Saturday, February 02, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

From the 1997 issue of Oziana comes "The Heart of the Matter" by Theresa Hogue. The Wizard unveils a project he's been working on for a long time, and has finally perfected: A way to turn Nick Chopper back into a flesh and blood man, no longer made of tin. The Wizard is all eager to try it out then and there, but with Ozma and Glinda on a journey into the Gillikin Country, Dorothy is in charge in the Emerald City. She decides to wait until Ozma gets back in a week, but it turns into a very tense week, with everyone having an opinion on whether or not the Tin Woodman should be human again. None of them think to ask Nick, however! He struggles with remembering how his life was as a human, versus his life of tin. The morning of Ozma's return, both the Scarecrow and the Wizard have long heart-to-heart talks with him. When Ozma enters the palace, she senses the fear and tension in all her friends, and while she's not happy that the Wizard developed his technique, she leaves the final decision to Nick Chopper. To preserve the surprise, I will not reveal what he chose, but I suspect many of you can guess.

This story raises some interesting questions, and they're handled carefully and thoughtfully. A lot of people, especially the Wizard, all get so wrapped up in their own wishes that they forget that one of their own friends, someone they all love and support, is going to be affected the most. The mood is effectively conveyed in the story, and made for a terrific read.

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