Thursday, July 02, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story (At Last!)

Yup, I finally got started reading the 2013 issue of Oziana. I don't know if I can make this a weekly thing again, but I will do my best to at least make it a little more regular. Anyway, the first story is another attempt by our old friend, Dr. Corwin Poe, the Computer Wizard, to take over Oz with technology. Phyllis Ann Karr originally wrote "Foiled by the Iffin" in 1987, with some revisions in 2002 and 2011 before finally seeing publication in this issue, with illustrations by Dennis Anfuso. By this time, he's a happy, contented citizen of Oz, married to Tollydiggle, and the creator of the Ozian equivalent of the Internet, setting up systems and teaching its citizens how it all works. But that doesn't stop him from his annual attempt to conquer the country, even though by now he knows he will fail, and the members of Ozma's court see it as more of a game than anything they actually have to worry much about. Snif the Iffin gets the ball rolling this year when he tells Poe about his adventures (recorded in the novel Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz), particularly those with Belfaygor in the Land of the Barons. The Computer Wizard manages to trap Snif and Ozma in a computer simulation long enough to go south in an attempt to enlist Mogodore's help. Of course nothing quite works out as he plans, and Poe finds himself in a pretty big pickle before Ozma escapes, saves his sorry hide yet again, and sentences to another year in jail with his wife.

It's been way too long since Oziana last had a Computer Wizard adventure (I think he last appeared back in the '80s!), and so this was especially fun. Considering how much technology has advanced in our world since his last appearance, it's no wonder that it's advanced in Oz, too, and the Real World may catch up pretty soon. I liked the attitude everyone takes, in that it's a real, serious attempt to take over Oz, but one that everyone, including Poe, isn't too worried about actually succeeding. Even then, however, Poe is still able to get one over on our old friends, and if some of the dominoes fell a different way he may have actually succeeded (although something tells me he may not have kept the throne for long). I hope we won't have to wait quite so long for another visit with the Computer Wizard.

No comments: