...and we say goodbye to Oz, at least for a while. Some of you will be sad that I'm not going to keep going Some of you will rejoice that the subject matter will be changing next week.
In any event, I have some closing thoughts: first, if you're unfamiliar with Oz beyond Baum, don't be afraid. Thompson has some rough patches (and Neill as a writer is basically one big rough patch), but the rest of the Famous Forty are all fun reads. They often equal, and occasionally rise beyond, Baum's own work. For more snarky (and insightful) coverage of this material, I heartily suggest you visit Mari Ness's re-reads for every book over at Tor. They're both hilarious and educational.
Some of my favorite Oz books, however, actually go beyond the vintage titles. Books written by later authors, despite not being in the "official" canon, can be ridiculously good. For instance, and I believe I've made this clear already, anything with Eric Shanower's name on it should be an instant buy, as both a writer AND illustrator. In particular, you'll want copies of his "Adventures in Oz" comic books (recently reprinted by IDW as "Little Adventures in Oz"). "The Salt Sorcerer of Oz (and Other Stories)" should also be on your radar from Eric. It collects his short fiction work from Oz, and is - of course - stunningly illustrated by the author as well. On that last note, I should mention that Eric Shanower is my all-time favorite Oz illustrator. Yes, ahead of Neill.
Speaking of books Shanower illustrated, I absolutely have to mention my favorite Oz book of all time, Edward Einhorn's "Paradox in Oz." It's utterly brilliant and completely marvelous. The book is basically "Back to the Future, Part 2," only Ozma is Marty, and a magical creature known as the Parrot-Ox is her Delorean. After accidently altering the past while joyriding around time (OZMA FAIL), she creates a parallel timeline featuring an Obsidian City ruled by a dark Wizard. It starts crazy and only gets more bonkers from there (in an utterly delightful way). Granted, me praising it is really kind of a dick move, as it's apparently fallen out-of-print recently. Hopefully Hungry Tiger Press will get it back out there again soon.
ANYWAY, that's Oz. I doubt this is the last we'll see of it in Lit Brick, but this particular series has come to an end. What's next? I actually have no idea. Let's find out together!
Author: L. Frank Baum • Year: 1920 • Info:Tor Online