Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Review: Visitors From Oz

I was about halfway through reading this fine book for the first time, when I was shocked to hear that the author Martin Gardner had recently passed away. He was a mathmetictian and author, but most noted for his work on Alice In Wonderland titled The Annotated Alice. He was also a big fan of L. Frank Baum, to which he did a retrospective in his book The Wizard Of Oz And Who He Was. Gardner later wrote this book for the 100th anniversary of the original Wizard Of Oz.

Set in modern day(when it came out it was 1999), movie director Samuel Gold wants to do a film based on The Emerald City Of Oz, so of course he tries getting Dorothy to help make it. He manages to email Glinda(who apparently was set up with AOL)and arranges for her to come to America, although Glinda had Oz sealed away from the rest of the world at the end of The Emerald City Of Oz, so she arranges for Ku-Klip(Tin Man's old tinsmith)to create a Klein Bottle to bridge the gap between to Oz and Earth. A "Klein Bottle" is like an inter-dimensional Mobius strip. They find that they have to install the bottle in the town of Ballville in order to be able to make it to America, so Dorothy along with Scarecrow and Tin Man head out to Ballville with the bottle. Along the way, they discover a doorway leading to Wonderland(yes, that Wonderland)and decide to give it a look. Once there, they find out the inhabitants there aren't as mad as Lewis Carroll advertised. After they come back from there, they have a run in with a pushy giant, but manage to finally make it to New York which is where the Klein Bottle leads to. They befriend Samuel Gold, however soon learn that he is not the most loved movie producer in town. His rival, Buffalo Boggs, is planning his own sketchy production of Peter Pan, so he sends two goons to try and snuff out Dorothy and Co. After a few failed attempts, Dorothy uses the Water of Oblivion to erase the goons and Boggs' memories. So, Dorothy goes back to Oz, Gold makes his movie, and Martin Gardner breaks the fourth wall by being called in to write a book about the whole thing.

I'd say that this was a pretty good Oz story, at least taking into account the history of the original books, although its seems a little convenient that a portal to Wonderland is located in Oz. But its a nice use of the characters, and puting them in present day America. I'd very much recommend this for hardcore Ozians.

1 comment:

  1. To be fair books after "The Emerald City Of Oz" ignore the seal with people for the outside world popping up or being teleported into Oz quite easily (see "The Shaggy Man of Oz" for case in point)