The October Country (1955) by Ray Bradbury

“…that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain…”

A very fine collection of Ray Bradbury’s earliest short stories. Many of these stories first appeared in the author’s little-known 1947 short-story collection, Dark Carnival. Bradbury is said to have reworked the stories for this collection published by Ballantine Books eight years later. He also added four new stories. It is now considered to be a classic showcase of American Gothic rather than out and out horror. Every single story is worth reading. Just allow yourself to get lost in Bradbury’s wonderful prose and memorable characters.

The stand-outs for me are The Jar, Uncle Einar, Homecoming, The Lake, The Scythe, and The Emissary. But readers will find much to enjoy in all of the stories. The October Country is meant to be read in autumn; it also makes perfect Halloween reading.


The Dwarf
The Next In Line
The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse
The Jar (link to a PDF of the story)
The Lake
The Emissary (link to a PDF of this story)
Touched With Fire
The Small Assassin
The Crowd
The Scythe
Uncle Einar (link to a PDF of this story)
The Wind
The Man Upstairs
There Was an Old Woman
The Cistern
Homecoming (link to a PDF ofthis story)
The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone

How about you? Have you read anything by Ray Bradbury? Do you have a favourite book or short story collection that you recommend reading in autumn? Please let me know in the comment section. As always, thanks so much for reading.

-Wakizashi, *awaiting the delivery of a big book which is (hopefully) perfect for this season*


25 thoughts on “The October Country (1955) by Ray Bradbury

  1. I concur, Bradbury as American Gothic as opposed to horror really does fit the bill better. but man, does he write some weird stuff.

    I never really enjoyed any of the stuff of his that I read, so after a few stories and collections I just stopped reading him.

    What’s the big book you’re waiting for?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, this sounds good. I’ve read some Bradbury novels, four or five of his best known ones. I still want to read Galapagos. That’s Bradbury, right? Or Vonnegut. I always get the two confused. Anyway for Halloween I am going to read Dracula for the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the Bradbury I’ve read, though I still have much left to try. I haven’t read this anthology yet. The latest I read was The Illustrated Man, more of a sci-fi collection. It showed its age but I still enjoyed it. Sometimes it was more his style than the actual content that I enjoyed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about his style. I find it very easy to read and I always enjoy his descriptive passages, especially those about nature and seasons. I’ve heard that some find his style a bit too whimsical, but there’s no doubt he was a master storyteller.


  4. I know its a boring answer, but The Martian Chronicles is just a sublime slice of Golden Age sci-fi. I never tire of it, its cautionary and poetic and sad and surprising, every time. That chapter/story titled ‘The Meeting’ haunts me. I wish the real Mars was like Bradbury’s Mars.

    Death is a Lonely Business is another good book- that’s a proper novel rather than a collection of short stories. Its a murder mystery with some lovely moments and turns of phrase that only Bradbury could conjure up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to revisit The Martian Chronicles, but it’s a great suggestion. Do you remember the mini series TV adaptation? I have vague memories of watching it as a kid. I just checked it and apparently Ray Bradbury described it as “just boring.”

      I don’t know Death is a Lonely Business. The other book I want to read by Bradbury is Something Wicked This Way Comes.


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