Sunday, July 06, 2014

This Week's Oz Short Story

After a very busy weekend last weekend, I'm back to reading Oz short stories again. This time around, it was "City So Bright" by Dale Bailey, another selection from Oz Reimagined. I'm not sure if this is an evil, mirror universe style of Oz, or just one with a rewritten history. But it seems that Dorothy, on her first trip to Oz, killed the Good Witch of the East (Dorothy's house fell on her) and the Good Witch of the West. This allowed the Wizard to pretty much dispose of magic and introduce the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, it's all of the worst of the early industrial age, with class striation and worker exploitation. So when a group of emerald polishers begin to agitate about organizing, one suffers an "accident", and the others suffer consequences as well. This is a very short story, thank goodness, because it's not at all pleasant. It's also got a lot of swearing, so definitely keep this one away from the kids (if that's what you want for your kids, that is). I couldn't help thinking about some of the "guest workers" in oil rich Middle Eastern countries who are essentially wage slaves, even though they now make up a huge majority in some of those countries. I'm afraid we're never going to figure out how to make division of labor and resources fair and beneficial to everyone.

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