New York: Simon & Schuster, 1962. Bradbury's fourth novel, in which a "carnival comes to a sleepy, peaceful, provincial American town and with it come quirky forces of evil and magic. An often macabre tale of an adolescent's rite of passage, this is Bradbury's most accomplished fantasy novel" (Barron, Fantasy Literature: A Reader's Guide 4A-45). A significant association copy, inscribed to literary agent Timothy Seldes (1926-2015), who ran the Russell & Volkening agency from 1972-2012. Toward the late 1950's, Bradbury had become increasingly frustrated with the Doubleday publishing house (his primary publisher) over a variety of issues, chiefly the long-term marketing of his titles. By fall of 1959, Bradbury was determined to either renegotiate the terms of his contract with Doubleday, or to seek a release from his two-book contract; with the first draft of Something Wicked being completed by April, 1960, he wanted to seek out a different publisher who would be willing to spend more on marketing the new novel, as well as the rest of his backlist (many of which Doubleday had allowed to go out of print). Don Congdon, Bradbury's agent at the time, petitioned Seldes, then an editor and Walter Bradbury's successor at Doubleday, for help with the negotiations. Bradbury had always felt that Seldes and Walt Bradbury were really the two great champions of his work at Doubleday, with others expressing little more than passing interest.
Seldes, unable to gain any major concessions for Bradbury, "soon arranged for an amicable release. The entire exchangehad been carefully developed between author, agent, and editor without acrimony, and the terms of release merely reflected the differing business needs of both parties. He was free to offer his new novel elsewhere, and his advance would be covered by future royalties on his earlier titles and his share of the continuining paperback royalty split on those books. Bradbury would never leave an editor on bad terms and, in fact, would continue to work with Doubleday on derivative anthologies, including two young-adult titles - R is for Rocket (1962) and S is for Space (1966) - and Twice-22 (1966), an omnibus edition of The Golden Apples of the Sun and A Medicine for Melancholy. But Bradbury would never again contract new work with Doubleday" (cf.Eller, Jonathan R. Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction, pp.265-268). Something Wicked would prove to be one of Bradbury's most successful and beloved novels, ultimately adapted for film by Disney Studios (1983), directed by Jack Clayton, and starring Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, and Pam Grier. Item #5058
Second Printing. Octavo (21cm); dark yellow cloth, with titles stamped in black on spine and front cover; red topstain; dustjacket; ,13-317,pp. Inscribed by Bradbury on the front endpaper just a few months after publication, to his editor, Timothy Seldes: "Tim! Many thanks for your help! From Ray Bradbury / Nov.29, 1962." Topstain slightly dulled, spine ends gently nudged, with some light wear to same, else a clean, Near Fine copy. Dustjacket is unclipped (priced $4.95), spine-sunned, with modest wear to joints and extremities, a few tiny nicks to spine ends, and several short tears (two of them tape-mended on verso); Very Good.