Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962) by Ray Bradbury

Something_wicked_this_way_comes_first“He stared at fathoms of reflections. You could never strike bottom there. It was like winter standing tall, waiting to kill you with a glance” (p. 62).

“Stay away from the maze where winter slept” (p. 122).

Has anyone ever finished a mirror maze? I have not. Not out of some existential fear like Bradbury suggests. Just the fear of banging my nose on a pane of bendy glass is enough to prevent me from venturing further than a few feet inside, arms outstretched, before I back up and scurry out the entrance. And, yes, I’ve had to be rescued at least once.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is a mirror maze of another kind, the existential kind, although it’s accompanied by some of the same appeal and angst. It recollects our pasts, that famous Bradburian nostalgia, and we see ourselves and our loved ones in his contemplative meditations. Like a warped mirror, Bradbury amplifies, intensifies, stretches, augments, and he stuffs the extra spaces with tenderly poignant musings. I get a pang in my gut when I read his prose, it’s so excruciatingly true and beautiful. Some people have physical reactions to art. I have a physical reaction when I read stuff like this.

But this is about Halloween. Not about my sensitivity to distinctive metaphors. (But he compares the mother’s optimism to fresh milk! *swoon*)

Here’s something scary… Continue reading

Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit_451_1st_ed_coverIn 9th grade, I was assigned Fahrenheit 451 in English class. I don’t think I ever made the connection that it was written by the same author who blew my mind in a group reading assignment in the 5th grade (I suspect the book was The Martian Chronicles). It was an assignment, which means everything about it was stored in my short-term memory– other than the moral of the story (“Don’t burn books or you’ll go crazy wondering what Shakespeare was on about”), and the sixties aesthetic of the perfunctory film viewing is burned on my memory forever. I don’t even think we read the entire book. Continue reading