Monday, August 05, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

Since the second item in the 2004 edition of Oziana is short and I have a busy weekend coming up, I decided to skip ahead to the third item, the story "Evrob and the Nomes" by this year's Winkie Award winner J. L. Bell. This one is set some time between The Emerald City of Oz and Tik-Tok of Oz, as it deals in part with the Nome King's lack of memory from his first drink of the Fountain of Oblivion and how things changed in the Nome Kingdom before the Shaggy Man came along to recover his brother. There's actually an amusing explanation as to how his name changed from Roquat to Ruggedo. But our main character is Evrob, the second-youngest of the Princes of Ev. The whole Royal Family of Ev is on an outing at the beach, and all Evrob wants to do is dig in the sand. But when you have four brothers (one of whom is the king) and five sisters, you're likely to have to deal with other people's demands, especially when your sisters want your bucket. Evrob is feeling a little put-upon, so when his digging reveals a tunnel into the Nome Kingdom, he decides to go in and see if he can do some quiet digging there. The nomes even give him his own mining uniform, and Evrob is perfectly content to be with them for the day. Of course, when word gets to the Emerald City that Evrob is in the Nome Kingdom, and Dorothy takes matters into her own hands to "save" him. She's a little surprised to find out that he's there of his own volition, of course.

I really like this story because it explores a corner of the Oz books nobody would normally think about, namely the royal family of Ev. And Bell is able to inject some personality and individuality into at least some of the princes and princesses, something they never had the chance to get in Ozma of Oz (except maybe Evring). One thing that bugged me, though, is that Evrob is referred to as "the fourth prince of Ev." But once Evardo became king, Evrob would now be the third prince of Ev. Oh, well, it's a tiny thing, best not to worry about it!

1 comment:

J. L. Bell said...

I'm quite fond of this story, especially the many character moments.

In the larger picture, I imagine this episode (and Rinkitink in Oz, taking place years before it was published) as helping to explain why Ruggedo is so very angry about the Oz people in Tik-Tok of Oz and afterward. Yes, he misses the Magic Belt, but Dorothy’s repeated interventions in Nome business keep rubbing salt in that wound.