Friday, June 29, 2007

Booknote: Sherlock Holmes in Orbit

Resnick, Mike and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. Sherlock Holmes in Orbit. New York: DAW Books, 1995. ISBN: 0886776368.

Genre: Fiction
Subgenre: Detective fiction, science fiction

This is a collection of short stories about the great detective by various writers. The twist of this anthology is that the stories have some science fiction element to them. Also, the stories are not just set in Holmes's time period, but some are set in the present day and even in the future. One of the stories I found intriguing was "Two Roads, No Choices," where Sherlock Holmes finds himself in the H.M.S. Titanic, only the ship does not sink this time, and he has to find out why. Holmes is then involved in various adventures in his time such as a commission from a vampire to locate a missing object. The anthology moves then from Holmes's Victorian England to the present day (the 1990s). The present section's best story is "Second Fiddle" where Holmes is brought back to the 20th century via a time machine to solve a serial killer case. The anthology then features a set of stories in the future. One of them, "Moriarty by Modem" features the great detective as a computer program. This story may be interesting to some folks given the technology described has been superseded or vastly improved from the time the story was written. Sure, we have modems now, but we also have wireless networks. Robert J. Sawyer gives us an interesting look at puzzles when Holmes is brought to the future to solve the apparent disappearance of trillions in the story "You See But You Do Not Observe."

And even in death, the great detective is not down, as two stories of Holmes in death reveal. Overall, the anthology is a mixed bag. There is a bit of solid science fiction. A bit more of light science fiction. Some humor as well. Readers who enjoy Sherlock Holmes as well as readers who are looking for a good collection of short stories will find a good book here.

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