Cracking Into Sherlockian Backstory ~ Interview with Darlene Cypser

Holy hand grenades! It’s been a long time since we’ve posted anything! Energy, motivation, and time have been lacking for both of us lately. Do please pardon our silence!

This interview has been an especially long time coming, so we are particularly pleased to share it with you now! The original plan here was for this to be the usual joint review/interview, but I’m afraid only one of us has made it through the books so far (thanks, real world – we love you, too), and I (S.Sigerson) have been separated from my notes by a couple-thousand miles. In other words, the review is going to have to come in a later post.

In the meantime, however, let me just say that for my part, I have really enjoyed Darlene’s books so far. For those of you who may not be familiar with her work, she’s been thoughtfully filling in some of the backstory surrounding Holmes’ childhood/adolescence, and university years. I’d not read any pastiche of this sort prior to Crack in the Lens and the ‘University’ volume of the Consulting Detective Trilogy, so this was engaging territory for me. 

I think each and every one of us grapples with the mystery of Holmes’ childhood and adolescence at some point in the course of our Sherlockian endeavors, and it’s always fun for me to hear (or read) the sorts of things people have come up with. It’s such a mysteriously enticing topic that it’s frankly pretty hard to avoid pondering it. From what I’ve gathered thus far, opinions seem to differ quite greatly and sometimes (like any such thing really) rather agressively. As hinted at above, I’ve not yet read or discussed my way into this particular subject matter enough to *really* be able to debate along with everyone else, but as far as I can determine, these books are really very thoughtfully done and well-researched. None of us can really, truly ‘know’ what Holmes’ past *really* looks like and I say Darlene’s ideas seem pretty plausible. There really isn’t much in them that I personally found any fault in or took issue with. I suppose I could have written this interview up as a nitpicky, hair-splitting, spoiler-ridden discussion over little details, but who would want to read that?

So then! … Continue reading

Mastering ‘Mastermind’ ~ Interview with Maria Konnikova ~ March 7th, 2013

Digital StillCamera

Well, as seems to often be the case these days, it’s taken me (S.Sigerson) a humiliatingly long time to get this pulled together and I feel pretty awful for that, but it’s here now! I’ve been traveling in and out of town more than usual lately and have also found myself rather busy these last few weeks with lots of time-consuming things. Things that sometimes have me feeling a little frustrated in their lack of logistical efficiency, which in turn leaves me feeling as though I’m always moving, but never getting anything of substance done, but nonetheless don’t always leave me with much time or energy for ‘side dishes’, like blogging. I, of course, had a chance to speak with Maria a while back, but before I get to the interview, I’d like to offer a few of my thoughts.

I mention my mundane frustrations here – that feeling of being spread at times irritatingly thin between disjointed obligations piled up around some very difficult and serious decisions – because this topic directly ties in with some of the main themes addressed in Maria Konnikova’s latest book Mastermind. I’ve been grappling these many months with some pretty serious matters, which has made a lot of what Maria has written here feel especially poignant and timely. What I mean by that is simply that this book has given me some very grounding food for thought at a time when emotions frequently run very high and the presence of clarity is about as common (and probable) as Sasquatch knocking on my door for a cup of flour. Continue reading

HOUND Revisited ~ Review of Martin Powell and Jamie Chase’s graphic novel adaptation of Hound of the Baskervilles

Well, this has been an embarrassingly long time coming.  We promised Martin this review ages ago. (Yes, we realize that we’ve dropped the proverbial ‘ball’ everywhere else as well, hush now.)  Alas, here it finally is.  As always with our joint reviews, HamishMD and I wrote our respective reviews independently of one another.  I did not read her review prior to writing my own, nor had she read mine.  In fact, we ‘ve intentionally avoided even discussing it with one another specifically for the purpose of not biasing or coloring each other’s thoughts, so this is quite literally the first time those thoughts have come together in one place.  Enjoy!

~ S. Sigerson

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‘S.Sigerson’

HOUND continues to stand not only as one of the most popular of all the canonical tales, but also one of the most frequently adapted. I see HOUND adaptations and reprints of every kind all over the place, which I have to admit sometimes has kind of an ‘overkill’ effect on me. I recently made the somewhat distressing observation that when presented with a variety of Sherlockian reading material/purchase options I’m notably more likely to pass over something related to HOUND than I am just about any other adaptation simply because it has begun, for me personally, to feel like kind of an ‘easy way out’ as far as adaptations go. Don’t get me wrong, I love the story as much as the rest of the Sherlockian world and clearly AM interested in looking at re-imaginings of it, I’m just also a bit wary, and that ‘wariness’ makes me a little picky at times.

One form of adaptation that really HAS grabbed my interest recently is the graphic novel/comic book. I’ve been seeing some very neat graphic interpretations of not only the Sherlock Holmes stories, but also a range of other classical works, which I must say really excites me. I’ve only ever dappled in the comic book/graphic novel world, but I strongly feel that authors and artists are doing a fantastic thing by sliding certain literary staples into a different light. In my opinion, these sorts of visual-heavy re-interpretations are a great way to make classical literature seem interesting and engaging to a wider range of readers who are already interacting with, and being socialized into an increasingly visual world, and who therefore might otherwise dismiss the same story as being outdated or ‘dusty’ if presented as part of a ‘tome’ or freestanding novel. Continue reading

New Adventures With Old Friends ~ Interview with Martin Powell

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‘S.Sigerson’ here. – Many of you will likely have gathered that Martin has *just* (as of today – February 13th) released a new graphic novel rendering of HOUND (the source of most of the lovely images here), which we will be reviewing in the near future.  We need a little bit of time yet to pull our own reviews together, but we’ll say this much so far:  This book is absolutely worth taking a look at!  Even if you’re not typically the “graphic novel” type.  Our friend over at Well-Read Sherlockian has even broken her own ‘no graphic novel’ rule to read and review it!  (See link to Amazon below.)

We thought you might like to learn a little more about the author himself while you wait for more of our thoughts on the subject, but before we do that, let me tell you guys a neat story.  I spent quite a number of years being very intensely passionate about vertebrate Paleontology, which is what I originally set out to study. Incidentally, it was through this interest in Paleontology that I first came into contact with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read and absolutely ADORED his Lost World. Of all the books I’ve read throughout my life, somehow that one has always stuck with me as having been one of the most memorable and strangely impacting things I’ve ever read. It was this inspiring impact that initially seeded a distant desire in me some 12 or 15 years ago to read any of Conan Doyle’s other works. (Remember those last two sentences, they’re important.) At that particular point in time, however, my mind could hardly have been further from the world of Sherlock Holmes. All of my energy was focused on things paleontological, and part of that process involved spending a little under five years working at a local museum. While working at said museum I chanced to meet a fellow paleo-enthusiast and avid reader by the name of – wait for it – Martin Powell. Continue reading

7 Degrees of Sigerson and Hamish

We’ve been tagged by our new Twitter friend Heidi Thiemann!   We simply COULDN’T resist joining in the fun here, but we weren’t really sure how to go about it.  We ultimately decided to be safe and cover all of our bases by first doing individual lists and then one ‘joint’ list for both of us together because….why not?  Here goes:

The magic number 7

HamishMD:

  1. I am a nerd. Given the fact that I co-run a Sherlock Holmes blog, this would seem to be obvious. But, despite my love for the great detective and all Victoriana, my love for the Lord of the Rings saga supersedes it (and, to be honest, nearly every interest and hobby I have). I came about this honestly, I feel, when my dad read me The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings between ages 5 and 9. I have distinct memories about trying to get fellow kindergarteners to play Bilbo vs. The Goblins with me. I was Bilbo, because Bilbo is my favorite Hobbit. So, essentially, all Martin Freeman has to do be Hamish’s Dream Guy is be in a reboot of Brother Cadfael.
  2. Some people’s guilty pleasure drink is good wine, or maybe a wondrous brandy. While I do love those in their turn, my odd guilty pleasure drink is straight up lemon juice. I am really not sure what this says about me. That I love bright and sunny foods? Or maybe my sour taste buds are dead.
  3. I have several “favorite places” in the world, but one of them is surely the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. My favorite thing to do there is hunt for the red banded agate, stained by the iron in the land. There’s nothing quite like the hunt for a rust-colored, translucent stone, while the dark, cold water laps at your feet.
  4. From our bio page, you may recall that I make sock monkeys. Soon enough, you all shall meet Sherlock and Watson Monkeys, our intrepid mascots. What you may not know is that I hoard socks for this purpose. At last count, I had about 80 pairs stashed away in my craft drawers….waiting to be monkified. Some were gifts, some were dollar store purchases, some were for people who requested monkeys who never followed up, some were because I had a specific theme planned. And most are because I am weak. SUSHI SOCKS, guys. Basically, I should be locked in a room with a needle and a cubic ton of fiberfill until I get it down to a reasonable number. But Target has those really cute Valentine’s day socks in the dollar section…..  And then there are those dozen or so monkeys that are all done except the eyes. They kind of stare into your soul in a creepy, eyeless way. Continue reading

Sherlockorama 2012: An Intro Post

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Bloggers

We’ve been hinting for a while that a big series of posts will be coming up for the holidays. That day is here! Welcome, internet, to Sherlockorama 2012!

What in the name of Mrs. Hudson is Sherlockorama, you may very well ask? Sherlockorama began last year in the heart of December, as Ssigerson and I were planning a little Holiday get together with just the two of us. Given that any such gathering between such individuals would quickly devolve into something Holmsian, which we embraced. I sent this invite, via the fantastic Bureau of Communication, naming the event on a whim. The rest was history.

Sherlockorama 2011 Invite

Sherlockorama 2011 was a resounding, mind-blowing experience. We enjoyed Holmes films at home and in the theater, Holmes music and related gifts, and, well, costume related shenanigans.  Sure, it was just us two, but as you will see from our posts, it became something we want to share with all of you.

Sherlockorama, to us, is a Holiday celebration of all things Holmsian. While we both live far apart from each other, our families are both in the same place, which gave us the opportunity to have our own little shindig. Our own little holiday party merges everything we love about the winter holidays with everything we love about Holmes and hanging out with each other.  We have the feeling Sherlockorama 2012 will be a night to remember.

Our Sherlockorama series of posts will explore not only our own experiences but also an amalgamation of ideas that we have found throughout the internet for any Sherlock Holmes Party. So whether you are plotting a Halloween Party drenched in mystery, or a good old January 6th Birthday Bash, we hope that we may be a spark of inspiration. All in all, we just hope you have a good time, and feel a part of our little event, which we hope to be an annual tradition.

Posts in this series will include:

–          A dual post on our experiences last year

–          Food and Drink Ideas

–          Décor Ideas

–          Entertainment Ideas- Games and Music

–          Locations- fun things to do about the town

Likely there will be some other surprises along the way. So, without further ado, I bid you all welcome to Sherlockorama 2012!

 Notice 2012

Fandom Friday #22(1)- November 30th, 2012

Once again, not the 221st post, but continuing the trend! I am back and refreshed from a great holiday, and looking forward to a merry December. I am feeling the joy of the season- The Hobbit comes out in less than two weeks, and my (non-Sherlockian) book club voluntarily decided to read The Blue Carbuncle as our “short holiday story” this year. Joy, gladness, and ale!

1.) It would be a nearly Moriarty-level criminal to not begin this week’s FF without this item. There is very little more entertaining than historical and fictional characters engaging in smack down rap battles. While Epic Rap Battles of History has brought us such gems as Hilter vs. Darth Vader, Napoleon vs. Napoleon (Dynamite), and Doc Brown vs. Doctor Who, has now attempted to decide the epicness of two crime-solving duos.

Who won? While Robin did make a good show, and Batsy did get in a few good ones….well, you know where our loyalties lie😉

2.)  We always love a good bit of fanart, but there are those that leave us in awe, and this is one:

https://i0.wp.com/images.wookmark.com/105009_393799f27a717c9aff8db53f0406c11c.jpg

Found on Woodmark by tigerart27. I wish we had an artist!

3.) Given that Ssigerson and I are pondering some activities and decor for Sherlockorama 2012 (More about that soon!), it is unsurprising I ran by this little gem. Make your own Holmes and Watson ornament kits!

https://i2.wp.com/img1.etsystatic.com/007/0/6562665/il_570xN.400393953_qi06.jpg

Found on Regencyaustentation (AWESOME NAME) on Etsy

4.) So possibly because I am in a light mood, most of the items tonight are of a light or humorous nature.

https://i1.wp.com/fc09.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/033/a/3/bbc_sherlock___annoying_roommate_by_koenta-d4ogwja.jpg

By koenta on Deviantart

We are not above toilet humor.

5.)  This may be my new favorite GIF.

https://i1.wp.com/24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4t01rU9s41qi86x2o3_250.gif

Found on Pinterest.

Mycroft may not appreciate such things, but his boss knows what’s what.