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on 20 June 2005
'The October Country' is a partial reprint of Bradbury's first and probably greatest book, 'Dark Carnival'. This was a collection of the best of the young author's early pulp stories, which appeared in the forties, featuring a Bradbury largely pre-sentiment, pre-nostalgia, all-chiller! Bradbury has said that he was 'naive to the point of distraction' about most things, but that he did understand his fears about the world. These stories bring those fears to life in an unforgettable manner. Such tales as 'The Small Assassin', 'The Crowd', 'The Wind' and 'The Scythe' are surely among the greatest of twentieth century horror, written in a remarkably original and literate fashion, depicting our own familiar world from a shadowy and skewed vantage point. An argument could be made (in fact I'm making it right now) that all of the author's later work is dilute when compare with these intense early tales. This is Ray without the kid gloves.
Not that this collection is without humour or sentiment - Bradbury's early 'Family' stories appear here, later to inspire the Addams Family series. 'Uncle Einar' and so forth bring some balance to the pure horror that swiftly disappeared once Bradbury discovered Mars and Green Town, Illinois.
Since Dark Carnival is effectively unavailable, although a 2000 reissue is floating about, 'The October Country' is the only way to acquire these essential stories, and as such it represents, in my humble opinion, Bradbury's greatest work.
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VINE VOICEon 31 October 2002
This collection reeks of autumn; of mist and twilight and shadows. A skeleton obsessed doctor, the unidentified but hypnotic thing in the jar, a dog with a coat full of moist night earth and a gentle uncle with wings - these are the citizens of The October Country. Beguiling and magical, this collection is of a quality that few other writers seem capable of achieving. But Bradbury makes it look easy. He always does. Soulful magic from a magical soul.
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on 16 July 2001
If you don't read books, then this is sure to open up a new path for you. If you think watching films are the easier option in life... you'll be right in most cases but really not in this one. The bizarre stories in this book will actually do a good job in freaking you out, not in the ghostly sense, but it manipulates your imagination by letting you conclude the tales for yourself. Nice front cover too!
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on 13 July 2012
I have got most of these stories in other collections but this is the book I remember vividly from childhood. It is quintessential Ray Bradbury complemented by the atmospheric drawings by Joe Mugnaini.The book begins with 'The Dwarf', which is left out of some later collections, perhaps for reasons of political correctness. All of the stories are well worth reading and the illustrations are magical. Ray Bradbury inhabits a realm that transcends genres like fantasy, the horror story,or science fiction. This is a very special land, aptly given the title 'The October Country'. It is a classic.
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on 14 April 2015
The October Country (1955) is a classic collection of macabre short stories by Ray Bradbury. The 19 tales here are:
The Dwarf
The Next In Line
The Watchful Poker Chip of H Matisse
Skeleton
The Jar
The Lake
The Emissary
Touched With Fire
The Small Assassin
The Crowd
Jack-in-the-Box
The Scythe
Uncle Einar (part of the Elliott family saga)
The Wind
The Man Upstairs
There Was An Old Woman
The Cistern
Homecoming (part of the Elliott family saga)
The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone
Ray Bradbury is the Godfather of all things Halloween and Carnivalesque and within this collection you will find magic and mystery, crisp autumn leaves and the smoky smell of bonfires on an autumn day, fairground rides and carnival oddities, and strange forces of nature. You may want to check the contents of the edition you are purchasing, as I have come across editions with only 11 and 17 of the stories as opposed to the full list (the Kindle edition does contain the full 19 tales). I would also recommend the short story, The October Game (1948), and the novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962).
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on 14 April 2015
The October Country (1955) is a classic collection of macabre short stories by Ray Bradbury. The 19 tales here are:
The Dwarf
The Next In Line
The Watchful Poker Chip of H Matisse
Skeleton
The Jar
The Lake
The Emissary
Touched With Fire
The Small Assassin
The Crowd
Jack-in-the-Box
The Scythe
Uncle Einar (part of the Elliott family saga)
The Wind
The Man Upstairs
There Was An Old Woman
The Cistern
Homecoming (part of the Elliott family saga)
The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone
Ray Bradbury is the Godfather of all things Halloween and Carnivalesque and within this collection you will find magic and mystery, crisp autumn leaves and the smoky smell of bonfires on an autumn day, fairground rides and carnival oddities, and strange forces of nature. You may want to check the contents of the edition you are purchasing, as I have come across editions with only 11 and 17 of the stories as opposed to the full list (the Kindle edition does contain the full 19 tales). I would also recommend the short story, The October Game (1948), and the novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962).
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on 22 February 2016
I heard the radio adaptation of the scythe on bbc r4 in 2015 and became facinated by Ray Bradbury. There are some great stories in this book and even when you're getting into one of the slow burns and really wondering, where is this going? Bradbury has a good way of bringing out that sting in the tail!
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on 23 December 2015
These are not really horror stories. There is no sense of tenebrous foreboding that you get with Thomas Ligotti. In fact the tone is simple and buoyant. Ray Bradbury has such a light touch and these stories are so clever, even moving. My favourites are "The Emissary" and " The lake" which is beautiful and sad.
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I'm not qualified to opine on the worthiness of "literature" per se: all I know is that I know it when I read it. This is literature, a beautiful collection of short stories. Amazingly, it was (at least in part) published in pulp magazines like "Weird Tales" in the first half of the last century.

The October Country is an extract from 1947's Dark Carnival, with a few added stories. Other reviewers over at Amazon give the TOC, so I need not. As you adapt to Bradbury's writing style, the stories draw you in more and more, and it is at times a bleak place you are taken: like the title suggests, a time of autumnal chills and gusty winds, with people scurrying for warmth in the safety of their homes. But sometimes those homes are not so safe.

All sorts of horror are here: there is something for everyone. Even as a lover of pure adventure fiction, I enjoyed reading this collection, it was simply that good.
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on 15 November 2014
Ray Bradbury is unique amongst writers, no-one has ever matched his quirky story telling ability. I first read him in my teens and he has never let me go. He brings a sense of the wonder of childhood which we all lose all too soon and doesn't hesitate to explore the dark side of life. These stories stay with you and warrant re-reading many times. A wonderful talent and sadly missed.
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