The Law of Oz and Other Stories, by Paul Dana – This book contains three (or four, if you count a really short one) tales, all complete, but also all part of a continuing narrative involving Ojo and Button-Bright. The first two, Time Travelers of Oz and The Lost Boy of Oz, were up at the Royal Timeline of Oz for several years before their publication in book form. The former has the two boys, along with Ugu, journey back in time to witness Lurline’s enchantment of the land. It’s based on several tantalizing hints dropped by L. Frank Baum, and Dana is certainly not the first to pick up on them. I’ve described several stories dealing with Lurline’s enchantment before. One of them, Jeremy Steadman’s The Emerald Ring of Oz, even has Button-Bright present at the event, meaning he was presumably there twice if you accept both books. Obviously Dana’s account doesn’t entirely match up with everything else written about the subject, but it has its own original takes on many subjects, including the origins of the Yoops and the Herkus. Lost Boy sticks to the present (or at least closer to the present; the timeline sets it in 1964), but still involves some elements introduced in Time Travelers, particularly Grandma Natch and her Yookoohoo family. The story is about Button-Bright’s search for his true origins, which takes him to Philadelphia, Mount Phantastico, Ev, and back to Oz. While I don’t want to give too much away, these stories end with both boys obtaining magical powers, which I could see as potentially controversial, but it works in context. The stories have been edited somewhat to account for possible contradictions with the Famous Forty. Dana has said he mostly only follows Baum, but a few added references to Ojo’s family and the Mimics bring the tales in line with Ruth Plumly Thompson and Jack Snow. Also, I believe the original version of Time Travelers had Ojo claim he was born before the enchantment, but the edited version changes this, presumably because Thompson wrote that he was born after Ozma took the throne. This suggests that the issue of pregnant women being unable to give birth after the anti-aging spell was cast, which is examined in “Mothers of Oz,” was somehow solved before the time of the Baum books. “Mothers” leaves unexplained what happened to Chelery, Comina’s friend who didn’t want to leave Oz to have her baby, so I’m hoping Dana addresses that in a later work.
The titular tale, The Law of Oz, sees Button-Bright further adjusting to his newly found family and powers. Meanwhile, Ozma goes a bit overboard in trying to enforce her anti-magic law, and once again proves that realpolitik is not her strong point as a ruler. Also appearing in a significant role is Tititi-Hoochoo, who comes across as considerably meaner than his unemotional-but-good portrayal in Tik-Tok. Still, he believes that he’s acting in the cause of justice, and we also learn about his longtime feud with Lurline. This is also the first time in the volume that such familiar characters as Jack Pumpkinhead, Professor Wogglebug, Scraps, and the Glass Cat show up. It’s definitely worth a read for Oz fans.