"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." The carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour of 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. Young boyhood companions James Nightshade and Will Halloway are the first to heed its call. From a place of safety, they watch a midway come to spectral life, their emotions a riot of eagerness, trepidation, bravado, and uncertainty. For they can sense the change that's in the air; that this is the autumn in which innocence must vanish in the harsh, acrid smoke of disillusionment...and horror.
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 mazes and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes and the stuff of nightmares. All those who still dream and remember - and those who have heard the whispering but have yet to experience its dark, poetic power - you are welcome. A shadow show like none other is about to begin...again.
©1962, 1997 Ray Bradbury (P)2010 Tantor
I would have to put this book right on par with Shadow Divers as one of the best Audible listens I've had. Ray Bradbury's story is a great coming of age tale. The vivid descriptions of people, places and feelings really helps bring the reader into the world he has created. From the first chapter when the Carnival rolls into town and the scent of cotton candy floats through the air, it's difficult not to feel yourself running along the streets with Will and Jim and experiencing all the other-worldly sights they uncover. While the premise of the book is quite sci-fi, Bradbury's writing keeps the plot believable.
However, many a great novel has been ruined by poor narration, but in this respect, Ken Foley matches Bradbury's superb novel. The different voices used for different characters helps keep the plot clear and are excellent reflections of the characters. Jim's voice conveys a headstrong and brash young boy who acts unafraid, but is something quite different under the surface. Will is equally well played as a timid young boy who is frequently afraid but deep down inside begins to find his inner courage.
Few books I've read have such a superb combination of excellent writing and narration as this one. It is well worth a listen!
I read this book many many years ago and was disappointed with this recording. The narrator was flat and didn't bring Bradbury's poetry to life. There was not enough delineation in his characters as well. It's such a classic book, audible.com should re-record it with a better narrator. Sorry guys.
This is one of my favorite books from childhood. I remember reading and getting the shivers as the story progressed. I did not get the shivers from this audio version becase the choice of narrator did not seem like a good fit with the prose and story. The narrator's voice seemed better suited to a "hard-boiled" detective story then this novel which requires a voice that can create a atmosphere of dread, longing, and mystery.
I listened to a sample of the Steven Rudnicki version and like his intrepretation much better. I think a reader such as George Guidall, Bronson Pinchot, or even Campbell Scott would have been an excellent choice. Too bad the great Frank Mueller is no longer reading books.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Ray Bradbury blends a mixture of miscreants, families, and carny rides to tell a story about evil, love, and laughter. He pictures life’s temporariness, wholeness, and redemption. He writes like a lyricist with words that fit a macabre fugue.
Bradbury revives the “Illustrated Man”, a tattooed villain created in an earlier short story. In contrast to Bradbury’s short story, this tattooed villain is wholly evil. His name is Mr. Dark. He manages a carnival in “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. Like Bradbury’s earlier short story, body tattoos represent lives.
This was maybe the best audiobook I've ever listened.
I found this book very intense. The author is tireless in his long, metaphoric descriptions, but with an enjoyable, delightful fluidity. I found his style addicting. His depicting of different ages are archetypal, but he expresses them beautifully.
The narrator is great! All the characters' voices are really good. The best ones, in my opinion, are Mr. Dark's subtly sinister voice and Will's Dad's grave voice. They matched perfectly.
Will and his father climbing together the rungs leading to Will's window was really intense. Father and son reconciling and having a deep conversation without saying a single word. Beautiful!
I remember loving this book when I was in middle school and wanted to enjoy it again now that my children are nearly that age. While I enjoyed the memories that this book brought back I found I didn't enjoy it as much as an adult as I did when I was younger. At times the way Ray Bradbury described the boys friendship and connection which I once so enjoyed seemed to wordy and distracting. However it is still a very solid story which is well written
Eclectic, avid listener, favorite book is the one currently in ear.
This was a new book for me - I delighted in the incrediable use of painted words. A classic tale of good verses evil... the power of love, laughter, courage and friendship. So glad I found it.
I enjoyed this story greatly when I first read it in middle school. I dusted it back off this year and encouraged the entire family to read it. While I respect Bradbury's ability as a storyteller, his insistence on using twenty words where five would do begins to grate after a while.
It did not deepen my understanding of the narrative to know that a character had slid, slithered, slipped, skulked, dripped, crept, insinuated himself into a room.
All that said, the imagery conjured by this story will stay with the reader a lifetime, and arguably make the tediousness of the telling worthwhile.
Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...
My first thought is that the publishers summary made me think the book would be different than it really was. It sounded like something enjoyable to young adults, but I found myself not caring too much once I heard the narrator sounding like a 10 yr old for the young adult parts. This really put me off for most all of the book. I was beginning to think all of the events taking place were not real but just the imagination of children and I was just about to return the book when the Dad entered the scene and gave the adult perspective that I needed to the story. Maybe in print I would read the scenes differently without the whiny voice of the narrator? Finally in the last hour or so something significant happens that invokes some real terror... I can finally say I have read some Bradbury, but I would not use a credit on this knowing what you know now. Hope this helps somebody. Later.
I would recommend it for Bradbury fans. Due to nostalgia.
For its day this was a captivating story and I would not recommend any changes.
All of the scenes on the carousel were quite appealing to me.
That sounds interesting and do-able to me. I can only imagine new arising young actors as the two boys and some older popular actor like Bill Paxton as the dad. The Carnival owners could be someone like Tom Waites or Gary Oldman.
I recalled my own childhood in around this time the boys were in and can picture that kind of experience enriching my childhood.
"Classic horror that has stood the test of time."
It's gripping and a fantastic, fun read, somewhat scary at times. Classic Bradbury and well recommended.
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