Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dawn to Dusk: Cautionary Travels

by Ray Bradbury
Published by Gauntlet Press

This book is a bit of a departure from Mr. Bradbury's previous books.

The first 139 pages will be familiar if you've read Something Wicked This Way Comes--or even if you've only seen the movie. As a matter of fact, the story began as a screenplay treatment entitled, "Dark Carnival" and was written for, of all people, Gene Kelly! It is this screenplay that is included in Dawn to Dusk. Unfortunately, Kelly, though excited about "Dark Carnival" was unable to secure production financing, and so the screenplay was eventually fleshed out into a novel entitled, Something Wicked This Way Comes--which eventually did get financing, a screenplay was written again, and now we also have the movie.

Are you with me so far?

Dawn to Dusk is rather like visiting an archeological dig, in that you can clearly see the skeletal system upon which the flesh of the novel was hung. You will notice that certain characters' personalities and relationships changed from "Dark Carnival" to Something Wicked --but even if you haven't read SWTWC, Dawn to Dusk is still most enjoyable.

There is a single short story, right in the middle of the book, entitled, “You Must Never Touch the Cage," and it appears in print for the first time anywhere in Dusk to Dawn. It is a story of the circus and the strength of belief. Masterfully written, as usual for Bradbury.

Next, we have another screenplay entitled, "The Catacombs." This is a thoroughly depressing tale of a doomed relationship centering around a married couple trying to patch things up with a trip to Mexico. It is a story of neediness, bullying, cruelty, humiliation, and co-dependence so profound that it will make your skin crawl. I read it twice.

A third screenplay, "The Black Ferris" is the last piece in Dusk to Dawn, taking us back to the SWTWC archeological dig, where we see that Bradbury eventually changed a black ferris wheel in Dawn to Dusk to a carousel in SWTWC. This story is a bit closer in the telling to SWTWC, too.

I highly recommend this book--to all Bradbury fans for the literary history interest, and to anyone else who just enjoys a great read!

Buy it here.

Reviewed by Carson Buckingham

Carson Buckingham is a writer living in the great American Southwest and she reviews horror/paranormal suspense novels.

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