You know The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?
No, you don't.
It turns out that due to the Literary Agent Hypothesis, Oz was... brightened up a bit for kids. Made safe. And the little girl who told the story of her adventures to the author was a little too black for that era to accept as the hero of a kids' book, so the author changed her into a little white girl.
We find all this out while reading Abadazad. Okay, so it's not the real Oz, but it's a brilliant and colorful Captain Ersatz of the place.
Kate was pretty young when her father abandoned her family and her mother started drinking. So she was pretty much responsible for raising her kid brother by herself. No wonder she felt so responsible over him getting kidnapped.
Only, thing is, he was actually taken to Abadazad. Kate only learns this a few years later from the woman across the hall in their apartment building — an old black woman who seems to know a little too much about those kids' books that have been around forever....
Oh, and this book you're reading? It's Kate's magic diary, which she gets shortly after entering the Magical Land. Sometimes it writes things for itself; things Kate shouldn't even know about.
- Adult Fear: Your son can be kidnapped, and finding him seems very unlikely.
- Cephalothorax: Professor Headstrong.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: War doesn't exist in Abadazad because nobody believes in it.
- Disappeared Dad: Kate's parents divorced when she and her brother were young, and they haven't heard from their dad since then.
- The Dragon: According to Word of God, the Lanky Man has a literal example called The Burping Dragon.
- Extra Eyes: Queen Ija has three eyes.
- Fish Person: The Waterlogged Warlock, one of the Elders of Abadazad.
- The High Queen: Queen Ija.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Kate comments that the clown Mr. Balloon just seemed to come out of nowhere to offer her and her brother tickets for a ride. It's really The Lanky Man, who then kidnaps Matt while he's on the ride.
- MacGuffin: The Blue Globe, whose only purpose is to get people from Earth to Abadazad.
- Medieval Stasis: In Abadazad "Time has no meaning," to the point that the calendar is hard to decipher. However, Uncle Waterlogged comments that Abadazad does rebuild itself once in a while.
- Mooks: The Rocketheads are this for the Lanky Man.
- Politically Correct History: Averted. As mentioned above, Martha was given a Race Lift in the books so she could be The Hero.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Lanky Man has kidnapped various children in order to use their dreams to fuel his "Great Machine."
- Save Both Worlds: According to the author's outline, this would have been the plot near the end, had the series not been cancelled.
- The series as a whole can be seen as a Shout-Out to L. Frank Baum's Oz books.
- The name of the guy who wrote the "original" Abadazad is Franklin O. Davies. Originally, his name was Franklin O. Barrie. Both "Davies" and "Barrie" relate to the real-life people behind Peter Pan.
- When Kate gets zapped into several different outfits, she finds herself dressed as Snow White, Tinkerbell, and Glinda. She is not amused by that last one.
- Spiritual Successor: Imaginalis, a young adult novel written by series writer J.M. DeMatteis as a form of catharsis over the series' cancellation.
- Steampunk: Implied with the Wretchedly Awful City, the headquarters of the Lanky Man.