne’s Geek Love, and romanticized in Ering Morgentern’s The Night Circus.


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