The classic locked room mystery. Once again the interesting story is told in the last chapter - treasure, mutiny, treason - the rest is just Holmes fiThe classic locked room mystery. Once again the interesting story is told in the last chapter - treasure, mutiny, treason - the rest is just Holmes fiddling around with clues....more
I'm getting around to reading the rest of the Sherlock saga now despite not being overly blown away by Hound of the Baskervilles 10+ years ago, and thI'm getting around to reading the rest of the Sherlock saga now despite not being overly blown away by Hound of the Baskervilles 10+ years ago, and the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC, and the legions of self-proclaimed Cumberbitches who are making the internet such an entertaining place to be at the moment.
It started out by telling the story of how Holmes & Watson came to meet and live together, and Sherlock makes an interesting character study so this was all very good. His obsessive, high-functioning-sociopath-ness reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft's protagonists, but while Lovecraft's narrators are the least interesting part of his stories, I think Sherlock is one of the most interesting in the series... by which I mean I just don't find the sleuthing aspect very interesting or his watertight deductive process plausible, and unfortunately this is the bulk of the narrative. Partly this is due to Sherlock's then cutting edge methods being hopelessly outpaced and often entirely debunked (see phrenology) by modern science. In this book he has just found a chemical test for... da da da daaah, blood. Something so simple we wouldn't even think of it as in question today, we'd be stamping our feet if we couldn't find out WHO a blood sample belonged to. The tv series goes some way to rectify this using more cutting edge technology, one of the reasons I find it more enjoyable than the books. But in both cases I rebel from the idea of a watertight deduction process, there are just way too many variables in any real-life situation.
I can glaze over common issues with books 100+ years old - the colonialism, sexism, casual racism, the class system: all the fun stuff - and I thoroughly enjoy the dodgy science in Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Shelley and Lovecraft, where the precise nature of the science isn't important because the story is more about the wider ethical implications of scientific progress. But in novels where the crux of the story is on following a pattern of logic, the tools for which are a century out of date and the premise of which is very doubtful, I fail in my appreciation. It's like reading a story where the author unselfconsciously doles out their perceived poetic justice to characters for things not considered a crime by contemporary standards in Western culture - tiresome and sprinkled with clangers.
This books gets a redeeming extra star though for the unexpected non-sequitur that was Part Two - An Epic Tale Of Love, Death, Revenge And Mormonism Across The Desert, which as well as being a stonkingly swashbuckling read, raised all sorts of broader ethical questions about cross-cultural conflict and the suitability of The Law to deal with inter-personal feuds. It made me curious about Conan Doyle's non-Holmsian works anyhow....more
I can happily pass on monster porn... the reviews and the concepts presented on the cover have got to be far more entertaining than the actual executiI can happily pass on monster porn... the reviews and the concepts presented on the cover have got to be far more entertaining than the actual execution. But I love H.P. Lovecraft and I love fanfiction, so this was a case of purchase-on-sight - what an amazing cover! If you've ever read any Lovecraft then you'll know that cthulhu and erotica are perhaps the most unlikely two words to find in the same sentence. Yet in this collection several determined individuals have demonstrated how sex can be shoehorned into the Lovecraftverse in variety of colourful ways. It's quite a leap, but the "crackiness" (ie. you would have to be on crack to come up with it) is what I love about fanfiction. The unbridled enthusiasm and the sheer audacity of vision just plain ol' delight me.
The stories are not very explicit - just as in Lovecraft the nameless horror is never fully revealed, nor is the sex in this book. I am very happy to keep it that way. Other than some mandatory silly tentacle porn it's all impressively psychological. If he wasn't so busy turning in his grave I think Lovecraft would have approved. But while he would have denied it, can we really be sure that the man who wrote:
Shreiking, slithering, torrential shadows of red viscous madness chasing one another through endless, ensanguinated condors of purple fulgurous sky... formless phantasms and kalaidoscopic mutations of a ghoulish, remembered scene; forests of monstrous over-nourished oaks with serpent roots twisting and sucking unnamable juices from an earth verminous with millions of cannibal devils; mound-like tentacles groping from underground nuclei of polypous perversion... insane lightning over malignant ivied walls and demon arcades choked with fungous vegetation...
didn't have some deep seated sexual basis to his horror, possibly related to the female body? (And if he didn't, you do now.) Maybe he denied it to himself by completely excluding women from his books. Well there was that one, but she turned out to be possessed by an ancient spirit... who turned out to be a man. The stories are all very short - more proof of concept than well developed ideas. But what ideas! I'd say there were some really good novellas/novels that could be drawn out of them if the authors felt up to it....more
This was a lucky dip from my voluminous to-read list - added when I learned he is the godfather of urban fantasy. I've not read anything this magicalThis was a lucky dip from my voluminous to-read list - added when I learned he is the godfather of urban fantasy. I've not read anything this magical in a while. A set of loosely connected stories set in the same fictional city with some recurring characters. Jilly is going down in my list of inspiring females in literature. The theme of 'consensual reality' comes up throughout - that we agree among us what is real and not real, and we see what we expect/want to see. It made the real world seem somewhat more magical while I was reading it and the 5 stars are not given lightly....more