Author: Ray Bradbury.
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 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.
Wow. The title is so familiar that I can’t believe I’ve never read this before, and I feel like it’s a classic, but the story was completely new to me. And I loved it. All of it: the prose, the atmosphere, the plot, the allegory.
Throughout the terrifying romp that is Something Wicked This Way Comes Ray Bradbury writes with a swooping, racing style, a language that’s not interested in being analyzed or slowly savored, despite the constant unusual descriptions and metaphors. It grabs you by the hand and drags you right into the story, into a sharp-sunshine October day and the lives of two boys. He creates a palpable atmosphere, a world so vivid you can smell the bonfire smoke and feel the visceral delight of his characters in living.
And there’s the actual plot, of course. The story that starts in this autumnal world and lures you, inch by inch, into the fantastic, into shadowed terror and cold shivers and looming undefinable doom. Can you tell how much I love this story? I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll tell you that I was genuinely terrified for Will and Jim, the main characters. Usually I can predict at least which way the ending will turn, but this time I just couldn’t tell.
And it all feels like there are so many metaphors to be pulled from the pages, but they’re uncontrived. They’re just there, by the very nature of the story. When Good and Evil are players on the field, the reader almost can’t help comparing the story to other things.
Sexual Content: Two boys, climbing trees outside of a supposedly abandoned house, see naked people through the window – no real description of what they were doing.
Language: 19 exclamations of “God”, 12 hell, 12 d***
Violence: Brief fist-fighting and wrestling between two boys. Character falls down on a carousel and is knocked near-unconscious by a turning horse-hoof. One character near-crushes another’s hand.