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Notes on "Oz"

By Lewis Shiner

One day--I was probably reading a guitar magazine at the time--my right brain put Ozzie Osbourne together with Lee Harvey Oswald and said, "Ozzie Oswald."

My left brain said, "Huh."

So I gussied up this idle bit of wordplay with a thin veneer of conspiracy theory and ran it up the flagpole. Shawna McCarthy at Bantam's Full Spectrum anthology saluted.

This is not one of my favorites of my own stories, but it did provoke my dear friend and mentor Neal Barrett to send me an even shorter alternate universe Kennedy assassination story that featured Jackie Kennedy and flying saucers. We went back and forth a couple of times, each story shorter than the last, then I sent him "The World’s Shortest Alternate Universe Kennedy Assassination Story," which consisted of the single word "Missed!" Neal screamed foul--"It means nothing without the title!"--but of course he had to, because otherwise he would have had to admit I had totally kicked his ass.


© 2010 by Lewis Shiner. First published in Fiction Liberation Front, January 2010. Some rights reserved.

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