Monday, April 19, 2010

Inspirations: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (1963)

'Heck,' said Jim.

'No such place as Heck. But hell's right here under 'A' for Alighieri'.

'Allegory's beyond me', said Jim.

'How stupid of me,' Dad laughed. 'I mean Dante. Look at this. Pictures by Mister Dore, showing all the aspects. Hell never looked better. Here's souls sunk to their gills in slime. There's someone upside down, wrong side out'.

'Boy howdy!' Jim eyed the pages two different ways and thumbed on. 'Got any dinosaur pictures?'

UPDATE: Hello to visitors from raybradburyboard.com. I first read Something Wicked This Way Comes when I was 13 or so - about the same age as its protagonists Will and Jim - and my paperback is a very yellow copy of the tie-in edition from the (rather disappointing) film version of 1983, although I had already read a library copy several months before buying it, appropriately enough, given that Will's father is a librarian, and the town library is the setting for a crucial scene. It is one of only two books from my teen years that I read through a second time immediately upon finishing it (the other one will be the subject of a subsequent post). I remember being particularly delighted by the one sentence chapter 'Nothing much happened all the rest of that night' (which I quote from memory, so I may have got it wrong). Fahrenheit 451 also made a big impression on me, and, although I have never been a big short story fan, I read several volumes of Ray's short fiction on the basis of my enjoyment of the novels.

In addition, the quotation above may be the first place I ever came across the name 'Dante'.

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