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A Barnstormer in Oz [Mass Market Paperback]

Philip Jose Farmer


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (Mm); Reprint edition (October 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425062740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425062746
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,550,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scientific study of Oz April 4 2011
By E. S. Charpentier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Barnstormer in Oz seems to me to be an exercise in explaining the wonders of Oz in scientific terms. Or, at least as close to scientific as you can get in a world of magical events that defy explanation. Farmer has done an excellent job of that. His narrative also includes action sequences which serve to enliven the tale and create suspense, so that it's not just one long treatise. The dual purpose of the text therefore feels a little disjointed, as though explanations must be interrupted for something interesting to happen, and vice versa. I enjoyed Farmer's perspective, but was not much caught up in the action. The subplot of what would happen if Americans invaded Oz was much more fascinating to me than the eventual defeat of the evil Erakna. The resolution of this plot seemed rather protracted, and the climactic scene was rather confusing to read. I found I was spending more time trying to picture what Farmer was describing, than feeling the suspense and excitement of the altercation. This is an interesting book, but recommended only for hardcore fans of the Land of Oz.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Farmer's Oz is a sad attempt to recover one's childhood Aug. 4 2002
By Charles Phipps - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a man who writes Oz books himself with points that are slightly more adult than Baum, Thompson, Neil, or Snow I can understand Farmer's desires a bit more than most. The reverent love he displays for Glinda in this book is some of the most moving work I've seen in my reading days. However Mr. Farmer seems to rely on a disillusioned childhood as his looking glass for Oz as there is no Ozma (Blasphemy!), Jack Pumpkinhead, or other characters after the Wizard of Oz in this story and he disregards some of Baum's own corrections to his stories to hold onto the idea 'scientiffic Oz' is a better place. The moral relativism and grays in this story depresses what could have been a beautiful trek through the magical land some of the science is as surreal as Baum's magic. I enjoyed the book truly and am glad I bought it but I think I'll stick with the Famous Forty myself for my reading pleasure. The story is...depressing
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over the rainbow Feb. 28 2009
By Amaranth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Barnstormer in Oz" is the late Philip Jose Farmer's fascinating take on the magical land. Farmer does some revisionist history--it's as if the Wonderful Wizard of Oz never had any sequels. The Scarecrow still reigns in the Emerald City, Glinda the Good is again battling an evil witch. Oz is on the verge of civil war. Into the story flies Hank Stover, Dorothy Gale's son. He finds out he is in a parallel universe. He marries and impregnates one woman while romancing Glinda on the side. Their passionate love affair sets the stage for crucial events.

"Barnstormer" is a unique contribution to the Oz canon. Farmer attempts some scientific explanations for talking animals, sentient objects, and whether there was reproduction in that magical land. It stands out as one of Farmer's most accessible books.

Philip Jose Farmer will be remembered as a revolutionary science fiction author. (1918-2009)
16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Not-so-wonderful Land of Oz July 9 2000
By Dave Deubler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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. As might be expected, Farmer has to go to considerable lengths to explain the world of Oz, with its talking animals, sentient objects, warring witches, and diminutive inhabitants. He makes some "corrections" to the original Oz books, changes that he asserts Baum made in order to conform to the mores of the age, or the needs of the narrative, or even simple disbelief at Dorothy's eyewitness account. Even given these points, though, Farmer has to resort to some very shaky scientific assumptions, and there are many points which he simply has to call "magic", i.e., the result of a technology that is far beyond ours. Unfortunately, the biggest weakness of this novel is not the science, but the matter-of-fact way that Farmer relates this science fiction take on a classic fantasy -- with very little wonder and a minimum of enthusiasm. Instead, we get a straight-ahead action/adventure without any trace of humor or irony. By constantly trying to explain the principles behind the marvels, he robs the story of its magic (not literally, but emotionally), and by focusing on conflicts between Oz' various factions, he eliminates most of the fun as well. There's plenty of action and some interesting battle scenes, including one between two witches, and a fateful altercation between Glinda the Good and President Harding, but most of this book is pretty standard modern-meets-medieval stuff. Lacking the joy and innocent wonder of Baum's stories, this book seems destined to please readers who loved the Oz books as children, but outgrew them and turned to science fiction instead. They'd do better to re-read Baum's classics, since Farmer's Oz is not really such a wonderful place.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The bad kind of juvenile June 29 2013
By Keith T Gibson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From the back cover: Hank Stover was one of the two people in the world who knew that Oz really existed ... but he never expected to go there. He never expected his plane would be forced down by a green cloud that April day in 1923. Nor that he would meet the witch who had befriended his mother, Dorothy. Nor that she would be so beautiful...
Review: The concept is a good one, but is handled poorly. Farmer gives scientific explanations for Oz (which I think defeats the purpose of reading fantasy) and the characters from Farmer's Oz are almost completely different from Baum's Oz. And Farmer doesn't write action scenes very well; sometimes it will take Farmer an entire paragraph to describe an action scene which is taking place in a matter of seconds. The worst part though, for me, is the juvenile bickering between characters that goes on constantly. This actually is a problem in most of Farmer's books, unfortunately, since I guess he thought it was funny for two people to call each other every conceivable insult under the sun. Irritating!
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