Sunday, August 05, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

The final story from the 1995 edition of Oziana is "The Dollmaker of Oz" by Karyl Carlson and illustrated by Destré Xan Childs. This one is particularly ear to my heart because, as many of my readers may know, Karyl is also my co-author on Queen Ann in Oz. So we've worked a lot together on Oz fiction, and Karyl showed me some of her earlier versions of this story. (I even have two earlier drafts in my copy of this issue.) This story is also unusual in that it is autobiographical. Karyl is making some of her famous Oz dolls (I have a bunch in my collection myself) when Glinda comes to her front door! It seems a ring Karyl found is a lost Oz artifact, the Ring of Disenchantment. Every time Karyl makes a doll of an Oz character who is alive because of magic, their essence goes into the doll and their Ozian counterpart is disenchanted. So the Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Scraps are lifeless dummies, and Nick Chopper is human again, and after so many years stuck in a cupboard he has a ravenous appetite! (Karyl also made a Woozy doll, but as he's already who he is, the ring didn't affect him.) The solution is simple, however: Karyl has to disassemble the dolls, in reverse order from how they were made. It takes some time and care, but Karyl is able to return the Oz characters to their natural states, and Glinda not only takes the ring back for safekeeping, she also takes back the dolls to share with their real life counterparts!

I'm biased, of course, but I did enjoy rereading this one again after so long. The Ozians have a tough time figuring out just who Karyl is and where she lives, but a little detective work and some help from some old friends (and a cameo from Karyl's son, James) prove to be the keys to unlocking that mystery. Of course, this begs the question, did this actually happen or not? Having worked with Karyl for so long, and seeing all the evidence with my own eyes, I can tell you with great certainty that—————

Oh, is that the time? Okay, I'd better run. I'll be in California next weekend for OzCon International (I hope to see some of you there!), but I'll have a quickie for you so I can keep up this weekly schedule.

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