Monday, October 12, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

A more accurate description for "Prince Pompadore in Oz" by Nathan DeHoff, with illustrations by Dennis Anfuso, from the 2015 issue of Oziana might be "This Week's Oz Novella", because it really does read more like an abbreviated Oz book, with several plot strands that go all over the place before meeting up again. And this story is a worthy successor to previous adventures about the royal family of Pumperdink, as it all starts with the disappearance of Kabumpo. Naturally, Pompa decides he has to go out and find him, over Peg Amy's objections, and he has a number of adventures in strange villageslike Itchville and Ditchville before getting on the right path. Meanwhile, it seems a transportation spell in the Nome Kingdom has gone wrong, bringing Kabumpo to Kaliko's palace! He has a time of it himself, picking up some allies before reaching the Earth's surface. Since he's now in Ev, he very sensibly heads towards the Red Jinn's palace to enlist Jinnicky's help. If that weren't enough, Peg Amy decides her husband has been gone too long, and sets out on her own adventure. Whether by design or accident, they all end up at Jinnicky's, who finally gets them all back to the Emerald City for the usual celebratory conclusion.

This very much reads like an homage to the Oz of Ruth Plumly Thompson. There's a lot of running around and visiting strange new kingdoms with their own little quirks, and everything works out cozily in the end. Despite its length, this is a light, airy little confection of a story, and there's nothing wrong with that!

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