“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.”
The opening story and a few of moments of the introductory material for this collection tell you a bit of where we’re headed. In general, these are listed as “macabre” stories and that’s fair enough, even though I never quite find Bradbury to be scary in the horror kind of way. Fahrenheit 451 is scary in its way, but that’s not a horror. More so, these stories are grotesque in that literary sense and carnivalesque in the Bakhtinian sense, and carnivalesque in the sense that some of them take place at carnivals. Really, people don’t write stories that take place in carnivals much any more. I know we have a few Stephen King novels that do or kind of do, and then we get the occasional throwback, but you have to go back to Geek Love as the last great carnival novel, and then in the previous 50 years or so there’s a lot more. This is especially true in the crime fiction genre and other kinds of noir, but this is a little different from that, even though most of the stories are kind of realistic, they’re more unnerving than sci fi, fantasy, or horror, although there are some there.