Episode 10: The October Game by Ray Bradbury

  #Ray Bradbury# 

Is the most modern author we’ve read so far in the #Classic Ghost Story# podcast. He was born in Illinois in 1920 and died in 2012 in Los Angeles.

His most famous book is Fahrenheit 451 which he wrote as a young man in 1953. This story is set in a Dystopian future where books are burned and the fireman set any alight they find. The title is due to the temperature at which paper will catch fire.

Bradbury hinted that Farenheit 451 was a warning against totalitarian states and state censorship. He wrote it during the McCarthy era. Otherwise Bradbury seems to have had pretty reactionary views.

But we digress. He also wrote #horror stories# and The October Game features in a collection called The October Country. 

This is in fact a horror story. There’s nothing much supernatural about it but it is much anthologised in dark fiction collections. 

We suspect pretty soon what’s going to happen (though maybe not its full extent) and Bradbury has the skill to draw us in as spectators to the inexorable train wreck that we can see but not stop.

The narrator is pretty much wholly unpleasant. Sure, he didn’t get a son but even that play for our sympathy soon palls when we begin to suspect what monstrous horror he is going to enact against an innocent just to pay back his vile rage and sense of entitled injustice. 

No, I didn’t like him.  Even so it was only when they were in the cellar I began to suspect just how appalling his act was going to be.

The story structure is masterful. It drives from beginning to end on one track. It never deviates, just builds up the fascinated appalled concentration on The Husband.

Yuk. I’ll read something nicer next week. In fact I already have, but I wanted to make sure you had this horror for Halloween.

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