Saturday, November 07, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

The final story from the 2017 issue of Oziana is "Unsociable" by S. A. Samuelson, with illustrations by David Bishop. Prime Minister Ervic of the Skeezers is bored, and a little frustrated with how easy his job is. He looks so young that he is delighted when he finds a small patch of Oz where the anti-aging enchantment didn't take, and manages to grow a little by visiting it frequently. He also does something he promised he'd never do again: He goes to visit Reera the Red. She is not upset at seeing him, however, and their relationship continues much as it did in Glinda of Oz, with Ervic revealing very little and coming and going at his whim, causing Reera to want to know more and see him again. This goes on for years, with both of them not revealing much at all, until towards the end when Reera points out he's spending more time with her than he is with his own people, she asks him to stay. It takes a little persuading, and a special promise, but that turns out to be exactly what he wanted all along.

It's not a story with a lot of plot, but it sure is a great character study. Ervic and Reera are exactly as Baum wrote them over a hundred years ago, but Samuelson makes their relationship more personal. They both come off as complex people who aren't quite sure what to make of the other, especially Reera.

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