The October Country

The October Country

4.5 13
by Ray Bradbury, Joe Mugnaini
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

THE OCTOBER COUNTRY is Ray Bradbury's own netherworld of the soul, inhabited by the horrors and demons that lurk within all of us. This classic collection of short stories includes:
THE EMISSARY: The faithful dog was the sick boy's only connection with the world outside—and beyond. . .
THE SMALL ASSASSIN: A fine, healthy baby boy was the new…  See more details below

Overview

THE OCTOBER COUNTRY is Ray Bradbury's own netherworld of the soul, inhabited by the horrors and demons that lurk within all of us. This classic collection of short stories includes:
THE EMISSARY: The faithful dog was the sick boy's only connection with the world outside—and beyond. . .
THE SMALL ASSASSIN: A fine, healthy baby boy was the new mother's dream come true—or her worst nightmare. . .
THE SCYTHE: Just when his luck had run out, Drew Erickson inherited a farm from a stranger! And with the bequest came deadly responsibilities. . .
THE JAR: A chilling story that combines love, death . . . and a matter of identity in a bottle of fear!
THE WONDERFUL DEATH OF DUDLEY STONE: A most remarkable case of murder—the deceased was delighted!
Plus nineteen more terrifying tales!
Renowned for his five-million copy bestseller, Fahrenheit 451, and hailed as the finest living writer of fantastic fiction, Ray Bradbury shows with each of these nineteen stories his brilliant knack for extracting the chilling essence of a world's insanities, disorders, and hang-ups. Once again he proves himself to be America's master of the short story.
"An author whose fanciful imagination, poetic prose, and mature understanding of human character have won him an international reputation."
—The New York Times

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345407856
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
609,601
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Dwarf

Aimee watched the sky, quietly.

Tonight was one of those motionless hot summer nights. The concrete pier empty, the strung red, white, yellow bulbs burning like insects in the air above the wooden emptiness. The managers of the various carnival pitches stood, like melting wax dummies, eyes staring blindly, not talking, all down the line.

Two customers had passed through an hour before. Those two lonely people were now in the roller coaster, screaming murderously as it plummeted down the blazing night, around one emptiness after another.

Aimee moved slowly across the strand, a few worn wooden hoopla rings sticking to her wet hands. She stopped behind the ticket booth that fronted the MIRROR MAZE. She saw herself grossly misrepresented in three rippled mirrors outside the Maze. A thousand tired replicas of herself dissolved in the corridor beyond, hot images among so much clear coolness.

She stepped inside the ticket booth and stood looking a long while at Ralph Banghart's thin neck. He clenched an unlit cigar between his long uneven yellow teeth as he laid out a battered game of solitaire on the ticket shelf

When the roller coaster walled and fell in its terrible avalanche again, she was reminded to speak.

"What kind of people go up in roller coasters?"

Ralph Banghart worked his cigar a full thirty seconds. "People wanna die. That rollie coaster's the handiest thing to dying there is." He sat listening to the faint sound of rifle shots from the shooting gallery. "This whole damn carny business's crazy. For instance, that dwarf You seen him? Every night, pays his dime, runs in the Mirror Maze allthe way back through to Screwy Louie's Room. You should see this little runt head back there. My God!"

"Oh, yes," said Aimee, remembering. "I always wonder what it's like to be a dwarf I always feel sorry when I see him."

"I could play him like an accordion."

"Don't say that!"

"My Lord." Ralph patted her thigh with a free hand. "The way you carry on about guys you never even met." He shook his head and chuckled. "Him and his secret. Only he don't know I know, see? Boy howdy!"

"It's a hot night." She twitched the large wooden hoops nervously on her damp fingers.

"Don't change the subject. He'll be here, rain or shine."

Aimee shifted her weight.

Ralph seized her elbow. "Hey! You ain't mad? You wanna see that dwarf, don't you? Sh!" Ralph turned. "Here he comes now!"

The Dwarfs hand, hairy and dark, appeared all by itself reaching up into the booth window with a silver dime. An invisible person called, "One!" in a high, child's voice.

Involuntarily, Aimee bent forward.

The Dwarf looked up at her, resembling nothing more than a dark-eyed, dark-haired, ugly man who has been locked in a winepress, squeezed and wadded down and down, fold on fold, agony on agony, until a bleached, outraged mass is left, the face bloated shapelessly, a face you know must stare wide-eyed and awake at two and three and four o'clock in the morning, lying flat in bed, only the body asleep.

Ralph tore a yellow ticket in half "One!"

The Dwarf, as if frightened by an approaching storm, pulled his black coat-lapels tightly about his throat and waddled swiftly. A moment later, ten thousand lost and wandering dwarfs wriggled between the mirror flats, like frantic dark beetles, and vanished.

"Quick!"

Ralph squeezed Aimee along a dark passage behind the mirrors. She felt him pat her all the way back through the tunnel to a thin partition with a peekhole.

"This is rich," he chuckled. "Go on-look."

Aimee hesitated, then put her face to the partition.

"You see him?" Ralph whispered.

Aimee felt her heart beating. A full minute passed.

There stood the Dwarf in the middle of the small blue room. His eyes were shut. He wasn't ready to open them yet. Now, now he opened his eyelids and looked at a large mirror set before him. And what he saw in the mirror made him smile. He winked, he pirouetted, he stood sidewise, he waved, he bowed, he did a little clumsy dance.

And the mirror repeated each motion with long, thin arms, with a tall, tall body, with a huge wink and an enormous repetition of the dance, ending in a gigantic bow!

"Every night the same thing," whispered Ralph in Aimee's ear. "Ain't that rich?"

Aimee turned her head and looked at Ralph steadily out of her motionless face, for a long time, and she said nothing. Then, as if she could not help herself, she moved her head slowly and very slowly back to stare once more through the opening. She held her breath. She felt her eyes begin to water.

Ralph nudged her, whispering.

"Hey, what's the little gink doin' now?"

They were drinking coffee and not looking at each other in the ticket booth half an hour later, when the Dwarf came out of the mirrors. He took his hat off and started to approach the booth, when he saw Aimee and hurried away.

"He wanted something," said Aimee.

"Yeah." Ralph squashed out his cigarette, idly. I know what, too. But he hasn't got the nerve to ask. One night in this squeaky little voice he says, 'I bet those mirrors are expensive.' Well, I played dumb. I said yeah they were. He sort of looked at me, waiting, and when I didn't say any more, he went home, but next night he said, 'I bet those mirrors cost fifty, a hundred bucks.' I bet they do, I said. I laid me out a hand of solitaire."

"Ralph," she said.

He glanced up. "Why you look at me that way?"

"Ralph," she said, "why don't you sell him one of your extra ones?"

Read More

Meet the Author

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2011 at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Read More

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
August 22, 1920
Place of Birth:
Waukegan, Illinois
Education:
Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California
Website:
http://www.raybradbury.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The October Country 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always been a fan of Ray Bradbury's novels, but this is the first time I've read his collection of short stories. Except for "The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse," I have enjoyed what I have read thus far. (I'm halfway through the book.) The stories are riveting, creepy and at times shocking. A great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always a little unsettling but at least he never tried to make his land a religion he said he wrote a chapter every day did mailing etc on sat and rested on sunday whether he sold one or not there is a childrens book based on oct that i cant locate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid fan of Bradbury, and I think this is the best book by him that I've ever read. There is a different plot for each story in the book, which makes it easier to read. If you've never read anything by Ray Bradbury, this is a good book to start with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago