Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Latest Oz Reading

The Lost Coal Mine to Oz by James L. Fuller is a pretty simple, straightforward, traditional Oz tale that also manages to try to do something a little different. Katie, her brother Tommy, their aunt Deborah, and her dog Sigi go out for a hike in Kentucky coal country where they stumble upon a lost graveyard dating to the early nineteenth century. But a flash flood comes through, so they seek shelter in a nearby coal mine7mdash;which then promptly caves in on them, of course. They follow the mine and find the body of a miner murdered two hundred years ago, and his ghost. Joshua (the ghost, not the body) helps them to find their way around, where a group of nomes eventually find them and take them to Oz. They visit a few of the usual eccentric villages along the way, but make it to the Emerald City pretty quickly where Ozma decides to help Joshua move on to his eternal reward by putting his murderers on trial! Since they've been dead for nearly two centuries, this proves to be a challenge, but they pull it off, and all ends happily (even Joshua's murderers don't suffer too severe a punishment). Then the gang from Kentucky head home. Nothing Oz-shattering, but definitely a fun little read. The trial and the events that lead up to it are dealt with in some detail, and I would think this might make a good general primer on the legal system and how it works (Ozian justice does seem to work a lot like British common law and the American system). Fuller does tend to let his characters get a little talky at times, and there is an awful lot happening in that coal mine until Oz enters the story. Being the hardcore Oz fan that I am I was bothered by the consistent misspelling of Dorothy's last name (it's Gale, not Gail) and calling the Magic Picture the Enchanted Picture, but overall this was an entertaining story that a lot of fans of more traditional Oz will probably enjoy.

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