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Traveling between utopia and uhoria: an introduction to the use of space and time in Oz and Night Vale: 06/22/18

May book sources

At the far end of the spectrum in the American road narrative, are the places that can't be traveled to under normal means or normal circumstances. These are the places that are either out of time (uhorias) or are out of place (utopias).

I am using Sir Thomas More's original usage, meaning a "no place" rather than a futuristic, perfect place as the word has come to colloquially mean. From that, I have coined "uhoria" to mean a no time, to describe the places in road narratives that are somehow unfixed from time or unrelated to the time where and when the journey started.

When traveling to or through uhoria time divides. There is land time and there is personal time, or as it's called in Paradox in Oz, Oz time and Ozma time. And for the extra special uhorias, there is Zoey time, or backwards time. But backwards time a frame of reference time where two types of time when compared to each other results in one appearing to be happening opposite of causality.

Within the uhoric landscape, narrative is driven by who is aware of the unusual circumstances of time. In some cases, everyone is aware of time functioning differently (as in Paradox in Oz). In others, some are aware of the unusual time but either can't do anyhing about it or they chose to not do anything about it (as in Welcome to Night Vale). Finally, there are the uhorias where an elite minority are aware of the time problems and these few either set out to fix time or to prevent others from fixing it (such as various seasons of Once Upon a Time).

Over the next few weeks I will be writing essays that use the color codification narrative analysis to delve into the world building of Night Vale by doing a close textual dialog with Welcome to Night Vale. As the book (like the podcast) uses world play to world build, Night Vale's road narrative hues are as varied and nuanced as the Glow Cloud.

Through the analysis I will be comparing and contrasting Night Vale to Oz as they share many points in common. While I've been adamant that post Dorothy's return to Oz can't be dystopian (because it already was dystopian in The Marvelous Land of Oz, I will concede that Night Vale comes closest to being a uhoric modern rendition of what dystopian Oz would look like.

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