Saturday, March 28, 2009

This counts as research

So because there's this anthology just opened for submissions, and it's about the dark side of Oz, I've been thinking about the Hungry Tiger.

He's a character in L. Frank Baum's Oz books. He's always hungry, no matter how much he eats, and he's always saying he wants to eat babies but he won't because he would feel awful about it afterwards and he would still be hungry. There's the set-up for a horror story right there. I just can't think of an actual plot yet, although the main point of the story is to make the halls of Ozma's palace in the Emerald City awash in blood. Yeah, it's a little different from my usual stories.

I picked up The Magic of Oz this afternoon and started re-reading it. I think the Hungry Tiger's in that one, and it's a great book anyway. It's the one where the sullen Kiki Aru steals his father's transformation spell, turns himself into a bird, and goes off to see the world (Oz and its boundary countries). He discovers along the way that he likes being bad, and meets up with the Nome King (deposed in an earlier book) who convinces him to help him rally the wild beasts of Oz in a rebellion. Meanwhile, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz are headed to the forest to recruit some monkeys, because Dorothy wants to make them tiny and teach them to dance for Ozma's birthday--

Anyway, if your only experience with the land of Oz is the (trippy, bizarre) movie, you are missing out on some seriously weird shit. I love these books like crazy. (But not the ones written by people other than Baum. The others all suck.)


Jameson T. Caine said...

I counted my trip to Outback for King Crab legs as research for my Dead Bait story, though I doubt the IRS will see it that way.

Cate Gardner said...

I think your 'hungry tiger' is exactly what the editor is looking for. Good luck.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I have never read any of the Baum books, although I do know the cafe where he allegedly wrote the original book in Omaha.

K.C. Shaw said...

Jameson --Sounds like solid research to me. :)

Cate--I hope so. If I can get a plot to go with the idea, it should be fairly easy to write.

Jamie--You might like them. I don't think I've ever read the first one, myself, but it would be cool to visit the cafe where he wrote it.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

I remember seeing those books when I was little, but I guess over time I completely forgot that the Wizard of Oz was a series of books. Did the books pre-date the movie, or were they spin-offs?

My mom sent the grandkids the box set of Tin Man from the Sci Fi channel last summer...I got sucked into it with them for like ten hours of TV goodness one Sunday. Actually pretty good...different spin on the tale.

K.C. Shaw said...

Sorry, I missed your comment earlier!

The books predated the movie by a long time (about 20 years, I think--maybe more like 10). They were HUGELY successful, like the Harry Potter of the early 20th century. L. Frank Baum was in poor health and didn't actually want to keep writing them, but he got so many fan letters from kids that he felt obligated.

I heard Tin Man was really good, but I never saw it. Maybe I'll Netflix it.

Jamie Eyberg said...

The original book was published in 1900, 39 years before the movie. It was a hugely popular book so he ended up writing a sequel every other year or so until he died in 1919. Someone else took over the series after his death.