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Bloodstained Oz

by Christopher Golden and James A Moore

(Earthling Publications hardback, 114 pages, $35.)

Review by Gary Couzens

cover scanHawley, Kansas, in the middle of the Great Depression, is little more than a dustbowl where families eke out a living. Among them is nine-year-old Gayle Franklin and her parents. Not far away, Hank Burnside is in a labour gang at Guilford Prison. And elsewhere, Elisa, her husband Stefan, and her baby son Jeremiah are leaving the State in search of a better life elsewhere. There's a storm coming, and while not true that they're not in Kansas any more, it's fairer to say that Kansas will never be the same again...

Bloodstained Oz is a horror novella that flips the premise of The Wizard of Oz. Instead of a tornado whisking young Dorothy off over the rainbow, by means of another tornado Kansas suffers incursions from Oz. And not just the lion and the tin man... but other things as well. Golden and Moore do a slow build, devoting alternating chapters to each of their three central characters, before the twister strikes and some kind of hell breaks loose. Then the authors cut loose with a series of gory setpieces. You sense they're enjoying themselves writing this novella, and that enjoyment comes across. The ending is rather open, and could have continued longer, but it's good fun nonetheless.

Bloodstained Oz has an introduction by Ray Garton and cover artwork by Glenn Chadbourne and is available as a run of 500 numbered hardcovers signed by the authors, There is also a limited run of twenty-six lettered and traycased hardcovers, signed by Golden, Moore, Garton and Chadbourne, which is sold out.

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