Shadows Over Baker Street

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51bMgoGwM2L__SS500_.jpgTrying to combine and imitate the writing styles of Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft might be a bit intimidating to some writers, but the authors who contributed to the 2003 short story collection Shadows Over Baker Street give it their best shot.  The end results insure that fans of both Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series and Lovecraft's various concepts (including Cthulhu, Innsmouth and the Necronomicon) will wind up being pleased by the melding of these authors' two distinct universes.

 

Eighteen short stories focusing on Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson's encounters with various Lovecraftian creations in Victorian England during 1881-1915 are collected in this volume edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan.  None of the tales follow a strict continuity, so don't expect much reference by Holmes and company to any previous encounters with the likes of Yog-Sothot or the fish men from Innsmouth (both of whom make various apppearances in the stories). The majority of the stories try to blend the typical rational approach of the Holmes character with the almost insane, frightening atmosphere of overwhelming dark forces outside any kind of human comprehension that Lovecraft often manifested through the increasingly helpless and panic-stricken protagonists (in several stories in Shadows, poor old Watson gets to play this role, and is driven to near-madness as a result) of his various works.

The best of the pastiches collected here include Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" (set on a parallel Earth and with a great twist at the climax); Elizabeth Bear's "Tiger! Tiger!" (in which two other characters from the Holmes universe have a run-in with one of Lovecraft's most frightening creations while on safari in India);  Barbara Hambly's "The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece" (Holmes and Watson team up with William Hope Hodgson's sleuth Carnacki to combat Yog-Sothoth); John Pelan's "The Mystery of the Worm" (Doyle's heroes team up with another literary figure, Guy Boothby's supercriminal Dr. Nikola, to battle another Lovecraft creature; fans of Sax Rohmer's Dr. Fu Manchu stories might recognize Nikola's unnamed "Asian colleague"); and Simon Clark's "Nightmare in Wax" (Holmes' archenemy Professor Moriarty gets his hands on the dreaded Necronomicon, which doesn't bode well...).

There's plenty of compelling stories to peruse in Shadows Over Baker Street, which you can reserve online from the library here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed published on July 16, 2009 11:00 AM.

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