The Novels of L. Frank Baum

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Steve Parker

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Mar 22, 2002, 8:00:58 PM3/22/02
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The Novels of L. Frank Baum

This is gonna provide a weird contrast since the last "The Novels
of..." thread that's been posted was Iain (M.) Banks.

L. Frank Baum was an excellent writer who's mostly known for one book.
However, as good as _The Wonderful Wizard of Oz_ was, it wasn't his
best, IMHO. He has a tendency towards treacle, but mostly controls it.
When he doesn't, diabetics BEWARE!

This isn't a complete list by any means (Baum wrote a LOT of stuff,
including a manual on chicken ranching, IIRC) but what I've listed is
his main works and stuff that's more likely to be of interest to
rec.arts.sf.written readers (For example he wrote two "A is for
Apple" books and I can't imagine much interest in them here.)

An interesting factoid: Baum is one of the first writers I know of to
tie all his non-related books together AFTER he started writing them,
but unlike say...Isaac Asimov shoehorning his Robot novels into his
Foundation universe to the detriment of both, Baum did it *well*.

OZ
The Oz books fall into two categories: Icky-cute twee travelogues
(characters go from icky-cute place to icky-cute place. Nothing
happens) and darned good stories (key feature: they have conflict).
Most of Ruth Plumley Thompson's Oz books (she took over after Baum
died) are in the "icky-cute" travelogue category. Most of Baum's
weren't. I'll note if one is.

_THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ_ (1900)
The most famous Baum book, and one of the most famous kid's book ever.
Also one of his best. Everyone knows the story: Little girl from
Kansas gets swept up in a "cyclone" (tornado) to a magical land. She
meets a Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion...you know the
story. If you're only familiar with the movie, it's well worth reading
the book, if only because Baum's Dorothy is a much stronger, more
self-assured character than Judy Garland's simpering wimp. In addition
there's some significant differences between the book and the movie,
the most important of which is that instead of the "you had these
qualities all along" preachy ending in the movie, the Wizard actually
gives the Scarecrow a brain, the Tin Woodsman a heart and courage to
the lion (a joke that I didn't get for *years* is that the Wizard
opens a little brown bottle and pours some liquid out for the Lion.
The Wizard then comments that (paraphrased) "lots of men find courage
in a bottle.") There's also a whole string of adventures that follow
the Wizard taking off in the balloon, that are somewhat anti-climatic.
Oz, in this book and the next one is a far darker place than the
sunny, happy place it would become in the later books.

Very Recommended

_THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ_ (1904)
Even though this is an Oz book, it doesn't *feel* like one. It also
features some backstory (on the Wizard's rise to power) that Baum and
all other writers in the "canonical forty" (the first 40 Oz books are
considered "canonical" by most Oz fans.

Anyway, the story is about a boy named Tip who's being raised by a
witch named Mombi. She decides to turn the kid into a statue because
he's being a pest. He escapes and takes her magical "Powder of Life"
with him, animating a Sawhorse and Jack Pumpkinhead in the process.
Meanwhile a bunch of Suffragettes have decided to overthrow the
Scarecrow. Tip and his crew meet up with the Scarecrow and his
entourage. Eventually everything sorts itself out via Deus Ex Glinda.
Glinda discovers that the Wizard, in his rise to power murdered the
ruling family of Oz (in one of Thompson's later books she says that
Ozma's dad was actually hanging around in Treacle-ville or some such),
and stole the infant heir to the throne, Ozma. He brought her to
Mombi. Mombi turned Ozma into Tip to disguise her. Ginda makes Mombi
change Tip's gender back and Ozma resumes the throne.

The Wizard will show up again in later books, and no one will EVER
comment on the fact that he had Ozma's dad snuffed (no one ever talks
about Ozma's mom...).

Somewhat dark, interesting social satire, recommended

_OZMA OF OZ_ (1907)
Dorothy gets washed overboard and ends up on the shores of the
continent that Oz is in the center of (Oz is in the center, the Deadly
Desert surrounds Oz on all sides and there's a BUNCH of countries
around the desert). The royal family of Ev has been captured by the
Nome King and Ozma, wanting stability in the region is gonna free
them. She meets up with Dorothy and they go to the Nome King's
kingdom. If you've seen Disney's "Return To Oz" movie (which I loved),
the whole Nome King part came straight from this book.

There's a scene where some secondary princess is in charge of Ev, and
she has an unsavory habit (She collects heads and switches from head
to head as the mood takes her- at one point she decides that she wants
Dorothy) that's particularly nightmarish.

(Note: "Nome" is the correct spelling, per Baum)

If I *had* to pick, this is probably my favorite Oz book.


_DOROTHY AND THE WIZARD OF OZ_ (1908)
The San Francisco Earthquake drops Dorothy, Cousin Zeb. and a horse
into the bowels of the earth. They have lots of weird adventures (one
of which was censored) as they meet up with the Wizard (who IIRC got
caught in a similar quake) and make their way back to the surface.
They come out in Oz. The Wizard decides to stay for good. Ozma doesn't
mention that he had her parents snuffed.

The censored scene had a bunch of vegetable people (imagine humanoid
carrots or potatoes) raising heads of humans: the illustration showed
woman's heads surrounded by cabbage leaves and Veggie People about to
"pick" them.

Good, but not great. Seriously weird

_THE ROAD TO OZ_ (1909)
Tends towards the "twee travelogue" story. Dorothy and a hobo (The
Shaggy Man) are walking along a road. The road becomes magical and
they end up lost. They meet up with a lost little boy (Button Bright)
and the Rainbow's Daughter (Polychrome) they end up hiking towards
Oz. They meet a bunch of people, many of which are weird. Eventually
they get to the Deadly Desert and The Shaggy Man pulls a Deus ex
Machina out of his hat and gets them across. Turns out that Ozma wants
Dorothy to come to her birthday party and decided to give her an
adventure to boot. (Didn't make much sense to me, either).

The interesting bit about this book is that Baum brings in a *bunch*
of characters from his other books as guests at Ozma's party. The
party sequence saves the book and as a kid, the thrill of seeing
characters from his other stories do a crossover was exciting. I don't
think I'd ever read a crossover before.

Not bad, but not stunning.

_THE EMERALD CITY OF OZ_ (1910)
It's pretty obvious that Baum was getting bored with Oz as this book
is *bad*. Dorothy asks Ozma to bring Aunt Em and Uncle Henry to Oz to
live. She agrees and most of the rest of the book is Dorothy showing
off all the icky-cute villages in Oz to her relatives ("Bunbury" where
everyone is a living baked good. "Bunnybury" where everyone is a
bunny. "Utensila" where everyone is an eating implement, there's also
um..."Cutinklip" where everyone's a paper doll and another one where
everyone's a jigsaw puzzle). <gag, retch>. There's a subplot about the
Nome King getting a bunch of "demons" (not really, but close enough)
in a plan to overrun Oz. In addition, in this book, Ozma seems
particularly dim. She refuses to fight. She refuses to even act in
self defense. She refuses to sully her magic belt by defending her
people. How nice for her subjects.

What's both sad and funny is how *good* the writing of the Nome King
and the Demons "Let's team up and destroy Oz" parts are. I'm guessing
that it reflects the feelings of the author.

Avoid this one, or since it's important to the overall series, at
least take insulin first.

_THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ_ (1913)
After a three year break, Baum returns to Oz and to form.

Ojo's uncle has been accidentally turned to stone. With the Patchwork
Girl and the Glass Cat (who Kuttner and Moore *MUST* have read before
creating Joe, the Proud Robot "I'm transparent and my gears are
lovely. See them spin? You poor dull piece of meat. How you must envy
me.") Ojo must find the spell components that'll transform his uncle
back.

Unfortunately, he's also gotta avoid Ozma, since Ozma has strict
"Spell-Control Laws" ("You'll only take my wand from me when you pry
it from my cold, dead fingers!" or "God, Guts and Glamours are what
made Oz great!") so Ojo has to avoid her as well.

Good, but not spectacular.

_TIK-TOK OF OZ_ (1914)
Betsy Bobbin and her mule, Hank end up in the Nome King's kingdom. The
Shaggy Man's searching for his brother who the Nome King's captured.
Noteworthy in that Betsy has very little personality, unlike Trot or
Dorothy or Ozma. Betsy is timid and droopy without much spunk. Very
un-Baum-like female character.

There's not much here, but despite that, it's still one of my
favorites. It's obvious that Baum really enjoyed writing about the
Nome King's caverns. He set at least three books in the caverns and
all of 'em are wonderful.

_THE SCARECROW OF OZ_ (1915)
Based on a stage-musical, I don't remember much about it. A princess
has a frozen heart. There's a whiney prince (very delicate sort.
Snivels theatrically a lot. Imagine if Prince Valiant was a fop AND a
wimp) who's hurt that she (with her frozen heart) no longer loves
her...I dunno. Not very memorable and doesn't quite "feel" like an Oz
book...the pacing's off, probably because novelizations of plays don't
always suit either genre. Trot and Cap'n Bill (who first appeared in
_The Sea Fairies_ and _Sky Island_) journey to Oz in this book, where
they make their home.

_RINKITINK OF OZ_ (1916)
This wasn't an Oz book, originally. Apparently Baum's publisher made
him add in the Oz element, which is sad, as it becomes a Deus Ex
Machina and undermines a fantastic book and diminishes one of Baum's
best heroes.

Our hero is the prince of Pinagree, Inga. King Rinkitink (and his
surly, talking goat) are visiting just as two rival kingdoms invade
and capture everyone. The prince, the king and the goat escape and
have to rescue the prince's parents and retake the kingdom. Inga has
three magic pearls: one gives him superhuman strength, one makes him
invulnerable and one'll give advice.

Eventually they end up in the Nome King's kingdom, as his parents were
sold to the Nome King. The prince tries to get his parents back, but
is balked by the Nome King. Just at the dramatic moment when he proves
himself a hero, Dorothy shows up and solves everything, ruining a
heretofore fantastic story.

A particularly un-PC scene has The Wizard realizing that Rinkitink's
goat (Bobo) is the prince of yet another kingdom (Boboland) under an
enchantment. The Wizard can't change him straight back to human but he
can push him up the evolutionary scale. From goat to lamb to ostrich
to "tottenhot" (black guy) to "mifket" (asian guy) to white aryan guy.
Um....kinda wince-provoking, nowadays.

Sort of recommended: the first 2/3ds are among the best stuff Baum
ever wrote, the last 1/3d is merely ok.

_THE LOST PRINCESS OF OZ_ (1917)
Ozma's kidnapped. Everyone has to find her. Features a *smart* bad-guy
and some neat travelogue stuff (there's a bit with rotating mountains
that's creepy. Also the scene in the orchard is good). Strangely
atmospheric. One of the nice bits is that the villain is smart enough
to defuse the whole Glinda Ex Machina possibility by thinking things
out in advance..

Highly recommended.

_THE TIN WOODMAN OF OZ_ (1918)
Creepy and not in a good way. The Tin Woodsman was originally in love
with a girl who was the daughter of a witch. The witch was the one who
enchanted the Woodsman's axe to lop of parts of the Woodsman's body
(the individual parts got replaced one at a time, until, finally his
head was lopped off, which is how the Tin Woodsman became tin). Tin
Woodsman decides to reacquaint himself with his lost love (mainly out
of duty: his heart's set for kindness, not love, but it's unkind to
just ignore her for all these years). Turns out that a soldier was
ALSO in love with Nimee Amiee (the girl). His sword was also enchanted
and now he's the Tin Soldier. Eventually they find the girl and find
out that she's married to a guy who's made up of the glued together
left-over "meat" parts from BOTH the Woodsman and the Soldier. Yuk.

Avoid.

_THE MAGIC OF OZ_ (1919)
The Nome-King in exile ends up in Oz just as a pretty nasty kid
discovers a word which gives him the power to shape-change himself or
others. The two of them try to take over Oz. If you're a kid, what's
fun is that Baum actually gives the word (something like "PRQUZXQL" or
something) but you have to pronounce it JUUUUST right. Every kid I
know who's read this book has spent hours trying to pronounce the
magic word (me included)

Recommended.


_GLINDA OF OZ_ (1920)
Baum's last Oz book. Glinda has to prevent a war between two tribes.
There's a submerged island involved.

Pretty good.

NOVELS
_THE ENCHANTED ISLE OF YEW (1903)
This is the one major Baum book I've never read.

_THE MAGICAL MONARCH OF MO (1903)
A mediocre Oz clone. Not very good.

_QUEEN ZIXI OF IX (1905)
Baum's masterpiece. Sadly not as well known as _The Wonderful Wizard
of Oz_. A fairy-tale that *should* be a classic, dammit!

Some fairies, on a lark, create a wishing cloak: it'll grant each
person who's come to legitimately possess the cloak one wish. They
give it to the first unhappy person they find: a young recently
orphaned girl (she's got a brother). She wishes that she was always
happy.

Meanwhile the old king of Noland has died and left no heirs. The
councilmen (all named after Tallyrand: Tillyrind,Tollyrond, etc.)
determine that the law says that the 100th (1000th?) person to pass
through the city gates, REGARDLESS OF AGE/STATUS/ETC. Bud, the girl's
brother is the Xth person to pass through the gate and is crowned
king.

Her brother decides to hold off on his wish. Their harsh (but not
evil) aunt borrows the cloak (it's chilly) and wishes that she could
fly: she gets huge wings.

As the cloak is passed from one person to another, silly wishes are
granted since no-one realizes the cloak is magic.

However, the ageless Queen Zixi of Xi (the "fair and just" ruler of a
neighboring kingdom) gets word of the wishing cloak. She's able to
keep herself eternally young, but her true appearance shows up in
reflections. This is her one source of unhappiness. That cloak could
fix her problem. She contrives to steal it and eventually does.

However, since she didn't legitimately get the cloak, it doesn't work.
She concludes that the cloak is worthless, and is pretty disgusted
with herself for stooping to theft. She throws the cloak away and goes
back to her kingdom, determined to be a better person.

Meanwhile, big round creatures (sort of like Bouncing Boy from the
Legion of Super-Heroes meets a walrus meets a turtle) are preparing to
invade. But without the cloak, how can Noland survive their assault?
The rest of the book is an exciting (almost breathless) search for the
lost cloak, so that the invaders can be wished somewhere else.

Fantastic story, probably Baum's best in terms of pacing,
characterization and tone.

_THE MASTER KEY (1901)
An attempt at Scientifiction. A young "electrical experimenter" (the
type who would later read Gernsback's early magazines) accidentally
summons The Spirit of Electricity. The Spirit of Electricity will give
the kid some number (9?) of electricity related gifts. Some of 'em
make no sense ("Electrical food pills"?) but others...one of 'em's a
sleep ray. If I can buy Niven's TASP, another's an anti-gravity
device, I can buy this. Not *quite* science fiction, but frankly,
neither's Edgar Rice Burroughs. Very different sort of story for Baum.
Anyone who likes Heinlein juvies should give this a try.

Highly Recommended

_THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS (1902)
A weird, semi-pagan "Secret Origin of Santa Claus" story. Odd,
charming, strange.

Recommended.

_THE SEA FAIRIES_ (1911)
The first appearance of Trot and Cap'n Bill (who'll go to Oz in
_Scarecrow of Oz_). I remember absolutely nothing about this book,
except that it triggered my "twee"ometer.

_SKY ISLAND_ (1912)
The other Trot and Cap'n Bill solo adventure. This ties them firmly
into the Oz universe, as they meet up with Button Bright and
Polychrome , the Rainbow's Daughter (from _Road To Oz_). I don't
remember the details of the plot (two countries are at war and our
heroes get caught up in the middle of it), but I remember enjoying the
book (and enjoying it far more than _Sea Fairies_

_DOT AND TOT IN MERRYLAND_ (1901)
Ick. Two toddlers travel around a magical land. Ick, ick, ick.

_JOHN DOUGH AND THE CHERUB_ (1906)
An "incubator baby" (read "test tube baby") is born ("hatched") and
ends up hanging around with John Dough, a sort of Gingerbread Man (or
maybe he's made of candy. I don't remember). Since the kid was an
"incubator baby, "Chick the Cherub" has no gender (dunno why, but
that's the conceit). Apparently there were actually newspaper contests
to determine Chick's gender. I'm fairly certain there was a plot here,
but I remember nothing about it.

What's nice is that since a lot of these stories are in the public
domain, they're available on-line! A nice web-page that has links to
Baum's stories is:

http://www.welcometooz.net/literaryextra-oz.html

If you want print editions, your first choice should be "Books of
Wonder" Press, which does *beautiful* reproductions (with the color
plates intact) of the original editions of Baum's books. If you've
never seen an authentic reproduction of _The Wonderful Wizard of Oz_
as Baum intended it (with line drawings in colored ink weaving around,
through and under the text, as well as stunning color plates) you've
missed out on the whole experience. "Books of Wonder" is to kids books
what NESFA is to Science Fiction. Higher praise I cannot give. If
"Books of Wonder" editions aren't available, Dover Books are a good
second choice.

And, before anyone asks, ; ) Yes, I read _Wicked_ by Gregory Maguire.
He fumbled the last third of the book pretty badly, IMHO, but I really
liked the first part. I also read Philip Jose Farmer's _A Barnstormer
In Oz_ and didn't like it much.

Steve
--
My review pages have moved.AGAIN. The new address is
http://home.attbi.com/~sparker9/home.html

Eric Walker

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Mar 22, 2002, 8:58:21 PM3/22/02
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On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 18:00:58 -0700, Steve Parker wrote:

[...]

> _THE ENCHANTED ISLE OF YEW (1903)
>This is the one major Baum book I've never read.

A fairy decides she wants some variety in her life and so
elects--after consulting with a couple of young human girls--to
become, for the term of one year, a dashing "prince charming"
sort of male human ("Prince Marvel") and have adventures.

The Prince goes about the Isle settling various problems in
ways that are mildly interesting, but annoying, in that the
Prince cheats by constantly using "fairy powers" to accomplish
just about anything needing accomplishing.

If one likes Baum in general, it's a pleasant read, but not one
of his most distinguished works.


> _THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS (1902)
>A weird, semi-pagan "Secret Origin of Santa Claus" story. Odd,
>charming, strange.
>
>Recommended.

I'd rate it a little higher. For a book for rather young
children, it reads remarkably well. Sample:

"Who are you that call on us?" demanded one, in a gruff
voice.

"The friend of your brothers in Burzee," answered Claus. "I
have been brought here by my enemies, the Awgwas, and left
to perish miserably. Yet now I implore your help to release
me and to send me home again."

"Have you the sign?" asked another.

"Yes," said Claus.

They cut his bonds, and with his free arms he made the secret
sign of the Knooks.

Stuff little not much better gets published in "adult" novels.
The tale provides a reasonably coherent and sensible answer as
to who Santa Claus is and why.


In general with Baum, we have to be aware that there is often
more going on than the simple telling of a tale for very small
children. Sometimes it's fairly overt humor:

"Go slowly, for now there is no danger of pursuit," said Tip
to his steed.

"All right!" responded the creature, in a voice rather
gruff.

"Aren't you a little hoarse?" asked the Pumpkinhead,
politely.

The Saw-Horse gave an angry prance and rolled one knotty eye
backward toward Tip.

"See here," he growled, "can't you protect me from insult?"

I wonder how many children were expected to get _both_ puns.

But sometimes the fun is dryer and higher:

"I am completely ruined!" declared the Scarecrow, as he
noted their astonishment. "For where is the straw that
stuffs my body?"

The awful question startled them all. They gazed around the
nest with horror, for not a vestige of straw remained. The
Jackdaws had stolen it to the last wisp and flung it all
into the chasm that yawned for hundreds of feet beneath the
nest.

"My poor, poor friend!" said the Tin Woodman, taking up the
Scarecrow's head and caressing it tenderly; whoever could
imagine you would come to this untimely end?"

"I did it to save my friends," returned the head; and I am
glad that I perished in so noble and unselfish a manner."

"But why are you all so despondent?" inquired the
Woggle-Bug. "The Scarecrow's clothing is still safe."

"Yes," answered the Tin Woodman; "but our friend's clothes
are useless without stuffing."

"Why not stuff him with money?" asked Tip.

"Money!" they all cried, in an amazed chorus.

"To be sure," said the boy. "In the bottom of the nest are
thousands of dollar bills--and five-dollar bills--and tens,
and twenties and fifties. There are enough of them to stuff
a dozen Scarecrows. Why not use the money?"

The Tin Woodman began to turn over the rubbish with the
handle of his axe; and, sure enough, what they had first
thought only worthless papers were found to be all bills of
various denominations, which the mischievous Jackdaws had
for years been engaged in stealing from the villages and
cities they visited.

There was an immense fortune lying in that inaccessible
nest; and Tip's suggestion was, with the Scarecrow's
consent, quickly acted upon.

They selected all the newest and cleanest bills and assorted
them into various piles. The Scarecrow's left leg and boot
were stuffed with five-dollar bills; his right leg was
stuffed with ten-dollar bills, and his body so closely
filled with fifties, one-hundreds and one-thousands that he
could scarcely button his jacket with comfort.

"You are now," said the Woggle-Bug, "the most valuable
member of our party; and as you are among faithful friends
there is little danger of your being spent."

Were the kiddlies expected to digest all the calories in that?
From the operatic "death" of a character who continues to
converse with his friends to the puns to the amusing conceits
in general, Baum clearly had one eye on the adult audience
presumed to be reading to or with the children who were his
nominal target.

(By the way, note also how quietly and unostentatiously Baum's
prose is clean and effective.)


--
Cordially,
Eric Walker, webmaster
Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works
http://owlcroft.com/sfandf


Steve Parker

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Mar 22, 2002, 9:11:26 PM3/22/02
to
On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 17:58:21 -0800 (PST), "Eric Walker"
<ra...@owlcroft.com> wrote:

>> _THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS (1902)
>>A weird, semi-pagan "Secret Origin of Santa Claus" story. Odd,
>>charming, strange.
>>
>>Recommended.
>
>I'd rate it a little higher. For a book for rather young
>children, it reads remarkably well. Sample:
>
> "Who are you that call on us?" demanded one, in a gruff
> voice.
>
> "The friend of your brothers in Burzee," answered Claus. "I
> have been brought here by my enemies, the Awgwas, and left
> to perish miserably. Yet now I implore your help to release
> me and to send me home again."

I agree about your comments about Baum's prose, but think some of his
descriptiveness borders on lyrical (Dorothy wandering through the Nome
King's caverns filled with nicknacks, for example)

But I also felt a deep fanboy-like need to point out that the Fairies
of the Forest of Burzee mentioned here are the same fairies that make
the magic cloak in _Queen Zixi of Ix_.

I *loved* this sort of subtle interlinking as a kid (and still do!)

Lee Ann Rucker

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Mar 23, 2002, 2:20:45 AM3/23/02
to
In article <jpjn9u8tt4j4st1ra...@4ax.com>, Steve Parker
<spar...@attbi.com> wrote:

> _THE EMERALD CITY OF OZ_ (1910)
> It's pretty obvious that Baum was getting bored with Oz as this book
> is *bad*. Dorothy asks Ozma to bring Aunt Em and Uncle Henry to Oz to
> live. She agrees and most of the rest of the book is Dorothy showing
> off all the icky-cute villages in Oz to her relatives ("Bunbury" where
> everyone is a living baked good. "Bunnybury" where everyone is a
> bunny. "Utensila" where everyone is an eating implement, there's also
> um..."Cutinklip" where everyone's a paper doll and another one where
> everyone's a jigsaw puzzle). <gag, retch>.

This is the point where I started seeing Xanth parallels and gave up,
but I've been told I quit too soon.

Steve Parker

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Mar 23, 2002, 8:04:38 AM3/23/02
to
On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 23:20:45 -0800, Lee Ann Rucker <lru...@mac.com>
wrote:

>This is the point where I started seeing Xanth parallels and gave up,
>but I've been told I quit too soon.

IMO, _Emerald City_ is the worst (by far) of Baum's Oz books. If you
like the earlier ones, I'd say you might want to try the remaining
books: you'll notice a dramatic improvement right away with
_Patchwork Girl_ onward, but beware of _Scarecrow_ and _Tin Woodsman_
(though they're not as bad as _Emerald City_).

Dr. Fidelius

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Mar 23, 2002, 12:38:56 PM3/23/02
to
Steve Parker wrote:

>On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 23:20:45 -0800, Lee Ann Rucker <lru...@mac.com>
>wrote:
>
>>This is the point where I started seeing Xanth parallels and gave up,
>>but I've been told I quit too soon.
>
>IMO, _Emerald City_ is the worst (by far) of Baum's Oz books. If you
>like the earlier ones, I'd say you might want to try the remaining
>books: you'll notice a dramatic improvement right away with
>_Patchwork Girl_ onward, but beware of _Scarecrow_ and _Tin Woodsman_
>(though they're not as bad as _Emerald City_).

_Tin Woodsman_ wasn't so bad as a retcon. I did rather like the character of
the Tin Soldier, or I would have if Baum had given him any character.

_Scarecrow_ suffered from the fact that it wasn't really an Oz book, although
not to the extent of _Rinkitink_. If you liked reading about Trots and Bonnie
(oops, I mean Trot and Cap'n Bill) I would recommend _The Sea Fairies_ . That
shows those two reprobates in their natural element.

Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Curator of Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
You cannot reason a man out of a position he did not reach through reason.

Mike Schilling

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Mar 23, 2002, 12:59:39 PM3/23/02
to
It occurred to me, reading the Baum thread, to connect the facts that
Stannis Barratheon is a fairly heartless man and that the word
"stannous" means "of, relating to, or containing tin".

Steve Parker

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Mar 23, 2002, 1:49:08 PM3/23/02
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On 23 Mar 2002 17:38:56 GMT, drfid...@aol.commoriom (Dr. Fidelius)
wrote:

>_Tin Woodsman_ wasn't so bad as a retcon. I did rather like the character of
>the Tin Soldier, or I would have if Baum had given him any character.

I agree, but the whole bit with Nimee Amiee marrying The Spare Parts
Zombie was creepy beyond words.

You're right that the Tin Soldier didn't have much personality, but he
still had tons more that Woot ("Ojo and Button Bright were busy") The
Wanderer

Lawrence Watt-Evans

unread,
Mar 23, 2002, 2:19:47 PM3/23/02
to
On Sat, 23 Mar 2002 06:04:38 -0700, Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com>
wrote:

>IMO, _Emerald City_ is the worst (by far) of Baum's Oz books. If you
>like the earlier ones, I'd say you might want to try the remaining
>books: you'll notice a dramatic improvement right away with
>_Patchwork Girl_ onward, but beware of _Scarecrow_ and _Tin Woodsman_
>(though they're not as bad as _Emerald City_).

Yes, they are.

--

The Misenchanted Page: http://www.sff.net/people/LWE/ Last update 3/2/02
My latest novel is THE DRAGON SOCIETY, published by Tor.

Ross TenEyck

unread,
Mar 23, 2002, 2:57:14 PM3/23/02
to
Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> writes:

>The Novels of L. Frank Baum

[Much excellent review snipped]

> _THE ROAD TO OZ_ (1909)
>Tends towards the "twee travelogue" story. Dorothy and a hobo (The
>Shaggy Man) are walking along a road. The road becomes magical and
>they end up lost. They meet up with a lost little boy (Button Bright)
>and the Rainbow's Daughter (Polychrome) they end up hiking towards
>Oz.

When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome. I'm not entirely
sure why anymore... it may have been the illustrations. But she's
still one of my favorite recurring minor characters in the Oz books.

--
================== http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~teneyck ==================
Ross TenEyck Seattle, WA \ Light, kindled in the furnace of hydrogen;
ten...@alumni.caltech.edu \ like smoke, sunlight carries the hot-metal
Are wa yume? Soretomo maboroshi? \ tang of Creation's forge.

Ross TenEyck

unread,
Mar 23, 2002, 3:03:15 PM3/23/02
to

If I remember correctly, Baum intended _Emerald City_ to be his
last Oz book, and so he wrote it as a goodbye story. However,
his fans were so persistent -- and the publisher waved so much
money under his nose -- that he relented and kept on writing
them.

The "Books of Wonder" reprints have -- among their numerous other
virtues -- really good introductions describing the history of

Steve Parker

unread,
Mar 23, 2002, 3:18:08 PM3/23/02
to
On 23 Mar 2002 19:57:14 GMT, ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Ross
TenEyck) wrote:

>Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> writes:
>
>>The Novels of L. Frank Baum
>
>[Much excellent review snipped]
>
>> _THE ROAD TO OZ_ (1909)
>>Tends towards the "twee travelogue" story. Dorothy and a hobo (The
>>Shaggy Man) are walking along a road. The road becomes magical and
>>they end up lost. They meet up with a lost little boy (Button Bright)
>>and the Rainbow's Daughter (Polychrome) they end up hiking towards
>>Oz.
>
>When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome. I'm not entirely
>sure why anymore... it may have been the illustrations. But she's
>still one of my favorite recurring minor characters in the Oz books.

You too? Heh, I xeroxed a bunch of the Neill illos, colored 'em in
using colored pencils and pinned 'em up all over my room. I think it
was a combination of the illos, the fact that she was the only
post-pubescent girl (other than Glinda, who was untouchable, Jinjur
who was scary and Aunt Em who had no real personality) to have a major
role. Plus she was *nice*. I had a weird idea for a fanfic story (NOT
a "slash" story, you pervs! ) for a meeting between Gainman's Death
and Polychrome.

Gerry Quinn

unread,
Mar 23, 2002, 8:41:28 PM3/23/02
to

> _THE TIN WOODMAN OF OZ_ (1918)
>Creepy and not in a good way. The Tin Woodsman was originally in love
>with a girl who was the daughter of a witch. The witch was the one who
>enchanted the Woodsman's axe to lop of parts of the Woodsman's body
>(the individual parts got replaced one at a time, until, finally his
>head was lopped off, which is how the Tin Woodsman became tin). Tin
>Woodsman decides to reacquaint himself with his lost love (mainly out
>of duty: his heart's set for kindness, not love, but it's unkind to
>just ignore her for all these years). Turns out that a soldier was
>ALSO in love with Nimee Amiee (the girl). His sword was also enchanted
>and now he's the Tin Soldier. Eventually they find the girl and find
>out that she's married to a guy who's made up of the glued together
>left-over "meat" parts from BOTH the Woodsman and the Soldier. Yuk.

Reads like it could easily be turned into grizzly modern cyberpunk...

- Gerry Quinn

Steve Parker

unread,
Mar 23, 2002, 9:50:25 PM3/23/02
to
On Sun, 24 Mar 2002 01:41:28 GMT, ger...@indigo.ie (Gerry Quinn)
wrote:

>Reads like it could easily be turned into grizzly modern cyberpunk...

Having escaped from Dr. Glinda's Labs, their "soft" meatware parts
replaced with new tin-alloy cyborg parts against their will in inhuman
experiments, Chopper and Fyter* decide to hunt down the woman who
turned them over to WizCorp.

---------------------------------

His mirrored eyes shining with rage, Chopper said "When I get my hands
on Nimee, y'know what I'm gonna...."

Fyter, much more experienced from his years fighting in an undeclared
"police action" against the ferocious Winkies, on the Munchkin
borderlands put his cold cyborg hand on Nick's unfeeling tin shoulder
and said "Don't waste your energy ranting, Nick. We have to find her
first. Can you plug into YellowNet? Let's uplink to zone Emerald and
see what we can find on her."

A few minutes of searching revealed nothing.

Then suddenly Nick unjacked from the net in horror: "Fyter...she.
She's got our old bodies! She's nanimated our parts. She's SLEEPING
WITH OUR CORPSES!"

-------------------------

A thrilling new best seller by the man who brought you the best
selling _Neuralnets of Oz_ (The road was the color of a scrying glass
tuned to a dead channel..) and _OzCrash_ ("The Scarecrow was part of
an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. He's got straw up to here...")

Bane Books now brings you the best selling

_Tin Men of Oz_

Coming soon in Hardcover.

*No. Really, That's their names: Captain Fyter and Nick Chopper. I'm
not making this up, you know.

Steve
(Looking at what I read, I'm goin' straight to Hell.)

Henry Churchyard

unread,
Mar 24, 2002, 11:27:53 AM3/24/02
to
In article <jpjn9u8tt4j4st1ra...@4ax.com>,
Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> wrote:

>The Novels of L. Frank Baum

> _OZMA OF OZ_ (1907)


> If I *had* to pick, this is probably my favorite Oz book.

I agree (my favorite OZ by Baum)...


> If you've seen Disney's "Return To Oz" movie (which I loved), the
> whole Nome King part came straight from this book.

Never saw the movie, but I read the novelization, and really hated it.


> _THE EMERALD CITY OF OZ_ (1910)

> It's pretty obvious that Baum was getting bored with Oz as this book
> is *bad*. Dorothy asks Ozma to bring Aunt Em and Uncle Henry to Oz
> to live. She agrees and most of the rest of the book is Dorothy
> showing off all the icky-cute villages in Oz to her relatives

But what about the College with its "School Pills", and Flutterbudget
Center and Rigmarole Town (the "Defensive Settlements of Oz")? I
thought those were nice touches...


> _QUEEN ZIXI OF IX (1905)

> Baum's masterpiece. Sadly not as well known as _The Wonderful Wizard
> of Oz_. A fairy-tale that *should* be a classic, dammit!

I read this and liked it somewhat, but not really sure it's a classic.


> _DOT AND TOT IN MERRYLAND_ (1901)
> Ick. Two toddlers travel around a magical land. Ick, ick, ick.

I have a slightly soft spot for this one, since I have the original
copy that was probably my grandmother's when she was a child.
There's not much plot, but the book doesn't pretend to be something
that it's not -- and it was really intended to be read aloud by
parents to kids under 9 or so (rather than to be read by the children
themselves). And Douglas Hofstadter got his idea for "Tumbolia" in
_Godel Escher Bach_ from the "Island of Lost Things" in this book ;-)


--%!PS
10 10 scale/M{rmoveto}def/R{rlineto}def 12 45 moveto 0 5 R 4 -1 M 5.5 0 R
currentpoint 3 sub 3 90 0 arcn 0 -6 R 7.54 10.28 M 2.7067 -9.28 R -5.6333
2 setlinewidth 0 R 9.8867 8 M 7 0 R 0 -9 R -6 4 M 0 -4 R stroke showpage
% Henry Churchyard chu...@crossmyt.com http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/

Mark Jason Dominus

unread,
Mar 24, 2002, 9:49:33 PM3/24/02
to
In article <jpjn9u8tt4j4st1ra...@4ax.com>,
Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> wrote:
> _THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ_ (1900)
>
>In addition there's some significant differences between the book and
>the movie, the most important of which is that instead of the "you
>had these qualities all along" preachy ending in the movie, the
>Wizard actually gives the Scarecrow a brain, the Tin Woodsman a heart
>and courage to the lion

I don't think so. He gives the Tin Woodman a red silk heart stuffed
with sawdust, and fills the Scarecrow's head with a mixture of bran
and pins. And as you noted, the Lion's courage comes out of a
suspicious-looking green bottle.

When I first read this (at age five or six) I thought that the Wizard
was giving them magic brains, hearts, and courage. But I think Baum's
actual intent was much closer to the movie than I thought at the time:

Oz, left to himself, smiled to think of his success in
giving the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and the Lion exactly
what they thought they wanted. "How can I help being a
humbug," he said, "when all these people make me do things
that everybody knows can't be done? It was easy to make the
Scarecrow and the Lion and the Woodman happy, because they
imagined I could do anything. But it will take more than
imagination to carry Dorothy back to Kansas, and I'm sure I
don't know how it can be done."

I think that the movie's translation to diplomas, testimonials, and
medals was pretty good.

>There's also a whole string of adventures that follow the Wizard
>taking off in the balloon, that are somewhat anti-climatic.

When I first saw the movie at age six or whatever, I was scandalized
that they left this part out. In retrospect, if I had been making the
movie, I would have done the same thing. Not only is this third part
extraneous, it's in the 'twee travelogue' mode.

>Oz, in this book and the next one is a far darker place than the
>sunny, happy place it would become in the later books.

"In this country everyone must pay for everything he gets. If
you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again you
must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you."

And there's also that twist about how Oz forces everyone to have green
tinted spectacles locked to their heads, so that they'll think that
the city is really made of emeralds. In later books, the city really
*is* made of emeralds.

Last time I looked at the book, the thing the struck me was how
strange the illustrations were. Denslow's drawings make everyone look
at least fifty years old. After the first book, Baum and Denslow had
a falling out, and that's why the subsequent books are illustrated by
Neill. Neill's style is a lot less peculiar, less crabbed, and more
cheerful; the change in the illustrations parallels the change in the
tone of the writing.

I really like those Denslow illustrations.

> _THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ_ (1904)
>

>Somewhat dark, interesting social satire, recommended

The Woggle-Bug is especially funny. The characters are greatly
affronted at his terrible puns. With his educated vanity, he's a lot
more like the people I really know than most of Baum' magical
characters are.

>There's a scene where some secondary princess is in charge of Ev, and
>she has an unsavory habit (She collects heads and switches from head
>to head as the mood takes her- at one point she decides that she wants
>Dorothy) that's particularly nightmarish.

Yes, it's disgusting. (I mean that in the best way.) This is also
the part of the book that has the footnote about the Princess's
darning egg. I think that was the first footnote I had ever
encountered.

>If I *had* to pick, this is probably my favorite Oz book.

I agree. The suspense at the end is wonderful.

>The interesting bit about this book is that Baum brings in a *bunch*
>of characters from his other books as guests at Ozma's party.

I felt the same way. The book itself is no great shakes, but the
party at the end is great.

>"Utensila" where everyone is an eating implement,

This chapter mostly seems to exist to give Baum a chance to use as
many puns as he possibly can.

>("Bunbury" where everyone is a living baked good.

I did like the part of this that concerned the citizens of Bunbury
giving up their extra wheelbarrows and pianos so that Dorothy could
eat breakfast.

>In addition, in this book, Ozma seems particularly dim. She refuses
>to fight. She refuses to even act in self defense. She refuses to
>sully her magic belt by defending her people.

I remember being annoyed that she would use the magic belt to twist
the tunnel to come out at the Fountain of Oblivion, but nobody thought
to use it to twist the tunnel to come out back where it started.

> _THE SCARECROW OF OZ_ (1915)

>I dunno. Not very memorable and doesn't quite "feel" like an Oz
>book...the pacing's off, probably because novelizations of plays don't
>always suit either genre.

I never liked it either. But I read somewhere that this one was
Baum's favorite.

> _RINKITINK OF OZ_ (1916)
>This wasn't an Oz book, originally. Apparently Baum's publisher made
>him add in the Oz element,

Even at the tender age of eight, or ten, or however old I was, it was
obvious to me that this was what had happened. The ending is terribly
clumsy.

This puts me in the mood to write a replacement final chapter. It
couldn't stink as badly as what Baum actually wrote.

>The Wizard can't change him straight back to human but he can push
>him up the evolutionary scale. From goat to lamb to ostrich to
>"tottenhot" (black guy) to "mifket" (asian guy) to white aryan guy.

I wonder how this survived in recent editions. The stuff they've
recently cut out of the Doctor Dolittle books was a lot less
offensive.

> _QUEEN ZIXI OF IX (1905)
>Baum's masterpiece. Sadly not as well known as _The Wonderful Wizard
>of Oz_. A fairy-tale that *should* be a classic, dammit!

It's a fine, fine book.

>determine that the law says that the 100th (1000th?) person to pass
>through the city gates, REGARDLESS OF AGE/STATUS/ETC.

I think it's the 57th. A round number like 100 would have made too
much sense. It's a nice piece of satire. Choosing the 57th person
through the east gate after dawn isn't any dumber than the way the
English have done it for the past thousand years.

>Fantastic story, probably Baum's best in terms of pacing,
>characterization and tone.

I was surprised at how well the five royal councillors were
characterized. Usually when Baum comes up with five characters named
Tallydab, Tellydeb, Tillydib, Tollydob, and Tullydub, I don't expect
to be able to tell them apart.

> _THE MASTER KEY (1901)
>An attempt at Scientifiction. A young "electrical experimenter" (the
>type who would later read Gernsback's early magazines) accidentally
>summons The Spirit of Electricity.

I think I read somewhere that the kid is supposed to be Baum's son,
Frank Joslyn Baum.

> _THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS (1902)
>A weird, semi-pagan "Secret Origin of Santa Claus" story. Odd,
>charming, strange.

I agree with Eric Walker here: The book does a good job of coming up
with a plausible backstory for Santa Claus. As I recall, it confronts
head-on the sort of difficult issues that puzzle most kids who think
about Santa Claus: How does he visit all those houses in just one
night? How does he get in when there's no chimney? Has he always
been old? Why doesn't he get older?

> _JOHN DOUGH AND THE CHERUB_ (1906)

>I'm fairly certain there was a plot here, but I remember nothing about it.
>

They're being pursued by Abdul Alhazred, who wants to sacrifice the
Gingerbread Man's magical flesh to Yog-Sothoth.

--
Mark Jason Dominus m...@plover.com
Philadelphia Excursions Mailing List: http://www.plover.com/~mjd/excursions/

Steve Parker

unread,
Mar 24, 2002, 11:22:46 PM3/24/02
to

But later, it's clear that the gifts *do* work. You make an excellent
point in terms of _The Wonderful Wizard..._ (and I never thought of
that passage in the context you mention it before) but in later books,
there's (IMO) clearly a retcon going on: the Scarecrow's brains *do*
work, etc. The Lion, however, has apperently gone on the wagon, as
he's just as cowardly as he was before.

>
>>There's also a whole string of adventures that follow the Wizard
>>taking off in the balloon, that are somewhat anti-climatic.
>
>When I first saw the movie at age six or whatever, I was scandalized
>that they left this part out. In retrospect, if I had been making the
>movie, I would have done the same thing. Not only is this third part
>extraneous, it's in the 'twee travelogue' mode.

Except for the fighting trees, which were creepy.


>>In addition, in this book, Ozma seems particularly dim. She refuses
>>to fight. She refuses to even act in self defense. She refuses to
>>sully her magic belt by defending her people.
>
>I remember being annoyed that she would use the magic belt to twist
>the tunnel to come out at the Fountain of Oblivion, but nobody thought
>to use it to twist the tunnel to come out back where it started.

My big thing was to figure out how many different ways I could use the
wishing belt to fix the problem: "I wish that the Nome King and all
his allies got amnesia", "I wish that whatever makes the Deadly Desert
deadly extends below and above the surface of the desert. Like into
the tunnels", "I wish the Nome King, and all his allies' heads
exploded."

IIRC, Baum seriously cranked down the power of the wishing belt in
later novels. (IIRC it only protected Dorothy from mortal harm and it
only gave one minor wish a day). I understand *why* he did it from a
plot point, but he hadn't done it yet.

Also, Ozma was never this dim before or since. (She was perfectly
willing to use force in other books.) Really, the only thing this book
has going for it is Uncle Henry and Aunt Em's first chapter or two in
Oz (where Aunt Em stares down the "ferocious" Cowardly Lion) and the
scenes of the Nome King gathering his allies (which were excellent)

>> _JOHN DOUGH AND THE CHERUB_ (1906)
>>I'm fairly certain there was a plot here, but I remember nothing about it.
>>
>They're being pursued by Abdul Alhazred, who wants to sacrifice the
>Gingerbread Man's magical flesh to Yog-Sothoth.

That's just wrong on *so* many levels. <chuckle>

Mark Jason Dominus

unread,
Mar 25, 2002, 12:21:51 AM3/25/02
to
In article <qu8t9u4r0pi0sfgvr...@4ax.com>,

Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> wrote:
>But later, it's clear that the gifts *do* work.

Sure. I agree with you that it was a retcon. It's just another
example of the way that the later books were much less complex than
the earlier ones.

>Really, the only thing this book has going for it is Uncle Henry and
>Aunt Em's first chapter or two in Oz (where Aunt Em stares down the
>"ferocious" Cowardly Lion)

I'd forgotten about that scene; I did like that. The scene I
remembered was the unnecessarily cruel one in which Henry and Em are
transported to the Royal Palace for the first time, and Em still has
soap suds on her arms and is holding her wet dishrag. Ozma's not
willing to use the magic belt to get rid of the armies of demons that
are coming to destroy her kingdom and enslave her subjects, but she
doesn't hesitate to humiliate an innocent old woman with it. Bah.

>and the scenes of the Nome King gathering his allies (which were excellent)

Definitely the high point of the book. The Phanphasms terrified me.
Go General Guph!

Do you remember what happened to Guph's predecessor? As I recall, his
name was Krinkle, and when the King advised him of his desire to
invade and destroy Oz, Krinkle told him that it was beyond his power
and he'd do best to forget the whole thing. Whereupon the King
ordered Krinkle to be taken away to the slicing machine, and sliced
very thin. Yipes.

I suppose that the slicing machine may have had some sort of
metalurgical function, but perhaps it was kept around expressly for
the slicing of impolitic army officers.

Mark Jason Dominus

unread,
Mar 25, 2002, 12:27:29 AM3/25/02
to
In article <a7immq$2...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,

Ross TenEyck <ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu> wrote:
>When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome.

Me too.

>I'm not entirely sure why anymore... it may have been the
>illustrations.

She's a total babe! And she wears that cute hat.

William George Ferguson

unread,
Mar 25, 2002, 1:09:57 AM3/25/02
to
On Mon, 25 Mar 2002 05:27:29 +0000 (UTC), m...@plover.com (Mark Jason
Dominus) wrote:

>In article <a7immq$2...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,
>Ross TenEyck <ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu> wrote:
>>When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome.
>
>Me too.
>
>>I'm not entirely sure why anymore... it may have been the
>>illustrations.
>
>She's a total babe! And she wears that cute hat.

I think every hormonally male reader had a crush on Polychrome (and I
do and did meet that qualification). On rereading, she really didn't
have much of a part in either of the books she was in as part of a
travel group, but my goodness, the impression she made on young male
minds. (My personal favorite character is probably still Patches
though)


--
I have a theory
It could be bunnies

Sea Wasp

unread,
Mar 25, 2002, 11:05:40 AM3/25/02
to
William George Ferguson wrote:
>
> On Mon, 25 Mar 2002 05:27:29 +0000 (UTC), m...@plover.com (Mark Jason
> Dominus) wrote:
>
> >In article <a7immq$2...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,
> >Ross TenEyck <ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu> wrote:
> >>When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome.
> >
> >Me too.
> >
> >>I'm not entirely sure why anymore... it may have been the
> >>illustrations.
> >
> >She's a total babe! And she wears that cute hat.
>
> I think every hormonally male reader had a crush on Polychrome (and I
> do and did meet that qualification).

Polychrome was definitely a babe for those of us in our near-to-early
teens... I thought Ozma was pretty hot, too. (now I twitch at that
memory)

On rereading, she really didn't
> have much of a part in either of the books she was in as part of a
> travel group, but my goodness, the impression she made on young male
> minds. (My personal favorite character is probably still Patches
> though)

Do you mean "Scraps"? (if so, please don't tell me you thought she
was hot...)

--
Sea Wasp
/^\
;;;
http://www.wizvax.net/seawasp/index.htm

William George Ferguson

unread,
Mar 25, 2002, 1:48:31 PM3/25/02
to
>William George Ferguson wrote:
[about Polychrome, the Rainbow's daughter]

>> On rereading, she really didn't
>> have much of a part in either of the books she was in as part of a
>> travel group, but my goodness, the impression she made on young male
>> minds. (My personal favorite character is probably still Patches
>> though)

Sea Wasp <sea...@wizvax.net> wrote:
> Do you mean "Scraps"? (if so, please don't tell me you thought she
>was hot...)

Yes, Scraps, the Patchwork Girl. I didn't think she was hot (I'm not
that strange), just possibly the most fun character in the series.

As I think of it, in a lot of ways the character of Anya, the eleven
hundred and twenty-something ex-demon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is
riminiscent of her.

--
I have a theory, it could be bunnies

Jim Cambias

unread,
Mar 25, 2002, 5:42:21 PM3/25/02
to
In article <14vo9usppritkb0oo...@4ax.com>,
spar...@attbi.com wrote:

> On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 23:20:45 -0800, Lee Ann Rucker <lru...@mac.com>
> wrote:
>
> >This is the point where I started seeing Xanth parallels and gave up,
> >but I've been told I quit too soon.
>
> IMO, _Emerald City_ is the worst (by far) of Baum's Oz books. If you
> like the earlier ones, I'd say you might want to try the remaining
> books: you'll notice a dramatic improvement right away with
> _Patchwork Girl_ onward, but beware of _Scarecrow_ and _Tin Woodsman_
> (though they're not as bad as _Emerald City_).
>

Tin Woodman ought to be the sacred text of the transhumanist movement.
It's full of weird riffs on identity and personality. At one point the
Tin Woodman has a conversation with his former head!

Cambias

dix...@pobox.com

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Mar 25, 2002, 5:49:38 PM3/25/02
to
On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 18:00:58 -0700, Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> wrote:
> _THE MAGICAL MONARCH OF MO (1903)
>A mediocre Oz clone. Not very good.

Whatever one may think of MMM's merits, it is *not* an "Oz clone". It was
written, though not published, well before any of the Oz stories were.

--
Meredith Dixon <dix...@pobox.com>
Check out *Raven Days*: http://www.ravendays.org
For victims and survivors of bullying.
And for those who want to help.

Michael Lo

unread,
Mar 26, 2002, 11:14:24 AM3/26/02
to
Yes I am not alone! When I was a kid I had a thing for Poly too
though I had a even bigger crush on Ozma-I love that brunnette
look of hers. It was definitely the illustrations that won me over
to them. That scene where Ozma meets Polychrome in person for the
first time was described as a meeting between the most beautiful
girls ever rang pretty true to me when I was a little kid.

One thing I didn't notice from the excellent listing from Steve Parker
is that Baum's depiction of fairies which makes them extremely potent beings
above the usual 2" little girls with butterfly wings came before Tolkien's
returning elves to their former mythic glory.


ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Ross TenEyck) wrote in message news:<a7immq$2...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>...

Scott Beeler

unread,
Mar 26, 2002, 7:00:11 PM3/26/02
to
Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 24 Mar 2002 01:41:28 GMT, ger...@indigo.ie (Gerry Quinn)
> wrote:
>
> >Reads like it could easily be turned into grizzly modern cyberpunk...
>
> Having escaped from Dr. Glinda's Labs, their "soft" meatware parts
> replaced with new tin-alloy cyborg parts against their will in inhuman
> experiments, Chopper and Fyter* decide to hunt down the woman who
> turned them over to WizCorp.
[snip]

> Steve
> (Looking at what I read, I'm goin' straight to Hell.)

Maybe, but it greatly amused some of us who I guess will be joining
you. :-)

--
Scott C. Beeler scott...@home.com

mstemper - emis . com

unread,
Mar 27, 2002, 1:07:58 PM3/27/02
to
In article <tdeq9u02mj63tj032...@4ax.com>, Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> writes:

>Bane Books now brings you the best selling
>
> _Tin Men of Oz_
>
>Coming soon in Hardcover.
>
>*No. Really, That's their names: Captain Fyter and Nick Chopper. I'm
>not making this up, you know.

I know who Nick Chopper was, but have no idea who "Captain Fyter" was.
Not the Scarecrow, since he wasn't ever anything but the Scarecrow.

>(Looking at what I read, I'm goin' straight to Hell.)

Say "Hi!" to PJF, who'll probably be in there with you for _A Barnstormer
in Oz_.

--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Steve Parker

unread,
Mar 27, 2002, 2:48:59 PM3/27/02
to
On 27 Mar 2002 18:07:58 GMT, mstemper @ siemens - emis . com (Michael
Stemper) wrote:

>In article <tdeq9u02mj63tj032...@4ax.com>, Steve Parker <spar...@attbi.com> writes:
>
>>Bane Books now brings you the best selling
>>
>> _Tin Men of Oz_
>>
>>Coming soon in Hardcover.
>>
>>*No. Really, That's their names: Captain Fyter and Nick Chopper. I'm
>>not making this up, you know.
>
>I know who Nick Chopper was, but have no idea who "Captain Fyter" was.
>Not the Scarecrow, since he wasn't ever anything but the Scarecrow.

Captain Fyter is The Tin Soldier, who ALSO dated Nimee Amiee and who's
leftover meat parts were mixed with Nick Chopper's leftover meat parts
to make 'Chopfyt' (?), Nimee Amiee's Leftover-Parts Zombie Hunk o'
Manlove.

And as an aside, in on of the more vomit-inducing Ruth Plumly Thompson
Oz books, it turns out (not as far as I'm concerned, mind you) that
the Scarecrow's um...animating force came from the fact that the pole
he was on went all the way through the earth and came out in Ugly
Oriental Stereotype Land. And the king of UOSL died (or something) and
his soul travelled up the flagpole to animate the Scarecrow. Blech.
And it's told in an icky-sweet singsong authorial voice.

I hate Thompson's Oz books.


And having written this, I now see where John Byrne swiped his current
writing style from ("Green Goblin and Aunt May are dead? No they're
not!")

>
>>(Looking at what I read, I'm goin' straight to Hell.)
>
>Say "Hi!" to PJF, who'll probably be in there with you for _A Barnstormer
>in Oz_.

I'll be sure to do that! :D

Steve

dix...@pobox.com

unread,
Mar 27, 2002, 4:13:39 PM3/27/02
to
On 27 Mar 2002 18:07:58 GMT, mstemper @ siemens - emis . com (Michael Stemper)
wrote:
>Not the Scarecrow, since he wasn't ever anything but the Scarecrow.

Oh, yes, he was. Read Ruth Plumly Thompson's first Oz book, which her
publishers falsely claimed was based on Baum's notes, *The Royal Book of Oz*,
for more on how the Scarecrow is actually the reincarnation of an Oriental
potentate.

Or don't. It's ghastly.

Dan Clore

unread,
Apr 9, 2002, 1:36:58 AM4/9/02
to

Which points out that it's no longer *his* head, but now its
own personal property.

--
Dan Clore
mailto:cl...@columbia-center.org

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
Including all my fiction through 2001, and more.
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro

Lord We˙rdgliffe:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/necpage.htm
News for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

I've watched the dogs of war enjoying their feast
I've seen the western world go down in the east
The food of love became the greed of our time
But now we're living on the profits of crime
--Black Sabbath, "Hole in the Sky"

Dan Clore

unread,
Apr 9, 2002, 1:39:49 AM4/9/02
to
Sea Wasp wrote:
> William George Ferguson wrote:
> > On Mon, 25 Mar 2002 05:27:29 +0000 (UTC), m...@plover.com (Mark Jason
> > Dominus) wrote:
> > >In article <a7immq$2...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,
> > >Ross TenEyck <ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu> wrote:
> > >>When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome.

> Polychrome was definitely a babe for those of us in our near-to-early


> teens... I thought Ozma was pretty hot, too.

Did you develop this crush on Ozma before or after it was
revealed that she had been disguised as Tip?

Jim Cambias

unread,
Apr 9, 2002, 9:25:32 AM4/9/02
to
In article <3CB27EA5...@columbia-center.org>, Dan Clore
<cl...@columbia-center.org> wrote:

> Sea Wasp wrote:
> > William George Ferguson wrote:
> > > On Mon, 25 Mar 2002 05:27:29 +0000 (UTC), m...@plover.com (Mark Jason
> > > Dominus) wrote:
> > > >In article <a7immq$2...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,
> > > >Ross TenEyck <ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu> wrote:
> > > >>When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome.
>
> > Polychrome was definitely a babe for those of us in our
near-to-early
> > teens... I thought Ozma was pretty hot, too.
>
> Did you develop this crush on Ozma before or after it was
> revealed that she had been disguised as Tip?

And do you think Bugs Bunny is attractive when he dresses up as a woman?

Just asking.

Cambias

Sea Wasp

unread,
Apr 9, 2002, 11:41:01 AM4/9/02
to
Dan Clore wrote:
>
> Sea Wasp wrote:
> > William George Ferguson wrote:
> > > On Mon, 25 Mar 2002 05:27:29 +0000 (UTC), m...@plover.com (Mark Jason
> > > Dominus) wrote:
> > > >In article <a7immq$2...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>,
> > > >Ross TenEyck <ten...@alumnae.caltech.edu> wrote:
> > > >>When I was a kid, I had a huge crush on Polychrome.
>
> > Polychrome was definitely a babe for those of us in our near-to-early
> > teens... I thought Ozma was pretty hot, too.
>
> Did you develop this crush on Ozma before or after it was
> revealed that she had been disguised as Tip?

After, of course. Tip was a boy. (Not a disguise, but a complete
mystical transformation and mindwoogie).

I read the entire series in order.

Eric Walker

unread,
Apr 10, 2002, 4:30:00 AM4/10/02
to
On Tue, 09 Apr 2002 13:25:32 GMT, Jim Cambias wrote:

[...]

>And do you think Bugs Bunny is attractive when he dresses up
>as a woman?

Awful. But now, Babs Bunny ("Do you like me better with my
ears up . . . or down?"), well . . . .


--
Cordially,
Eric Walker, webmaster
Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works
http://sfandf.owlcroft.com/


Paul Andinach

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Apr 30, 2002, 4:58:53 AM4/30/02
to
"Eric Walker" <ra...@owlcroft.com> wrote in
news:enfsjbjypebsgpbz...@news.cis.dfn.de:

> On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 18:00:58 -0700, Steve Parker wrote:

> > _THE ENCHANTED ISLE OF YEW (1903)
> > This is the one major Baum book I've never read.
>
> A fairy decides she wants some variety in her life and so
> elects--after consulting with a couple of young human girls--to
> become, for the term of one year, a dashing "prince charming"
> sort of male human ("Prince Marvel") and have adventures.

Yes, but does Baum use the joke that Anthony would have used had he
written it?

Trepid minds want to know.


Paul
--
The Pink Pedanther

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