Nuclear warhead, meet Oz. Sound familiar?
November 19, 2004 2:19 AM   Subscribe

More FictionFilter: Nuclear warhead, meet Oz. Sound familiar?

This is a story that appeared sometime the early 1980s. I believe I read it in an Omni best short stories anthology. In sum: a nuclear warhead clears the rainbow to Oz, and its inhabitants, including Dorothy and her little dog too, are very realistically turned to ooze and ash. Over the years, I’ve looked at Omni’s site, tried all the databases here, and googled my little head off to no avail. I don’t know the author or title, but I remember an editor’s note that said the story provoked a lot of correspondence, much of it angry, from the magazine's readership when it was originally published. If the local brain trust doesn't know it, I’ll give up -- until the next time it bothers me, that is, because reading it as a teen deeply affected me.
posted by melissa may to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Boy, that sounds positively creepy. If you figure it out, be sure to post it here...
posted by 40 Watt at 8:55 AM on November 19, 2004

Best answer: Sounds to me like Emerald City Blues by Stephen R. Boyett.
I read it in the Midnight Graffiti anthology.
posted by Zetetics at 8:57 AM on November 19, 2004

Response by poster: Zetetics, that title really sounds right, in that intuitive aha way, even if the timing is later than I remember. I'm hoofing it over to the library toot sweet to see if you're right.

I've been looking at everything online I could find on Stephen R. Boyett and this title, and it's all so maddeningly oblique: This is my favorite story ever! or This story is a massive reality slam for Oz. Aren't SF/horror fans usually more loquacious?

I will follow up and let you know if you are right and to thank you, regardless, so watch this space.
posted by melissa may at 11:52 AM on November 19, 2004

Best answer: This interview with Jason Brannon has a summary (the interviewer asked what stories Brannon wished he'd written):
It's about a pilot that is on a course to intercept a launched nuclear weapon. Only as he chases the warhead, it goes over a newly-formed rainbow (A.K.A. The gateway to Oz). The rest of the story is about fallout in the Emerald City, mutated munchkins, the death of Dorothy Gale.
Sounds like the one to me.
posted by kindall at 12:57 PM on November 19, 2004

Response by poster: Holy moses, kindall, from that it's clear that there's no other story in the world that this could be. (And just as clearly, I need to improve my searching skills, to say nothing of my memory.) I'm skipping the library, and using Zetetics' helpful Amazon link to the anthology to make my wallet just a little lighter.

Zet, if there were a MeFi bar, I'd buy you a drink. Really, I am so grateful to you. Lord how I love a librarian.
posted by melissa may at 3:06 PM on November 19, 2004

For the record, the Google-fu for finding that description was simply: "Emerald City Blues" Boyett. The author was necessary because there's a book of the same title that's more widely mentioned.
posted by kindall at 4:02 PM on November 19, 2004

Response by poster: Kindall, geez, it's embarrassing, especially since I spend a significant amount of time finding obscure information online as part of my job. I tried the title and the author's full name, but if the site you linked arose from that, I missed it.

Many thanks and sincere appreciation to you too for your help. I can't wait for my purchase to arrive.
posted by melissa may at 6:48 PM on November 19, 2004

Cheers, MM. I'll buy myself a drink on your behalf then.

I was a bit surprised by how poorly this story is documented online. I immediately recognized it from your description, but I found it only because I remembered the anthology title. Even so, it took longer than I expected to verify the story title.

Oh, btw, I'm not actually a librarian, but its nice to think I could pass for one.
posted by Zetetics at 10:32 PM on November 19, 2004

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