Saturday, September 23, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

The final tale from the 1983 edition of Oziana is "Nero Zeero: Snoz of Oz" by Jay V. Groves, with illustrations by Eric Shanower. On their way to Oogaboo to help a depressed Queen Ann celebrate her birthday, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and some of their friends discover that their noses have grown two inches! The solution appers to come from the vicinity of Snoz Valley, where our friends find themselves after getting lost. The Snozzes all have incredibly long noses (three inches is considered to be quite small), and they are under the belief that their brains are located in their noses! Sure enough, the King of Snoz Valley, Nero Zeero, takes it upon himself to increase the brain power of all Oz by growing their noses (although not quite as long as those of him or his subjects). But he is soon set right, reverses the spell— and then, on a state visit to Oogaboo, falls in love with Queen Ann! (Needless to say, my friend Karyl Carlson, who often cosplays as Queen Ann, wrote me a letter in character, not long after this story's publication, decrying this state of affairs, and how she could never fall for someone called a Snoz.) It's a mercifully short little tale, and Nero Zeero is misinformed and misguided, not actually evil, in the Ozziest tradition, so all comes out well in the end.

The only other extra in this issue is a quiz that, if you've read the Baum books once or twice, you will likely do extremely well on (although I will admit there was one question I had to look at the answer). Also, Eric Shanower presents a delightful cover drawing of several Oz characters, which I remember from the previous year's Winkie Convention program.

Next week, 1984!

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