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

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

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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

Fandom Friday #2(2)1 ~ Friday, November 20th

No, it’s not really our 22st Fandom Friday, but we can pretend.  We’ve been a bit slow with our other posts lately (one of us is very busy, and the other (myself – S.Sigerson) is currently away from home and largely lacking in the down-time needed for proper blogging).  We promise to rectify this as quickly as we can, but in the meantime, we’ll carry on with our Fandom Fun.

We’ve been seeing an exhilarating array of global visitors, but here’s a ‘shout-out’ to all of our very devoted American fans.  It’s a day late, but every bit as good:
1.)

Happy belated Thanksgiving!  I’m afraid I don’t know where this image originally came from, or who the artist is, but I spotted it just moments ago via the Facebook Page ‘Sherlock Holmes – Jeremy Brett’.

2.)  Now on to more serious matters.  The Undershaw Preservation Trust has been running a Kickstarter campaign for a while now in a valiant attempt to raise funds for the translation of Sherlock’s Home: The Empty House into as many as five different languages.  With just six days to go, the project is currently sitting at about 80% of the funds needed to allow the translation to move forward.  Not only will the proceeds go straight to UPT, allowing the Trust to make ‘Sherlock’s Home’ available to a wider, non-English speaking audience, you may also be helping me maneuver my way around devastating emotional ennui and intellectual boredom.

If you can spare a little ‘cash’ and a few minutes of your time, please consider backing this project.  You can pledge as little as one [British] Pound from anywhere in the world.  If nothing else, please help us spread the word!

Follow the hyperlink through to get to the main page here: Internationalization of Sherlock’s Home

3.)  Do you like BBC’s Sherlock?  Are you an avid drinker of tea?  Ever wish you could meld the one with the other?  Well, now you can!
The Enigmatic Penguin (of Death) has compiled for you a Guide to Writing Sherlockian Tea Habits.

Cheers!

4.)  It’s never too early to begin planning for Christmas.  The more ‘attentive’ of you may have noticed the delicate red thread running through our recent posts under the title ‘Sherlockorama’.  We’re plotting a string of posts highlighting exactly what ‘Sherlockorama’ is, but for the time being, we’ll leave you with this teaser.  I poking around Target the other day and bumped rather randomly into these:

Strictly speaking, there’s nothing particularly ‘Sherlockian’ about these, but we can hardly think of anything more fitting for Sherlockian holiday party.  What ELSE would we decorate our trees with??  It hardly gets any better than this.

5.)  Last, but most assuredly not least, we’ve got the following string of absolutely delightful canonically-themed street signs.  I’ve only posted one of them here but follow the image hyperlink through and then scroll down to find the rest.  Apart from the photo below, we’ve also got gems like Musgrave Ritual Drive, Mycroft Street, and Moriarty Circuit.  Even the city I live in has both a Holmes and Watson St.  Have YOU spotted any of these lurking about?

That’s all folks!  Have a great week, hang tight and be patient as we get some other posts pulled together.

Fandom Friday #19 ~ Nov. 9, 2012

Well, we’ve been a bit quiet here at Stormy Petrels this week.  Very sorry for that!  We seem to be lacking a little in the ‘creativity’ department and have been drawing all sorts of blanks on what to do.  Yet the show must go on, my dears!
*rubs hands*  What ever shall we post this week?

1.) Let’s start off with this one:

Now, I realize that you all are probably getting a little bit tired of this particular meme, but dammit I like it.  It amuses me, and I can relate to it tonight as I sit here battling the worst case of mental and emotional ennui I’ve seen in weeks, maybe even months.  Found, in this particular instance, over at Darjeeling and Lace.

Let’s see, what else have I got in my pockets. *rummages around through various articles of clothing* ….

2.) Ohh.  How about THIS?

One of these images is filled with great reeking heaps of ‘What-the-hell’.  I’ll leave you all alone to guess which one it is.  We pulled this image from Pinterest, but it may be found somewhere within the depths of What, son.

3.) While we’re on the topic of ‘What, son’, have you crossed paths with THIS gem yet??

No?  Well now you have.  We’ve posted this one before, but it really just doesn’t ever get old and it had been a while.  You can expect us to re-post this again somewhere in about six months.  We mustn’t let you forget about it, you see.

4.) Now, for something a little more sombre.  I stumbled upon this on Facebook this evening.  I am very sorry to say that I don’t know where it originally came from, but it struck such a cord with me that I felt a need to share it anyway.

The print is very small, I know, but it’s worth squinting for.  I got this image from the FB page of “Sir Sherlock Holmes“.  If anyone knows what the original source for this is, do let us know!

5.)  Do not think for one minute that we don’t know what you’re up to on Tumblr late at night…

*Ahem…

Oh, rly?