Thursday, August 30, 2012

Maps for Oz!

There's something about a map. You remember the first time you saw an atlas and thought, "Wow, there's a big world out there"?

So, what about maps of places from fantasy books? The Chronicles of Narnia and the books of J. R. R. Tolkien are published with maps of Narnia and Middle-Earth in more recent editions.

Maps of Oz in books first appeared in 1913 with the endpapers of Tik-Tok of Oz. Reilly & Lee never made maps a recurring feature in any future editions, but more recent readers who remember the Del Rey paperback editions growing up will likely remember that they licensed the International Wizard of Oz Club's map and reprinted it in each of their Oz books, giving Oz every bit of credence as a legitimate fantasy land.

(Except, of course, we Oz fans know Oz is real...)

I can recall borrowing Del Rey editions from the library and trying to trace the story as it happened. Giving the reader a scope of the place where the story takes place helps them suspend disbelief all the more.

Checking a map helps writers as well. When I was writing Outsiders from Oz, I had to keep a careful eye on just how my story was unfolding. Early on, I had trouble remembering if the Kingdom of Scowleyow was east or north of the Valley of Mo.

Quickly, I checked the Club's map of Surrounding Countries and found it was indeed north of the Valley, which suited the purposes of the story very well.

When we were getting the book together, I wondered if there should be a map showing the story. Marcus Mebes encouraged me to draw one, and he converted it to vector art. The color version may be seen to your left. (Due to printing costs, it is only in black and white in the book.)

It was also imperative that I place the palaces of the Monarch of Mo and King Scowleyow on the map as they wound up being important places in the story. I decided they must be near the north of their respective countries, which matches with the story, and as far I have been able to tell, this does not contradict The Magical Monarch of Mo.

I also had to place the underground caverns of the Doloms on the map. I'm not entirely sure if I got the placement right, but on the other hand, the caverns might be very extensive. Perhaps now that Ozma knows of the Doloms, we might see them again someday and get a better idea of where exactly they are and how large their caverns may be. (If you want to know who the Doloms are, you will simply have to read Outsiders from Oz yourself.)

The first book of The Royal Explorers of Oz not only has a map on the back cover, but it also charts out the exact journeys of the Crescent Moon and Prince Bobo's The Hippocampus as the story progressed. I understand the second book also features a map of Tarara with the countries of Ozamaland and Amaland.

I certainly hope more people include more maps in their Oz books in the future.

And if you want to see more Oz cartography, check out David Maxine's Map of Oz Monday at Hungry Tiger Talk.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I've spent a considerable amount of time looking at the maps of Oz, and trying to figure out where places from Oz books without maps might be located. I'm wondering if there should be a separate continent for places in Thompson's non-Oz fantasy stories, like Way-Up and Sissajig. Actually, didn't Ruth Berman suggest that Sissajig might be on the Ozian continent?