The Patchwork Map of Oz


One of the tropes I came across on TV Tropes for the Land of Oz is that of the Patchwork Map, which definitely applies to Oz and the surrounding nations. A dry desert surrounds the entire nation, even though this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from a climatology point of view. While most of Oz has a temperate climate with lots of forests and farmlands, there are also mentions of jungles and tall mountains, as well as certain isolated places where the composition of the land and precipitation are totally nonsensical. This is even more the case in the neighboring Land of Mo, where much of the landscape is made up of foodstuffs. Sounds convenient, although wouldn’t people walking on the land make it dirty? Well, maybe not if the dirt is also food. It also rains lemonade and snows popcorn there. L. Frank Baum’s Fairyland developed rather haphazardly, with the map on the Tik-Tok of Oz endpapers putting places where they fit more than trying to establish a consistent sense of geography.

It’s interesting that the map only shows the ocean in one small part, so we don’t really know if there are other countries beyond the ones shown. It leaves off Mo, which Scarecrow later establishes is near an ocean and right across the desert from the Quadling Country.

While Ruth Plumly Thompson crammed most of the islands from her books into the small bit of Nonestic Ocean on Baum’s map, she also states in Captain Salt that the established lands “form a narrow rim around the desert, and beyond this rim lies the Nonestic Ocean itself, stretching in all directions and to no one knows what far and undiscovered shores.” Although Thompson sometimes refers to the landmass on which Oz is located as a continent, based on this description and the travel times, it really isn’t all that big. David Hulan estimated that it was about the size of Ireland, hardly a continent by our standards. There’s also the issue of how some of these countries are more magical than others, with the more bizarre lands (Oz, Mo, and Merryland) being surrounded by deserts or mountains. On the other hand, it’s said in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus that humans hardly ever come to the Forest of Burzee, yet the map doesn’t show any natural protection for it. It borders on the Laughing Valley of Hohaho, where Santa is the only human resident, but mortals can and do visit.

There are some hints, especially in the Thompson books, that the less magical lands are beginning to receive some of the benefits of the more magical ones, particularly long lifespans and talking animals. The thing is, to take the map at face value, it looks like the mountains and deserts would not only protect the stranger lands, but would also prevent travel between the more mundane countries, except by sea and air.

James E. Haff and Dick Martin’s map includes most of the places mentioned in the Oz books and Baum’s other fantasies, not counting ones that are too far away. Tititi-Hoochoo’s fairyland is on the other side of the world, and the continent of Tarara many days’ sail to the west. They also didn’t put on any of the places from Thomspon’s non-Oz fantasies, which led me to think that there might be another landmass where many of them are located.

Marcus Mebes included a map of Tarara on the back cover of The Crescent Moon Over Tarara, and I recently decided to draw a rough map of another land I imagine as being north of that one, which I call Boomdeeay.

The Thompson stories represented on my map are “The Flask with the Golden Stopper,” “The Kingdom of Boxtoes and Hammerheels,” “The Singing Tailor of Nevermindwhere,” “The Princess of Whereyouwill,” “The Princess of Plumpieland,” the two Way-Up serials, “The Seeress of Saucerville,” “The Toothache of the Sultan,” “The Little Prince and the Faithful Bluebird,” “King, King, Double King,” and “The Story of the First Brown-Haired Princess” (along with the comic adaptation by Eric Shanower and Trina Robbins, which provided the name of Brindlebania). Not included are Sissajig, Jelly Bean Island and the cooking-based countries from the Royal Baking Powder advertising pamphlets, Giantland, the cautionary lands from Marvelous Travels on a Wish, or the Lost Islands from The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa. I imagine Sissajig as being somewhat closer to Oz, as Bustabo somehow made it there. Perhaps it’s on an island just of the south end of the Haff/Martin map. The food-based countries might be somewhere near Mo; I thought they really seemed more appropriate to the Nonestican continent than to the magical but less weird countries from Thompson’s other non-Oz stories.

Joe Bongiorno has suggested that Somewhere Else from Wish might be the same as Somewhere in Enchanted Island, or at least near it; and Dreamland might be the same as the Kingdom of Dreams on Baum’s map. As the Wish Express seems to travel outside of normal space, I guess Talktown and the State of Discontentment could be just about anywhere, so I might eventually decide to add them to this map.

And the Lost Islands, which Santa reaches by sailing straight into the setting sun, and where nights last one hundred years, are also on the weirder side. Since most of them are inhabited by toys, perhaps they were colonized by explorers from Merryland, or at least had the same fairy creator.

I did include the Great Wilderness of Braz, an uncivilized forest mentioned by Ak in Life and Adventures, as I don’t know of any other attempt to map it. I’ve also left some portions of the map blank, as many of the kingdoms in Thompson’s stories seem to be quite small, and several unnamed ones are mentioned as well. Ristill and Zurgoria are places I made up and referenced in my own stories, and while I initially thought of them as being on a different landmass entirely, I decided to simplify things by putting them adjacent to the Thompsonian lands.

Aside from these places, Ray Powell’s Raggedys has the Black Magician Cell-U-Loid claim that Philmland is adjacent to Patalonia, to the southwest of Oz on the other side of the Nonestic Ocean. This might mean it’s to the south of Tarara, as Mebes’ map identifies the western side of that continent as bordering on the Rolantic Ocean from King Kojo.

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6 Responses to The Patchwork Map of Oz

  1. Joe says:

    Ooh, a new map! I think this is worth pursuing, getting someone who can do cartography to make a proper map from your sketch. And although I don’t have the time, it would be great to take those Thompson stories that are associated with it, along with some other fantasy ones she wrote that never appeared in compilations, and publish them with the map.

    • Nathan says:

      I’d like to see a map that incorporates Nonestica, Tarara, and this map as well; but I guess we have to take it one step at a time. As for the stories, I don’t know what the copyright status is on them, but I think most of them are probably public domain by now.

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