This article accompanies the fable
Oz is China
Is it a coincidence that in 1900, when most of the earth’s peoples were under foreign domination, and disease wiped out more indigenous populations than at any other time in history, that European and American writers produced some of the finest science fictions?
The China of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz belongs in the same tradition that produced Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, H. Rider Haggard’s Africa, Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books, James Barrie’s Neverland and so on. Baum himself subscribed to all this daydreaming, holding seances at the family table in the hope of communicating with the dead and even discovering a ghost in an upstairs room. The illustration below is not Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West; it's from Andrew Lang's Yellow Fairy Book (1894).