Page 226. " Dickens's London, or Dostoevsky's Moscow "
References to geographical places contained in the books of these authors, who not only lived in those cities but recreated them in their novels, and stored on the shelves of the library.
Page 227. " Tyrannosaurus rex "


Tyrannosaurus rex
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTyrannosaurus rex - Credit: Quadell

The most frightening and beloved of the dinosaurs has a special place in the work of Ray Bradbury. In one of his most famous tales, “A Sound of Thunder,” first published in Collier’s magazine in 1952, big-game hunters travel from the year 2055 back through time to shoot a Tyrannosaurus. “Tyrannosaurus Rex” is a tribute to his friend Ray Harryhausen, the great stop-motion artist who brought dinosaurs to life in the early movies.

This is a photograph of a T. rex skeleton at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.


Page 230. " Bayeux tapestries "

Section of the Bayeux tapestry
Public DomainSection of the Bayeux tapestry
Strictly speaking, there is only one Bayeux tapestry (although it’s made up of a bunch of stitched-together pieces), and it isn’t a tapestry. It’s a 20-inch-by-230-foot-long embroidered cloth which depicts the events that led up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, as well as the invasion itself.

Page 240. " Gila monster "
Gila monster
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGila monster - Credit: Blueag9
A heavy, slow-moving, poisonous lizard (pronounced “HEE-la”) native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is so sluggish that it poses little threat to humans, but hikers and homeowners still sometimes kill it, though it’s protected by the state laws of Arizona and Nevada. Its skin is formed of beaded scales, in a variety of colors (blue, hot pink, silver, orange, and yellow along with the predominant black banding and mottling) that can be surprisingly vivid.

The narrator refers to the Dust Witch’s “Gila monster neck,” which may imply that it’s very dry, rough, wrinkled, and spotted. The connection to something sluggish and poisonous works, too.

Page 240. " Faintly, he giggled "

Though there have been a few laughs before, and the true climax of the book will come at the end of chapter 47, this is the turning point of the story: it will provide Charles Halloway with the key to defeat the dark carnival.

In short 2002 interview excerpt at the conclusion of their exhaustive study, Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction, Jonathan R. Eller and William F. Touponce asked the author about the significance of laughter in Something Wicked This Way Comes and his work in general. He responded, in part:

"Laughter is the best answer to everything. ... during my last three years, after my stroke, I learned that truth. There comes a point when your frailties assail you. When you can't walk well enough, your arm doesn't work, you can't speak very well, and then you suddenly say, 'This is very funny.' You've either got to laugh at it, or you are destroyed by it. ... the time comes, finally, maybe when you're lying in bed late at night, you add up all these things and you say, 'You know, that's ridiculous! That's really ridiculous!' That you would let all these stupid things -- they're very serious when they happen one by one -- but when you add them all up, it's ridiculous. Sure you have days when you are not happy, but the Great Laugh is the cleanser."