Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

even if mr. bradbury is forever entrenched in the annals of literary history as a great and successful sci-fi writer, i would still insist on categorizing “something wicked this way comes” as more of a horror novel. the reader, as he enjoyably peruses the book, might actually be misled into thinking he is reading a stephen king novel, what with all the extremely weird and almost illogical resolution of particularly significant events, as if the author is constantly bombarded by writer’s block but nevertheless stubbornly plods on and writes whatever comes naturally from his spent and much squeezed brain without thinking too consciously about its overall effect on the entire book. he simply moves on from one sentence to the next, paragraph after paragraph, until a yarn that is both unbelievable and engrossing is created.

but hints of mr. king’s style emerging in a ray bradbury work should not in any way be considered plagiaristic for either writer. for mr. bradbury has always been one of mr. king’s literary heroes and for a not too serious #1 bestselling novelist as the latter, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“something wicked this way comes” (a line from shakespeare’s “macbeth”) is a story inspired by a musical dance starring gene kelly that mr. bradbury has seen by special invitation from the actor himself. he was very much intrigued by the musical dance’s meaningless succession of events – which probably served as the precursor for the first few chapters of “something wicked …..”

“something wicked ….” tells about two young friends, a parent, and a visiting evil carnival. the mysteriously scary carnival brings with it a hall of mirrors which can show you all your variant, future, old selves. there is also a carousel which can literary age you or make you younger depending on which way it turns. riding the carousel forward one turn ages you one year; two turns forward and you gain two years, and so on. and what would a carnival be without those staple, creepy characters like the tattooed man, the gypsy witch, or the dwarf.

this is a classic story of good versus evil building up to an emotional gem of a climax. the last 70 pages or so of the book had me glued to my seat, denying myself the immediate urge of peeing, and thus, making all the boring, seemingly non-connecting events of the first few pages worth the read.

rating: 4 of 5 stars * * * *
an ending of pure bravado!

1 comment:

rob said...

The story sounds good. It's been a long time since I read or watched anything that was truly scary. By scary, I mean stories that get into your brain and where the effects stay long after you read it. I'll look for this book.

By the way, I always thought of Ray Bradbury as more of a horror writer than a sci-fi guy myself, based on his short stories. They used to show a Ray Bradbury series on TV (RPN-9 I think), and my brother would joke to me that I was watching "Ray Bradboring" again, hehehe.