Book Review: From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury

When Ray Bradbury died Entertainment Weekly listed some of Bradbury’s books that their readers might not have read. These were not the classics, but more like hidden gems for readers to discover. From the Dust Returned was one of the books listed, which is what drove me to pick it up.

From the Dust Returned is the story of a house filled with ghosts, the undead, and other supernatural creations. There is one human living with them, a young orphan boy named Timothy, and it will be his fate to write about them.

For me, upon my reading, I had two reactions. First, I am not sure why Entertainment Weekly listed this as one to discover. I could have easily named a handful that would have fit more perfectly into that distinction (Did they just call the publisher? Did they just Google?). The second is the untapped potential for the work, leaving me with the feeling I read the shadow of a good book; not the good book itself.

Ray Bradbury stated that he had spent fifty years working on this book, but with an imaginative mind like Bradbury I really have no idea what that means. He was always creating, always generating works. Chances are, for me, when a book is not being moved forward it is for a good reason, I am waiting for that lightning bolt to truly ignite the creation with a Frankenstein scream of “It’s alive!” Continue reading

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Book Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I first read Something Wicked This Way Comes while as a teenager. I was going through a massive Ray Bradbury kick, and I was devouring his books like many do pizza. Something Wicked found its way in between some of his other works in the monthly large pile I got from my local library, and I must admit at the time it didn’t make a dent on me.

It didn’t emotionally touch me as Dandelion Wine or inspire me like The Martian Chronicles or R is for Rocket. I can clearly remember spending most of my time reading it comparing it in my mind to the movie version by Disney I had seen a few years earlier. Yet, when people talk about his classics, especially after his death, Something Wicked is always discussed; so to honor the great man I decided to reread the book again.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is the story of an evil carnival that invades the town of Green Town, Illinois (A town that will not sound unfamiliar to readers of Mr. Bradbury). Two boys, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, are the only souls in the town that are able to see the carnival for what it is, a place of evil magic and sinister characters. It is after the carnival workers (under their leader the illustrated man, Mr. Dark), realize the boys are on to them that things start to become more intense.

Something Wicked has an interesting history to its creation. It first began as an abandoned short story, then Bradbury turned it into a screenplay after being inspired by Gene Kelly.

No, I’m serious. Continue reading