Review: the Emerald Burrito of Oz

If I had to pin it down, The Emerald Burrito of Oz would count as an urban fantasy.  But it’s so much more than that.  It’s magical, but it can also be dark.  It’s gross, but it can also be funny.  It’s a tribute to L Frank Baum’s work, but Skipp and Leventhal have built a world that is fresh, fascinating, and weird.  It takes the form of two journals, one written by Aurora (owner of the only Mexican restaurant in Oz), and Gene (a friend of Aurora visiting Oz for the first time).  Through their eyes we see the sights, meet the weird characters walking the streets, and see the impact of interdimensional travel between Oz and Earth.

All the old characters are there, but only in supporting roles.  This isn’t a remake or sequel to the official Oz canon, even though it includes a lot of continuity from the original Oz series, which will make hardcore Baum fans happy.  But much like the logic of Oz, this book simply exists.  And that’s a good thing, because it’s awesome.  The tone resembles that of the movie “Return to Oz,” a weird classic.

This Oz has magic, but it plays by its own rules, lending a surreal and whimsical vibe to the story.  In Oz, there are no gadgets, but childishly simplistic technology—the type of things you’d see in a Flintstones cartoon—are the only machines that work.  Things that pass through the magic gate to Oz aren’t guaranteed to arrive the same way they left, especially human technology.  The humans’ desperate need to understand and categorize Oz’s physics is as dangerous as it is futile, and they threaten the delicate innocence of Oz with the worst possible thing:  selling out to corporate interests.  A lot of stories have riffed on Oz, and many are downright terrible.  However, the Emerald Burrito might be the tastiest (per)version of Oz you’ve ever seen.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Emerald-Burrito-Oz-John-Skipp/dp/1936383128/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298939136&sr=1-1

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