Poll: Is it OK for writers to add fantastical elements to Sherlock Holmes?

February 26, 2013 1 Comment »
Encounters of Sherlock Holmes, edited by George Mann

Encounters of Sherlock Holmes, edited by George Mann

More reviews are coming in for Encounters of Sherlock Holmes, edited by George Mann, published by Titan Books and featuring a story by me. Over at Amazon one happy customer said:

“The Demon Slasher of Seven Sisters,” by Cavan Scott — What more can there be to say about a story that includes the line: “To Sherlock Holmes, however, she was always THE woman; the woman who nearly bludgeoned him to death, that is.” Nothing much, except: read it! It’s a marvelous tale, amusing and witty. And somehow the author has managed to write a story that reveals much about the relationship between Holmes and Watson, even though Watson is not in it.

Unsurprisingly, some reviews mention the thorny subject of the supernatural in Sherlock Holmes. Some, but by no means all, of the stories in Encounters witness Holmes and Watson battling monsters and even aliens. Purists are always aghast when Holmes comes face to face with vampires, zombies or extra-terrestrials. Sherlock is a rationalist after all, almost evangelical in his skepticism. If Conan Doyle never pitted him against preternatural beasts, why should we?

Personally, I think Sherlock can cope with all manner of ghosts, goblins or little green men. I love a traditional Holmes story, but I do get a buzz out of seeing the Great Detective out of his comfort zone. I wouldn’t want every Holmes story to be filled with demons and devils but every now and then? Why not?

As our editor George Mann says during an interview at Geek Native:

I think the key – for me – is that whatever you do with Holmes, he should remain true to his character. Otherwise it stops being a Holmes story and becomes something else again. That’s not to say I think you can’t update the setting and the language, or pitch Holmes against monsters or ghostly spirits – just that he has to remain, fundamentally, Holmes. The character is so well defined that he deserves that respect, as do the readers/viewers/listeners. That’s what they’re coming to this for – a Holmes story. Seeing how he handles unusual circumstances or villains is then just part of the fun.

But what about you? Do you think Holmes should be free of the fantastical or is it OK for Sherlock to dip his toe in inexplicable waters? Vote in my poll or leave a comment below…

Is it OK for writers to add fantastical elements to Sherlock Holmes?
Is it OK for writers to add fantastical elements to Sherlock Holmes?




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One Comment

  1. Cavan Scott February 26, 2013 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Over on Twitter @BakerStBabes have just made a very good point:

    “‘You may marry him or murder him or do whatever you like with him” No one cared less about Holmes than his creator haha, so what right do any of us have to protest, right?”

    Do you agree?

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