By Dave Deubler (Pennsylvania)
This book's subtitle unabashedly proclaims it to be "A Rationalization And Extrapolation Of The Split-Level Continuum", a bit of obfuscation which prepares us for this attempt to bring logical scientific analysis to the astounding world of Frank L. Baum's beloved Oz books. Whether such a thing should actually have been attempted is clearly a matter of taste, but it seems likely that fans of the Baum books who also enjoy science fiction will find this novel an amusing blend of wild fantasy and desperate rationalization. The hero is Hank Stover, a World War I veteran flier and barnstormer (and coincidentally, son of the legendary Dorothy), who flies his Jenny (a Curtiss JN-4H biplane) into a mysterious emerald haze and comes out in the wonderland described by his mother many years before.
She grimaced as if she were seeing visions of hell.
“My people would be defenseless. They would be swept away by the thousands, perhaps all or almost all would die. Be honest, wouldn't that happen?”
Hank thought of the American Indians who had died from the diseases contracted from the whites. He thought of the Polynesians who had been struck down by tuberculosis, smallpox, scarlet fever, and syphilis when the whites came.
“I don't think they'd be wiped out. Your Witchness,” he said. “But the results might be horrible. Devastating.”
“And we have so much gold and silver, so many precious stones. Your greed would ravish the land. But, in order to make your piracy lawful, to make the robbery accord with your images of yourself as honest and lawful and God-fearing, you'd find a pretext for declaring war on us. You'd send in your armies and conquer us. Then you'd start the rape.”
As for the rest of the book, it's full of interesting ideas--some better than others--but the execution is only average. Rob's rating: 7.0 of 10.
For more on the subject, see The Indian-Oz Connection.