Saturday, March 26, 2016

This Week's Oz Short Story

My epic reread of Oziana, in order, continues with the second story ever, "The Cowardly Lion Changes His Name" by March Laumer, with illustrations by Tony Moses. It seems, after living in the Emerald City for so long, the Cowardly Lion has goten so used to being just called "Lion" that he's forgotten his name. So he heads back to the prairie (yes, prairie, as he explains in the story) where he used to live to discover his name. It turns out, however, that that name carries some baggage and a fate that he's not ready to meet. By changing his name, the Lion seems to think he can escape that fate. Of course, it doesn't all work out that smooth. I've read many of March Laumer's books, and this certainly fits the bill of being totally consistent with the FF, while at the same time fitting entirely within his own version of the same books. But this is also a harmless little tale, with a surprising amount of character growth for the Cowardly Lion. And I'm happy to see Betsy Bobbin get the spotlight here as the practical mortal girl, rather than the usually-expected Dorothy.

As part of my ongoing project to index Oziana, my friend Joseph Bongiorno has agreed to let me link to his page on Oz stories in magazines at The Royal Timeline of Oz. Unfortunately, they're all listed on one page, and the only way to find a particular story is to scroll down or search. And not all stories are summarized there — this being one of them! But it's impressive work, and I hope my readers will take advantage of it.

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