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Oz Reimagined
edited by John Joseph Adams & Douglas Cohen
47North, 378 pages

Oz Reimagined
John Joseph Adams
John Joseph Adams is the editor of such anthologies as Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Night Shade Books, January 2008), Seeds of Change (Prime Books, Summer 2008), and The Living Dead (Night Shade Books, Fall 2008). He was also the assistant editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and is now the editor of Lightspeed and Fantasy Magazine. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of Central Florida in December 2000. He currently lives in New Jersey.

John Joseph Adams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Under the Moons of Mars
SF Site Review: Brave New Worlds
SF Site Review: The Living Dead 2
SF Site Review: The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
SF Site Review: Federations
SF Site Review: Wastelands
SF Site Review: Wastelands

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'"What happened to the Indians and the buffalos?"

"The same thing that is going to happen to your witches now that I'm here," Oz said, snatching the coin away. "Progress!"

"That doesn't make any sense," Gigi said.'

Oz Reimagined presents fifteen short stories by well known authors, delivering varied approaches and inconsistent quality. Some, are true to the original themes of L. Frank Baum, others go completely off the deep end and really have very little to do with what people think of when they hear the name Oz. I should make it clear that this collection is not suitable for younger children, containing as it does several examples of very dark and very adult writing. The anthology, therefore, should be considered a platform used by the authors to strip down and rebuild the concepts of Oz from the ground up.

This collection put me in mind of a scene in Warlock by Jim Starlin, where the lead character sees mountains of trash being built by clowns. The mountains keep tumbling, and the reason is that someone is putting a gem into the pile. The gem being the Warlock comic itself. Here, the gems are those stories which either offer something fresh and interesting, or which manage to stay true to the enduring imagery of L. Frank Baum. Among the latter are "The Great Zeppelin Heist Of Oz" which details how the evil wizard first arrived and came to power, "The Veiled Shanghai," where we meet a Chinese version of Dorothy in an oppressed Shanghai in 1919, "The Cobbler Of Oz," charmingly features a winged monkey with stunted wings, and her quest to fly again, "Off To See The Emperor," is an ingenious story where a young Dorothy shows a young L. Frank Baum how to perceive the Yellow Brick Road, and "Beyond The Naked Eye," presents the classic combination of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tinman as the last four contestants in a reality show. It is this story which contains one of the better lines in the book -- never trust anyone who pretends to be flawless. Sadly, not all the stories fare so well as those listed above. "Emeralds To Emeralds, Dust To Dust" features a lesbian Dorothy investigating a murder in the slums of Oz. "The Boy Detective Of Oz" shoehorns Orlando from Tad Williams's Otherland series into a virtual Oz, which should be enormous fun but somehow misses the mark. "Dorothy Dreams" gives us an elderly and infirm Dorothy which, by the normal standards of Simon R. Green, is distinctly lacking. "Dead Blue" drags a cyborg Tinman and a tech savvy Dorothy into the modern age, and in the process loses whatever charm these characters might have had. "One Flew Over The Rainbow" is perhaps the most controversial inclusion, containing as it does scenes of violence and rape. Not something that will sit easily with the Oz of most Baum readers's imagination.

Oz Reimagined is a collection which turned out to be more spills than thrills, and overall less than I'd hoped for. There were some surprisingly lackluster inclusions from authors who can normally do much better. Having said that, anyone who goes into this with eyes wide open, and not expecting to be transported back to the classic world of Oz, will find plenty of sparks. Quite how much value there is in those stories which reimagine Baum's characters to such an extent that they are effectively different characters, is another question. Some readers will appreciate the approach, others may find it about as authentic as the adventures of Jane Bond.

Copyright © 2013 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

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