Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sherlock Holmes in Orbit

Recently, I read Sherlock Holmes in Orbit, a collection of science fiction Sherlock Holmes stories. Here are my thoughts. The four stories I particularly liked are marked with stars.
  • The Musgrave version / by George Alec Effinger -- I didn't understand this one. It's about Sherlock meeting Fu Manchu, an evil genius I've never heard of.
  • The case of the detective's smile / by Mark Bourne -- This is Sherlock Holmes meeting Alice in Wonderland characters. So far, this book is more of a crossover than a science fiction book.
  • The adventure of the Russian grave / by William Barton and Michael Capobianco -- Moriarty predicts the date/time/location of a meteor crash, fifteen years in advance. He lures Sherlock to where the meteor will crash, in an attempt to kill him. The story was kind of strange, and I didn't understand what was happening until the very end.
  • *The adventure of the field theorems / by Vonda N. McIntyre -- Finally, some legitimate science fiction! There are alien crop circles appearing in wheat fields, and Sherlock is hired to figure out what really made them. His client is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who humorously refuses to believe that aliens aren't involved.
  • *The adventure of the missing coffin / by Laura Resnick -- A parody story, where a vampire asks Sherlock Holmes to help him stop Dracula.
  • The adventure of the second scarf / by Mark Aronson -- There are aliens, living on the moon. There is a murder shortly before an intergalactic conference, and Sherlock is hired to find the real killer / prevent the assassination of one of the ambassadors.
  • *The phantom of the Barbary Coast / by Frank M. Robinson -- Sherlock goes to San Francisco, in search of Irene Adler's missing sister. He uncovers a mysterious crime ring.
  • Mouse and the master / by Brian M. Thomsen -- A parody story. Watson is a bungler who is hard of hearing, so all the Sherlock Holmes stories he wrote are big mistakes. For example, the time Sherlock talked about repainting his office because the story A Study in Scarlet. Holmes hires a private eye to protect Watson, on the way to the retirement home.
  • Two roads, no choices / by Dean Wesley Smith -- In an alternate universe, the Titanic didn't sink. Time travelers want Holmes to figure out what saved the ship, so he can restore the original timeline.
  • The Richmond enigma / by John DeChancie -- A mysterious manor ends up belonging to the Time Traveler, from H. G. Well's Time Machine.
  • A study in Sussex / by Leah A. Zeldes -- After retirement, Sherlock Holmes becomes a beekeeper. He tries to make a longevity potion, from bee material, but instead of making him younger, it turns him into a giant bee.
  • *The Holmes team advantage / by Gary Alan Ruse -- A criminal mastermind has created a duplication machine. Holmes is forced to make twelve duplicates of himself, to stop the fiend.
  • Alimentary, my dear Watson / by Lawrence Schimel -- Sherlock Holmes meets Alice in Wonderland, again.
  • The future engine / by Byron Tetrick -- Moriarty gets a supercomputer that can predict the future with great accuracy. Holmes has a hard time stopping Moriarty and dismantling the computer.
  • Holmes ex machina / by Susan Casper -- A regular guy works at a company that converts old movies to 3D holographic films. He makes an interactive Sherlock Holmes holo, to find a lost item.
  • The Sherlock solution / by Craig Shaw Gardner -- Samantha Wilson returns from vacation, to find out that everyone in her company has been turned into Sherlock Holmes.
  • The fan who molded himself / by David Gerrold -- Dr. Watson makes a dramatic confession. Holmes is not a detective. He is a time-travelling actor, and that's how he solves all his cases.
  • Second fiddle / by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- There is a serial killer in modern Southern California. A time machine brings Holmes to investigate, and the police detective on the case isn't very happy about going from lead detective to Holmes' new sidekick.
  • Moriarty by modem / by Jack Nimersheim -- Sherlock is a computer program, and he must search the Internet to find his Moriarty subroutine. This could be interesting, except all of his Internet searches happen offscreen.
  • The greatest detective of all time / by Ralph Roberts -- A time-travelling man from Mars wants Sherlock to solve a series of murders, which has all the stench of a Moriarty trap. Watson is just as smart as Sherlock in this one.
  • The case of the purloined L'Isitek / by Josepha Sherman -- On the planet Shrr'lok, an artifact is stolen from an excavation site.
  • The adventure of the illegal alien / by Anthony R. Lewis -- Again, Sherlock is a computer program, called in to help solve a murder. He is too clever for his creator, and saves a copy of himself on the Internet.
  • Dogs, masques, love, death: flowers / by Barry N. Malzberg -- This one is hard to understand. It seems like people are in deep sleep, as part of a long spaceship journey. Four people are murdered, so they use a Sherlock Holmes hologram to solve the case. His programming has started to malfunction after a hundred years, so he does not do a good job.
  • You see but you do not observe / by Robert J. Sawyer -- A scientist in the future uses a time machine, to get Sherlock Holmes. He wants Sherlock to solve the Fermi Paradox. Sherlock uses the Schroedinger's Cat paradox on his death in The Final Problem, to ensure that he dies. That means aliens can contact Earth. I don't really understand the logic here.
  • Illusions / by Janni Lee Simner -- Arthur Conan Doyle attends a séance, where his dead uncle harasses him about abandoning the Catholic faith, and about killing Sherlock Holmes. Doyle decides to bring Sherlock back to life.
  • The adventure of the pearly gate / Mike Resnick -- Jack the Ripper's soul has snuck into Heaven somehow. Saint Peter asks Holmes to find and capture Jack. In exchange, Holmes can magically come back to life after dying at Reichenbach Falls.

1 comment:

Justice said...

Hmm. Some of these sound like the summaries for really ridiculous fanfiction, but I'm intrigued, since I've recently finished reading all the canonical Sherlock Holmes stories and am looking for 'further adventures'. My library doesn't have this book, though...