Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Closing in....

Sherlock Holmes is one of the greatest literary characters of all time. With all of the Holmes adaptations being made and the reawakening of the Sherlockian/Holmesian fanbase in the 21st century, and with the BBC's own take on Holmes (Sherlock) under my belt, I began searching for other love letters to the great detective in literature. I set out at first to see what dimensions, what scenarios could other writers dare to put the detective in. Some attempts at honoring Conan Doyle's sleuth were well-researched, engaging, and original, while others were unfortunately boring, flat, even damaging to this dynamic character.
Throughout this project, there have been pastiches that were so bad that I considered giving up on the venture altogether. There have also been pastiches that made me want to jump up and scream "Yes!!!!!!!" upon completing them, that made me feel excited to continue. It is the ones that made me jump up that propelled me to push forward.
So why am I telling you all of this?
Well, after going through my shelf, I realized that I have read fourteen Holmes pastiches. I've never had a goal number of books for this project, but I think it's time to close this with one final book as I begin to compile a list that will show my ranking of all of the novels from the best pastiche being #1 and the worst being #15.
This list will probably take a long time to complete, since I will probably be revisiting some of the older books to see where they fit. I will update the project with one final review when I can and hopefully have the list done and posted in the coming months. After the final review, the project will be complete. Please be aware that if I read any other pastiches in the future, they will not be tagged under Project Sherlock, but they will be tagged under Sherlock Holmes.
Final review to come!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Your Stars

Sometimes I wish I could sip the stars. My breathing labored, I hold you in my arms. You gaze upon the stars in my eyes as the world tilts on its axis and we want to fly, for we are children of this starry night. I breathe in the scent of your overly long coat as you take in the night's perfume and the song of the crickets. We are one, yet somewhere a clock tolls midnight as we take each other hand in hand and fly about the world. Why am I one with you and yet still one with the stars? Why, when I weep, are my tears gold and yours silver? Why are we, as children, being thrust into the unforgiving forest of the night and being left to our own devices? Why does it hurt to grow up? Will I ever regain the child's eye again?
Who am I, while you hold a flower made of stars and gaze upon my eyes filled with tears? Who are you?
We are one, yet we are many, and as we dance about the wind, you hold me ever so gently in your arms. I kiss you, and my lips hold you still in my arms. We are one, yet we are no one compared to the enormity of the world around us. We are still children, and the world is prepared to show us the realities of adult life. I don't feel ready, but you hold on to the innocence I fear losing as the world thrusts me into its arms. I get ready to kiss you goodbye, but you stop me.... you melt into the sky and all that is left of you is a trail of stars.
As I miss holding you, your stars float into my coat pocket and caress my shoulder. And I kiss them as you remind me that I will never be alone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Nerd's Thoughts on Nature and Man

I've been thinking a lot about this quote from my favorite book:

"El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so."

In the story "The Blessing of El-ahrairah" from Richard Adams' Watership Down, the rabbits' god Frith says this to the leader of the rabbits, going on to say that the world will instead be his enemy. What I'm thinking is maybe this can be applied to humans as well. We are animals that possess the highest form of brain capacity known, the capacity of organized conscious thought and the ability to act on that. We use this higher thought capacity to a much larger extent compared to other animals. Yet we are still in the same situation as the rabbit, even though it may seem to be the other way around.

Nature rules the life of the rabbit and, despite the advances made in the past and those that continue to be made even today, the life of man. Think of Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hermine. Despite how powerful the human race is, nature rules our lives, too. And whether you believe a god is responsible for that order, the brutal power of the natural world and the environment surpasses the power of man, no question.

Richard Adams took the human creation myth and put rabbits in place of humans to make a point. We are powerful, yes, but we are far from omniscient and infallible. We were given flaws and obstacles in the world to prove this, yet I feel to an extent we ignore it. Personally, if I'd never read this book I never would have thought of it! And I'm ashamed of that.

No matter how powerful we seem, that power only extends so far and, despite what we believe about ourselves and our power, nature will always run the show for every race on earth.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Review: Rendezvous at the Populaire - A Novel of Sherlock Holmes

Rendezvous at the Populaire - A Novel of Sherlock Holmes Rendezvous at the Populaire - A Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Kate Workman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"My dear friend, you cannot best me. You may kill me, but my spirit will not be taken down by a mere mortal. And that is precisely what you are."
Sometimes, even a machine like Sherlock Holmes may break down. Sometimes, life is unfair to those who live it. And sometimes you just have to overcome it. This take on the renowned detective was surprisingly refreshing and I enjoyed it immensely.
It was a little difficult to follow at times due to my being used to Watson always narrating, so Holmes' narration took a little getting used to. In this story, a terrible accident disables Holmes so that he walks with a cane throughout the story. Seeing his perspective on how people treat him due to his disability absolutely broke my heart, given my experience with my own disability. A disability can wound you in more ways than one...
The story was fantastic. Despite Holmes not being at his best (which I blame on the accident), the phantom was an amazing antagonist to engage both Holmes and Dr. Watson. Being threatening, wounded, and as a result one whose mental prowess matches that of Holmes makes his character as amazing as the infamous Moriarty. And how both Holmes and the Phantom were able to fully understand one another's deformities and the emotional impact such deformities could cause was extremely well done.
However, this novel did have some shortcomings, which I will outline.
First of all, the scenario surrounding Holmes' accident doesn't hold out entirely to me. If they were being chased by Moriarty or his men, what happened to the scenario at the Reichenbach Falls? At what point in time was this, before or after the incident? What happened to Moriarty?
Also, although I understand that his identity wasn't the main issue of the story, I would have preferred the Phantom's identity remain a mystery for a little while instead of most people knowing who he was right off the bat. Maybe I missed something, since I've never seen The Phantom of the Opera.
Overall, it was one of the better Holmes pastiches I've read and one that I am not likely to forget anytime soon.

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