Oz. The mere mention of the name can conjure up images of flying monkeys, roads of yellow brick, witches (both good and wicked) and the Emerald City. For well over a century, children and adults alike have cherished L. Frank Baum’s original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its 34 sequels with 13 written by Baum and, after his death, the remaining 21 written by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Even more people have been introduced to Oz through the 1939 motion picture The Wizard of Oz, the 1985 film Return to Oz, or Oz The Great and Powerful from earlier this year. There have also been animated television series, comic books, additional books for children and adults, and theatrical productions (like The Wiz and Wicked), all owing their genesis to Baum’s stories of the land “over the rainbow.” There is no denying that The Wizard of Oz is a cultural phenomenon that crosses every barrier.
Now editors John Joseph Adams (The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination) and Douglas Cohen have gathered a new collection of short stories, from some of today’s best contemporary speculative fiction and fantasy writers, to take us, and Oz, places we may never have imagined, in Oz Reimagined: New Tales From the Emerald City and Beyond. The result is a collection that transforms the beloved Oz that we know into something surprising and unexpected and yet is still comfortable and oddly familiar.
Some of the stories of note within the collection are:
“The Great Zeppelin Heist of Oz” by Raw Carson & C.C. Finlay – Oz seems to be creating a strategy against the wicked witches of Oz, but how well will his plan work when he makes his move?
“The Lost Girls of Oz” by Theodora Goss – When an intrepid girl reporter started investigating a rash of disappearing girls, how was she to know she would end up in Oz?
“Dorothy Dreams” by Simon R. Green - An elderly Dorothy reminisces about her adventures in Oz.
“One Flew Over The Rainbow” by Robin Wasserman – An Oz adventure, with all of your favorite characters, set in a mental institution.
“The Veiled Shanghai” by Ken Liu – The story of Oz seen through the events of the “May Fourth Movement” in China.
“Blown Away” by Jane Yolen – What if the Oz Dorothy visited was a circus?
“A Meeting in Oz” by Jeffrey Ford – Imagine, if you can, a noir Oz story!
"The Cobbler of Oz" by Jonathan Maberry - A young winged monkey, with wings too small for her to fly, asks a cobbler to make her a pair of travelling shoes and ends up on the adventure of a lifetime!
Oz Reimagined is a must-read for Oz aficionados, and a worthwhile one for readers with a more limited interest who nonetheless appreciate a well-told fantasy tale.