Was is a 1992 novel based off of the Land of Oz mythos. It was written by Geoff Ryman.
Taking place in 1860s through the 1980s, Was tells the tragic story of a woman named Dorothy Gael. After the death of her mother as a child, Dorothy creates "Oz" as a way of dealing with her misery. The novel centers around a dying gay man in The '80s who wants to meet the woman who inspired his favorite movie.
Was contains examples of:
- Adaptational Villainy:
- Dorothy's experiences turn her from an innocent child to a bitter woman.
- Dorothy's aloof and serious Uncle Henry is neglectful for most of her childhood. Later on he starts to molest Dorothy.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Aunt Em don't know how to take care of a child. As a result she's cold towards Dorothy.
- Canon Foreigner: A few, such as Wilbur and Jonathan.
- Creepy Uncle: Henry is neglectful of his niece until she hits puberty. Then his interest in Dorothy turns less than familial.
- Darker and Edgier: It's a dark take on L. Frank Baum's Oz works where Oz was All Just a Dream used as escapism for Dorothy.
- Death by Adaptation: It's implied that Toto didn't run away from Dorothy. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry killed him because they disliked Toto.
- LGBT Fanbase: Referenced in-universe with the main character. He's a gay man who loves The Wizard of Oz.
- The Musical: Was has had two different musical adaptations.
- Nephewism: Dorothy is sent to live with her aunt and uncle after her parents die of diphtheria.
- The Quiet One: As a child Dorothy was quiet due to her unstable home life.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Dorothy's name is spelled "Dorothy Gael", not "Dorothy Gale". Presumably L. Frank Baum changed the spelling of his fictionalized Dorothy.
- Tragic AIDS Story: Jonathan is an actor dying of AIDS in the 1980's. He's obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and is out to find the real Dorothy before he dies.