June 29th, 2009



  • 03:09 Well, I'm back. I don't think I'd heard anything by Steve Wynn before, but it was a fun show. #
  • 14:29 Why didn't I think to charge my phone before going to the city? #
  • 14:50 My dreams last night involved a galactic mob war and a Hawaiian town with "Motherfucking" in the name. #
  • 15:36 @NowIsStrange You're right. I AM jealous of that. #
  • 15:38 twitpic.com/8mmwl @alyankovic and @amandapalmer together! #
  • 15:39 Maybe Al is seeking permission to do a parody called "Coin-Operated Soy." :P #
  • 15:41 @heiditron3000 I don't know. I think Heidi Klum might be able to handle it. #
  • 15:42 @NowIsStrange You shouldn't. If you were someone worthy of hatred, I wouldn't have married you. #
  • 15:43 Did Billy Mays really go to the Big City Toilet in the sky? This is getting ridiculous. #
  • 15:43 @NowIsStrange And why's that? #
  • 15:44 @NowIsStrange I missed you, too. #
  • 15:46 @Clamanity No, you're thinking of Donald Trump. No, seriously, I really don't think so, but I'm not sure whom you're thinking of. #
  • 15:47 @PFTompkins He was going bowling for terrorists. #
  • 15:49 @amandapalmer Yeah, that's not a very favorable comparison. Unless you take baths with your brother. #
  • 15:51 Why won't E-ZPass send me the strips to stick my box to the windshield? I'm sick of paying cash at tollbooths! #
  • 15:52 Collaboration between Beyonce and Sauron: "If you like it, then you should have put the One Ring on it." #
  • 16:04 I now have three Oz-related mugs, and I don't even really drink anything out of mugs. #
  • 16:27 Our cat Reagan likes French onion Sun Chips. #
  • 16:49 @therealtavie What do you think of the art in the Oz books? #
  • 21:07 @NowIsStrange Do you think I'd want health insurance from someone I hated? Well, maybe. #
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Past Stories of Pastoria

The character of Pastoria, the former King of Oz and Ozma's father (adoptive father, according to The Magical Mimics in Oz), has an interesting history. He was first featured in the stage play of Wizard, in which the Wizard had lured him out of Oz in his balloon, and he took a job as a streetcar driver in Topeka. The same tornado that blows Dorothy to Oz also returns Pastoria there in the company of his girlfriend Trixie Tryfle, and the former king seeks to regain the throne that the Wizard had stolen. There was apparently a brief joke in early performances of the play in which Pastoria had a daughter named Princess Weenietotts, whom he referred to as his "Angel Child," and who turned out to be morbidly obese. Isn't that hilarious? Apparently they didn't even think so back in 1902, because I'm pretty sure she was cut from the play pretty early on. Whether Ozma actually has a sister named Weenietotts remains an Ozian state secret, just like the identity of Glinda and the Wizard's love child. (Just kidding. I think.)

When Pastoria is introduced into the Oz books in Land, most of the details of the character from the play are dropped, but he's still referred to as ruler of Oz (or at least of the Emerald City area) prior to the Wizard's arrival. Glinda sees his daughter Ozma placed on the throne, and the former king is pretty much forgotten for a while. Ozma's only mention of her own father in Dorothy and the Wizard is to say that he was imprisoned by Mombi. It was left to Ruth Plumly Thompson to give us the details of Pastoria's fate, which she did in Lost King. According to Pajuka, Pastoria's Prime Minister whom Mombi had turned into a goose, the King was kindly and absent-minded, and had trouble suspecting ill of anyone, which was a large part of why the Wicked Witches were able to gain so much power during his reign. Mombi enchanted him and then forgot what she did with him (possibly a side effect of the magic-sapping potion that Glinda forced her to drink), but later becomes interested in finding him again, suspecting that restoring him to the throne would be beneficial to her. I don't want to give the plot of Lost King away, but I don't think it would be spoiling too much to say that Pastoria is eventually found and restored, but he doesn't retake the throne. One other thing about the book that I found interesting is that Ozma claims to remember hiding out from Mombi in Morrow, even though she was a baby when Mombi enchanted her. That's a fairy memory for you, I suppose. Anyway, Pastoria is mentioned in a few subsequent books, but never has a major role in the rest of the Famous Forty.

There are, however, some apocryphal Oz books that seek to answer a question that the canonical authors never addressed, which is whether Pastoria was married. Magical Mimics presents him as old and childless when Lurline leaves Ozma with him, but doesn't specify whether he has a wife. While I haven't read it, I understand that Ray Powell's Mister Flint in Oz says that Pastoria's wife's name was Ozette, and that she was enchanted by the Wizard using Mombi's magic. Since Lost King establishes that Pastoria was already out of the picture by the time the Wizard showed up, I find this unlikely. Another account of the lost queen's fate appears in Dennis Anfuso's The Astonishing Tale of the Gump of Oz, in which she was enchanted by Mombi, and her name is Cordia.


More Oz Book Reviews

I'm not sure how many people actually read these, but I'm going to keep writing them nonetheless.

Hurray for Oz, by Chris Dulabone - I get the impression that the publication of this book was delayed somewhat, as there are older Buckethead publications (most notably Lunarr and Maureen in Oz) that refer back to its events. It's a good but not all that eventful story of a girl named Kelly trying to take the place of an injured tooth fairy, and ending up transporting herself to Oz upon being stuck in a difficult situation. She meets up with the nasty, spider-like Skitterdos and a friendly Cuddlefuzz, and eventually meets the Tin Woodman and some other familiar celebrities. While I liked the characters, there wasn't much of a plot besides the journey to the Tin Castle. I could have done with a little more in the way of story.

Brewster Bunny of Oz, by Chris Dulabone - Chris's rabbit detective from Bunnybury has already had several starring roles and a few guest appearances. And I think he's a good character, combining the attitude of classic literary private detectives with a bit of Ozian whimsy. In this book, he has to prove a panda innocent of sabotaging a cat-woman's garden. It was a pretty good mystery story, albeit not the kind of mystery that the reader can figure out while reading.

A Small Adventure in Oz, by Peter B. Clarke - This book, written by the compiler of an index to characters, places, and objects in the Oz series, involves Dorothy and the Scarecrow discovering a miniature version of Oz hidden in the palace gardens. It's a pretty good story, although I honestly liked it more when Clarke wrote about the familiar characters in the Emerald City than when he described Dorothy and the Scarecrow's journey through the alternate Oz.

How the Wizard Came to Oz, by Donald Abbott - This book has been around for a while, but I just got around to buying reading it for myself last weekend. Abbott, the resident Denslow imitator for Books of Wonder, tells how of the Wizard's arrival and early exploits in Oz. Hugh Pendexter's Oz and the Three Witches also dealt with this topic, but while there's some overlap between the two, they mostly focus on different parts of the Wizard's adventures. Pendexter's story centers around the Wizard's secret visits to Mombi, and the circumstances that led to his giving Ozma to the witch. Abbott's tale is primarily about the establishment of the Emerald City. For the most part, he did a good job with it, although there are a few mistakes. He has two Munchkin farmers ask the Wizard for advice on their scarecrow early on in Oscar's time in Oz, while the Scarecrow himself tells Dorothy in Wizard that he'd only been made two days previously. Also, the book presents the poppy field as an obstacle that Glinda placed on the Yellow Brick Road to prevent an invasion of the Emerald City by the Wicked Witch of the East, but the poppy field doesn't actually intersect the road. It does in the movie, but the characters only encounter it in the original book when the river takes them away from the road. These are somewhat minor nitpicks, I guess, but that's what you get when a hardcore Oz fan reviews a fan-written book.

The Patchwork Bride of Oz, by Gilbert M. Sprague - A short story about the Scarecrow and the Patchwork Girl getting married. While I don't consider this to have actually happened, it's a pretty cute tale. One odd thing is that, at the end of the book, the Scarecrow and Scraps agree to live apart. I suppose this was meant to explain why they live apart throughout the Famous Forty, but it does make me wonder why they would have bothered getting married at all. When the two of them try living together, the Scarecrow tells her that he misses the Tin Castle, which suggests to me that he really feels closer to the Tin Woodman than to Scraps.