Balancing the Flutterbudget


I received my copy of the 2020 Oziana, the annual collection of original fiction published by the International Wizard of Oz Club, but I waited until it was available for purchase before writing my review. It’s actually the fiftieth anniversary edition as the first was published in 1971. The first story, Suren Oganessian’s “Zinnia’s Wish,” is about a Flutterbudget girl (and perhaps the first Ozian goth) who was caught in an avalanche with her father. While she eventually manages to escape, he remains trapped. She wants to end his suffering by finding a way to restore death in Oz, to which end she goes to the Emerald City to do research, and runs into Ojo and Scraps. The three of them go to visit Wish Way, but Zinnia is cagey about what she really wants to wish for. She ends up becoming the psychopomp of Oz, able to bring death to those who want to escape from eternal life. There are also some developing feelings between Zinnia and Ojo. I’ve read a draft of a longer version of this story, which has Zinnia going on to assist various suffering Ozites. After a pumpkin pie recipe that I can’t say I’ve tried, Robert Baum’s “Dinner at the Del” is a sort of meta-fictional tale where, while dining at the Hotel del Coronado, L. Frank Baum meets a sailor who becomes the inspiration for both Captain Steele in the Boy Fortune Hunters books and Cap’n Bill. “The Wizards of Silver and Gold in Oz” is based on something I wrote years ago to try to bridge the Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. Neill books, including introducing the Dragonette Evangeline who shows up in Neill’s books basically out of nowhere; and also reintroduce some of the characters from The Royal Book of Oz. Joe Bongiorno later expanded upon it, giving more information on the Grand Gheewizard and his companions, and providing a story of redemption for Quiberon from Giant Horse. The result ended up being pretty long, so it’ll be continued in the next volume. “Polychrome’s Sky School,” by Paul Dana, is based on how Polychrome states in Road that she’s unable to work magic, but does several spells in Tin Woodman. This brief story, which takes place in between the two, has Polychrome attending school with a few other sky fairies, whose descriptions and performances include a lot of puns. And, as usual, it’s pretty thoroughly illustrated. The front cover by Able Tong gives new takes on some familiar characters. Interior drawings are provided by Mitchell Mayle, Dennis Anfuso, and Sam Milazzo, plus some repurposed Neill art.

This entry was posted in Characters, Humor, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Monsters, Oz, Oz Authors, Relationships, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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