Sunday, June 14, 2020

My Most Recent Issue of Oziana

Yeah, I couldn't really label this "This Week's Short Story", since I didn't read it this week—but not only that, it wasn't a short story. The entire 2012 issue of Oziana was devoted to a single story, but this time around it was written by multiple authors, each one taking a succeeding chapter. And the first author? L. Frank Baum! The opening of this is a story fragment that Baum family lore claims was written by L. Frank Baum, although there are some doubts. It involves Ozma going out ice skating on her private lake, only to meet up with a gentleman from Hiland, who hopes to meet up with someone coming into the lake via a tube from the Nonestic Ocean. From there, other writers bring in other characters, ranging from the Potchwork Girl to Percy the Personality Kid. It is eventually revealed that the paranoid delusions many Oz characters are having are a test run for an invasion by Velbartka, a witch from Magic Land, of all places. Of course, all works out well in the end, good triumphs over evil, and then there's a banquet at the end.

The problem I often see in stories like this is that the writers are so eager to throw in their own contributions and ideas that they often ignore or minimize what's already been going on, and the story ends up lacking focus. The poor later writers also have to try to figure out how to bring it all together into a satisfying ending that makes sense of what's been thrown at them, too. This story has some of that, but it does hold together better than a lot of examples of this I've seen. I suspect there may have been some behind-the-scenes communications with the various authors. This story also has three different illustrators, but they all appear to be on the same page and striving for some consistency in how characters are drawn, which I appreciate.

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