SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
By Ray Bradbury
Background: Published in 1962, this novel has strong ties to one of the events that made Bradbury decide to be a writer: As a child, he encountered a carnival magician named Mr. Electrico who hailed him as the reincarnation of a friend he lost in World War I and commanded him to “Live forever!” Perhaps this drove him to search for eternal life in the written word.
The title comes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “By the prickling of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes.”
What it’s about: Two 13-year-old boys sneak into a terrifying traveling carnival one October night and meet Mr. Dark, the villain of the fantastical tale and runs the carnival. Most horrifying is the carousel that allows one to go backward or forward in age, casting Mr. Cooger one hundred years forward before the boys’ eyes. This time machine of sorts, the evil Mr. Dark, and the carnival’s Mirror Maze are the most haunting aspects of the novel, and the boys must figure out how to defeat all three before they lose their youth, and life, entirely.
Why it will keep you up at night: While the novel is very much a children’s tale, it is also an extremely enjoyable read for adults. I am forever captivated by Bradbury’s poetic use of language, which creates quite visceral images for the reader—and the images he paints here of the macabre carnival are dark and fantastic, ensnaring the reader in this strange world of the supernatural until dawn breaks.
Note: Spring break has officially begun, my antibiotics are kicking my sinus infiction in the ass, and tomorrow I will be on my way to Europe to go on tour with the Butler Symphony Orchestra. Since I will be busy traveling around Greece and Italy, I won’t get to a computer again until I get back, so no blog posts until then. Feel free to peruse the lovely links on the right if you’re having blog withdrawals; I assure you there’s some great stuff there. See you March 21st!