First, a bit of housekeeping: I’ve been doing enough Peer Reviews and What I Learned reviews that I’m making a new category for them on the blog, creatively called “Reviews.” If you want my opinion on games and books and stuff, you’ll find it all there. Things like the Elementary canon stuff will still be in the “Sherlock Holmes” category, since they aren’t “reviews” per se.
Secondly, disclosure: This is another MX Publishing peer of mine. I don’t know Mr. Marcum personally, but I did get these for free as iBooks codes.
The Papers of Sherlock Holmes are nine pastiches spread across two books (eight short stories and one novella). They are all classic pastiches, and quite well done — the first volume is a very nice collection of short stories that are extremely well-written and very evocative of Doyle’s style. The second volume is a little more eclectic — two stories from Holmes’ later period (1921) in the US, and a novella going into the detail of Holmes’ family. Most of these stories make some assumptions about Holmes’ later period as well as the nature of his family. However, they’re all really well researched, and make efforts to fit not only within the original canon, but also with other pastiches! The novella was particularly entertaining for me, as it ties into the Wold Newton crossovers, particularly Nero Wolfe and Solar Pons.
If you like pastiches that are evocative of the original stories, I recommend Volume 1. If you are interested in some larger connections to other pastiches and references, I recommend Volume 2. They’re both good, but they are distinct, and worth considering separately.
Both books are available from all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).
The incomparable Baker Street Babes podcast has posted their recording of “Watsons Through Time,” a panel I had the pleasure of sitting on at 221bCon. With me were Kristina Manente, Ashley Polasek, and Roane. I’m glad this panel is up, because it gives a lot of the tone that I infused into Watson is Not an Idiot, and it certainly covers some of the material from the book as well. It’s about an hour long and a little hard to hear in spots, but it was a great time, and I hope that comes through in the podcast.
At 221b Con, I was on a panel to discuss Elementary, and a few things came out of that discussion that tie into my original post on the topic. So, consider this an addendum.
The show is very much based in New York. Rather than being a general analog of London, the show veers into being explicitly a show that is part of the culture of New York. Again, I think this ties into the heart of the original Canon: Holmes was originally a creature of London, and now he is a creature of New York. Being originally British, this allows other characters (such as Gregson) to act as “native guide,” but New York is very much a character in this show.
Last weekend I went to 221b Con, a first-year Sherlock Holmes convention in the Atlanta area. It was my first Sherlock Holmes-only convention, and the first one where I didn’t know a single person there (aside from a nodding acquaintance with one of the organizers through a mutual friend). I was signed up to be on four different panels. And I was a little terrified of the prospect.
It turned out to be a fantastic experience.
Unsurprisingly, the con was just as much about BBC Sherlock as it was about the original canon. What was interesting was that there was already a strong Elementary presence, and indeed even some more remote pastiches such as The Great Mouse Detective had a following there. Further, there wasn’t much siloing of the subfandoms — time and again I would hear of old Sherlockians watching Elementary or Sherlock fans rabidly devouring the original canon. One of my favorite moments was a cosplayer of Sherlock Irene Adler dominating a cosplayer of Elementary Sherlock for a picture. It was a sincere love of all versions of the Great Detective, which I immensely enjoyed.
The past several years have been good to Sherlock Holmes fans: two features movies (with a third on the way), new novels, and the massively-popular series Sherlock introducing a new generation of fans to the Great Detective. So when Elementarywas announced, I was skeptical. Holmes in America? Watson is a woman? Alone the idea sounds terrible, and in the context of the intensely satisfying Sherlock, it seemed like an unmitigated disaster. However, in preparation for my upcoming appearance at 221b Con, I knew there would be discussion of this show, so I watched all 18 episodes released thus far.
And I was right: it’s not Sherlock. But then again, I’m not entirely sure it’s trying to be.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a personal update, and since a few things have fallen into place recently, it’s a good time to update and recap.
Health: Last week I got a nasty cold that I’m still shaking off (probably due to Atlanta by Night). For a while it really ramped up my vertigo, but it seems to have died off. However, I’m still struggling with mild dizziness and headaches as I continue to get the last bits of congestion out of my head.
Being the Sherlock Holmes fan that I am, I wasn’t surprised when many people pointed me to the highly-publicized and officially-authorized pastiche The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. Since I have a two hours of commuting every day to and from work, I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently. I’m in the middle of rereading and finishing the Song of Ice and Fire series, so I knew I wasn’t going to get to read this book anytime soon, but when I saw that Derek Jacobi did the audiobook version, I quickly snatched it up and put it into my listening queue.
Like with any Holmes pastiche, there’s a few different ways you can break it down: as a novel on its own, as a Sherlock Holmes novel in general, and as a purist.