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Addendum: books

I forgot to mention in this morning's entry that Spooky and I finished Ray Bradbury's From the Dust Returned last night. It's truly a marvelous book, and the ending took me almost entirely by surprise. I'd been wondering how Charles Addams could have done the (gorgeous) cover, when Addams died in 1988 and the book wasn't written until 2000. Bradbury explains in a brief afterword that the novel grew out of his stories about the outré Elliott family (I knew this part, of course), and that, originally he and Charles Addams had planned a picture book which would consist of these interconnected stories, illustrated by Addams. The plans grew out of a Halloween issue of Mademoiselle (October, 1946), you know, back when magazines published fiction, which had centered around his first Elliott family story, "Homecoming." The cover of the novel was originally used for the magazine, which answers my question. Anyway, Bradbury and Addams eventually lost touch and the collaboration never materialized. I was also very amused at Bradbury's account of the difficulties he had publishing in Weird Tales, how they grudgingly accepted a number of stories from him (at a half cent a word), but finally refused to publish "Homecoming" because it "was not about traditional ghosts."

I find this particularly amusing as Weird Tales is the only magazine in the last ten years to reject one of my short stories. I submitted "Paedomorphosis" to them on July 28th, 1998, and it was rejected in short order, the editors citing their discomfort with the sexuality of the characters (they were all lesbians) and the drug use in the story. I haven't bothered with Weird Tales since. "Paedomorphosis" was published in Tales of Pain and Wonder and then reprinted in Song of Cthulhu.

Harlan Ellison introduced me to Ray Bradbury at Dragon*Con in (I think) July of 2000, which is surely one of the draddest things anyone's ever done for me.

Anyway, after we finished From the Dust Returned, which I urge you to read, we began Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I'm loving it so far.

Postscript — If anyone ever sends me that October 1946 issue of Mademoiselle, they will be rewarded with a kiss or MDS or a story written just for them, whichever he or she or it prefers.

Comments

( 4 comments — Have your say! )
thingunderthest
Dec. 20th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC)
Must find issue!

I've got to go back and re-read From the Dust Returned . I read that so long ago that i barely remember it.
eldritch00
Dec. 21st, 2005 04:38 am (UTC)
No chance of that issue ever turning up here, but I just have to echo your sentiments that From the Dust Returned is a great great read. I pretty much shed a tear or two when I finished it.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 21st, 2005 05:15 am (UTC)
I pretty much shed a tear or two when I finished it.

Same here.
mcdolemite
Dec. 21st, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
That's bizarre about WEIRD TALES, since they accepted a story from me in which the narrator was in love with another man. Mind you, it's unrequited and the story ends in dead and loss, but the straight guy is the one who dies, so I don't think they accepted it because they thought I was punishing my protaganist for being gay. I'd always wanted to sell to WEIRD TALES, just so I could say I had, but overall it wasn't a very positive experience. They sat on the story for a year before responding, and then it took a threatening letter from my agent before Warren Lapine would actually pay me for the damn thing, a good four or five months after it was published. Last time I talked to Fred Chappell, he was going through the same thing and was afraid he was going to have to sic his agent on them, too.

And yes, it would be wonderful to own that issue. It's rather disheartening, isn't it, to realize just how much fiction was published by general interest magazines in the 1950s. Have you seen the big coffeetable book that collections various illustrations to Bradbury stories? I love the SATURDAY EVENING POST one that clearly inspired THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS.
( 4 comments — Have your say! )

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