Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Sherlock Holmes

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Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes/Watson partnership is an Underlier for many Duos in Detective/Thriller Fantasy – Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy and Master Sean are the obvious example, and Barry Hughart's Master Li books pair a wilful genius with a stolid Sensible Man. The mythic stature of SH himself makes him a tempting Recursive-Fantasy character to include in any Urban Fantasy set in Victorian London – and often elsewhere or elsewhen. August W Derleth published the Solar Pons series of pastiches, assembled as The Adventures of Solar Pons (coll 1945; vt Regarding Sherlock Holmes 1974; vt The Adventures of Solar Pons 1975 UK); C S Lewis's The Magician's Nephew (1955) uses SH's presence in Baker Street to date the story; A Study in Terror * (1966; vt Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper 1967 UK) by Paul W Fairman (1916-1977) writing as Ellery Queen novelizes A Study in Terror (1965; vt Fog), where SH takes on the case of Jack the Ripper, a theme repeated in Murder by Decree (1978), novelized by Robert Weverka as Murder by Decree * (1979); Nicholas Meyer (1945-    ) started an interesting recursive series with The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974); Philip José Farmer's The Adventure of the Peerless Peer (1974) pastiches the SH saga in the context of his Wold Newton Family saga; Sherlock Holmes's War of the Worlds (1975) by Manly Wade Wellman and Wade Wellman matches SH to H G Wells, as does Morlock Night (1979) by K W Jeter (1950-    ); The Giant Rat of Sumatra (1977) by Richard L Boyer becomes, disappointingly, a Rationalized Fantasy, the "rat" proving to be a tapir; Exit Sherlock Holmes (1977) by Robert Lee Hall (1941-    ) has Moriarty as SH's alter ego, and involves Time Travel; Fred Saberhagen's The Holmes-Dracula File (1978) sees SH aided by a Vampire against the Giant Rat of Sumatra; Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula, or The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count (1978) and Dr Jekyll and Mr Holmes (1979) by Loren D Estleman (1952-    ) are of obvious associational interest; Michael Kurland's pastiches to date are The Infernal Device (1979), Death by Gaslight (1982) and A Study in Sorcery (1989); Time for Sherlock Holmes (1983) by David Dvorkin (1943-    ) is another time-travel story, with SH having discovered the secret of eternal youth; the revenant SH of modern London in Robert Rankin's East of Ealing (1984) is a comic travesty; Ten Years Beyond Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Matches his Wits with the Diabolical Dr Fu Manchu * (1984) by Cay Van Ash (1918-1994) is explained by its subtitle; Esther Friesner's Druid's Blood (1988) has a version of SH saving a magical Alternate-World Victorian England; and Roger Zelazny's crowded A Night in the Lonesome October (1993) features him in a bit part. Further examples abound, notably Philip Pullman's Sherlock Holmes and the Limehouse Horror (1992).

SH has of course featured extensively on stage and on both large and small screens.The Animal-Fantasy homage Basil of Baker Street (1974) by Eve Titus became Disney's Animated Movie The Great Mouse Detective (1986). SH movies of at least associational interest, either based on Doyle or recursive, include (aside from those mentioned above): The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939; 1958; 1977); Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942); Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (1944); The Scarlet Claw (1944); The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) a Gaslight Romance/Technofantasy which also involves the Loch Ness Monster; They Might Be Giants (1971), an excellent fantasy of Perception set in contemporary New York, where a latter-day SH calls up the Bleeker Street Irregulars; Young Sherlock Holmes (1985; vt Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear) in which schoolboys Holmes and Watson battle a wicked cult and nasty Mesmerism; and 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns (1994).

An anthology of recursive stories is Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space (anth 1984) ed Isaac Asimov, Martin Greenberg and Charles G Waugh. [DRL/JG]


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.