"Flap then," said the cobbler. "See if they'll flap."
She tried, still bracing against the moment when her little wings would collapse from the strain.
There was a huge crack, but it was not of the bones in her wings. It was the powerful flap of her dragon-leather wings.
She flexed again and there was an even louder crack.
And another and another.
When Nyla looked at the cobbler for an explanation, she was shocked to see that he was not there.
He was many feet below her, looking up, pointing and dancing with joy.
The wings cracked and cracked and cracked, and up and up and up Nyla went, soaring above the cobbler's stall, up above the market square, up beyond the tallest spires in the Emerald City. Her laugh was high and clear and it bounced off of the lofty towers of the Wizard's castle.
The gift of the dragon and the skill of the cobbler brought forth the magic that lay sleeping in the leather. Wings that had broken off of the old dragon now lived again, and to Nyla it felt like they were a part of her.
She swooped and soared and fluttered and dove and rose up to meet the golden sun. She flew past the two Monkey boys by the strawberry stand and laughed at the goggle-eyed expressions they gave her. Then she swooped back and dared them to follow her.
They goggled a moment longer, then they laughed and threw themselves into the wind. The three of them swirled and chased each other and flew away toward the forest. But as fast as the two Monkey boys flew, the little Monkey girl flew so very much faster.
The cobbler dabbed at a happy tear in his eye.
Then a shadow fell across his counter and he turned to see a tall figure standing there. It was a woman wearing a green cloak trimmed in black, and the cowl of the cloak hid her face. A battered umbrella was hooked over one thin arm.
"That was a kindly thing," said the woman. "You changed that child's life."
The cobbler's smile melted away and he hastily adjusted his apron and stood very straight.
"Sheashe certainly changed mine, my lady," he said.
The woman leaned forward slightly and placed her hands on the counter. The motion caused her cowl to slip so that her face was partly revealed. She was old and wrinkled, and she wore an eye-patch that shimmered as if covered with oil. Three gray-black pigtails hung within the shadows of the cowl.
"And has that child changed my life?"
The cobbler licked his lips nervously, but he bobbed his head.
"Yes, my lady."
He turned and opened the chest and removed the dragon-scale shoes. The sight of them, restored and whole, shining with living silver, made the old woman gasp.
"At lastaafter all these yearsa"
The cobbler looked right and left to make sure no one was watching, then he raised the shoes and offered them to her, head bowed in fear and respect.
The woman hesitated for just a moment, her fingers seeming to claw the air above the delicate shoes. Then she snatched them from him. She kicked off her own shoes and put the silver shoes on. Her robes seemed to ripple as if the shoes gave off waves of energy. The strawberries Nyla had bought suddenly withered and turned rotten.
From far above the sound of innocent laughter floated down. The old woman raised her head to listen. "All this time I thought the Winged Monkeys were nothing more than curious freaks." Her eyes took on a calculating look. "Apparently they're useful after all."
Before the cobbler could ask the woman what she meant, the crone tapped the shoes together once, twice, and a third time and took a single step away.
And was gone.
The cobbler wiped sweat from his face.
Gone, he knew, but not from Oz.
He stood there for a long time, trembling and frightened, considering what it was he had done. And for whom. She had been his princess long ago and might one day be his queen. His allegiance was owed to her.
But he looked up into the sky and saw the little Monkey girl with her beautiful silver wings swooping and dancing on the wind. In the end, he wondered, what would be the most powerful magic here in Oz? The dark arts of the witch who once more had her silver shoes, or the goodness of a child?
"Fly, little one," he murmured. "Fly and fly and fly."
He sat on his stool and spent all of the rest of the day watching the sky.
Many thanks to the following:.
Inspiration: L. Frank Baum. (Of course.).
Publisher: David Pomerico, for acquiring and editing the book; Karen Upson and Jill Taplin, the production managers; Katy Ball, Justin Golenbock, and Patrick Magee in marketing, publicity, and author relations, and to the rest of the team at 47North.
Art/Design: Galen Dara for providing not only amazing cover art but also individual illustrations for each of the stories, and to the team at Inkd for adding in all the most excellent design elements that took the artwork from being mere images and transformed them into books. (And for making the interior look so good too!) Copyediting and Proofreading: Lisa Kaitz, Carissa Blue-stone, and Miranda Ottewell, for Catching all the errors we didn't Catch, and for helping us sort through L. Frank Baum's Maddening use of Random capitalization.
Agent: Joe Monti, for being awesome and supportive, and for finding a home for this project. To any writers reading this: you'd be lucky to have Joe in your corner.
People Who Helped Us Wrangle Authors and Contracts: Deborah Beale, Kathleen Bellamy, Kristine Card, Elizabeth Harding, Emily Prabhaker, and William Reiss.
Mentors: John thanks Gordon Van Gelder, for teaching him the ways of editing, and Ellen Datlow for revealing the mysteries of anthologizing. Doug thanks Jeanne Cavelos, who gave him the editorial foundation that made everything that followed possible, Shawna McCarthy, who gave him his first chance to practice the editorial craft with professional writers and for adding to his knowledge over the years, and Warren Lapine, for helping advance his career with his unwavering faith through thick and thin. We couldn't have done this without your tutelage.
Family: John thanks his amazing wife, Christie, his mom, Marianne, and his sister, Becky, for all their love and support, and their endless enthusiasm for all his new projects. Doug thanks his parents, Joyce and Gary, and his brother, Brian, for exactly the same.
Friends: Robert Bland, Desirina Boskovich, Christopher M. Cevasco, Jordan Hamessley, Andrea Kail, David Barr Kirtley, Matt London, Nicole Mikoleski, Jesse Sneddon, and Michael Spensieri, for being there for us when we're not anthologizing, and for, you know, putting up with us while we nattered on about the project incessantly.
Readers: John and Doug both thank all the readers and reviewers of this anthology; we hope we've done the Land of Oz proud. (John would also like to thank all the readers and reviewers who loved his other anthologies, making it possible for him to do more.) Writers: And last, but certainly not least: a big thanks to all of the authors who appear in this anthology.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS.
Dale Bailey lives in North Carolina with his family, and has published three novels, The Fallen, House of Bones, and Sleeping Policemen (with Jack Slay Jr.). His short fiction, collected in The Resurrection Man's Legacy and Other Stories, has won the International Horror Guild Award and has been twice nominated for the Nebula Award.
Orson Scott Card.
Orson Scott Card is the best-selling author of more than forty novels, including Ender's Game, which was a winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, also won both awards, making Card the only author to have captured science fiction's two most coveted prizes in consecutive years. Recent books include The Lost Gates, Ruins, Earth Aware, and Shadows in Flight.
Rae Carson & C. C. Finlay Rae Carson is the author of the Fire and Thorns trilogy. Her debut novel was a finalist for the Morris, Norton, and Cybils awards and won the Ohioana Book Award for young adult fiction. C.C. Finlay is the author of the Traitor to the Crown trilogy. His short stories have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, Sidewise, and Sturgeon awards. Carson and Finlay are married. They live in Ohio, where they are working on their next collaboration.
David Farland David Farland is an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author with nearly fifty science fiction and fantasy novels to his credit. He has won the Writers of the Future International Gold Award for best short story of the year, the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for Best Novel in the English Language, the Whitney Award for Best Novel of the Year, and others. He has worked with some of the largest franchises in the worlda"writing novels for Star Wars and The Mummy. Dave worked for many years as the judge for one of the world's largest writing contests, as an educator teaching creative writing at Brigham Young University, and thus has trained dozens of other New York Times best sellers, including Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, and Stephenie Meyer. Dave currently lives in Saint George, Utah, with his wife, children, two cats and a cocker spaniel.
Jeffrey Ford Jeffrey Ford is the author of the novels The Physiognomy, Memoranda, The Beyond, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass, The Cosmology of the Wider World, and The Shadow Year. His story collections are The Fantasy Writer's Assistant, The Empire of Ice Cream, and The Drowned Life. Crackpot Palace, a new collection of twenty stories, was recently published by Morrow/HarperCollins. Ford writes somewhere in Ohio.
Theodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting; Interfictions, a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland, a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom, a novella in a two-sided accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula Award, the Crawford Award, the Locus Award, and the Mythopoeic Award, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards. Her website can be found at www.theodoragoss.com.
Simon R. Green Simon R. Green has written over forty books, all of them different. He has written eight Deathstalker books, twelve Nightside books, and thinks trilogies are for wimps. His current series are the Secret Histories, featuring Shaman Bond, the very secret agent, and The Ghost Finders, featuring traditional hauntings in modern settings. He acts in open air productions of Shakespeare, rides motorbikes, and loves old-time silent films. His short stories have appeared in the anthologies Mean Streets, Unusual Suspects, Powers of Detection, Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, The Way of the Wizard, The Living Dead 2, Those Who Fight Monsters, Dark Delicacies III, and Home Improvements: Undead Edition.
Kat Howard Kat Howard's short fiction has been performed on NPR as part of Selected Shorts, and was included in The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2012, edited by Rich Horton. You can find her work in Lightspeed, Subterranean, Apex, and various other magazines and anthologies. She lives in the Twin Cities, and you can find her on Twitter as @KatWithSword.
Ken Liu (http://kenliu.name) is an author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer. His fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He has won a Nebula, a Hugo, a World Fantasy Award, and a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award, and been nominated for the Sturgeon and the Locus awards. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Jonathan Maberry Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times best-selling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer. He's the author of many novels, including Assassin's Code, Flesh & Bone Dead of Night, Patient Zero, and Rot & Ruin; and the editor of V-Wars: A Chronicle of the Vampire Wars. His nonfiction books range on topics from martial arts to zombie pop culture. Since 1978 he has sold more than 1,200 magazine feature articles, 3,000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, and textbooks. Jonathan continues to teach the celebrated Experimental Writing for Teens class, which he created. He founded the Writers Coffeehouse and co founded The Liars Club, and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries, as well as a keynote speaker and guest of honor at major writers and genre conferences.
Gregory Maguire Gregory Maguire is the author of The Wicked Years, a four-book cycle including Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oza"all New York Times bestsellers. Wicked: The Musical is soon to celebrate its tenth anniversary on Broadway, and is one of the top dozen longest-running shows in Broadway history. Maguire has written five other novels for adults and two dozen books for children, and has written and performed pieces for National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Selected Shorts. His novel, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, was an ABC film starring Stockard Channing.
Seanan McGuire Seanan McGuire is the best-selling author of two ongoing urban fantasy series, both published by DAW Books (the October Daye adventures and InCryptid). She was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She also writes medical science fiction under the name Mira Grant. Between her two identities, she is a five-time finalist for the Hugo Award, and has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson and Philip K. Dick Awards. Seanan is the only woman ever to appear on the Hugo ballot four times in a single year. She is a founding member of the Hugo award-winning SFSqueecast, an ongoing adventure in mild positivity. Seanan likes horror movies, abnormally large blue cats, and cookies. You can find her on Twitter at @seananmcguire, and on the web at www.seananmcguire.com. Seanan thinks sleep is for other people, and is still waiting for her twister.
Rachel Swirsky Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her short fiction has appeared in venues including Tor.com, Subterranean Magazine, and Clarkesworld Magazine. In 2010, she won the Nebula for best novella for "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window."
Robin Wasserman is the author of several books for children and young adults, including The Book of Blood and Shadow, the Cold Awakening Trilogy, the Chasing Yesterday Trilogy, and Hacking Harvard. Her books have appeared on the ALA Quick Picks and Popular Paperbacks lists as well as the Indie Next list, and her Seven Deadly Sins series was adapted into a television miniseries. She is a former children's book editor who lives and writes in Brooklyn. Find her at www.robinwasserman.com or on Twitter @robinwasserman.
Former singer, shoe seller, radio show host, and inventor of interactive sci-fi television, Tad Williams established himself as an international best-selling author with his Dragonbone Chair epic fantasy series. The books that followed, the Otherland series, are now a multi million-dollar MMO launching in 2013 from dtp/realU/Gamigo. Tad is also the author of the Shadowmarch books; the stand-alone Faerie epic, The War of the Flowers; two collections of short stories (Rite and A Stark and Wormy Knight), the Shakespearian fantasy Caliban's Hour, and, with his partner and collaborator Deborah Beale, the childrens'/all-ages fantasy series the Ordinary Farm novels. Recently, with The Dirty Streets of Heaven, Tad has begun publishing the Bobby Dollar novels, noir fantasy thrillers set again the backdrop of the monstrously ancient cold war between heaven and hell and following the adventures of a certain maverick angel. Tad is also the author of Tailchaser's Song: his first novel spawned the subgenre of cats and fantasy that we see widely today. Tailchaser's Song is in production in 2013 as an animated film from Animetropolis/IDA.
Jane Yolen, often called the "Hans Christian Andersen of America," has published over 325 books. Two of her short stories won Nebula Awards. Her books and stories have won the Golden Kite Award, the Caldecott Medal, two Christopher Medals, the Jewish Book Award, and the California Young Reader Medal, and been nominated for the Hugo, the National Book Award, and dozens of others. She has been voted Grand Master of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and Grand Master of the World Fantasy Association. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR.
Galen Dara has done art for Edge Publishing, Dagan Books, Apex, Scapezine, Tales to Terrify, Peculiar Pages, Sunstone, LovecraftZine, and Lightspeed Magagzine. She is on the staff of BookLifeNow, blogs for the Inkpunks, and writes the Art Nerd column at the Functional Nerds. When Galen is not online, you can find her on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, climbing mountains or hanging out with a loving assortment of human and animal companions. Follow her on Twitter @galendara.
ABOUT THE EDITORS.
John Joseph Adams is the best-selling editor of many anthologies, such as The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination, Epic: Legends of Fantasy, Other Worlds Than These, Armored, Under the Moons of Mars, Brave New Worlds, Wastelands, The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and The Way of the Wizard. Forthcoming work includes Wastelands 2, Dead Man's Hand, and Robot Uprisings. John is a four-time finalist for the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. He has been called "the reigning king of the anthology world" by Barnes & Noble, and his books have been lauded as some of the best anthologies of all time. In addition to his anthology work, John is also the editor of Lightspeed Magazine and Nightmare Magazine, and he is the co-host of Wired.com's The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. For more information, visit his website at johnjosephadams.com, and you can find him on Twitter @johnjosephadams.
Douglas Cohen is the former editor of Realms of Fantasy Magazine, where he worked for six and a half years. In the magazine's final year, they published their 100th issue, won a Nebula Award, and were nominated for a second one. Multiple illustrations he solicited for the magazine have appeared in the prestigious Spectrum Art series. Douglas is also a writer, and his stories have appeared in or are forthcoming in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Interzone, and Weird Tales. He recently finished writing his first novel. Oz Reimagined marks his first anthology. Find him on Twitter @Douglas_Cohen.
Also Edited by John Joseph Adams.
Brave New Worlds.
By Blood We Live.
Epic: Legends of Fantasy Federations The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Lightspeed Magazine.
Lightspeed: Year One The Living Dead The Living Dead 2.
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination Nightmare Magazine Other Worlds Than These Seeds of Change.
Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom Wastelands The Way of the Wizard.
Forthcoming Anthologies Edited by John Joseph Adams Dead Man's Hand.
Robot Uprisings (co-edited with Daniel H. Wilson).