miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
I've been downloading and listening to the LibriVox recordings of Frank Baum's Oz books. These are all in the public domain (as is everything at LibriVox) and are read by volunteers. Thus, the quality varies. I listened to The Lost Princess of Oz first, and it was not bad -- everything was read by one man who did an acceptable job. Next I listened to Glinda of Oz, and here there were different readers for different chapters, with wildly varying levels of success. The first several chapters were read by a young boy who I suppose did well for his age, but his delivery was not exactly captivating and it was hard to follow along. Some of the other readers had thick accents, some were good readers and some not actually very good. It was a little jarring to get a completely different voice for nearly every chapter, but after all, it's free and they were all donating their time to the project.

One thing that interests me about this project is that we've talked for several years about doing recordings of some of our Tai-Pan stories to put on the web somewhere, and I suspect it would work much like there LibriVox recordings do.

Currently I'm listening to a dramatic reading of Ozma of Oz, with different voices for each of the characters when they speak. This is the best presentation of all -- the people involved have done a very good job of giving each of the characters a distinctive voice -- even if the Hungry Lion sounds like a cross between Dirty Harry and Tom Waits. I'd recommend this recording to anyone. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
I took Tuesday off so that I could stay in Longview Monday night and see the fireworks. The weather, for once, has been really nice for the 4th, and the fireworks were fun.

I brought two books down with me: Paradox in Oz and The Living House of Oz, both by Edward Einhorn. Frequently when I'm on vacation i bring one or several books and dont take the time to read anything. This time, I finished both books off and wish I'd brought something else along to read.

I liked The Living House of Oz. It's not, in my opinion, quite as good as Paradox in Oz, but both are excellent Oz books. (And to be honest, many of Baum's Oz books are less than stellar -- some lack any villain or what you might call a plot). Anyway, it occurred to me that Einhorn has pulled off a pretty neat trick: he does Maguire without doing Maguire. By which I mean he presents the Wicked Witch of the West in a sympathetic light, while writing a "cannon" Oz story rather than a revisionist Oz story. How does he do this? It's an alternate dimension Wicked Witch, of course, from a version of Oz where many of the good people are evil, and many of the evil people are good. He set that world up in Paradox, but he has a lot of fun with the idea of a wicked witch who isn't in The Living House.

I like Einhorn's two Oz books, and I hope he's writing another. The first came out in 1999 and the second in 2005, so he's not fast, but now would be about the right time for a third to appear if he's got one planned. I really like modern Oz books that borrow from Baum's Oz while trying to write a more coherent and exciting story than some of what Baum wrote.

This is what Jack Snow started, and many writers after him have taken his lead. Ruth Plumly Thompson was the second Oz Historian, and she ignored many of Baum's characters and rules and wrote Oz her own way. Artist John R. Neill followed her and he very much wrote yet another kind of Oz, one where everything talked, even houses, and logic kind of flew out the window. When Jack Snow got his turn to write Oz books, he ignored pretty much everything Thompson and Neill did. He went back to the Baum books and worked from there. Writers after him followed suit. This was greatly encouraged by Thompson, who was protective of her own work and did not want other writers messing with it.

Since then, of course, all of Baum's books have entered public domain, as well as Jack Snow's two books, but only some of Thompson's books and none of Neill's. So the "ignore most of what Thompson and Neill wrote" is enforced not only by author's choice but also by copyright constraints. Which is just fine with me. ^_^
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
"Aha! This confirms Thippersby's Principle of Foggy Time," cried King Oz. "It says that whenever there are too many time anomalies in the same space, a mist forms."

"Where does the mist come from?" asked Ozma.

"According to Thippersby, it comes from the cracks in the Ozziverse."

"I see," said Ozma doubtfully.

"I don't know how you can," remarked her Parrot-Ox. "I can't see a thing, myself."

It was true. the fog had become even thicker than it had been underneath Absurd City.

"Why is it so thick this time?" asked Ozma.

"According to Thippersby--" King Oz began again.

"Then there actually is a Thippersby?" asked Ozma.

"Not that I know of," said King Oz. "It's possible, I suppose."

"Then how can you know what he believes?"

"I don't. I just know what his Principle states," explained King Oz.

"But what makes you think Thippersby has a Principle? You're not even sure he exists," Ozma objected.

"And Thippersby, most probably, isn't sure that I exist," King Oz responded.

"But he isn't calling his theories King Oz's Principle," said Ozma.

"How do you know?" asked King Oz. "Have you met him?"

"Of course not," said Ozma.

"Then who's claiming to know what Thippersby does now?"

"The point is--" Ozma paused. She had forgotten the point. Talking to King Oz was becoming more confusing than talking with Tempus.

"Ozma's Point Regarding Foggy Time," interjected her Tempus, "is that most of the time anomalies originate from you, King Oz. Therefore, having both you and the hourglass that you were transformed into in the same room must be creating twice as much mist."

"That wasn't exactlyh my point," said Ozma, "though it answers my question, I guess."

"No, it was my point," explained Tempus. "I just called it your point."

"That was amazing," cried King Oz, "I have never seen a time event like that, and I can assure you I've seen a lot of time events. I have developed a new theory as a result. I call it Thirkleby's Explanation of Ozziversal Time-Related Phenomena."

"and what is the explanation?" asked Ozma.

"Get a lot of time stuff together in one place, and --kaboom!" King Oz told her.

~ Paradox in Oz, by Edward Einhorn
miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)
"A paradox? What's that?"

"Not a paradox, a Parrot-Ox. Born in Oz of a parrot and an ox, and capable of doing nothing at all, unless it is impossible."

"But how could one of his parents be a parrot? There are no parrots in Oz, and there never have been."

"Exactly," said Glinda. "Now you're beginning to understand the nature of a Parrot-Ox"

"Where did that giant thing come from?" the Sawhorse asked in dismay.

"That's an interesting question," replied the Parrot-Ox in its big, squawking voice. "I first arrived in Oz a thousand years from now, and I left just one second later. But I've been making good use of that one second. Or was it one second before?"

"You arrived in Oz?" asked Ozma. "I thought you were born in Oz."

"That's funny," said the Parrot-Ox, "that's just what my parents said to me when I arrived. I think we'll call him Polly, the said, which is how I got my name."


"No, Tempus."

"Well, it's good to meet you, Mr. Tempus. I am Ozma of Oz."

"Good to meet you again."


"I'm speaking in anticipation of our next meeting, which, if I heard Glinda right, will be earlier in time. So we doubtlessly met years ago. I must say, it was rude of you not to have recognized me."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't mention it. You look just as I remember you."

"Do you remember me?"

"Not one bit. But don't take it amiss. I will remember you at some point, I'm sure."

The Sawhorse had been regarding Tempus with a critical eye during this conversation.

"Didn't you say that he could do nothing unless it was impossible?" the Sawhorse asked Glinda.

"I did," Glinda told him.

"Well, he seems to be doing quite a lot of talking. As I don't see anything particularly impossible about talking, I think he should stop doing it."

"Very clever friend Sawhorse," said Tempus. "You are quite right. It is quite possible for any creature to speak in Oz, and it is impossible for me to do anything that's possible. Fortunately, that makes it impossible for me to speak, which allows me to do so."

"Why don't ou just have Tempus go forward in time and ask Ozma what happened?" asked the Sawhorse. "That way, you would learn what the enchantment was without having to go through this whole adventure."

"Could you do that?" Ozma asked him.

"Certainly, but you'd still have to have the adventure anyway, in order to learn what the enchantment was."

"But I would know what the enchantment was."

"Which would make the whole thing a lot less enjoyable, in my opinion," said Tempus.

"But..." Ozma stopped, at a loss. "I suppose there's no way around it," she decided.

"As far as you know," agreed Tempus.

-- Paradox in Oz, Edward Einhorn


miko2: Ranma disguised as a schoolgirl to fool Ryoga (Default)

December 2012

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