Saturday, May 10, 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes

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I have always adored the work of Ray Bradbury. I first came across him through the TV version of The Martian Chronicles, something completely different in terms of TV sci-fi.  The book was even better, and from that I moved on to his other novels and short stories. Bradbury was so prolific that even now and I can into a bookshop and stumble across something of his that I'd never read before. 

Ray Bradbury is no longer with us, and is a real loss to literature. This week, though, I came across the closest thing to a successor. 

I've also enjoyed the work of Neil Gaiman. My first encounter was his collaboration with Terry Pratchett in Good Omens, the wonderful spoof on The Omen where the Antichrist gets accidentally swapped for another baby in the maternity ward. Tee hee. I particularly like Stardust, and the film is great, too. 

But this time I'd just worked through the Christmas pile (yes, I know, but it was a big pile this year) to The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Starting it was like reading Bradbury all over again. A fantasy novel that could almost be true, with things we don't understand living just a few doors away. 

Gaiman can cut deeper with his prose than Bradbury did, and can make the reader uncomfortable in a way that's not my favourite feeling. But on the whole he restrains that here, and the result is a lovely, rich and rewarding read. 

Don't wait for next Christmas to get hold of a copy. 

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