Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond Eschews the Yellow Brick Road and Picks a Darker One — A Review

I mean if a book can be summarized like so, it may not be as light or set in as kid-friendly a world as we thought:

Foreword: Oz and Ourselves by Gregory Maguire

The foreword claims readers think of Oz when they create new worlds with their imaginations. I wasn’t Oz-crazy as a kid and I’m not doing that now!

Introduction: There’s No Place Like Oz by John Joseph Adams & Douglas Cohen

Describes the themes of stories in this anthology.

The Great Zeppelin Heist of Oz by Rae Carson & C.C. Finlay

Relates the origin story of Oscar Diggs, who really wants to be the Oz we all have known but runs into roadblocks of the feminist variety! This is all you need to know about the man himself:

“This is what you call progress,” Oz said. “In the land where I come from, which is known as Nebraska, there were once great tribes of Indians and endless herds of buffalo. Then men like me came along, and we achieved progress, which we memorialize by stamping it on a nickel.”
“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.

I liked this one for its cheekiness.

Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust by Seanan McGuire

A grown-up Dorothy or Dot investigates a murder that involves the addictive Dust and munchkins in a dark, gritty Oz ruled over by the sorceress, Ozma.

A very noir PI plot. I liked it!

Lost Girls of Oz by Theodora Goss

Dottie’s big sister, Nell, has crossed into Oz and is part of Ozma’s big plans. This was just okayish.

The Boy Detective of Oz: An Otherland Story by Tad Williams

A sim adventure in an Oz that’s constantly reset when things go awry–and they often do! I

Dorothy Dreams by Simon R. Green

Life moved on for Dorothy after she returned to Kansas. What do you think the afterlife would be like for her? No surprises, so an okay story.

Dead Blue by David Farland

This version of Oz may be replete with technomages and cyborgs, but it focuses on the one thing the original didn’t, i.e., the psychological burden of becoming a murderer at such a young age. A short but good read.

So, I found this existed while searching for a cyborg Dorothy. Watch the trailer here.

One Flew Over the Rainbow by Robin Wasserman

Oh, this one was daaaaark, so I really liked it. Of course, I liked it. So, I’m not going to spoil this one for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. But I’ll tempt you with a quote:

Crow doesn’t want to die.

She wants to feel something, that’s what she tells me one night after he runs out of questions and leaves us to our reality TV and morphine drips. That’s why she jumps.

I feel too much, I tell her. That’s why the scars crawl up my legs and down my arms, intricate jags and whirls of hardened tissue; that’s why I grid myself with the knife, quadrants of lines and angles, my diagram of pain.

The Veiled Shanghai by Ken Liu

Set in an alternate China at the time of the May Fourth Movement in Shanghai, this is a grimdark entry like the one before. It ends on an uplifting note and while I liked that–and the story–I felt it was overly long,

Find more about the movement here.

Beyond the Naked Eye by Rachel Swirsky

Think Hunger Games but set in Oz and you’ll have guessed what this one is about. An okay read for me.

A Tornado of Dorothys by Kat Howard


There have been many Dorothys before her and there would be more if the Wizard had his way. But this one seems to know her own mind and that changes things. Eerie, ominous, and ends in a girl rebelling against the status quo–what else could I have asked for in a story? Kat Howard’s done it for me before and she does it again!

Blown Away by Jane Yolen

Dorothy is lost to her family when a tornado blows her away. She joins a circus, only to turn up at the homestead a few years later. Can she accept life as it was now that she has had a taste of independence? A below average read for me.

City So Bright by Dale Bailey

Revolution is simmering under the surface. Our protagonist is a Munchkin and just one of the magical creatures enslaved by Oz. The quote below accurately describes how dangerous is the Oz our protagonist lives in:

“Dorothy,” I will say, “the Emerald City is built upon the backs of millions.”

“Dorothy,” I will say, “the Munchkins no longer have a song in their hearts.”

“Dorothy,” I will say, “help us.”

Help us.

While I liked the world this story is set in, I wanted to see what Dorothy would do to set the creatures free.

Off to See the Emperor by Orson Scott Card

A young Frank L. Baum discovers there’s more to the world than most people see. Whether it was a dream or a true vision, that rare glimpse is why he creates the world of Oz as an adult. Another just okay read.

A Meeting in Oz by Jeffrey Ford

From the girl who saved the citizens of Oz to a shoe salesperson in the mundane world, Dorothy has fallen low. But things could improve now that she’s back in Oz. Will they, though? An okayish read.

The Cobbler of Oz by Jonathan Maberry

The tiniest saddest flying monkey who cannot fly gets her life changed when she meets this cobbler. A cutesy adventure with a fun ending.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeremy Beard says:

    I’m always interested in different takes on classic tales. I’ll have to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Midu Hadi says:

      Do you also think Oz has always been dark, we just couldn’t see it as kids?

      Like

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