I’ve written before about Tempus, the time-traveling Parrot-Ox from Edward Einhorn’s Paradox in Oz. While this is probably the best-known Oz time travel story, however, it is far from the only one. All of these tales are apocryphal, however, as time travel just wasn’t as common in fiction back then as it is now. That’s not to say it didn’t exist, as H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine was published back in 1895. Nowadays, however, it seems like there can’t be a popular science fiction or fantasy series that DOESN’T involve time travel in some way, so it was pretty much inevitable that it would show up in fan-written Oz stories. Here are the examples I could think of offhand:
- Chris Dulabone’s Colorful Kitten features a good deal of time travel between three eras: the ninth century, the time of Dorothy and the Wizard, and the mid-eighties when the book was written. Most of it is done by the magical cat Fuchsia, but Lord Lollysnicker and the wizard Womero also cast some time travel spells.
- Atticus Gannaway’s Wonderful Journey has the Wizard of Oz discover how to use Button-Bright’s Magic Umbrella to travel through time, and the characters use it to rescue Ozma’s grandmother Ozara right when Mombi is about to enchant her. Did they alter history by doing this? It’s never really addressed, but in fairness, Gannaway was eleven years old or so when he wrote it. The Umbrella is used for time travel again in Time Travelling, which has the Wizard travel back to the time of Lost Princess and inadvertently erase Ozma from existence. He goes back and saves her, but I have to say the Wizard comes across as very careless with these experiments. Maybe that’s why we don’t see any more of them after this book. We also don’t see much of Ozara, although she does put in an appearance in Fairy Circle. Gannaway’s Sinister Gases also involves time travel, but here it’s accomplished by way of a spaceship from Anuther Planet. Who knew the Nuthers had that sort of technology?
- In Magic Tapestry, the Wizard invents a machine that can travel through time and record what happens. Toto and some others use it to journey to the past and the future and prevent an attempt by the goddess Eris to destroy the Skeeziques, but Llewop the Roly-Rogue eventually ends up eating it.
- Jeremy Steadman’s Emerald Ring and Time both involve a good deal of time travel, starting with Arthur Spyeking somehow being sent back from 1988 to 1919, and continuing with several characters being sent to Oz just before Lurline’s enchantment. While this time travel is seemingly random, Time informs us that it was actually part of an elaborate plot by the evil sorcerer Kazod to destroy time itself.
It’s up to Father Time’s children to restore the time stream.
- Paul Dana’s Time Travelers takes Button-Bright, Ojo, and Ugu back to the time of Lurline’s enchantment by way of the Ring of Time, hidden somewhere in the Forest of Gugu.
- The Land Before Oz takes some characters back to the time of the dinosaurs.
Wonderful Journey, Emerald Ring, and Time Travelers all make Button-Bright one of the characters who travels back in time, which isn’t at all surprising as he’s known for getting lost. I certainly don’t mind a good time travel tale, and I even wrote one myself, featuring Jenny Jump. I’m not really satisfied with how it turned out, and I’d like to make some changes, but I’m not entirely sure how I should resolve it. I sort of want to acknowledge some of these other time travel stories without being too blatant about it. Honestly, I think time travel was overused in many of these stories, and not always treated all that carefully either.