Sunday, July 08, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

I'm going to do something I don't usually do with this week's story: There are going to be some major spoilers in this write-up on "Ghosts in Oz" by Marie Richardson, with illustrations by Benjamin Fang, in the 1994 issue of Oziana. So if you really don't want to know more, you may want to stop reading now. But the joy in this story is in where it goes, so I think, in this case, it may be worth it. It starts off pretty simply, with Dorothy, the Wizard, and a few other celebrities, on their way back from Glinda's in the Red Wagon, meet up with Simon T. Inphinium. He was the last person to die in Oz, right before Oz became a fairyland and its inhabitants made immortal. The nature of the spell gave him a sort of incorporeal immortality, not at all unlike a ghost. He was, so far as anyone knew, the only ghost in Oz—until more ghosts started showing up at his place. He was eventually crowded out of his home by the mischievous spirits, so Ozma transported them all to the palace, where they at least had some room. It doesn't go much better there, however, and more ghosts keep coming into the country! Ozma and the Wizard finally figure out why, and the new penchant in the Great Outside World for busting ghosts is responsible! Yes, believe it or not, this is a tangential crossover with Ghostbusters (without actually using any copyrighted or trademarked names, naturally)! Once they know why it's happening, the Wizard then creates a machine to send them back to the United States— or so he thinks! The machine works, the ghosts are gone, but the Magic Picture shows them now in a land of perpetual winter with only a single lamppost illuminating the woods. So yes, this is also a crossover with the Chronicles of Narnia (again, without actually violating any copyrights)! I thought this was very clever back when I first read this nearly twenty-five years ago, and I still think it's pretty clever now. Plus, just seeing the affect of having so many ghosts in Oz is fun. The Cook in the Emerald Palace seems to be a formidable character who really doesn't like so many visitors in her kitchen. She should get a story of her own.

And that's it for 1994. I have big plans next weekend, and so may take the week off, but before too long I will crack open 1995 and see what's in store there.

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