Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Latest Oz Short Story

I wrapped up Oz Reimagined yesterday with the final story in the collection, and it looks like they saved the best for last. "The Cobbler of Oz" by Jonathan Maberry is a beautiful, charming little story about Nyla, a young flying monkey girl whose wings are so underdeveloped that she can't fly. She approaches Bucklebelt, a cobbler in the Emerald City during the reign of the Wizard, for a pair of traveling shoes. Bucklebelt has something a little more special in mind, and he sends Nyla out on a mission to find the materials needed to repair a certain pair of magic shoes that he has. Fortunately, they have just enough magic to help Nyla out. Yes, this is a story about the silver shoes, and I'm not even exactly sure this could fit in the "reimagined" remit of this collection, because it could very well work as a canonical Oz story. To be sure, Maberry gets a few details wrong (the Emerald City had already been there for generations when the Wizard arrived, the map that is cited is clearly the "fixed" Reilly and Britton version with Munchkins in the west and Winkies in the east — but kudos for referencing that map and a lot of the borderland countries on it), but the overall tone and plot of the story works perfectly. Of course, if you know anything about the silver shoes, you know where they eventually end up, and that is addressed in this tale.

This story more than made up for a few of the clunkers in the middle of the collection, and overall I very much enjoyed reading this book. I won't recommend this to the Oz Purists, because they're not going to like most of it no matter how good the stories are, but I think most Oz fans would really enjoy this book, so long as you keep the second word of the title in mind.

And with that, I am suspending my reading of Oz short stories for now, as I will be very busy over the next few weeks, and then work starts up again in the fall. But I hope to get back to this soon. I know there is one other collection out there that I don't have and haven't read yet. If I don't get that soon, I have a few older collections I can delve into.

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