221 Baker Streets

Plenty to write Holmes about

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

381 pages | £ 7.99 ( pa­per­back) Ed­i­tor: David Thomas Moore Pub­lisher: Abad­don Books

The re­cy­cling of

popular char­ac­ters is not the end of imag­i­na­tion; far from it. We say, with our pseud’s hat on, that western cul­ture is in the throes of in­vent­ing a new pan­theon of he­roes to sup­ple­ment Thor, Robin Hood, King Arthur et al. Sher­lock Holmes is one of th­ese sec­u­lar myths.

Holmes is like the Doc­tor – geeky, dan­ger­ous, supremely in­tel­li­gent, but on the side of the an­gels – and at­tracts sim­i­lar adu­la­tion and pe­riph­eral ac­tiv­ity like this an­thol­ogy, which presents lady, metafic­tional, mag­i­cally con­jured, gay, near- fu­ture, con­tem­po­rary, and teenaged- girl ver­sions ( and more!) of the great man.

As­sign­ing a score to a book of this type is a co­nun­drum wor­thy of Holmes’s own in­tel­lect. All the sto­ries are well penned, but be­ing told pri­mar­ily for the love of the character, they lack a pur­pose of their own. All have merit; none com­pletely cap­ture the essence of their in­spi­ra­tion.

Ape­ing Sir Arthur Co­nan Doyle is a tall or­der, so the sto­ries that are most suc­cess­ful are those that de­vi­ate fur­thest from the tem­plate, or those that adroitly ex­ploit the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Holmes and Wat­son, A cou­ple fail, but nobly. Per­haps the best is “A Study In Scar­bor­ough” by Guy Adams, whose bizarre yet art­ful re­cast­ing of the de­tec­tive duo as 1970s com­edy stars comes clos­est to catch­ing the many facets of the orig­i­nals. James Kings­ley

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