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From The Dust Returned
Earthlight hardcover £16.99
review by Steven Hampton
Somewhere in fantasy genealogy, perhaps sandwiched between the 'Endless' (from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics) and Clive Barker's Nightbreed mutants, live the Elliott clan, a bunch of the queerest folk yet. They are the weird psychic aunts, winged uncles and phantom cousins of a vampire family and they congregate in a great house in Halloween country where nobody else has ever lived, but which has nearly as many darkly fantastic secrets hidden in its cellars, attics, chimneys and woodwork as even the most daring explorers are likely to find marked on any genre treasure map of the Twilight Zone.
From Nef - the dust witch mummy, to out-of-body night flier Cecy, and adopted young orphan Timothy, the Elliotts are Bradbury's quintessential October people. Timothy is the family biographer, not to mention being a stand-in for a teenage Bradbury himself confronting the magical strangeness of his own imagination. We get most of the family's mystery history from Timothy's viewpoint, or in the form of anecdotes told to him by bizarre residents of the Elliott household. As in many old dark haunted house stories, the vast Elliott mansion itself is a unique presence. Its cavities, flues and vents are home to the very essence of air, and singing winds blow indoors from every compass direction.
Bradbury's dreamscape fiction embodies the finest qualities that fantasy literature has to offer. The enduring charm and metaphorical vitality of his uncanny tales permeates this new book to ensure a compelling read, whether you are a fan of his poetic writing style or not.
tZ Ray Bradbury is interviewed by Michael McCarty, in The ZONE #7
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