In the spirit of October, the Bradbury Center staff has selected the following passage from Ray Bradbury’s introduction to the Rare and Limited 40th Anniversary edition of The October Country where he shares his inspiration for his creative concepts about that country and its residents—“the Autumn People.”
I was a boy, my grandfather mentioned October Country.
“October Country?” I said, “What’s that?”
“Well,’ said grandfather, “It’s just over the hill and beyond the forest. Only go there by moonlight, you’d miss it in the dark. And in that country the people are conceived in the autumn of one yare and born in the autumn of the next. It’s always a dark season in that country, it’s always fall. And the October people there, if they don’t live in garrets and attics, then they live in cellars and basements, or dim storage pantries facing North. They live in closets and coals-bins. They smell of burnt leaves, and cut pumpkins and Guy Fawkes’ fires. Oh, it’s a far country, and strange.”
“Can anyone go there?” I asked.
“Mostly children, and writers, who stay a few years and come away, and never go back.”
“May I go there?” I asked.
“Why, boy,” said grandfather. “By the sound of you, middle of the night, you live there now, from dusk to dawn.”
I thought about that and nodded, “How long must I stay?”
“As long as need be, till you know all the October folks so well they set you free and wave you on your way. By the look in you eyes, that may be many a year.”