Good for What Ails Ya

I’ve read a good many fan-written Oz books, but there are still a few out there, mostly published by the authors themselves or small presses. Many of them are rather slight. I recently obtained two that I hadn’t yet read, so here are some thoughts.

The Healing Power of Oz, by Gil S. Joel – Ozma and her advisers take to reforming people from the Outside World. When a drug dealer, a crooked politician, a confidence man, and a burglar stumble into a magic tunnel to Oz, the Ozites help them to overcome their criminal tendencies and get new jobs. These criminals mostly come across as broad stereotypes rather than believable characters. They all have jokey names, and the drug dealer (who is also an addict himself) takes to sniffing Ozma’s poppies to get high. Ozma transforms him into a playing card so he can break his addiction, and he learns to fly and enters into a relationship with Jennifer, a girl in the royal court who originated in Joel’s earlier The Case of the Framed Fairy of Oz (which I haven’t read). Roger the Read Bird makes a brief appearance to help the reformed junkie fly, and while I”m not sure why he was there, it was nice to see him again.

There’s also a Nome invasion under Kaliko, which Ruggedo actually helps to thwart. There were several aspects that I found difficult to square with my own take on Oz, but it was a pretty cute read.

The Thompson Girls in Oz, by Philip John Lewin – There’s a trend of people writing their young relatives into Oz, which is a nice thing to do, but kind of messes with the willing suspension of disbelief when they’re released to the general public. That said, there have been some cool Oz stories written along these lines, like Ruth Waara’s Umbrella Island and Magic Cryptogram and Ruth Morris’ Flying Bus. This story isn’t as good as those, but it does have some interesting characters. There’s a leprechaun who’s a friend of the family, a guy who uses a magical snakeskin to change his form, and a dog who dodges thrown objects. I think the tale could have used more plot, though. Thompson appears to be the actual name of the girls to whom the book is dedicated, with no connection to Ruth Plumly or Tot of Merryland, at least as far as we know.

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3 Responses to Good for What Ails Ya

  1. Thank you for reading and reviewing my novelette. I agree that is not a significant contribution to the land of Oz literature and, as you noted, written primarily for the two girls (now young women) in the story. because of my two full length Oz novels, people have requested this, which is how it got out there, so I have made it available. Of course – LOL – there are only 50 original copies in existence, so it will be very frustrating for oz completists. The answer is, don’t be a completitst! Philip John Lewin

    • Nathan says:

      I’m somewhat of a completist when it comes to stuff I find consistent with the main series. I’ll read other stuff, but I don’t feel it’s quite as necessary.

  2. Pingback: Reformation Nation | VoVatia

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