An evil traveling carnival stops in a small town, and proceeds to terrorize two local boys, who learns about balloons and calliope and a chap with tatts called The Illustrated Man (cool name, I have to say), a witch who’s susceptible to cigarette smoke and a supposed dead guy who is powered by high-voltage electricity while strapped onto an electric chair.
And the merry-go-round. A special ride that can shave or add years to your life with every revolution, depending on which way it turns. Apparently people get tricked or tempted to ride in it, and emotions of all sorts powers the evil that is the carnival.
The point is, this book flew past me a little. Bradbury evokes incredible imagery in this book, painting the small town, and the characters and the carnival in great detail. However all that got in the way of the storytelling for me. I didn’t figure out why the carnival was so very very bad, how it affected the folks in the town, what happened to some of the people who got in contract with the carnival, why it was so important for Mr Dark to get his hands on the two boys. I’m sure it was mentioned, but it just flew past for me.
The Illustrated Man is famously the title of another of Bradbury’s books, and now I’m wondering if that’s the same guy.