February 27th, 2009

wart

Twitterpated

  • 08:26 I saw a church sign that said, "You can't slide uphill." But I thought all things were possible with God! #
  • 11:14 @NowIsStrange doesn't like it when I put the toilet lid down. Is that typical? #
  • 11:56 tinyurl.com/cqqdfx Health food obsessions can be bad for kids. Well, duh! #
  • 12:51 @themall Well, she wants me to put the SEAT down, just not the lid. #
  • 13:46 I got the final issue of Oziana in the mail today. #
  • 14:37 Submarines are not monkeys! They are human beings! #
  • 20:35 @miscellaneaarts My dad got a game called "Battle for Italy" one Christmas, and thought it was so complicated that he never played it. #
  • 21:47 Why would there be monsters in the tower to Heaven (sorry, Zenithia)? #
  • 21:49 @gick7 You could brush your teeth with milkshakes! #
  • 21:54 @colinmeloy Yeah, Sam Adams should stick to the beer. #
  • 21:55 Hey, it's the Zenith Dragon! And he looks pretty cool on the DS. #
  • 23:07 @NowIsStrange is singing some song by the Dream. #
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Polychrome

The Great Sundering of Oziana

I now hold in my hand the thirty-seventh and final (at least according to the advertisements) issue of Oziana, the International Wizard of Oz Club's sorta-annual fiction magazine. It's sad to see it ending, as Oziana has brought so many excellent stories in the past thirty-odd years. In various issues, we learned about the origins of the Red Jinn, the back story of the tailor who made the Wogglebug's first outfit, the further misadventures of Mrs. Yoop, a resolution for Kiki Aru, and an account of how there came to be a considerate Kalidah in Oz. Not to mention that it's the only professional publication to have included one of my own stories. So why is it ending? Well, apparently it has something to do with the inner politics of the Club, which I hear are quite complex and divisive, even though most of us dues-paying members aren't privy to them. Come on, can't they rule in a kind and altruistic way like Ozma? Then again, Ozma DID try to have Dorothy's kitten executed. It would have been more appropriate for them to have cranked out ten more issues, since there are some strong suggestions that forty-seven was L. Frank Baum's favorite number, but what are you going to do?

Anyway, this issue contains three stories. The first is Jeff Rester's "As the Rainbow Follows the Rain," which explores Polychrome's family tree. It ties in the Greek and Norse mythological conceptions of the rainbow, and mixing classical mythology into Oz is something that I've been thinking about recently, what with my writing a review of the new edition of Lurline and the White Ravens of Oz. I know some people strongly object to the idea, and I can see where they're coming from, since Baum preferred to create his own mythology for his fantasy world. Even when he included a more traditional character, like Santa Claus, he'd add his own spin. On the other hand, I've seen Oz crossed over with Red Dwarf and Daria, and I hear there's a Perry Mason crossover as well. Compared to these, appearances by Zeus, Iris, and Eris seem pretty normal. The second story, "The Magic Door to Oz," had previously appeared in March Laumer's compilation In Other Lands Than Oz, but this version cuts out the names of Tumnus and the Pushmi-Pullyu, probably for copyright reasons. The plot involves the author of the story enlisting the help of the Glass Cat and the Wizard of Oz to save his favorite children's book characters from the Witchéd Wick. The third is a story by Sergei Sukhinov, and that requires a little explaining. In the late thirties, Russian author Alexander Volkov came up with his own loose translation of The Wizard of Oz, with a few of his own new ideas added in. He followed this up with a few sequels, which used some of Baum's ideas, but were basically original plots. Sukhinov's own Oz (or, more accurately, Magic Land; I don't believe the word "Oz" appears in the Russian books) books use some of Volkov's ideas, but take off in a different direction, so they're sort of twice removed from the originals. I haven't read any of Volkov's or Sukhinov's books, but I've heard some things about them, and I suppose they'd count as alternate Oz tales. It's weird, but kind of cool, to see the familiar characters in similar but different situations. Sukhinov's Wicked Witch of the East had apparently tried to marry the King of France at one point. The particular story in question, "Bastinda and the Winged Lion," is about the last surviving griffin in Magic Land fighting off the Wicked Witch of the West and her forces. As usual, they're all worth reading. The cover of the issue was drawn by kevenn, and involves several of the characters in the stories taking part in a battle above the Emerald City. It's really nice work.

Speaking of Oz, I'm also in the process of re-reading Laumer's The Careless Kangaroo of Oz (which I reviewed back in 2006) for the upcoming discussion on the Regalia mailing list. If anyone has read, or is interested in reading this book (it's free to download the PDF, so there's really no excuse if you ARE interested), feel free to join in the discussion. They've been pretty slow as of late.
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