L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) is best known for writing The Wizard of Oz and its corresponding 13 sequels, Baum was a prolific writer, writing 55 novels, 82 short stories, and over 200 poems in all, utilizing more than 7 pen names. His works are characterized by extreme fantasy, political satire, and advanced knowledge of future technologies: in his stories and novels, he predicted the inventions of television, laptops, cell phones, and the use of clothing for advertising. His Oz series, although still somewhat violent, marks a breaking away from the extreme violence that characterized earlier fairy tales of the Bros. Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. Baum intended to separate his writing from such violence as well as the moral that violence was supposed to teach; his books are also devoid of any romance, a subject he believed uninteresting and incomprehensible to children. Although known for his writing, Baum’s true passion was with the theater—directing, playwriting, and acting—and he experienced financial difficulty throughout his life because of this ongoing obsession. A true man of imagination, he whispered "Now we can cross the Shifting Sands" on his deathbed.
Varla Ventura is the author of The Book of the Bizarre and Beyond Bizarre, and a lover of all things strange, freaky, and terrifying. She is the curator of the Weiser Magical Creatures and Paranormal Parlor series of e-books. Visit her at the Blog of the Bizarre: varlaventura.wordpress.com