Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Book - 1973
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It's the week before Hallowe'en, and Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois. The siren song of the calliope entices all with promises of youth regained and dreams fulfilled. And as two boys trembling on the brink of manhood set out to explore the mysteries of the dark carnival's smoke, mazes and mirrors, they will also discover the true price of innermost wishes.
Publisher: London : Granada, 1973, c1963.
Branch Call Number: FANTASY
Characteristics: 253 p.


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Apr 16, 2021

I had hyped this book up in my head and waited literally years to read it. I didn't realize it was a middle grade book. Not a game-stopper for me but a tad disappointing. The boys seemed an unlikely pair--too innocent for almost fourteen but there's nothing wrong with wholesome. The character I couldn't stand was the wishy washy moron for a father. He made incomprehensible decisions regarding the safety of his children (I won't step in unless the bad guy actually FINDS the children), second guessed himself to a ridiculous amount (I can't possibly be a good father because I'm just too damn old~~eyeroll~~) and passed out like a little kid from a broken hand leaving the innocents to their fate. Good grief. And when he waxed poetical at the end of the book for what amounted to three pages of solid dense boring paragraphs of nonsensical idiot prose (WTH Bradbury????) I just wanted to hurl the book across the room.
I do think this would make a very interesting visual--they should consider making a modern movie of it.

Feb 01, 2021

Loved this book! I began reading it because I thought I SHOULD. I finished it because I WANTED to, and I'll read it again. It has a lot packed into it.

Nov 14, 2020

The perfect October/Halloween read and a spot on reflection on the passing of time

AndreaG_KCMO Oct 15, 2020

A magnificently written but terrifying reflection on good, evil, and the passing of time--set in a nightmarish carnival just before Halloween. MUCH scarier than Halloween Tree.

FPL_RachelR Aug 15, 2020

I’ve read this several times after I saw the movie and loved it. A dark circus in a small town makes an eerie setting for a coming-of-age story. Creepy and suspenseful – a perfect October read!

Aug 09, 2020

I read this because my dad used to quote the title when I was younger. The plot is spot on and it's fairy creepy.

Jan 10, 2020

A wonderfully written book. Timeless.

Jul 23, 2019

Beautifully written and wonderfully creepy. This book may surprise readers who are only familiar with his science fiction.

IndyPL_SteveB Jun 30, 2019

Acclaimed by some reviewers as Bradbury’s masterwork, by others as a disappointment, *Something Wicked This Way Comes* was Bradbury’s first true novel. When I read it back in the 60’s I thought of it as a novel about teenage boys. Today I see it as a novel that is at least as much about fear, aging, and death. It’s funny how 50 years will change your point of view.

14-year old best friends Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway discover that a mysterious carnival has come into town overnight, “Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show.” Soon after the circus opens, three townspeople go missing, and the boys are suspicious that the circus *changes* people. The two friends become especially terrified when they sneak in after hours and see the carousel that appears to make people younger when it goes in reverse and older when it goes forward. Mr. Dark, the real owner of the circus, appears to want to quiet the boys by adding them to his collection of freaks.

I love the plot, the bizarre characters, and the deeply spooky sense of dread. The writing is poetry disguised as prose, hard to get used to, but then the poetry seems to stick in your brain longer. But I got impatient with some of the rambling speeches Will’s father gives as he explains to the boys what is going on with Dark and the circus and what is important about life, and talks himself into the bravery and love for his son needed to confront the evil of the circus.

Jan 31, 2019

This is one of my favorite books ever, Bradbury has a great deal to say on what it means to be a dad, he uses beautiful, descriptive language to write a timeless tale about two best friends and a father. Even if you hate horror novels - read it (it shouldn't even be called a "horror" novel).

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FavouriteFiction Oct 14, 2009

Two boys, James Nightshade and William Holloway, must save the souls of the people in their small town when an evil carnival arrives at Halloween.

SqueeGirl Oct 14, 2009

Two boys, James Nightshade and William Holloway, must save the souls of the people in their small town when an evil carnival arrives at Halloween.


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Dec 16, 2011

Need, want, desire, we burn those in our fluids, oxidize those in our souls, which jet streams out lips, nostrils, eyes, ears, broadcasts from antennae-fingers, long or short wave, God only knows, but the freak-masters perceive Itches and come crab-clustering to Scratch. It's traveled a long way on an easy map, with people handy by every crossroad to lend it lustful pints of agony to power it on.

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