Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Latest Oz Reading

And they just keep coming!

  • I decided that, if I was going to read everything on my shelf that comes between The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz (most of which I already blogged about the other day), that would have to include this book about the failed stage show, The Woggle-Bug. Granted, not much in this is by Baum, at least the parts I read because I skipped over the music pages. So I pretty much read about how the show came about and failed to woggle, as well as a number of contemporary articles, interviews, and reviews. I suspect this would have gone better if I could play the music.
  • For my non-FF reread, I went pretty far back, to one of the earliest such books in my collection, and one of the first true self-published Oz fanfic novels, The Blue Emperor of Oz by Henry Blossom. Two years after The Hidden Valley of Oz, Jam finds a stuffed gump head in a junk shop, which winks at him! Yes, it's that gump head, from The Marvelous Land of Oz. It turns out the Gump has been hiding a secret that allows Jam and him to get back to Oz, and the adventure begins! Despite these two lead characters, the story is pretty much an homage to Ruth Plumly Thompson, as so much of the book is based on what she wrote, and ties up several loose ends from her books. The main plot involves the search for the mysterious Blue Emperor (mentioned by Thompson on a few occasions) and the warning about his drinking mug being broken. While Jam, the gump (named Namyl—take a look at that name carefully, it will come to you) and another, intact gump named Muab start off from the Fiddlestick Forest (last seen in The Cowardly Lion of Oz), the court of Pumperdink also gets a warning, so Kabumpo heads to the Emerald City to enlist the aid of Dorothy and the Wizard. Then the villain of our tale, the magician Mossolb, rears his head as well. Everyone comes together and takes care of things in a satisfying, if rushed, manner. And we even finally meet the Wizard Wam in person. All in all, a good read, but it's too bad copyright issues mean it likely can't be reprinted and made available to a wider audience.

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