Saturday, January 23, 2021

This Week's Oz Short Story

The final story to report on from the 2020 issue of Oziana is the first part of "The Wizards of Silver and Gold in Oz" by Nathan DeHoff and Joe Bongiorno, with illustrations by Dennis Anfuso. This reads like a love letter to Ruth Plumly Thompson's Oz, because it involves Quiberon (yeah, he reformed and was brought back to life) and Happy Toko and the Silver Islands and Umbrella Island ozoplanes and all kinds of stuff. Even the Neill books get involved, with the origin of Evangelina the two-headed dragon and an explanation of why the Scarecrow is in charge of Munchkin Country in The Wonder City of Oz. Not long after taking over his new post, he is surprised when Happy Toko, having climbed up his beanpole, comes to him for help. The King of the Golden Islands has conquered the Silver Islands! A group of golden wizards helped him, and now that he's conquered his neighbors, he's decided to take revenge for the slaying of his dragon and conquer not only Sir Hokus, but Oz as well. Naturally, the Golden Emperor and his wizard turn up in the Winie Country, where they encountre the Tin Woodman and Prince Corum of Corumbia. Naturally, neither tells them that Corum is the disenchanted form of Sir Hokus. This does not, however, prevent them from taking control of Jack Pumpkinhead's ozoplane, so now they can fry around Oz. Arriving in the Emerald City, a meeting with Dorothy reveals that Corum is Sir Hokus, and that dragons don't actually die, but also that dragons do not die when they are slain, but return to the home of the original dragon, at the other side of the world in the land of Tititi-Hoochoo. Ozma, Glinda, and the Wizard arrive via ozoplane and quickly dispatch the golden wizards, but the Gheewizard of Silver Island, who was the one originally seeking revenge on Sir Hokus, agrees to go on an expedition to the other side of the world to be reunited with his dragon. The party is gathered, preparations are made…

…and then it ends. It's a cliffhanger ending! So, the story will conclude in the next issue, and I'll report on it when I get that issue later this year.

And that brings my rereading of the first fifty issues of Oziana to an end. It was not my original plan, but it seems appropriate for it to wrap up in 2021, fifty years after the first issue came out. And this strikes me as a good time to announce that I will be ending my weekly short story reading with this entry, too. Oh, I have more stories to read, and I hope to tackle them at some poist. And maybe there will be some new short stories coming soon, too. But My life has gotten busy of late, and will get busier over the next couple of years, so it seems like a good time to give it a rest and focus on other things. If nothing else, maybe I can now watch and review more episodes of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz! And if I happen across another short story in my regular readings, I will likely post something here. But this has been a lot of fun, and I hope it won't be too long before I can get back to regular weekly short story readings and postings.

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