Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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How about another story?

I've read two more of March Laumer's Oz books, Charmed Gardens of Oz and Uncle Henry and Aunt Em of Oz. The former is rather unusual, in that it's written in the second person. Are there very many fiction books other than those of the Choose Your Own Adventure variety that are written like that? It starts out as fairly awkward and nonsensical in terms of plot, characters, and dialogue. The whole thing is eventually explained, though, which makes it more excusable than it otherwise would be. It's possibly my least favorite of the Laumer books I've read so far, but it had some good parts. One of my favorites was the flight of Glod, the living comet. The return to the Garden of Meats (which had originally appeared in an excised and never found chapter of The Patchwork Girl of Oz) was also interesting.

Uncle Henry suffers from a problem that's all too common with stories that take place during the course of the original series, and that's the problem of characters being aware of things before they should. It is made clear that this adventure takes place before the events of The Giant Horse of Oz, yet Dorothy becomes aware of the wishing necklaces and the fate of the King of the Green Mountain, both of which she learns about in The Wishing Horse of Oz. Since Uncle Henry has to take place before Wishing Horse, Dorothy would presumably remember these things by the time of that book, yet she doesn't. So that's a little sloppy on Laumer's part, as is having some Ozian celebrities visit the Sapphire City during the time when Quiberon is supposed to be preventing travel to and from there. As a story, though, it's pretty good. The idea of the Wicked Witch of the East somehow coming back and haunting visitors to Dorothy's old house is one that's shown up in a lot of post-canonical Oz books. I'm not sure whether Laumer was the first to use it. The story of the King of the Green Mountain is better explored in Melody Grandy's later book The Disenchanted Princess of Oz, but I do like Laumer's identification of the "swift messenger" from the first Oz book.

I came up with some ideas for an Oz story of my own the other day. It was partially inspired by a dream I had about finding an Ozian book in an American bookstore. I've come up with some ideas for a plot where some people find such a book, as well as a back story for the guy who sold it in the first place. The problem is that I really haven't really developed personalities for the people who find it. I'm not sure if I want them to be young kids or somewhat older, or even what gender they should be (although I'm thinking one boy and one girl). I'm also not sure about the setting. Is it wrong to set part of a story in a real place that you've never actually been? If it's a place where I never conceivably WOULD go (like, say, Baghdad or Antarctica), that would be one thing. But what if it's a place where it's techncially possible to go, but you have no desire to do so? I guess it wouldn't necessarily be a problem. I mean, I think L. Frank Baum himself only saw Kansas once before setting the original Oz book there. From what I've read, most of his descriptions of Kansas were based more on the Dakota Territory, where he once lived. Still, would that kind of thing ruin the willing suspension of disbelief?

Speaking of which, bethje and I saw part of Kate & Leopold on TBS last night. (I think the late-night lineup of those sub-basic cable channels consists of about 50% crappy Meg Ryan movies.) Now THERE'S a movie that stretches believability. Not because of the time travel stuff. I can buy that. What I can't buy is that anyone would ever find Meg Ryan attractive. :P

We also watched Bamboozled, which I thought was good. I believe it's the first Spike Lee film I've ever seen.
Tags: books, movies, oz
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