This month, fans of acclaimed science fiction writer Ray Bradbury receive a long-awaited treat: more than 50 years after he created the Elliots, a novel about this very peculiar family is being published by Avon Books. From the Dust Returned: A Family Remembrance is like many of Bradbury's books actually a collection of short stories disguised as a novel. The first story, Homecoming, was published in Mademoiselle in 1946. The editors liked the story so much they used it as the centerpiece of a special Halloween issue and commissioned Charles Addams (of The Addams Family) to illustrate it. Bradbury and Addams hoped to produce a book about the family, but (amazingly) no one was interested at the time.
There's been nothing quite like the Elliot family then or since. Perhaps because, as Bradbury says, They're all related to my family. There's Uncle Einar who can fly; Great Grandmere, the mummy; Cecy, who lies in the attic and travels all over the world; and Tim, the foundling child, who grows up among them and whose job it is to keep the family records. Bradbury is the author of many acclaimed novels (such as Fahrenheit 451) and short story collections (The Illustrated Man). Among his many awards, last year the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Even though he is recognized as the dean of American science fiction writers, Bradbury isn't sitting still. He's working on screenplays for two of his books and has a collection of stories coming out next spring.