Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by captcalhoun, Dec 22, 2011.
Death of a Prankster by M.C.Beaton
About a month ago I read The Marvelous Land of Oz, and even though it isn't perfect I had a lot of fun with it. I decided to continue with the next one, Ozma of Oz, to see how that one works as a sequel or a continuation that brings back Dorothy; and also because both Marvelous and Ozma were merged into the movie adaptation Return to Oz. So in a weird meta- kind of way, both books Marvelous and Ozma function jointly as a sequel to the original book.
I've heard and read lots of opinions that Return to Oz is more true in tone to the original books that the 1939 movie, but I think I feel like Return to Oz is more dark than L. Frank Baum actually intended.
This kind of felt more like a proper return, because it follows Dorothy back into the fairytale lands, and has all the other major members of her party (Scarecrow, Lion, Tin Man) return to meet with her again. A long time I have been familiar with these characters and their infamy in pop culture, and it was a quite an experience to see the original version of their reunion (Return to Oz doesn't do it justice). I was satisfied with The Scarecrow and the Tin Man's roles in Ozma of Oz, but I was really disappointed by the Lion's return. The Lion is no longer a king among the wildlife in a southern forest, he doesn't seem as involved as other characters, is overshadowed by a new character that is similar to him, and worst of all he's relapsed in his self-confidence about his cowardice or bravery. It's a real tragedy to see one of the original characters diminished.
There's a really effective moment near the end of the book, where one of the original beloved characters from the first book might not survive to the end of the third book. I wondered if Baum actually considered killing one of those original characters. But then, maybe the Lion's fate in the third book is worse than death? I wonder if he has better involvement in one of the later books?
I loved seeing the character that ended up being the MVP of the story, against a seemingly pretty formidable adversary. Ozma's soldier escort were a source of fun humor. The lunchbox and dinner pale trees were really weird, even in the movie.
It's really satisfying to have read books two and three, and be able to compare them to Return to Oz and see how they were adapted. Return to Oz does the right thing by transposing many of the events to where the audience wants them to be, in the land of Oz. There's this great suspenseful game of "guess which ornament is your transformed friends", and it's really effective to have the characters in the movie pronounce "Oz!" when they make their guesses. There's a nice haunting, eerie moment in the movie where Dorothy passes by the wreckage of her old house where it crash landed, I felt a little regret that there isn't a version of that return in the books.
So even though there's been a decent amount of original material in books two and three, beyond this point is uncharted territory for me.
A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers, because I really enjoyed her later book, The Ladies of the Secret Circus.
Star Trek Tos Savage Trade by Tony Daniel
Tbh, I don't think any of the original stars ever really get great roles again, except when they get self-titled books. Each book is usually focused on adding new people, with small appearances from old favorites.
I agree with you about tone. I think the difference is that Return gets the events right, but Baum is very matter of fact about these things. Langwidere could be creepy, but he makes her funny; Wheelers could be creepy, but he makes them pathetic. Especially in the first book, there's a lot of violence, but it never feels violent.
My son and I are almost done with Dorothy and the Wizard, and that one actually is kind of dark
That sounds like it bodes well for the expansion and world building of Oz and it's surrounding environments and associated characters. I gather that L. Frank Baum got sort of trapped by the success of Oz, and he ended up writing the books that he wanted to write, and making sure to incorporate cameos from the major characters that become established Oz staples. There's this whole thing about the Rinkitink book having had a different ending, so he re-purposed that. And how The Scarecrow of Oz is a third Cap'n Bill and Trot book (The Sea Fairies, Sky Island), reworked to include Oz so that it would be more successful. I haven't decided how far outside the box I will go, but I liked the looks of Sky Island, and found available reprints of The Sea Fairies and Sky Island (with the original illustrations!) to get a fuller picture when I get to Scarecrow.
Yeah, Langwidere was genuinely funny: "I don't mind if you find the royal family, I don't want to rule. I have to spend 10 minutes out of my day running affairs of state, and I would much rather admire myself all day long!" She's a pain-in-the-neck, and an obstacle, and someone to be avoided, but ultimately a good laugh. As for the Wheelers, I actually ended up feeling a little sorry for them. It sounds like they need help, need taking care of. Maybe they should offer themselves as delivery services in exchange for health care and protection.
I think I read that somewhere in a blog, that there is where some darker aspects of Baum's storytelling comes out. I wanted to ask you about this book, now that it's next up in the queue for me, and you've gone through it with your son. I was flipping through the old Del Rey paperback copy, as we talked about earlier in the thread, and it seems like there are significantly less illustrations for Dorothy and the Wizard. I was wondering, with your upgrade to a Books of Wonder facimile, did you notice if there was a drop in the amount of illustrations? It's really noticeable when going from the generous saturation of pictures in Ozma, and then Dorothy and the Wizard is so sparse.
DotWiz is one of two I own as a Dover edition. Those are pretty close facsimiles, except the colors plates are black and white, which didn't seem like enough to justify the cost of upgrading. The illustrations are sparser, usually just a chapter heading and one other per chapter, plus sometimes a color plate.
I didn't read the Trot books as a kid, and picked them up a few years ago. I wasn't much fussed by Sea Fairies but Sky Island was excellent.
As I recall, a couple of them have a preface in which he basically says, "okay, the last one was going to be it, but everybody was bugging me for more." I think he even said in like the third or fourth one that it was going to be the last.
When my daughter was younger, we got through a fair number of them, and found them all over the place. We were fans of Ozma of Oz and Patchwork Girl, and
Spoiler: spoiler for Road to Oz
found the Shaggy man and his Love Magnet a little suspicious
The latest episode of the Positively Trek Book Club is up! Bruce talks with author John Jackson Miller about Picard: Rogue Elements. Let us know what you think of the show!
Currently reading The Lost Era: Catalyst of Sorrows by Margaret Wander Bonanno.
Thanks for the feedback, I was worried that the Del Rey edition of Dorothy and the Wizard was doing what those Puffin books did, offering fewer illustrations!
I've seen some color plates of Neill's illustrations online here and there. If I really like one of the books to an insane level and like the color plate, I might upgrade one or two. As one example, Sky Island has some beautifully colored illustrations, so if that one agrees with me, I might upgrade to a Books of Wonder edition.
I gather that Emerald City was going to be his last one. But like Sherlock Holmes and the literary version of James Bond, the books continued! I've heard good things about Patchwork Girl, I look forward to that one. That character and item combo from Road to Oz certainly boggles the mind, should be interesting to see what the deal is with them when I get to that book.
Just finished The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway with mixed feelings and ST: Titan:Fallen Gods that I absolutely loved but then I'm a huge Andorian fanboy.
As tempting as it was to immediately re-read Rogue Elements, I'm re-reading Madelaine L'Engle's "Kairos" novels (currently 3/4 of the way through The Arm of the Starfish).
It is amazing (and refreshing) to find a canon of religious-themed, explicitly Christian, popular fiction that is neither fundamentalist nor obsessed with eschatology (and which, not unexpectedly, drive eschatologically-obsessed fundamentalists crazy). Doubly so (on the "amazing," "refreshing," and "drives fundamentalists crazy" parts) when it's overtly Episcopalian.
Almost done Living Memory so next I plan on reading TNG: Shadows Have Offended which I have.
I just ordered Rogue Elements along with the first 2 Coda books. I'm anxious to read Coda so I might hold off reading Rogue Elements until I get those done (unless I read them quicker than I anticipate and have time between releases to throw in Rogue Elements).
I gather from @hbquikcomjamesl that was a good book. And Rios was one of my favorite 'new' characters from Picard so it's one I'm looking forward to.
One of the vanishingly rare few that got an "Outstanding" from me.
I'm pretty stingy with outstanding as well. It has to be a book I don't want to put down and be extremely well written. But that's as it should be. Outstanding should be reserved for truly exemplary novels
"Chekov's Enterprise" by Walter Koenig, which I've actually never read before.
Got Rogue Elements. I'll read that after Shadows. Have to admit I'm about 70 pages in and so far kind of meh about it. But I'm not giving up. I read both Phoenix books so I'm no quitter
And meh is still way better than those
Doing a run through of Rogue Elements too. Think I'm fairly close to the end at this point though.
I'm reading a G. Willow Wilson comic (Invisible Kingdom, Volume 2), but Rogue Elements is up as soon as I finish, too!
On the Kindle I’m reading Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies and Una McCormack’s The Baba Yaga. In print, I’m working on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six and Edouard Louis’s History of Violence, with Rogue Elements on deck. Oh, and I’m working on Reggie Oliver’s latest collection of strange stories as well.
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