Sunday, January 31, 2010

Einhorn-a-thon #2

After Ozma Sees Herself appeared in Oz-Story, Einhorn got to work on a full-length Oz novel. Paradox in Oz was published in 2000, the 100th anniversary of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The story opens with the citizens of Oz coming to Ozma in hordes with problems they're having due to aging. Somehow, the anti-aging spell on Oz is no longer effective. Ozma hurries to Glinda, who tells her that the enchantment is a time spell that the Book Of Records says ran about the time Ozma took the throne. When a recent earthquake happened, Glinda found an entry that said the Aging Enchantment was cast on the Man Who Lives Backwards and all of Oz. It turns out the Man Who Lives Backwards is a baby Omby Amby brought to Glinda, saying that Ozma sent him, having found the baby in a room where Mombi's magic tools had been stored after they had been confiscated. In order to discover what happened, Ozma needs to meet the Man Who Lives Backwards as an adult, meaning she must go back in time, and in order to do that, she needs to use a Parrot-Ox.

In order to find a Parrot-Ox, Ozma must find a paradox, and Glinda helps her find one. Tempus, the Parrot-Ox appears. He agrees to take Ozma back in time, and Glinda gives Ozma a ring to change time with, if necessary. Tempus takes Ozma a little too far back in time and she is stranded at just a few moments before Oz became a fairyland.

While trying to find Tempus, Ozma meets Dr. Majestico, a researcher who wants to prove magic doesn't exist. In fact, he's written down an equation on paper to prove it, and called it a "paradox." Ozma has found this paper, and thinking he said it was a Parrot-Ox, runs away from him. She soon recognizes a fountain as the Fountain of Oblivion and keeps the current King (known only as King Oz) from drinking from it. Suddenly, the enchantment that made Oz a fairyland is cast, and as Oz becomes magic, King Oz becomes exaggeratedly evil, and so does Oz.

The paper turns into Tempus and he and Ozma fly forward in time, and discover Oz is very different now. The cruel Wizard of Oz rules the Obsidian City with an iron fist, his cruel assistants Wantowin Battles and Nick Chopper at his side. Glinda is in jail until she is rescued by the Good Witch Mombi, and this Oz's Ozma is a blonde! Oz is now a cruel fairyland. Can Ozma restore Oz to it's former self as well as restore the Aging Enchantment?

One can tell from these first few chapters that Einhorn enjoys wordplay and puzzling conundrums. Also, we get to deal with time travel, the Butterfly Effect being a big factor here. (Back to the Future, anyone?) As the story continues, Einhorn plays with such puns and sometimes the story doesn't seem like it's making much sense, until you think about it, and it does, and then you think about it harder, then it doesn't. In fact, I'm not exactly sure I exactly figured out how the enchantment was cast and broken, but anyways, the important thing is, I enjoyed it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Einhorn-a-thon #1

This is an examination blog, and thus contains massive spoilers. If you have not read this story and don't want it spoiled for you, it might be best not to read very much of this blog, or none at all.

It was 1997, and Hungry Tiger Press was releasing the third issue of their anthology magazine Oz-Story. A collection of Oz and Oz-related tales, poems and lyrics, and a full-length novel by L. Frank Baum.

In the third issue, the first story readers were treated to was Ozma Sees Herself by Edward Einhorn. A playwright and Oz fan, he wasn't exactly a big name at the time. But editor David Maxine was sure to print quality material.

The story opens with Ozma climbing a tree, escaping her duties as the ruler of Oz, setting this story just after The Marvelous Land of Oz. (I also noted that it doesn't mention the activities of the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Sawhorse, the Woggle-Bug, or the Gump, so it also doesn't contradict Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz.) As she waits in the tree, the Cowardly Lion comes by, and she teases him with a couple acorns. Noting his cowardly nature, Ozma feels she has a right to not be a very good princess, just as the Lion is not a very good Lion. (Or so he says...)

Ozma and the Lion run off to the forest for a few days, so they plan, to escape royal life. When Ozma bathes in a pool, she sees what she thinks is a nymph, when in fact, it is her own reflection. When a tiger looks towards them and mutters, "Delicious," she fears for the nymph's safety and tries to intervene, offering herself to the tiger. The tiger, confused, tells her that it is her reflection.

Ozma fears that the tiger will eat her, but it tells her it has a conscience. (Yep, you're guessing it!) The Cowardly Lion arrives and recognizes the tiger as his friend, for it is, of course, the Hungry Tiger. They remind Ozma of her duty to Oz as its ruler, and Ozma knows they are right, and decides to go back.

I really liked this story, it fits with Baum (but not other popular additional stories), and it's a nice way to tie the Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger with Ozma.

Even better is the character development for Ozma. Rather than just having her decide she needs to accept her duty, it's more of a journey for her. Remember that she grew up as Tip, so her deciding to put away the playful, mischievous, and adventurous persona of Tip would have to be either a progression or a very firm decision. Einhorn starts Ozma on this progression. Ozma seeing what her duty in life is, and choosing duty over what she felt was her nature, is what the title means, as well as the incident of the nymph in the pool.

Oz-Story 3 has sold out from the publisher, though you might be able to get a second hand copy if you look hard enough. Einhorn mentioned sometime back he intends to include it in a forthcoming book of short stories that he's been working on, except his time to do so was limited. Until then, we can only look forward to it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Recently Read Oz Books

Well, here's a listing of some Oz books I've read recently. I cut them short because some of them I haven't read for awhile, and also, I'm planning to do indepth blogs on all of the Famous Forty and the other Oz books by their authors. Three of these books fall in that category.

The Ork in Oz by Jack and Larry Brenton When Blinkie the Witch gets hold of the Giant with the Hammer and joins forces with Mombi and the Wisp (with a horde of wasps at his command), they quickly come up with a plan to conquer Oz for themselves. It's up to Orville the Ork and a boy from Ivalor named Irving to save Oz. Overall, a good story, but the whole "Baddies conquer Oz" plot is very old.

Yankee in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson Tompy and Yankee the space dog arrive in Oz after a hurricane. Soon, they find themselves looking for the lost Princess Doffi of Wackajammy. However, when her captor, the giant Badmannah, decides to find a replacement, he turns his eyes to Princess Ozma! Another good story, but it felt very brief. One can tell that even 32 years after "Ozoplaning With The Wizard of Oz," Thompson was still struggling for ideas for a good Oz story.

Toto of Oz by Gina Wickwar Probably one of the better written Oz books in the lot. When the bride of the King of Kiltoon mysteriously vanishes, poet Sonny looks for something to cheer the King up, and thinks of Toto. A little boy named Davy and his new pony Lollipop wind up in Oz, with a mysterious tartan saddle blanket. And Toto himself goes off looking for his growl, which is missing again. How are all three of these plots connected? I was glad to see the three stories become one, and it is definitely one of the most beautifully and lavishly illustrated Oz books I've seen in a long time.

The Royal Book of Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson (I don't care what the cover said!) This was actually a re-read. When the Woggle-Bug points out that the Scarecrow has no family tree, he goes to look for the closest thing he has to one: the pole Dorothy found him on back in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." He soon discovers the Silver Islands, where he is hailed as the reincarnation of their Emperor. Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion head out to look for their old friend, and wind up meeting Sir Hokus of Pokes, the Yellow Knight of Oz. This story just never sat completely well with me, but it's filled with the whimsy that was Thompson's trademark. It was a nice bridging point between Baum and Thompson, however.

The Wicked Witch of Oz by Rachel Cosgrove Payes Singra, the Wicked Witch of the South, awakes from a century-long sleep Glinda placed her under. Hearing the fates of the Wicked Witches of the East and West, she decides to take preventive measures: turning Dorothy into a piece of cheese! But when she transforms Trot instead, Dorothy, Percy the Personality Kid, and new friend Leon the Neon are off to her rescue! Cosgrove writes the story in a suitably whimsical yet logical fashion, which feels right for Oz. The book is also excellently illustrated by Eric Shanower.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Just so my readers don't think I fell off the face of the earth, our internet connection at home is down. Maybe Sam will write in with a blog or two, but we've been told we can't get a technician out until the 19th. (I'm thinking we should get a discount for a week with no internet, a service we're paying for.)

Anyways, I'll work on a blog I've been needing to do about some Oz books I've read recently. I'll post it once we get internet service again.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Lamest Oz Story I Ever Wrote...

...And shared publicly... And actually, it's not an Oz story. Remember sometime back when I mentioned I was in a chat room for the BBC's Being Human? Well, a couple months ago, a fan from that chat room wished me good-night and Twitter, and hoped I would have good dreams of Oz and Being Human. (I had neither.)

SO... That sparked a crossover idea. I knew I couldn't do it seriously, so I just went a little crazy with it, and made the bulk of a story a dream. And, I went ahead and threw in some Doctor Who...

You can read the story here.