Sunday, April 15, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

The second story in the 1991 edition of Oziana is "Fairness" by Earl C. Abbe, with illustrations by Melissa Warner and Karla Farias (but they also sneak in one by John R. Neill). Herchell Bald is an embittered Oz fan who thinks it's not fair that he can't spend his money how he likes at the annual Oz convention—and that it's not fair a teenage girl keeps outbidding him in the auction when he wants the items for his collection! But he finally manages to get one over on her when he snatches up a rare copy of Jack Snow's rare final Oz book, Timmy and the Shutter Faces in Oz. (No, don't go looking for it, there is no such book, at least not in our world.) If you know about the Shutter Faces from The Giant Horse of Oz, you'll know it's not one of the better parts of Oz, what with everyone keeping their faces hidden behind a pair of personal shutters. Well, Herchell finds out how unpleasant the place can really be when an auto accident throws him into Oz and directly into Shutter Town. The Shutter Faces put shutters on Herchell's face, and after several years of trying he realizes just how selfish he has been and how unfair life can really be. But when a little girl named Timothea "Timmy" Smith also comes to town and is also condemned to wear shutters, Herchell's true colors come to the surface, and he does everything he can to save Timmy. This was a pretty good read, and Herchell's growth and maturation is well realized. And the twist ending to Timmy's true identity and her tie to Herchell makes for a delightful coda to the story. Johnny Dooit also makes an important appearance, and he is well realized. Somebody should really tell more stories about him, he was an interesting character in The Road to Oz, and I'm sure there's much more to him than his brief appearance there would indicate.

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