Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book Review: Paradox In Oz

Edward Einhorn has written several Oz stories, including selections for Oz Story magazine. One of his boldest was Paradox In Oz, a time-traveling tale that for once brings Ozma in as the main character. and features some sparkling illustrations by Eric Shanower. Ringing a serious Dr. Who theme, this addresses the magic that keeps everyone in Oz perpetually young.

It starts out with Ozma being bombarded with complaints of everyone gradually showing signs of age. She goes to consult Glinda about it, who looks up in the Great Book. She discovers that the Aging Enchantment that was first cast on Oz when Ozma first took the throne was recently broken because of someone called the Man Who Lives Backwards. Glinda reveals that Ozma will at sometime in the future send her this man who is now a baby named Zoey. Zoey ages in reverse, so Ozma realizes she needs to go into the past to talk to him as an adult. In order to do this, she employs the help of a Parrot-Ox(a half-parrot/half-ox)named Tempus who has the ability to travel through time. He takes her back in time to meet her ancestor King Oz just before he was about to drink from the Forbidden Fountain that removes people's memories. However, this was an event that was supposed to happen because King Oz was originally a wicked king, and the fairy queen Lurline had enchanted Oz only after the King had lost his memory. Ozma returns to a point further in the future to find that the Aging Enchantment had never been cast, and that Oz was now ruled by an evil version of the Wizard. He has imprisioned an aging Glinda, but she and Ozma are rescued by a good version of Mombi. Ozma realizes she needs to go back and stop herself from skewing the timeline into this dark tangent. After returning to the past, she experiences numerous versions of herself trying to do the exact same thing. Ozma finally sets things right though with the timeline, and then proceeds on Tempus to Absurd City where the Man Who Lives Backwards is supposed to be. She finds him, and is suprised to find out that he is actually an alternate version of King Oz. Ozma manages to bring the information she needs from him back to the future to restart the Aging Enchantment.

This was a "thinking man's" Oz Story, at least in the factoring in of sci-fi elements with time travel and parallel universes. It can actually be a little bit of a headache if you haven't seen some of Star Trek or Back To The Future. Shanower's artwork is spectacular, especially the 2-page spread showing Ozma seeing all the multiple Ozes that are modeled after various Oz movies, cartoons, and other trade artwork. This storyline continues in Einhorn's other book, Living House Of Oz which features more of Tempus. The original print of Paradox In Oz was done through Hungry Tiger Press, but is currently out of print. It is still available used through Amazon and other dealers. A real great trip for Oz fans and sci-fi geeks!

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