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Sherlock Holmes in Orbit

por Mike Resnick (Editor), Martin Harry Greenberg (Editor)

Outros autores: William Barton (Contribuidor), Mark Bourne (Contribuidor), Michael Capobianco (Contribuidor), Susan Casper (Contribuidor), John DeChancie (Contribuidor)18 mais, George Alec Effinger (Contribuidor), Craig Shaw Gardner (Contribuidor), David Gerrold (Contribuidor), Anthony R. Lewis (Contribuidor), Barry N. Malzberg (Contribuidor), Vonda N. McIntyre (Contribuidor), Jack Nimersheim (Contribuidor), Laura Resnick (Contribuidor), Mike Resnick (Introdução), Ralph Roberts (Contribuidor), Frank M. Robinson (Contribuidor), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Contribuidor), Gary Alan Ruse (Contribuidor), Robert J. Sawyer (Contribuidor), Lawrence Schimel (Contribuidor), Josepha Sherman (Contribuidor), Janni Lee Simner (Contribuidor), Jim Warren (Artista da capa)

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In 1995 Martin H. Greenberg was honored by the Mystery Writers of America with the Ellery Queen Award for lifetime achievement in mystery editing. He is also the recipient of two Anthony awards. Mystery Scene magazine called him "the best mystery anthologist since Ellery Queen." He has compiled more than 1,000 anthologies and is the president of TEKNO books. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.… (mais)
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Quick review: Overall it was probably more good than bad. I liked that the variety in stories meant that even the bad ones didn't matter much. There were a few really good stories too. Not something I'd recommend to many people but if you're into this sort of thing then it's good.

Best stories: The Adventure of the Field Theorems, The Greatest Detective of All Time
Worst Stories: The Mouse and the Master, The Adventure of the Pearly Gates

Short review of all the stories because hey why not right. Will contain minor spoilers for things revealed in the first few pages of a story, anything that's clearly intended to be an interesting reveal or is nearer the end is in spoiler tags.

The Musgrave Version: Sherlock Holmes meets Fu Manchu except narrated by the client from The Musgrave Ritual. The digs at Watson are a little amusing and I appreciate the attempts to talk about the racism with the Fu Manchu character while still keeping him an evil mastermind but nothing really happens. Dull but OK.

The Case of the Detective's Smile: Another crossover with Alice from Alice in Wonderland, except her real life inspiration. Again nothing much happens except MAGIC IS REAL. I found it a bit mawkish and excessive, it relies entirely on the interest of (kind of) seeing the crossover. Poor.

The Adventure of the Russian Grave: Holmes in an historical event witnessing a certain comet. The pretext for it is pretty flimsy and nothing much happens till the very end so you have to enjoy the pay off. I liked that it was all a very clever Moriarty trap from the grave though, even if it was a bit unlikely. OK.

The Adventure of the Field Theorems: a funny, clever, affectionate tribute to Conan Doyle, Houdini, magic and UFO stories that I highly recommend. Probably one of the best non-Doyle Holmes stories I've read. Probably benefits from the slightly extended length but makes the most of it and gives Holmes a chance to show his appreciation of other masters of a craft. Good character writing for Holmes and just enough detail to make a convincing mystery and retain a sci-fi element but without making it the centerpiece. Loved it.

The Adventure of the Missing Coffin: pretty funny joke story (although told in the third person! what a faux pas) that's another crossover although they only appear at the end. Features vampires and some pretty decent jokes. Obviously not super hilarious but I thought it was a funny play on the typical Holmes story the supernatural while still sticking pretty closely to how they should go. I liked it.

The Adventure of the Second Scarf: Sherlock Holmes... in SPACEEE! Pretty mediocre because it gets tied up too hard in explaining the introduced sci fi elements which make things like the explanation kind of clumsy, but it's ok.

The Phantom of the Barbary Coast: Not really convinced by the attempted Irene Adler connection but hey. There's a reasonably interesting mystery revolving around some stuff I'd never heard of before the equivalent of pressganging except in the US but that are explained and are interesting and the villain is a corrupt policeman so that gets points in my book. Not brilliant but enjoyable enough.

Mouse and the Master: I really don't get this one, I feel it's a reference to something but I have no idea what. The main character is a stereotypical noir detective and the story is basically about how the accepted Holmes stories are all wrong and actually Holmes and Watson are very different etc but it's just... weird and doesn't pull it off at all. There are a couple funny lines but not much more. Watson gets turned into an old fool who makes up all the stories based on mishearings and Holmes is an arsehole. And then Holmes sends the detective to a spiritualist meeting which Watson has been taken in by where a load of fictional characters are trying to make contact with the other side. And then the detective stops the criminals by listening to a voice in his head. What??? It's just incoherent> Very strange

Two Roads No Choices: A time travel story and a pretty cool one. More like a "traditional" sci-fi story with Sherlock Holmes as a character, but I thought it dealt with the topic in an interesting way with a good set up, an attempt at a moral problem and an interesting ending with regards to determinism and the paradoxes of time travel. Good story.

The Richmond Enigma: Another crossover and also another time travel story, this time with the most famous time travel story of all time (probably) Quite a bit of it is repeating the story of its source material, which is a little silly, and the conclusion is a little dull. Holmes doesn't do any detecting and the time traveller just says "oh well I'll fly around a bit and destroy my time machine. woo" it just ends. Eh.

A Study in Sussex: Amazing. Genius. I highly recommend just reading it yourself unless you're scared of bees but given someone else has spoiled it I'll put the plot in spoiler tags because it deserves commemorating somewhere: Holmes has been injecting himself with bee venom, which has healed his old age complaints. He decides to inject himself with a massive amount with Watson watching. Overnight, he turns into a giant swarm of bees with his own conciousness and flies away. The ending is Watson injecting himself with the rest of the venom. Fin I wish I had this person's creative imagination to be honest. Bloody hell.

Holmes Team Advantage: There's a cloning machine used by evil people! And then Holmes clones himself! And the clones do stuff not described and then they die because they didn't get "molecularly stabilised". Eh. Does very little with the concept. Pretty dull.

Alimentary, My Dear Watson: OK, I was not expecting this. At all. Very short and that it's an Alice in Wonderland crossover is obvious from the first page. Worth warning for child sexual abuse (yeah) Makes a marked contrast to the reverent tone towards Carroll in the earlier story, here he gets eaten by the Cheshire Cat after all the characters from Alice in Wonderland trick him into a trap because he's been abusing Alice. Like. I mean. I wasn't expecting to read a story with a premise like that. At least Holmes immediately sympathised and helped cover the "murder" up

The Future Engine: There's an engine... that can predict or maybe even affect the future!! That's why it's called the future engine. Involving a descendant of Babbage. I laughed so hard when it was said the maths used to operate it is the "binomial theorem" and Holmes collapses in paroxysms over Moriarty. An alright caper, doesn't do enough with the concept, but it's ok. Oh also at the start Holmes gives a ridiculous speech extolling the incredible progressive virtues of the British empire and how the world is being lead into a glorious new age and then at the end he says actually progress is bad, because Moriarty was able to predict stock markets using a primitive computer. Incredible stuff, really makes you think

Then starts the modern/future stories, most of which resort to having Holmes be a computer program because I guess it's hard to find excuses to have him appear otherwise. The language used to talk about computers is pretty funny in general - I feel some of the authors had never used a computer. But only in an era where there was a sudden craze for all things "cyber" could a line like "computer, delete MORIARTY.DAT" be considered a fitting climax to a story. It's beautiful in a way.

Holmes Ex Machina: A guy uses computers to create a virtual "actor" of Holmes from the books, virtual Holmes solves a very simple mystery, nothing much happens. Oh, and instead of films everything is on "holos". The future!! Eh.

The Sherlock Solution: Another one that gets some points for creativity. Basically the entire staff of a company have been turned into Holmes through some transferral of a computer program that also released Moriarty into the world as an evil villain. Has a few funny bits and the ending clearly cries out for a sequel. It's alright.

The Fan Who Molded Himself: This is a pretty wild one that makes novel use of time travel and changing up our preconceived notions of the Holmes character. I liked the concept a lot anyway - I don't usually like Holmes was an arsehole or ~dark gritty~ stuff but I thought this was clever/creative enough that it worked well. And it's pretty scary!. I liked this a lot.

Second Fiddle: The descriptions of the murder are pretty brutal. Definitely much more "modern" crime style than a lot of the others. Holmes gets pulled to present day California by time travel to solve a murder (the only sci-fi bit is to get the plot started) with an investigator who's mad at being upstaged. By the end, he has a healthier view of things. Kind of. Possibly. Pretty decent, although I could have done without some of the ~grittier~ stuff.

Moriarty by Modem: Another "Holmes is a computer program" thing. Not very exciting, nothing much happens, although I liked the attempt at a dramatic ending in the CYBERWORLD. Kind of. OK.

The Greatest Detective of All Time: Fun premise, Holmes is literally what the title says so he and Watson get consulted on things by many time travellers to solve mysteries in their own times. And Moriarty acts as the counterpart for future villains. Does some cool stuff with the concept/time travel, has a mystery of sorts, entertaining ending, pretty good.

The Case of the Purloined L'Isitek: A story existing for the sake of a few abominable puns. Here Holmes's place is taken by an alien that shares his name. Pretty pedestrian mystery but it's OK. Having someone who's not Holmes but acts like him as a joke makes it a bit better than average generic mystery.

The Adventure of the Illegal Alien: Holmes as AI in an incoherent and mercifully short story. Takes on a client, solves the mystery by calling in a favour of a descendant (?) of Mycroft by saying he's Holmes even though he's an AI and the dude somehow totally accepting it, then lies to the client because Holmes is some sort of British patriot who covers up murder for commercial gain now apparently?? Oh and the AI computer gets wiped but he disappears into the Internet somehow. And a policeman is a dolphin. Just really bad and insulting and makes a mess of the character of Holmes as well as barely making sense through sloppy writing.

Dogs, Masques, Love, Death, Flowers: Two bad stories in a row! If anyone has the slightest clue what's going on in this story please tell me. Set on a spaceship where people are in cold storage or something with a load of stream of conciousness passages that are incomprehensible because they hint at a setting behind the story that's impossible to understand or guess at. I have no idea what happens at the ending, what the motive for the murder was, how it happened, why any of the things in the story happened in fact. Just a total mess. The idea of robots based on fictional detectives is cute though.

You See But You Do Not Observe: This is a kind of "cute" story, where Holmes solves the Fermi paradox - in the most ridiculous way with a load of gobbledegook "science", of course, but it's fun nonetheless. Ending spoilers: Of course, the problem is that Holmes got resurrected by the power of people's will to see him again after his death at Reichenbach, putting Earth out of sync with the rest of the universe and preventing contact with aliens! What a great totally ridiculous idea. It's at least coherent within itself and takes an interesting angle compared to a lot of the stories. I liked it a lot.

Illusions: A fun, short story with Conan Doyle as the main character. He attends a spiritualist seance in the hope of making contact with the great beyond and meeting someone: his uncle, who demands he make more Sherlock Holmes stories. A cute, amusing, light story that'd have been a great ending to the collection imo.

The Adventure of the Pearly Gate: But instead, we get this. Congrats to the author for saying that 3 of Jack The Ripper's victims are in hell! What an unpleasant thing to say, especially as it's pretty easily guessable why he'd think that (and it's a really really bad reason). The rest of the story is naff as heck - I don't think Holmes meeting St Peter is something even the best authors could write well, and it certainly doesn't come across well here. Features Holmes being *bored of heaven*, which is uh... yeah. It's just a really ridiculous view of heaven that's both not interesting and also would probably be kind of insulting if you believed in it. The whole way Jack the Ripper and his victims are talked about is also really insulting and just bizarre too - like because he's "insane" he can't recognise "fake" Pearly Gates unlike everyone else?? None of his victims are in heaven?? I dunno. Just a bizarre, unpleasant story that's a shame to end the book on.
( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
I bought a second hand copy of this book.

See my note in my blog:

[http://gypsylibrarian.blogspot.com/2007/06/booknote-sherlock-holmes-in-orbit.html] ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
Resnick's introduction talks a bit about the film and literary additions to Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes' canon including some attempts to put the detective in a science fictional or fantasy context. While he says he required each story in this original anthology do that, even that requirement is not honored.

There are tales where Holmes is simply the exemplar of rationalism. Vonda N. McIntyre's "The Adventure of the Field Theorems" mixes, not for the last time in this anthology, Holmes and Watson up with Arthur Conan Doyle. The most clever thing in this story is the title. The "field theorems" are crop circles which show up in the late 19th century and are, suggests Doyle, an attempt by the spirit world to communicate with us. Holmes as debunker of the supernatural shows up in Frank M. Robinson's "The Phantom of the Barbary Coast". It makes good use of a San Francisco location and the tragic circumstances of Irene Adler's sister, Leona.

There isn't even alleged paranormal activity in William Barton and Michael Capobianco's "The Adventure of the Russian Grave", but it is one of the best tales in the book and makes very good use of Professor Moriarty's training in astronomy.

A frequent device of science fiction Holmes pastiches is to cross the detective's path with various Victorian literary characters or historical figures. There are two misbegotten attempts at combining Lewis Carroll with Arthur Conan Doyle. Mark Bourne's "The Case of the Detective's Smile" at least has a gentle, whimsical air about it as we discover that Holmes went to Wonderland during his missing three years after Reichenbach Falls. (Reichenbach Falls is mentioned several times in this anthology. The Victoria Falls mentioned on the cover blurb is not. That's representative of the somewhat slipshod feeling of this book.) Lawrence Schimel's "Alimentary, My Dear Watson" has a nastier, more uneven tone about it - not the least because it uses the old accusation of pedophilia against Lewis Carroll whose death Holmes is investigating. Mostly, though, the tone of mixing Holmes and Carroll simply doesn't work no matter how much one tries to intellectualize it as a playful exploration of logic.

An even worse story is Laura Resnick's "The Adventure of the Missing Coffin". This story of Holmes crossing paths with a vampire - surprisingly not Dracula though he's in the story too - is not at all funny though it is clearly trying hard to be.

George Alec Effinger's "The Musgrave Version" is the most extreme example of these crossovers. Here we get a young Holmes and young Reginald Musgrave (Watson lied about being Holmes only close friend) crossing paths with Fu Manchu, Captain Nemo, and Dr. Moreau. Effinger doesn't really give us an adventure, just an extreme example of this type of literary crossovers that begin in the mid-1970s with Philip Jose Farmer and continued with some of the works of Alan Moore and Kim Newman.

While Effinger's story doesn't use any of the expected plot devices you would expect to bring science fiction to Holmes - time travel, aliens, alternate history, mad scientists, or Holmes simulcras, other stories do.

In the time travel category, we have John DeChancie's mostly effective combining of H. G. Wells' Time Traveler with Holmes though the story is a bit marred a cute ending. Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes good science fiction mysteries, and the crime in her "Second Fiddle" is interesting. It is one of the few stories in the book not narrated by Watson. Here the narrator is a police detective who resents Holmes being called in on a serial killer case via time travel consultation. The story suffers, though, from being a too neat analogy between the motives of the killer and the feelings of the narrator, and it descends, as some of Rusch's work does, in to a too easy lesson of self-knowledge and improvement. Ralph Roberts "The Greatest Detective of All Time" is one of the highlights of the book. It has both Holmes and Moriarty consulting with their professional colleagues throughout the future, temporal paradoxes, and cunning traps. "You See But You Do Not Observe" by Robert J. Sawyer is a very clever mixture of Schrodinger's Cat, Holmes, time travel, the Fermi Paradox, and Reichenbach Falls. It may not quite hold together after contemplating it, but it is another good story.

Two time travel stories seem to be cases of authors recycling earlier works and putting them in a Holmes context. The least successful is Dean Wesley Smith's "Two Roads, No Choices" which is also an alternate history. Like his novel Laying the Music to Rest (Questar Science Fiction), it deals with time travel and the Titanic. Here Holmes meets time travelers who assert that, unlike what happened in Holmes' world, the Titanic needs to sink. This story misses the opportunity to deal with the ethics of setting up over a thousand deaths deliberately and also doesn't earn the emotion it wants from the reader at story's end. "The Fan Who Molded Himself" by David Gerrold even plays off the title of his novel The Man Who Folded Himself. Here the conceit is that Holmes was a personality cooked up by Watson and a man with access to time travel - which aids in the solution of crimes. This "Holmes" is traveling throughout time to kill anyone who reveals this secret - including the narrator who is Watson's grandson. However, the story doesn't really work in making this homicidal Holmes all that threatening.

Aliens show up in, for the most part, straightforward mystery stories. "The Adventure of the Second Scarf" is written by Mark Aronson but could have been written by Isaac Asimov given that the solution hinges on a bit of science. The title "The Case of the Purloined L'isitek" by Josepha Sherman evokes Poe's "The Purloined Letter", and Holmes doesn't even make an appearance. The narrator is one Alwin Watson, an archaeologist, and Holmes is filled in by an alien fascinated by the literary character . The plot is basically that of the Poe story.

Aliens show up in one of the story's featuring reconstructed Holmes, "The Adventure of the Illegal Alien" by Anthony R. Lewis. It's a lackluster story which is about the best that can be said for most of the storyies here that use that device. Some are also muddled and pointless. As this one does, they frequently feature Holmes battling Moriarty in cyberspace - or at least thinking he's in cyberspace. "Holmes Ex Machina" by Susan Casper has Holmes the computer program solving the disappearance of a film. "Moriarty by Modem" by Jack Nimersheim has a Holmes program created to track down a Moriarty reconstruction which has gone feral. "The Sherlock Solution" by Craig Shaw Gardner reverses the formula a bit. It has a Moriarty program creating, just for a challenge, a bunch of Sherlock Holmes via viral genetic engineering. "Dogs, Masques, Love, Death: Flowers" by Barry N. Malzberg has the virtue of being written in a style not at all like the imitation Doyle frequently used by the book's contributors. It also features a mad, robotic Holmes construct. But the story makes no logical sense and is vague. Has Jack the Ripper also been robotized in this future? Is he the killer or the executioner of the real murderer? As is frequently the case with Malzberg, I suspect his opaque style is used to cover up a paucity of logic and sense.

A mad scientist with access to a matter duplicator shows up in Gary Alan Ruse's "The Holmes Team Advantage". The title predictably tips off the story. Byron Tetrick's "The Future Engine" belongs to that science fiction sub-genre that developed in the 1980s and 1990s: stories featuring Charles Babbage's attempt to build mechanical computers. Here Moriarty gets his hands on a working model. As with "The Richmond Enigma" this is another story with Holmes playing the role of social guardian in more than just criminal apprehension.

Odds and ends include Brian M. Thomsen's somewhat humorous "Mouse and Master". The narrator is one Malcolm Chandler , no accident since he writes like Raymond Chandler. He is a less famous London detective hired by Holmes to help out in a case. We learn Watson is a very unreliable narrator of Holmes' adventures since Watson is very hard of hearing, and it's another story with no real fantastical elements. Leah A Zeldes' "A Study in Sussex" is a pointless, vague story of transcendence via bee venom, a substance the retired, bee keeping Holmes is experimenting with. "Illusions" by Janni Lee Simner features Doyle and not Holmes as the main character. Events at a séance Doyle attends contribute to the history of Holmes the character.

Editor Resnick divides the anthology into four parts: Holmes in the past, Holmes in the present, Holmes in the future, and Holmes after death. Resnick's own "The Adventure of the Pearly Gate" is a delightful capstone on the book. Here, after Reichenbach Falls, Holmes is in Heaven and bored, denied even the solace of cocaine. St. Peter comes to him with a job. Resnick manages to nicely explain the workings of Heaven and Purgatory in a short space and explain why Jack the Ripper (another inevitable meeting of the two figures) has gone undetected in Heaven. Resnick nicely fits his story and speculations into the Doyle canon.

There are a lot of lackluster stories in this anthology but enough good ones exist to make it worth your while, especially if you're a big Sherlock Holmes fan. ( )
1 vote RandyStafford | Jan 15, 2012 |
Another collection of sci-fi Holmes pastiches; this one is much better than "Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space," despite opening, for some bizarre reason, with what's by *far* the worst story in the whole book. (Profic writers really could learn a thing or two from fandom. Rule No. 1: Don't character bash. Rule No. 2: DON'T CHARACTER BASH.) I suspect this is because all these stories were written specifically for this anthology, while the other was a collection of previously published stuff. Thus, the focus of these tales is much more *the actual Sherlock Holmes* (and sometimes—but not nearly enough—Watson), and not characters merely similar to him. So, while none of the stories were what I'd call revelatory—I still haven't found my ideal Sherlock Holmes sci-fi pastiche (maybe I'll have to write it myself)—the collection as a whole was quite enjoyable. Though I wish someone would give Watson a bit more love. *pouts*
2 vote trinityofone | Aug 3, 2007 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Resnick, MikeEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Greenberg, Martin HarryEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Barton, WilliamContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bourne, MarkContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Capobianco, MichaelContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Casper, SusanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
DeChancie, JohnContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Effinger, George AlecContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gardner, Craig ShawContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gerrold, DavidContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Lewis, Anthony R.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Malzberg, Barry N.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
McIntyre, Vonda N.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Nimersheim, JackContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Resnick, LauraContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Resnick, MikeIntroduçãoautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Roberts, RalphContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Robinson, Frank M.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Rusch, Kristine KathrynContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Ruse, Gary AlanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Sawyer, Robert J.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Schimel, LawrenceContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Sherman, JosephaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Simner, Janni LeeContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Warren, JimArtista da capaautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Doyle, Dame Jean ConanAuthorized byautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rossiter, RichardDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Smith, Dean WesleyContribuidorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tetrick, ByronContribuidorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Thomsen, Brian M.Contribuidorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Zeldes, Leah A.Contribuidorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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In 1995 Martin H. Greenberg was honored by the Mystery Writers of America with the Ellery Queen Award for lifetime achievement in mystery editing. He is also the recipient of two Anthony awards. Mystery Scene magazine called him "the best mystery anthologist since Ellery Queen." He has compiled more than 1,000 anthologies and is the president of TEKNO books. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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