Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: OZ Reimagined

There is a vast variety of stories imagined and reinvented throughout Oz Reimagined, which was the intent. Some of the stories were sparkling gems, like A Tornado of Dorothys where people were sucked into a situation to replay the original story line over and over for The Great Wizard of Oz's view of the world, until a real Dorothy comes along.

Stories like Veiled Shanghai was a bit hard to grasp and I got lost on the other side of the veil wondering exactly what the point was. The story was good and moved well, but it was a little hard to keep together. I wonder if that was because the setting was China and the lifestyle quite foreign to me. That one I intend to read a few more times to grasp the meaning better. Stopping in the middle wasn't a good idea either as I lost the thread. Or maybe it wasn't me.

Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust, although it dealt with drug trafficking in OZ and a culture that marginalized crossovers, was a fascinating and even guilty pleasure -- in spite of the central theme of drug addiction and trafficking.

Oz Reimagined has many transformative stories and stories that are a joy to read, so much so that getting to the end of the book was a little sad. At least I can read them over again and again, which is what the editors and writers hoped. They did themselves proud in that tradition as I'm sure L. Frank Baum intended his stories to become childhood (and adult) favorites.

One flash fiction piece, Dorothy Dreams, was a bit too pat and too heavenly for my taste. The writing was good and the story believable -- up to a point. It seemed less like "All Dogs Go To Heaven" and more like Dorothy gets old and goes back to OZ and God. The religious tones were a bit too loud for my taste; others might find it exactly to their liking. I did, however, like the idea that Dorothy got to go back to a kinder and gentler OZ where she wasn't fighting witches and flying monkeys and being chased by Winkies. Then again, what would be the fun in that?

Each of the stories in OZ Reimagined is a gem of a different color and brightness. My choices may not be yours, but all of the gems are worth admiring for their brightness and beauty. There is a lot to choose from with veterans like Orson Scott Card, Jane Yolen, and Tad Williams, but also from (to me) relative newcomers like Rachel Swirsky, Kat Howard, and Theodora Goss.