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Number of Americans Swept into Oz Rises to Unprecedented Levels

Alex Shvartsman is the author of The Middling Affliction (2022) and Eridani's Crown (2019) fantasy novels. Over 120 of his short stories have been published in Analog, Nature, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. He won the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction in 2014 and was a two-time finalist (2015 & 2017) for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction. His translations from Russian have appeared in F&SF, Clarkesworld, Asimov's, Tor.com, Apex, etc. Alex has edited over a dozen anthologies, including the long-running Unidentified Funny Objects series, and he is the editor-in-chief of Future Science Fiction Digest. He resides in Brooklyn, NY. His website is alexshvartsman.com.

An Oz News Network Report
Concerns are growing among the community over dozens of recent arrivals in Munchkin Country. A local resident, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity, described the newcomers as "overwhelmingly overconfident, overweight, and overbearing." We have since confirmed them to be North Americans.
"They just keep landing in small to medium-sized houses," said the munchkin. "We feel really unsafe. It's a miracle no one else has been hurt since that one time." He added, "The worst part of it is, they don't leave."
The Americans, who number over fifty at this point, have established a makeshift village and begun planting fields and gardens. They further irritated the munchkins by disassembling chunks of Yellow Road and using the bricks to repair the damage their houses suffered upon landing.
"Why would I ever go back?" said Karen, a newcomer who identified herself as a Social Media Consultant. "Smell that crisp fresh air! Look around. There's no pandemic here, no toxic guys trolling you on Tinder, and no clients emailing on the weekend to see when I would have their updated metrics. It's heaven!"
We only understood some of that, but enough to report that these people have escaped from a terrible place.
"Sure, I know how to go home. I've seen the movie," said Karen. "But, why would I want to? I keep my Jimmy Choos in two separate boxes, just to make sure they don't accidentally click."
We were unable to independently verify whether anyone named Jimmy was being held against their will in Karen's home.
Some munchkins are concerned with how this wave of migrants may affect their traditional way of life.
"They're very strange people," one said. "They try to get us to give them stuff in exchange for something called money. They argue endlessly over property lines, as if any person could own the ground they stand on. Recently they held something called an election, and the losing candidate claimed they got cheated, even though all of them stood right there and raised their hands to vote. I fear their ways may lead to our world becoming as unpleasant as the one they left."
"If too many more Americans come, it may become prudent to leave Oz altogether," he added. "I hear there's a wardrobe in Emerald City that leads to a magical land where the sun is brighter, the air crisper, and the grass greener than here."
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022
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