Saturday, September 08, 2007

Scarily Faithful Oz?

In two days, I was exposed to some ideas about a darker Oz that would be not only faithful to Baum's Oz, it would be in Baum's Oz.

Thursday, I recieved my copy of Spectral Snow from Hungry Tiger Press. I've had an appetite for stories of ghosts, abnormal occurences, and the supernatural. (Part of the Christian faith is believing in the supernatural.) This book's stories were a delight. They kind of reminded me of "My Ruby Wedding Ring," L. Frank Baum's own ghost story, not in Oz, however. (The story was a romantic variant on the famous "Vanishing Hitch-hiker" tale.)

To top it off, the book ends with "A Murder In Oz," in which Ozma is found dead, murdered. (Don't worry, Jack Snow didn't create a story that reset the way Oz stories work, but if you want to know what happens, read the story yourself.)

I was surprised at the story's dark tone, but faithfulness to Baum's Oz. Is this Oz when the children are asleep? Obviously. The adult Oz characters have a few mild vices that they do not practice around children.

Then, earlier, I found a blog entry on J.L. Bell's blog. Mr. Bell brings up the question, "do dark Oz stories have to take place outside of Baum's Oz?" (He even mentioned Oz Squad, which I recently read online.)

Having noticed this myself, my answer would be no. If you can't make a good story without completely altering your basis, does that show a lack of creativity or imagination? In my opinion, yes. Snow was able to murder Ozma without writing the story out of continuity. When you consider the tale's conclusion, one would wonder why no one has thought to continue from this continuity.

So, is it time for some faithful Oz stories that are scary? Yes, why not?

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