This is about as comprehensible as Red Shift, and the protagonist seems to be more immersed in mental illness than myth. It's very poetic and evocativThis is about as comprehensible as Red Shift, and the protagonist seems to be more immersed in mental illness than myth. It's very poetic and evocative - his line between what is real and not real is as ever blurred. To avoid frustration I'm just letting it wash over me and will see where it goes. If 'resolution' is forthcoming by the end I suspect I won't understand it....more
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
This one has no Bertie and Jeeves only 'oils' in a few times, but it's still a great farce on the usual themes of love and money. The modern world isThis one has no Bertie and Jeeves only 'oils' in a few times, but it's still a great farce on the usual themes of love and money. The modern world is starting to creep in a bit at this point in the series with television, calories and the welfare state poking their heads into the story. The landed gentry are becoming too poor to support the existence of feudal butlers like Jeeves, and it's almost sad to read. Like Chekhov but with likeable characters......more
As the only character not afflicted by a susceptibility to romance, Bertie's is the perfect lens through which to observe its chaotic effect - both onAs the only character not afflicted by a susceptibility to romance, Bertie's is the perfect lens through which to observe its chaotic effect - both on his young flighty courting friends and his battleaxe-pecked older relatives. Ridiculous plans that go horribly wrong... occasionally an utterly idiotic plan that goes right for all the wrong reasons. Bertie is once again victim to the bizarre and unpredictable whims of everyone he rubs up against. Wodehouse = comic genius....more