Tag Archives: R.I.P. V

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

William Morrow, New York, 2001

Originally published in 1962.  Ray Bradbury has received the National Book Award for distinguished contribution to American Letters.  I own this one.

This is true dark fantasy.  Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway have grown up together.  Each is on the verge of their fourteenth birthday, filled with energy and questions, like all young people they are pushing limits.  Will’s father, Charles is fifty-four and filled with regret, for being “old”, for not being more of a pal for his son.  It is the end of October in Green Town, Illinois, and Halloween is just around the corner.

A strange man, a lightening rod salesman, harbinger of storms and bad news, marches into town, finds the boys. Then, in the middle of the night, at the odd hour of 3 AM, an unusual train arrives.  Jim and Will see it, Charles Halloway hears it. The train carries Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, come to entertain, to touch the lives of Green Town.  A traveling nightmare, come to steal souls, by answering dreams and wishes.

And there stood Jim, and  there stood this tall man, each examining the other as if he were a reflection in a shop window late at night.  The tall man’s brambled suit, shadowed out now to color Jim’s cheeks and storm over his wide and drinking eyes with a look of rain instead of the sharp cat-green they always were.  Jim stood like a runner who had come a long way with fever in his mouth, hands open to recieve any gift.  And right now it was a gift of pictures twitching in pantomime, as Mr. Dark made his illustrations jerk cold-skinned over his warm-pulsed wrist as stars came out above and Jim stared and Will could not see and a long way off the last of the towns people went away towards town in there warm cars, and Jim said faintly, “Gosh…” and Mr. Dark rolled down his sleeve.  From page 76.

Through writing full of poetry, dream and desire, Bradbury creates a classic story of good and evil, were self-centered wants lead to devastating results and  hope and laughter are the antidote for fear and longing.  It is dark, creepy and delicious.  This is my third reading and I am still amazed at the density of Bradbury’s lyrical style,  his words convey emotion in ways that are not stilted or sugary-sweet. Deep, heartfelt, real.  Reading this novel as a young adult was one of my introductions to the power of words.

And, of course, it’s all about names.  Knowing the true names of things, of people.  In magic, knowing a name is knowing the inner being. Knowing the inner being means having control over that being.  The weapon against such dark magic is love.

Other reviews:

A Striped Armchair

Book Clutter

Care’s Online Book Club

regular rumination

The Indextrious Reader

19 Comments

Filed under DarkFantasy, Review, RIP V Challenge, Young Adult

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Modern Library, New York, 2001

Borrowed from the library.

This is not a review, more a collection of thoughts.  Read for the R.I.P V challenge, this vampire novel brought back memories of my introduction to Count Dracula.  Bela Lugosi’s chilling portrayal gave my sister and myself nightmares, though I have to admit the idea of being able to change into a bat was fascinating. Dracula was not the first but is certainly the most famous vampire story.  I have read that Stoker was inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, a novella published is 1872 and available at Project Gutenberg.

Stoker’s novel, written as a series of letters and journal entries and published in 1897, is atmospheric and fast paced in places, overwrought and melodramatic in others. This is my second reading and,  filled with ideas of class and culture of the time and written in odd dialects, I found myself skimming in places that seemed to go on and on.  I am curious about the reactions to Dracula when it was first published, not so much the responses of critics or psychoanalysts, but the general public.

It is interesting,  how this one novel has influenced so much modern popular culture, from movies to books and television.  I must reread my all time favorite vampire novel, just to see how it compares, and then watch “Let The Right One In”.  If you haven’t seen this film I recommend it.  It is frighteningly beautiful.   I would also like to read the  novel the film is based on.

17 Comments

Filed under Classic, Horror, Review, RIP V Challenge