Friday, 24 August 2012

What a load of Scalawagon!

Okay so I went to my first ever Winkie Convention this year at the Asilomar Conference Centre in Monterey.  There I managed to pick up a first edition of John R. Neill's Scalawagon's of Oz, which finally complete's my Famous Forty Oz book collection.

I am around 160 pages into the book, it's hard going I was already very well prepared that it is one of the worst Oz books to read and Oz fans were not kidding!

A couple of things that keep bugging me when I am reading it, of course the spotty pacing and poor dialogue are irritating. But it's the characters that are annoying me Glinda has a bigger role than she has in a good while for an Oz book. However her characterisation is completely off! When there is a crisis and the Wizard disappears, her bold decisive course of action is to simply sit there and wait for his return!!

Tik-Tok is back, another character rarely mentioned by Ruth Plumly Thompson, now Tik-Tok is not alive and does not experience emotion's. Well not until Scalawagon's where he is now full of pride or worry and now a mechanic. Neill's characterisation of Tik-Tok would have been far better suited to the Tin Woodman.

Just thought i'd share some observation's that have been bugging when reading this book for the first time, I have Lucky Bucky in Oz to read after this. Can I Just skip please skip to Runaway in Oz which I know has edited by someone who I know can write and edit!

John R. Neill you were an amazing illustrator but should never have been allowed to write.


  1. In terms of plot, Lucky Bucky is probably the least jarring of Neill's books because it's mostly a traditional American child's journey to the Emerald City past various obstacles. Of course, there's one unexplained time loop.

    I'd be curious to read your thoughts on Merry-Go-Round in Oz. Many American readers think that the McGraws' picture of Oz is very British. But does it look that way to an actual British reader, or are we just projecting our national stereotypes (as the McGraws might have done)?

    1. Actually John I've been contemplating writing something about Oz and British themes for a few weeks since the Winkie Convention. As a result of much British interest at Winkies from lots of fellow convention attendees, I thought It maybe be of interest to give my thoughts on the subject.

      Merry Go Round in Oz immediately sprang to mind due to the British themes and stereotypes that are evident in this book and the fact that it will be the 50th Anniversary of the McGraw Oz book next year.

      I'm not sure what form this may take yet whether it be a written submission to the Winkies program book, or in the form of a presentation at Winkies. I have intimated to David when I go back to Winkies next, I would like to deliver a presentation, of course none of this is confirmed and are just thoughts at the moment.

      One thing that so far is looking good is I that I have agreement from Neil to travel to US alone for just Winkies next year! It always good to have your partners permission!

      I will share some thoughts here once I re-read Merry Go Round in Oz, which I plan to do once I have completed the Neill Oz books.