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The Reading Jackalope

Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond

Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond - Overall I really enjoyed this book. There are some really great stories in this collection. I loved the art work that accompanied each story, a cover art if you will. That said there are a few things that bothered me.

First, I’m sure some of these authors haven’t read any of the OZ books beyond The Wizard of OZ. Now normally, I could care less whether someone has read beyond the first book in a series, but when you’re writing a short story for a book about OZ, I think it’s a little important to do your research. The best stories in the collection were the ones where I could tell the author knew OZ and its denizens very well. The ones that weren’t so successful, at least for me, were the ones where I could tell the author was only familiar with OZ in the briefest of sense: stories where I couldn’t tell if the author had done any research beyond watching the movie and reading a wiki page about the differences.

Secondly, there were far too many re-imaginings of the Wizard of OZ. As in complete retellings of that story in different settings. The Wizard of OZ in a mental hospital, as a cyberpunk story, ‘the real untold story of the Wizard of OZ, etc. It got old, particularly when the stories were back to back. I think it wouldn’t have been quite so noticeable, and thus annoying, if the re-imagined stories had been better interspersed throughout the book with the stories that built on OZ. Orson Scott Card’s story ‘Off to See the Emperor’, one of the reimagined ones bothered me a lot, a lot. From Amazon: Frank Baum's son has the real experiences that his father later fictionalized. Way to take a story that features a girl and make it about a boy there Card.

A couple of standout stories though. My absolute favorite, and a great way to end the book, was ‘The Cobbler of OZ’ by Jonathon Mayberry. It was sweet and lovely, with just the right amount of menace behind the story. Plus it could fit very easily into the OZ cannon as a story that only just pre-dates The Wizard of OZ. I adored it. I also really enjoyed Tad William’s ‘Boy Detective of OZ’. This was a more cyber-punk story, but it wasn’t a re-telling of OZ it was a real re-imagined version of OZ. Plus it featured one of my favorite OZites, The Glass Cat. I liked a ‘Tornado of Dorothys’, though that was one where I wasn’t sure if the author had read any of the OZ books, because it was a kind of ghostly, haunted look at story telling.
Overall, I’d re-read this collection, though I’d skip over some of the stories. Great addition to the OZ world.