Read The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by John Joseph Adams Robert J. Sawyer Stephen King Michael Moorcock Sharyn McCrumb Stephen Baxter Anne Perry Barbara Hambly Online


The game is afoot! Night Shade Books is proud to present the fantastic adventures of the world's greatest detective — mystery, fantasy, science fiction, horror, no genre can escape the esteemed detective's needle-sharp intellect and intuition.This reprint anthology showcases the best Holmes short fiction from the last 25 years, featuring stories by such visionaries as StepThe game is afoot! Night Shade Books is proud to present the fantastic adventures of the world's greatest detective — mystery, fantasy, science fiction, horror, no genre can escape the esteemed detective's needle-sharp intellect and intuition.This reprint anthology showcases the best Holmes short fiction from the last 25 years, featuring stories by such visionaries as Stephen King, Neil Gaimen, Laura King, and many others.Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors....

Title : The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author :
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ISBN : 9781597801607
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 454 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Reviews

  • Stephen
    2018-12-16 02:23

    4.0 stars. An overall very good collection with some superb stories (including one "All Time Favorite"), some okay stories and some good to very good stories. If you like Sherlock Holmes stories, you will like this collection (possibly even love it). I have separated the contents of the book into the categories above (superb, good to very good and okay) to be of help in navigating this collection (but of course this is only my opinion). BEST STORY IN COLLECTIONA Study in Emerald (Neil Gaiman). Not only the best story in this collection but on my list of "All Time Favorite" stories. Arthur Conan Doyle meets Lovecraft. Brilliant, fun and amzing. SUPERB The Horror of the Many Faces (Tim Lebbon). Another Lovecraftian story featuring Sherlock Holmes. It is just great watching the quintessential logician and master of all things rational to confront the nameless, indescribable horrors of lovecraft.The Adventure of the Death-Fetch (Darrell Schweitzer). Another great story in which Holmes confronts a dark, unworldly (and ultimately unexplainable) mystery. The Singular Habits of Wasps (Geoffrey Landis). Holmes investigating (or is he) the murders of Jack the Ripper and consulting H.G. Wells on a most unusual foe. An amazing story. The Adventure of the Antiquarian’s Niece (Barbara Hambly). Another Lovecraftian spin on Sherlock Holmes. ** I think you can see a pattern of the kinds of stories I found superb. GOOD TO VERY GOODThe Adventure of the Pirates of Devil’s Cape (Rob Rogers). Defintiely on the higer end of the range (almost made the superb category. Holmes and Watson confront a master pirate in New Orleans (who may be more than he appears to be). The Adventure of the Field Theorems (Vonda N. McIntyre). Again, another excelent story that almost made the superb list (call it very, very good). Holmes assists Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on trying to prove what is causing strange Field Theorems (aka Crop Circles) from appearing in the middle of wheat fields. The Adventure of the Inertial Adjustor (Stephen Baxter). Good to very good story. The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey (Peter Tremayne). A very good Sherlock Holmes story in the classic tradition. The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger (Michael Moorcock). A good solid Holmes story with a great plot.You See But You Do Not Observe (Robert J. Sawyer). Very good story involving a unique answer to the Fermi Paradox. OKAYThe Doctor’s Case (Stephen King) The Case of the Bloodless Sock (Anne Perry) The Adventure of the Other Detective (Bradley H. Sinor) A Scandal in Montreal (Edward Hoch) The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland (Mary Robinette) Kowal The Adventure of the Mummy’s Curse (H. Paul Jeffers) The Things That Shall Come Upon Them (Barbara Roden) Murder to Music (Anthony Burgess) Mrs Hudson’s Case (Laurie R. King) The Affair of the Forty-Sixth Birthday (Amy Myers) The Vale of the White Horse (Sharyn McCrumb) The Adventure of the Lost World (Dominic Green) Dynamics of a Hanging (Tony Pi) Merridew of Abominable Memory (Chris Roberson) Commonplaces (Naomi Novik) The Adventure of the Green Skull (Mark Valentine) The Human Mystery (Tanith Lee)

  • Rozonda
    2018-11-26 00:35

    I can't even begin to describe how awesome this book is. True, I've been a Sherlockian nearly all of my life,reading nearly all of the Canon as a child and my first pastiches (the ones by Nicholas Meyer) in my early teens. The brand new BBC series has done but add to my enthusiasm. This pastiche anthology is any Sherlockian's dream, putting Holmes and Watson in many different situations,that include time travel,pirates, Cthulhu myths,alien invasions, attempted assassinations,even Holmes having sex!! (everybody now: oooooooohhhhhhhhhh)The list of real and fictional characters Holmes and Watson meet or are mentioned in the stories is inmense: Lewis Carroll, King Alphonse XIII of Spain,Sarasate, Flinders Petrie, Professor Challenger, HG Wells...even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, pitilessly mocked by his own creature for his Spiritualist beliefs, and a very popular character by Borges (not telling which one)The list of authors is quite impressing too, including Stephen King, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, Vonda McIntyre, Michael Moorcock and Anne Perry. The quality of the stories is very high, there is the odd not-so-good one but most of them are excellent. Recommended.

  • Vanessa Wu
    2018-12-14 04:52

    The book I was going to review tonight was a really dirty, sexy little thing by some independent authors that got me slavering with senseless lust; but due to a technical/legal hitch to do with access to data and some commercial jiggery-pokery between two dot coms, that particular book cannot be found on Goodreads at the moment. So I'll review The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes instead.I wasn't expecting much of it, to be honest. I listened to a quite well written introduction by, I presume, John Joseph Adams, which was read by someone who insisted on pronouncing Moriarty as Moriarity about fifteen times, which didn't bode well.But the stories themselves were surprisingly good. To be honest, I haven't listened to all of them yet. Well, look, I was planning on reviewing the sex stories tonight. This is my fallback. I was planning on reviewing this one next week.But I really look forward to these stories. I like listening in the dark. Some of them are very spooky. They are also witty in a way, playing upon our expectations. They've all been published before in some form so they have a pedigree.So if you like Sherlock Holmes (I love him!) and you're open-minded, give it a try. The stories are a little improbable but that's why they're fun. Even die-hard fans of Sir Arthur (I'm one!) won't be disappointed by these re-workings of the famous Conan Doyle canon.

  • Eric
    2018-12-13 03:28

    The stories I read from this collection are:'The Doctor's Case' by Stephen KingFor as much as I like Stephen King, I was not sure it was within his range to write a Sherlock Holmes story. And while the reader can see the license he took with the characters, I was left fairly impressed with this result. The highlight of this story is its premise -- King has Watson solve this case ahead of Holmes, something that never happened in the canon.'The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland' by Mary Robinette KowalThis was an interesting take on a case that was alluded to in the Holmes canon, told from the point-of-view of a young woman entangled in the mystery. It wasn't a very strong mystery, but the chance to see Holmes and Watson through the perspective of a suspect/victim was interesting.'A Study in Emerald' by Neil GaimanThis story was very different from the others that I read in that this heavily featured the fantastic, an element lacking in the other, more traditional Holmes pastiches I read. It is the perfect short story for anyone into Neil Gaiman, Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulu mythos. It is no surprise to me this won a Hugo award for short fiction.

  • Hal Bodner
    2018-11-18 05:51

    The trouble with most anthologies today is that they're uneven. Two or three amazing stories are bundled in with a majority of mediocre stories with one or two complete stinkers thrown in for good measure. Worse, it seems like a lot of anthology editors are too quick to abandon the theme of the collection in favor of including a "name" author. The book might very well include a previously unpublished story by someone like Robert Bloch or Peter Straub, but if I buy an anthology entitled "Demon Zombie Rabbits" I expect the stories in it to be about misbehaving undead rodents! If a story is off-topic, no matter who it's by, I get a trifle miffed.John Joseph Adams, however, has chosen which stories to include in this volume with great care. Every story is universally "good" with none of them being truly "great" and, as far as I'm concerned, that's just fine. I'd rather read a whole volume of "good" than have to suffer through a bunch of yuck to get to the scant choice morsels. Even those few stories which were not "my cup of tea", as it were, are suitably Holmesian and, in general, make for a pretty snappy read. There's nothing outrageously spectacular in this collection, nothing to make the reader cry out, "Wow!" Nevertheless, each individual author managed to keep my interest and there were some clever little gems scattered throughout. And, if you're a fan of the genre, you'll find a ton of insider references and jokes relating to the original Holmes stories.Each contributor obviously bears a great affection for Doyle's detective and, by and large, every piece in the book remains true to the style of the original. For those who've never read the Victorian masterpieces, a lot of this collection might seem a tad obscure. But, if you've previously read and enjoyed Holmes, Watson, Moriarty, LeStrade and the others of Arthur Conan Doyle's creations, you're certain to enjoy this volume as well.

  • John
    2018-12-11 05:46

    As with any modern anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories, there are some high points as well as a few lows. And this collection is no different. Some of my favorite stories in this collection are the ones that follow the traditional Doyle formula. And then there are the stories that push the boundaries, taking the reader out of his or her comfort zone and pitting Holmes and Watson against dinosaurs, aliens, demonic spirits, pirates and the like. Some of these unconventional tales are entertaining while others are just too far removed from the Doyle canon for my tastes. But then I guess that was probably the intent of this anthology and its "improbable" moniker. That being said, I would still recommend this book for any Holmes enthusiast as the highs definitely outweigh the lows.

  • Absinthe
    2018-12-04 21:48

    There were a few good stories in here, but overall I found most of the stories to be predictable and to be but shadows of Conan Doyle's greatness. I wouldn't really recommend this book to others as it can be tedious to make your way through the whole thing, but like I said a few of the stories were pretty good, such as 'The Singular Habits of Wasps' by Geoffrey Landis, 'The Human Mystery' by Tanith Lee, and ' The Vale of the White Horse' by Sharyn McCrumb.

  • Thalia
    2018-12-15 02:49

    Cthulhu, Sherlock Holmes and much more unworldly things to adore.

  • Craig
    2018-11-17 03:53

    This is a nice collection of pastiches and homages with a fantastic or speculative bent selected from a wide range of sources. There has been a vast number of new works or varying quality featuring Holmes since he entered the public domain, and this volume collects many of the better short pieces that I've tried. (Another favorite is Sherlock Holmes in Orbit edited by Resnick and Greenberg in 1995; Robert Sawyer's excellent story appeared there first.) I quickly became impatient with some of the crossover stories where Holmes meets Dracula and Jack the Ripper and H.G. Wells and Lovecraft's mythos; many of them read like fan fiction and I was waiting for appearances from Captain Kirk or Conan. (Though I did appreciate the team-up with Hodgson's Carnacki!) Aside from the Sawyer, I thought the best stories were from Sharyn McCrumb, Tanith Lee, and Barbara Hambly. No one quite captured Doyle's unique voice, though.

  • Carol
    2018-11-19 00:40

    This was a very enjoyable book. I don't recognise all the authors of course, but the ones I did stayed true to their writing style. There was some stories that I found ok, very much like a normal Holmes story, there were quite a few that were impressive, some with supernatural elements that blended in perfectly with the story. Lots of Chutuhlu references ironically. Just one story I did not like at all. But the best of all was the very last one. It was a jewel, something impressive, that I did not see coming and had me jumping up and down, and which also broke my heart slightly. That story alone deserved 6 stars, but as I do take the whole book in consideration, 4 will have to do. As far as Sherlockian literature goes, this has been a very fine book. Amazingly well written, amusing, and it kept the fan in me very happy indeed. Now I'm off to find more about that last author.

  • Joe
    2018-12-06 02:42

    I do love a good Holmes fan fiction collection! Many more good than bad here. I'll try to do as many individual reviews as I can.The Horror of Many Faces: Watson sees a man brutally murdered right in front of him on the street and the murderer is...Holmes? Bum Bum Baaaaaaa! I previously read this one but had forgotten the twist. Jolly good.The Case of the Bloodless Sock: A great kidnapping mystery with just a dash of a familiar villain.The Adventure of the Other Detective: Watson is whisked away to an alternate dimension where Professor Moriarty is the detective and Holmes is the evil mastermind. Delightful.A Scandal in Montreal: Holmes meets back up with Irene Adler after many years apart to help her family. Quite satisfying.The Adventure of Field Theorems: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself appears in this adventure to enlist Holmes to solve a crop circles mystery. It pokes fun at how gullible Doyle was versus the skeptical Holmes.The Adventure of the Death Fetch: Cthulhu Holmes! Well okay, more like Cthulhu versus Holmes. But still. Good stuff.The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland: I'll be honest. This wasn't all that shocking. It did have a wedding though, if that's your thing.The Adventure of the Mummy's Curse: Was there really a curse? Holmes says no, but my heart says yes!The Things That Shall Come Upon Them: Weird fan fiction with Holmes and another detective that I've never heard of and didn't care about.Murder to Music: A rather boring tale that was not solvable because the author left out a key piece of information. Bad form!The Adventure of the Inertial Adjuster: H.G. Wells pops up on this tale of an early astronaut who meets a foul end. An interesting mix of science and fantasy.Mrs. Hudson's Case: She helps out some kids. The end. I'm just salty because I never have liked Laurie King's take on Holmes.The Singular Habits of Wasps: An alien explanation for the Jack the Ripper killings that works well.The Affair of the 46th Birthday: Someone is sure to be dead before the sun sets on their 46th birthday...unless Holmes has anything to say about it! (He does.)The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey: A young Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty adventure that explains much of Holmes' views on the fairer sex.The Vale of the White Horse: "Us simple country folk can solve crimes too, Mr. Holmes!"The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger: Beware of gifts from distant relatives. Oh and also, always look under the skirt before you say it's a lady.The Adventure of the Lost World: A sequel of sorts to another of Doyle's books, "The Lost World." There appears to be a dinosaur eating trombone players all around the city because of course.The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece: I legitimately don't remember this one. Must have been great!Dynamics of a Hanging: A locked room mystery of sorts.Merridew of Abominable Memory: A strange case of a memory or lack there of.Commonplaces: Another Irene Adler meet up. This has a Holmes sex scene if that's your cup of tea.The Adventure of the Pirate's of Devil's Cape: This story wasn't nearly as fun as the author imagined it was. But still, ghost pirates, so you know...The Human Mystery: Don't put Holmes to the test folks! He'll break your heart every time.A Study in Emerald: Easily the best of the bunch. I'd previously read this one before but that doesn't make it any less great. An alternate history where Lovecraftian monsters took over the world a long time ago. In this tale, one of them has been murdered and it's up to a certain detective to figure out who done it. A great story with an even greater twist!You See But You Do No Observe: A very strange story where Holmes is transported to the future, given endless amounts of knowledge and finds time to solve the Fermi Paradox (why we haven't found aliens yet). Quite weird.All in all, a strong collection that makes me want to write some of my own. I'm sure that the task would not be...what for it...elementary. Thank you! Thank you!

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2018-11-25 05:49

    Like all anthologies, this collection is hit or miss. None of the stories were particularly bad or anything, it's just that not a whole lot of them were particularly awesome, either. A lot of them were fun and entertaining, but also forgettable. (I commented in my status updates with brief thoughts after pretty much every story, so the run down is there.)The ones I remember the most, off hand, though, are:The Doctor's Case A Study in EmeraldThe Vale of the White Horse (i.e. "the one with the horse thing")The Adventure of the Fields Theorum (i.e. "the one which pits Holmes vs. Doyle")"The Horror of Many Faces" (i.e. "the one with the bees" - which I liked better as I read some of the others than I did when I first read it)Commonplaces (i.e. "the good one with Irene")and Merridew of the Abominable Memory (i.e. "the sad one about the memory guy")I guess my biggest sense of... disappointment, I suppose, with the collection is that a lot of them weren't really all that fantastic or improbable. A few seemed like they could almost have been from the original stories - which is cool in one way, but I was expecting a bit more oddity, I suppose, and only a few of them delivered on that.Overall, though, it is a decent collection of Holmes stories, and, as I said, none of them were bad, and all were entertaining enough.

  • Paul
    2018-12-12 03:36

    All the anthologies I have read are a bit hit and miss. A couple of stories stand out and some make you wonder how they ever got considered in the first place..The stories that work best here are the ones that conform to the Arthur Conan Doyle style and dont mess with Watson being the narrator. The stand out tales for me were "The Doctor's Case" by Stephen King, "A Study In Emerald" by Neil Gaiman and "The Singular Habits Of Wasps" by Geoffrey A. Landis.Of the 28 tales in the collection, the 3 I've highlighted above stand out and are worth the 4 star review on their own, and 4 of them I wish never to see again. The others are so-so.If you have read the above three in different collections, I wouldn't read this anthology but if you have not read the standout tales, then why not...

  • Ron
    2018-11-26 22:36

    The operative phrase in the title is "Selections from". This ebook contains only seven of the twenty-some adventures in the book. But, if they are any indication, it's a good read.I especially enjoyed "Hanging" as it featured both Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Arthur Doyle, as characters."You See but You do not Observe" is a mind bender, which is true of anything based on the Schroedinger cart paradox. Sloppy thinking.

  • Violet
    2018-12-14 23:26

    Welcome to the 1st Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Awards Show, where yours truly presents awards to the stories in this anthology as a way to celebrate the honestly fabulous talent displayed in this book. But before I go ahead with declaring the winners, I have a few words to say about the editor of this fine collection. This is the first John Joseph Adams anthology I’ve had the pleasure to read, and I’m glad to report that it was a wonderful ride. Never had I read a better organized and edited anthology. There are also the wonderful introductions to each story, setting the tone, providing essential background information, and offering intrigue for the reader. So everyone please give a round of applause to the brilliant John Joseph Adams.The first award of the night is the Best Doctor John Watson Award which recognizes the story with the best canonical portrayal of the famous chronicler. This was a difficult task in choosing the best for nearly all of the stories presented here tonight have this faithful companion as the narrator. The most noteworthy of these though are “The Doctor’s Case” by Stephen King in which none other than Watson himself solves the case; “The Horror of the Many Faces” by Tim Lebbon which the man in question’s reaction to a startling event is the treat that draws the reader in; and “Merridew of Abominable Memory” by Chris Roberson where the glimpse of Watson’s old age and decaying memory shows a under-addressed side of this famous character. However none of these are deserving of this prodigious award. That story would be none other than “The Singular Habits of Wasps” by Geoffrey A. Landis. In this tale of mystery and woe, the determined Dr. Watson’s action in the face of terrifying possibilities show the caring and faithful qualities that make him such an utterly indispensable companion.The next award is the Best Professor Moriarty Award where the story with the most canonical Napoleon of Crime is acknowledged. “The Case of the Bloodless Sock” by Anne Perry is one of these nominated tales where Moriarty is back and striking terror in the heart of Watson’s old friend by stealing his child away right under everyone’s noses. There’s also “The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey” by Peter Tremayne which chronicles Holmes’ first heartbreaking encounter with the infamous criminal mastermind. Another noteworthy story is “The Adventure of the Other Detective” by Bradley H. Sinor which explores a parallel universe where Moriarty’s and Holmes’ roles are switched. But the most noteworthy of them all, and the one receiving the award tonight, is “Dynamics of a Hanging” by Tony Pi. In this story the secret behind Moriarty’s coded notes leads to the death of a familiar author, displaying both Moriarty’s incredible intelligence and evil.The next award is one of the most anticipated and prodigious of the night and is none other than the Best Sherlock Holmes Award where the story representing the best canonical Sherlock Holmes is celebrated. Picking a winner was once again very challenging for it is that man that the whole anthology circles around, and there were quiet a variety of interpretations of him. Some stories, such as “The Things That Shall Come Upon Them” by Barbara Roden, Holmes stays completely rational in the face of otherworldly forces. Others, such as “The Adventure of the Antiquarian’s Niece” by Barbara Hambly, Holmes seems to already have knowledge of and practice with dark intangible forces. Then there’s ones where Holmes is willing to learn and accept other ways at looking at the world, as is the case in “You See But You Do Not Observe” by Robert J. Sawyer where the detective uses Schrödinger’s cat in context of “The Final Problem” to solve the Fermi paradox. Also there’s certain ones, such as “The Adventure of the Pirates of Devil’s Cape” by Rob Rogers, where the good old Holmes that is known and loved is portrayed in true swashbuckling fashion. But the most compelling and accurate depiction of Holmes is in “The Horror of the Many Faces” where the great detective grapples, somewhat unsuccessfully, with accepting and rationalizing something he has no clue about.The next award of the night follows along the vein of the previous awards. The Most Faithful of the Sherlockian Canon Award focuses on more than just the characters but the whole the story. There were many fabulous contestants for this competitive award, however there were only a few that could compare to the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals. One of these is “The Adventure of the Mummy’s Curse” by H. Paul Jeffers, a tale employing the use of period history and framed story narration to find a rational, worldly solution to a seemingly mystical mystery. Another is “The Affair of the 46th Birthday” by Amy Myers which was first published in The Strand (the magazine that housed all the original stories of this great detective) and where Holmes successfully, however narrowly, saves another crowned head of Europe. But the one closest to writing style and format of Doyle’s own stories is “The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodge” by Michael Moorcock. And yes I do find the tremendous irony in granting a legendary fantasy author an award for a completely normal tale, but he deserves it. The portrayal of the characters, the framed story narration, and the unveiling of the mystery, are all so faithful to Doyle’s style that if you were to declare it a lost Doyle story, none would be the wiser.Now for an award that is the polar opposite to the prior one: the Most Like a Fan-Fiction Award. If you take the simplified definition of a fan-fiction, that being a story where another person takes established characters and uses them to create a new tale, then this whole anthology is nothing but fan-fictions. But in truth, when a published author writes a fan-fiction, it ceases to be a fan-fiction and becomes their interpretation of another author’s stories. Nevertheless, there are still qualities of a fan-fiction present in some of these stories where the author presses their own opinions and desires upon these famous characters. Such is the case in the aforementioned “The Doctor’s Case” as well as “Mrs. Hudson’s Case” by Laurie R. King, where two notable Sherlockian characters solve the case before Holmes can. “The Things That Shall Come Upon Them” contains another fan-fiction quality in the combining of two fictional universes, that of Sherlock Holmes and Flaxman Low, for the main purpose of seeing how they’d react to each other. There’s also the fan-fiction quality of switching Moriarty and Holmes roles along with improbable reactions that “The Adventure of the Other Detective” contains. But the most obvious fan-fiction quality is the abolishing of assumed canonical character traits and the pairing together of characters that for obvious reasons aren’t together. And it is the display of these qualities that makes “Commonplaces” by Naomi Novik the winner of this award. The Holmes and Watson’s implied ‘more than friends’ relationship (contradicting the well known conclusion that Holmes is asexual), and Holmes and Irene Alder’s sexual encounter are clear signs of fan-fictional qualities. That still doesn’t make the story any less entertaining though.The Most Absurd Award is a small award that could almost be canceled out by the previous one, but still can claim the stage. The stories considered for this award all share that little bit of ridiculousness that when thought upon, the reader finds themselves thinking, “What the heck?” Following that criteria, “The Adventure of the Other Detective” is an obvious candidate, especially when one considers the unexpected ending. But then there’s also “Murder to Music” by Anthony Burgess where Holmes places his love of music above his pursuit of justice. However, since there are not a lot of stories in this anthology that contain a bizarre bit of ridiculousness, the winner in this case is obvious: “The Adventure of the Lost World” by Dominic Green. In this tale Holmes confronts “a gigantic ten-thousand-pound theropod from Hell,” otherwise known as a megalosaurus. That’s right, a dinosaur. But it’s not just any plain old man-eating extinct animal; it’s one that only kills people playing a certain section of Gustav Holst’s Thaxted on the trombone. Now if that’s not absurd, I don’t know what is. This next award deals with the concept of metafiction which is defined as a fiction that addresses the devices of fiction including the authors that write it. The Best Metafiction Award recognizes the story that displays this quality with the most entertaining insertion of authors of that time period including none other than Sir Author Conan Doyle himself. The writers of this anthology seemed to love throwing in even the slightest mention of Victorian authors, such as in “The Specter of Tullyfane Abby” where both Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker make unwarranted appearances. They even make authors clients of Holmes such as in “The Adventure of the Inertial Adjuster” by Stephen Baxter where HG Wells calls upon the famous detective to solve the problem of a friend’s death; or they make the authors early friends of Moriarty such as in the aforementioned “Dynamics of a Hanging” where Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson) is old college buddies with the evil mastermind until the man kills an inspiring author by the name of Arthur Doyle. And that brings me to mentions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of which there are many, but the most notable and the winner of this award is “The Adventure of the Field-Theorems” by Vonda N. McIntyre. This can’t miss story starts with making Doyle (described as a “great fool” by Holmes) a client of the detective when crop circles suddenly appear on his land, and ends with the unforgettable line, “’Yes, Watson…Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believes I am a Martian.’”On the other hand the stories considered for this next award, the Most Spine-Chilling Award, are remembered for a completely different reason. These stories are best read in the depths of the night or during a dramatic thunderstorm, and will certainly run a little chill up your back and make the hair on your neck stand on end. They range from the simply grotesque in “Merridew of Abominable Memory” where the murderer seems to hack up bodies for the hell of it, to the mystical in “The Adventure of the Death-Fetch” by Darrell Schweitzer where voodoo forces kill a client right under Holmes and Watson’s noses. Then there are the otherworldly forces in “The Horror of the Many Faces” and “The Singular Habits of Wasps” that lead many, including Watson, to believe Holmes is a raging mass murderer. Quite a few are inspired by HP Lovecraft including “A Studying in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman where the monsters of Lovecraft rule the world and the murderer is someone you’d least expect. Another story that contains Lovecraft creations is the winner of this award: “The Adventure of the Antiquarian’s Niece” where the forces of Lovecraftian darkness wreck havoc on a family, an American, and of course Holmes and Watson.I should probably announce this award before I forget, for this one is the Most Forgettable Award, granted to the story that is the most unremarkable in the anthology. Nominations include “A Scandal in Montreal” by Edward D. Hoch, a story with Irene Adler that fails to impress; “The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland” by Mary Robinette Kowal about a boring political assassination; and “The Vale of the White Horse” by Sharyn McCrumb in which a new perspective and English folklore refuse to make an impact on the reader. But the most unexceptional of them all is sadly “The Adventure of the Green Skull” by Mark Valentine a sorrowful tale about the poor working condition of Victorian factories that for some reason won’t to stick in my mind.Now for the award that you’ve all been waiting for: the Reader’s Favorite Award, the award in which I dub a story my favorite out all in the anthology. It was hard, but I narrowed it down to “The Horror of the Many Faces,” “The Singular Habits of Wasps,” “The Adventure of the Antiquarian’s Niece,” “Dynamics of a Hanging,” “A Study in Emerald,” and “You See But You Do Not Observe.” And after some much debate with the other judges in my head, the winner is…… “The Horror of the Many Faces.” Congratulation Tim Lebbon!And that concludes the 1st Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Awards Show!! If any of the stories mentioned in this award show interest you, please feel free to read them yourself. You don’t have to have prior knowledge in Sherlock Holmes to do so. But it does help.

  • Kate
    2018-11-18 22:44

    Overall: The ones that are awesome are REALLY awesome. The ones aren't so good, REALLY aren't so good. I think I was expecting something more along the lines of Gaslight Grimoire when I got this so that may have tarnished my opinion a bit. I'd still say grab this because of the awesome stories. They alone are worth some of the duller ones. The whole anthology functions along the "improbable" part of Holmes' famous quote - and that goes with every possible definition of it.Story by story is as follows.The Doctor's Case - Stephen King (3/5): The real kicker for me, and the real reason that I give it those marks is because Watson gets to solve a case and has a moment of clarity usually reserved for Holmes. IT just seemed oh so condescending though! You had a Lestrade who was certainly less than professional, Holmes was okay as was Watson but the whole thing seemed like a pet being praised for a new trick. I liked the opportunity that was there but it also just seemed so demeaning. I usually like Stephen King too.The Horror of the Many Faces - Tim Lebbon (4/5): One of three Lovecraft meets Holmes stories. This one starring a monster that changes shape. Holmes gets a glimpse of a universe outside of his own comprehension and, while he's not really crazy at the beginning, he certainly is on his way there by the end. It's a great, creepy, read. I very much enjoyed it.The Case of the Bloodless Sock - Anne Perry (3.5/5): I liked the return to a good old fashioned mystery here. The not present but threatening Moriarty was an added bonus. I'm not sure how I feel about the solution but it was still a good read.The Adventure of the Other Detective - Bradley H. Sinor (2/5): Cool idea and an interesting exploration of the characters in a parallel universe but the ending doesn't sit right. I don't think Watson would have stayed, I really don't. His loyalty to Holmes has always trumped all and I really don't think he's the type to take this weird opportunity to try again with Mary. I don't think he'd be okay with it - or be able to live in a world where his best friend is a criminal. It just doesn't work with me.A Scandal in Montreal - Edward D. Hoch (4.5/5): I admit I love this because Holmes and Watson are in Canada!!! I also love the addition of Leacock and Orillia; my grandfather is really in to Leacock and Orillia is where our cottage is too. I've also been to Leacock's cottage so I knew everything ! I loved the post retirement and the reintroduction of Irene Adler. The case was simple enough but I loved everything else so much that It didn't matter. Well done.The Adventure of the Field Theorems - Vonda N. McIntyre (3.5/5): This was amusing. Holmes meets his creator and they go out investigating crop circles. It was epic to see that. Really quite funny.The Adventure of the Death-Fetch - Darrell Schweitzer (2/5): Started out great and ended alright but it was really quite unmemorable. I think the backstory took over way too much of the storyThe Shocking Affair of the Dutch steamship Friesland - Mary Robinette Kowal (1/5): I really felt underwhelmed by this one. I always imagine something much more horrifying and dangerous than a simple murder here. Or a plot for another. Just boring for me.The Adventure of the Mummy's Curse - H. Paul Jeffers (4/5): Now here was an entertaining story! The bit about Watson being a Mason sort of threw me for a turn but I recovered well enough! It seemed very much in the old style of the Holmes adventures and I almost could have bought it for one of Doyle's stories.The Things That Shall Come Upon Them - Barbara Roden (2.5/5): I skipped this one. I've read it before in Gaslight Grimoire and didn't like it there. See my review for that anthology for my thoughts on that story. My rating is from that review.Murder to Music - Anthony Burgess (4.5/5): I honestly think the creepiest moment of that story was when Holmes told Watson that he thought art was above morals - and that he'd be forced to close his eyes and ignore his adored violinist's murder of Watson if that was what had occurred. The whole murder and the reasons and all of that are unsettling enough but I think that really did it for me.The Adventure of the Internal Adjuster - Stephen Baxter (3/5): Holmes and Watson meet H.G. Wells. It was alright. Not good not bad, sort of enjoyable.Mrs. Hudson's Case - Laurie R. King (3.5/5): I despaired of the Mary Russell universe after in the middle of book five but this revisit to an earlier part, pre marriage was nice. I loved the way Mrs. Hudson one ups Holmes in the end and how her and Mary have this wonderful little secret between them.The Singular Habits of Wasps - Geoffrey A. Landis (5/5): Well crap. Holmes and the Ripper murders and not in the way you think. You go back and forth between thinking if Holmes is in fact the Ripper but the real answer is creepy as all hell. Oh man did this push my buttons in all the right ways. Like Watson I think that I, too, will be giving wasps a second glance the next time I see one.The Affair of the 46th Birthday - Amy Myers (3/5): Interesting but again not overly spectacular. Not too much else to say about it. The baby king was cute. The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey - Peter Tremayne (3/5): I always suspected Sherlock was Irish, lol. More so Moriarty simply because of the name. I liked that we went back to the past for this one, and we had a look at a woman he had the hots for. The mystery was interesting and it certainly plants some interesting seeds with regards to how those events made Sherlock the man he is in the present of the story. That being said it makes his feud with Moriarty seem petty and it adamant insistence that Moriarty worked with the devil to get his work done annoying simply because it didn't seem in character and that he was simply just stamping his feet about the whole situation.The Vale of the White Horse - Sharyn McCrumb (5/5): I love Grisel Rountree. I love her a lot. I love that this is from her point of view instead of Watson's. Mostly because of the story content and characters. It's fantastic, I love the case, I love the resolution. It makes me all kinds of happy. I want to read more about this village. I want it now.The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger - Michael Moorcock (3.5/5): This was fun. Holmes and Watson are kicked out of 221B for two weeks and end up having an adventure along with their vacation. Very old school Holmes - I loved the disguise factor at the end. Just simple fun all while away from Baker Street.The Adventure of the Lost World - Dominic Green (4/5): Two of Doyle's worlds clashing, however so slightly, and I love how totally believable it is that there is a bloody dinosaur lurking about and I don't think twice about it! Well played! The multiple disguises of Holmes here is also awesome, especially how Watson is just getting plain ticked off at the end. "You have wasted fifteen minute of valuable consulting time Holmes" and NO I DON'T CARE HOW YOU FAKED IT. lol. The ending was also very well done. Now I want to go read it again just after writing it up.The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece - Barbara Hambly (5/5): Oh holy crap! Creepy is too small a term for this one. The mystery with Watson's shady memory doesn't help. Omg that whole last bit. Spine tingling.Dynamics of Hanging - Tony Pi (4.5/5): Hiatus story with Watson and Lewis Carroll code breaking. Much more awesome than I make it sound.Merridew of Abominable Memory - Chris Roberson (3/5): Read this before in Gaslight Grimoire. See review for that book.Commonplaces - Naomi Novik (5/5): Another hiatus story but this one through the eyes of Irene Adler, who eventually finds Holmes in France who declares he's not going back while Mary is alive. Apparently these two need to get in bed - though not before he and Irene do. It's really well done actually, your heart certainly feels it all. The Adventure of the Pirates of Devil's Cape - Rob Rogers (5/5): I LOVED this! It was such fun. Holmes and pirates seems like an odd combination but I loved it so much. Mystery, action, a touch of romance, and the dutch steamship Freisland!! AWESOMEThe Adventure of the Green Skull - Mark Valentine (3/5): Another one much more in tradition with Conan Doyle's stories. Like it enough but not overly memorable. The Human Mystery - Tanith Lee (4/5): Rather enjoyable. I rather liked it up until the end but the end is slowly sitting with me. Holmes totally blindsided by a woman looking for some measure of love, and the lengths that she's gone to to do it, is awesome.A Study in Emerald - Neil Gaiman (5/5): This is probably the fifth time I've read this story and I adore it. It is awesome. The Great Old ones being in charge all along and stringing you alone with who the narrator is and who the murderers are until pulling the rug out from under you at the end is truly masterfully. There are no words to explain how awesome this story is or how much I love it.You See But You Do Not Observer - Robert J. Sawyer (3.5/5): Interesting idea which was nice but didn't really click with me all that much. The ending, however, makes me oh so sad. It's oh so right but oh so sadn

  • Antonis
    2018-12-14 02:34

    Ο Σέρλοκ Χολμς είναι μία από τις πιο αναγνωρίσιμες λογοτεχνικές μορφές όλων των εποχών· ταυτόχρονα όμως το σύμπαν μέσα στο οποίο τον τοποθέτησε ο Άρθουρ Κόναν Ντόιλ παρέμεινε ιδιαίτερα ανοιχτό, καθώς οι ιστορίες που έγραψε με ήρωα τον Χολμς συνδέονται μάλλον χαλαρά μεταξύ τους χωρίς να αποτελούν κάποιου είδους λεπτομερή βιογραφία του βικτωριανού ντετέκτιβ. Στις δεκαετίες που ακολούθησαν τον παροπλισμό του από τον Ντόιλ (και ιδιαίτερα αφότου έπαψαν οι περιορισμοί των πνευματικών δικαιωμάτων για το έργο του) δεκάδες συγγραφείς, γοητευμένοι από τον Σέρλοκ Χολμς και τον κόσμο του, άρχισαν να γράφουν τις δικές τους ιστορίες με ήρωα τον ίδιο και τον πιστό του φίλο και χρονογράφο, Τζον Γουότσον, εξερευνώντας παρθένες πτυχές του λογοτεχνικού αυτού σύμπαντος, φέρνοντας σε επαφή τον Χολμς με άλλες διάσημες φιγούρες της εποχής του, βάζοντάς τον αντιμέτωπο με προκλήσεις που συχνά αγγίζουν τον χώρο της επιστημονικής φαντασίας, του τρόμου ή του φανταστικού. Και όλα αυτά σε μια αποθέωση της διακειμενικότητας, όχι μόνο, όπως είναι φυσικό, με το έργο του Ντόιλ, αλλά και με έργα άλλων σπουδαίων συγγραφέων σαν τον Λάβκραφτ ή τον Γουέλς. Μερικά από τα καλύτερα λοιπόν τέτοια διηγήματα, τα οποία πιθανώς να είναι πια πολύ περισσότερα από αυτά του Α. Κ. Ντόιλ, περιλαμβάνει η παρούσα συλλογή. Ανάμεσα στους συγγραφείς που ανθολογούνται βρίσκονται και πολύ μεγάλα ονόματα, όπως ο Stephen King, o Neil Gaiman, η Tanith Lee, ο Stephen Baxter και άλλοι, δίνοντας ο καθένας τη δική του/της προσωπική νότα στον Σέρλοκ του/της. Συνιστάται ανεπιφύλακτα στους λάτρεις των αυθεντικών ιστοριών του Σέρλοκ Χολμς, αλλά και σε όσους τον έχουν γνωρίσει μέσα από τις νεότερες εκδοχές του σε τηλεόραση και κινηματογράφο.Προσωπικό αγαπημένο διήγημα της συλλογής εκείνο στο οποίο αναθέτει στον Σέρλοκ μια παράξενη υπόθεση (με σκοπό να μην τη λύσει) ο ίδιος ο Άρθουρ Κόναν Ντόιλ, ο οποίος δεν έμοιαζε καθόλου στον ήρωα του ως προς την απόλυτη πίστη στη λογική και τις αισθήσεις, αφού πίστευε οτιδήποτε είχε να κάνει με το υπερφυσικό: επικοινωνία με νεκρούς, νεράιδες κτλ.

  • Mladen
    2018-11-26 04:31

    After reading all of the Arthur C. Doyle stories several times, I realized that my cravings for Sherlock literature had to be sated in a different way. I required something new, a change from the good old stories. This book is what Goodreads recommended so this book is what I choose to read.As I was flipping through the pages of the first story I wasn't even aware of the subtle process that was happening. I was slowly discovering a whole new world, whole new shores. I always had a certain level of skepticism towards the idea of other authors extending the original work. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that these stories were actually really good.The whole variety of ideas was really refreshing. Holmes meets Cthulhu, Holmes meets Pirates, Holmes meets H. G. Wells, etc. Also, the fact that every story was written by another author kept things interesting. Sure, there were some boring stories but most were pretty inventive. The idea of putting Watson and Holmes into new, strange scenarios always seemed as a sort of heresy to me, but to hell with it. It works! Even some really absurd scenarios left me with a smile on my face.The stories I enjoyed the most were the ones with Lovecraftian elements. When Holmes' rationality fights the horrible irrationality of Lovecraft's universe, sparks start to fly and great things happen.I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of the extended Sherlockian works from now on.

  • Tere Fredericks
    2018-11-27 22:42

    Please forgive me. While I read this book A LONG TIME AGO, I need to go back and get some insight into what I actually read. This book is good enough to deserve a proper review -- I know this isn't one - but hang on, I'll get to it. Still in my carousel. I do know it definitely deserved the five stars. Please forgive me.

  • Shane Phillips
    2018-12-04 01:51

    Only got 25% through and just could not get into it. These do not feel like Sherlock Holmes stories to me. I just can't see listening to the remaining 12 hours.

  • Betsy
    2018-11-17 04:28

    I really, really liked this book. I mean, I love Sherlock Holmes, so pretty much anything that's got him it it is good :-). This was also the first time I"ve ever read Holmes stories not by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so I was a little leery about it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Most of them were good. I enjoyed almost all of them. I mean, some of them you could tell the author really wanted to be writing their own stuff and just inserted Holmes and Watson into their own style("The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey," and "The Vale of the White Horse"), but most at least made an effort to be "real" Holmes pastiches, and most of those succeeded. Mostly, the stories that involved science fiction/fantasy elements (not all of them did, some were straight mysteries placed as red herrings)did them well. It's hard to insert someone as rational as Holmes into more fantastic stories, but most of them were well done. A few crossovers with the Cthulhu mythos, some parallel universes, etc. Plus appearances from practically every member of the Holmes canon: Moriarty (obviously) and Col. Sebastian Moran, Lestrade, the Baker Street Irregulars, Irene Adler, Mrs. Hudson. Just not Mycroft, that I remember. I thought that odd. A few really stuck out...I now decided to read The Beekeeper's Apprentice because of the Laurie R. King story ("Mrs. Hudson's Case") in this collection (I had always been so against the idea of Holmes + romance). I also enjoyed "The Case of the Other Detective," "The Singular Habits of Wasps," "The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger," "The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece," "Commonplaces," "The Adventure of the Pirates of Devil's Cape," and "You See But You Do Not Observe." Of course, you'll probably like different ones, and most of the others I didn't mention are pretty good; there were only about five I didn't like, because I felt they were just too different from the actual Holmes.And then there was "A Study in Emerald." There is a reason I give this story its own section, and that's because it. is. incredible. A great alternate universe story for Holmes, combined with an alternate Lovecraftian universe (alternate from the way it was portrayed in Lovecraft's stories). Well written, a love letter to the Holmes canon and the Cthulhu mythos, references to other Victorian literature. Just an amazing story. If you are a Holmes fan, you owe it yourself to read this story. If you are a Lovecraft fan, you owe it to yourself to read this story. If you are a Neil Gaiman fan, you've probably read this story already, but if you haven't, you owe it to yourself to read this story. And if you're not, read this story anyway. The whole book is worth it just for this story.(Side note: Neil Gaiman is set to write a Doctor Who episode this year. If it's even half as good as "A Study in Emerald" it will be the best episode they've ever aired.)Anyway, I am now a devoted Sherlockian, no longer scared of pastiches (I was for the lonest time, that they'd mess with my perception of Holmes), and ready for more. Bottom line: John Joseph Adams's anthologies are usually good, and this was a very good one. Hopefully the rest of the Holmes pastiches I find will be as good.

  • Stephanie
    2018-11-16 00:35

    This was the last book I finished in 2014 and it fulfilled one of the categories in the Eclectic Reader Challenge (ERC). It is a good argument for participating in a challenge that is meant to push one out of normal reading ruts because this was fun and I can’t remember the last time I read an Anthology. Figuring out how to review it may be a challenge all in itself!As the title suggests, the anthology is a collection of short stories by many different authors but all featuring the Sherlock Holmes “mythos”. Some of the stories are straight up mysteries that stay faithful to Conan Doyle’s vision, some stretch the boundaries and bring in speculative elements. It contains 28 different stories edited and compiled from various sources by John Joseph Adams who seems to have made a living curating various interesting looking anthologies (the link on the title will take you to his website). Some of the most notable authors (for me) with stories in the anthology include: Stephen King, Anne Perry, Mary Robinette Kowal, Laurie R. King, Sharyn McCrumb, Michael Moorcock, Barbara Hambly, Naomi Novik, Tanith Lee and Neil Gaiman.I really enjoyed the collection as a whole. There was only one story (The Adventure of The Lost World by Dominic Green – yes it involves dinosaurs) that I didn’t like that much. Several of the stories shared a Lovecraftian influence but otherwise there was little to tie them together besides the characters and concepts of Conan Doyle’s creation. A couple of them feature different narrators besides Watson which was interesting.A few highlights for me were:Stephen King’s The Doctor’s Case – A locked room mystery where Watson gets to solve the crime!Sharyn McCrumb’s Vale of the White Horse – Told from the perspective of a village healing or wise woman in rural England. It is short but complete and features a case where folk legend plays a surprising role. I really liked the unique voice and it made me want to pick up some of McCrumb’s novels.Naomi Novik’s Common Places – A very different and more personal story set during the years that Holmes was missing presumed dead. Explores Holmes’ relationship with Watson and Irene Adler. Told from Adler’s POV.Rob Roger’s The Adventures of the Pirates of Devil’s Cape – A rather unlikely but really fun and swashbuckling adventure that involves Pirates!!! (I like pirates.) The deductions in this one were particularly creative.Tanith Lee The Human Mystery – Holmes miscalculates because his understanding of the fairer sex is not always spot on. Very atmospheric with a twist.Other favorites include: Michael Moorcock’s The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger, Vonda McIntyre’s The Adventure of Field Theorems, Barbara Roden’s The Things that Shall Come Upon Them, and Barbara Hambly’s The Adventure of the Antiquarian’s Niece.Final Verdict: If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes and you don’t mind having him played with a little I think you will find at least a few stories in this collection that will make you happy. 3.5 stars

  • Maya Bohnhoff
    2018-11-26 02:40

    I love Sherlock Holmes. I mean, I really, really, really love Sherlock Holmes. So much so that I will not, under any circumstances that I can foresee, go to see the new movie starring Robert Downey Jr. (Chained naked to a bed, indeed. Harrumph! Sherlock Holmes would never contrive to find himself in that … er … position.)I cut my teeth on Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. Hound of the Baskervilles was my favorite book when I was a kid (a Scholastic Book Club find) and when I saw Jeremy Brett perform as Holmes in the BBC series, I was hooked. We have several collections of the Doyle stories which are much read, but once you’ve memorized all the dialogue and know all the twists and turns, that wonderful sense of discovery they once evoked is replaced by a sort of cozy familiarity. What was once a spicy chicken tagine is now matzo ball soup—still beloved and comforting, but no longer exotic.Every once in a while I pick up a Holmes pastiche and am usually disappointed because like those old Basil Rathbone movies, many writers fail to capture Holmes’s voice. So, imagine my curiosity when I found a collection of Holmes stories from Night Shade Books in the dealer room at the World Fantasy Convention. I bought the volume and read it with increasing delight. Most of the writers not only caught the accents of Sherlock Holmes’s unique voice, but put the great detective and his chronicler, Dr. Watson into some truly improbable and bizarre situations. Hence the title of the collection: THE IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (edited by John Joseph Adams).How improbable? Well, let’s see. He meets Cthulu (or something much like it), he time travels to the future, he battles the magical, the demonic, the haunted and the simply weird in this night gallery of stories by such diverse and wonderful talents as Stephen King, Anne Perry, Anthony Burgess, Laurie R. King (more on her next time), Geoffrey A. Landis, Sharyn McCrumb, Michael Moorcock, Barbara Hambly, Naomi Novik, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman and our own Vonda N. McIntyre.Most of the stories succeed admirably, in my opinion, at allowing the reader to experience that fresh scent of excitement and discovery that made reading the Doyle stories for the first time such a heady experience. In fact, only one of the stories failed to evoke the real Holmes for me, while another I found captured his voice, but left me without that signature “aha!” moment that I so treasure.I will not say which stories these were, because I don’t want to color your perceptions if you should purchase this wonderful book (which is available at Barnes & Noble brick and mortar stores as well as online). And I do recommend highly that fans of Sherlock Holmes purchase and read this book. It is well worth the $15.My favorite story from the batch? I’m not sayin’.

  • Mike
    2018-12-06 01:52

    Every so often, despite my firm resolve to winnow down the monstrous length of my TBR shelf, I cave in to impulse and read something else. (Let’s not talk about my reading the entire “Dortmunder” set of novels by Donald Westlake. I happily sampled it after good reviews here on GR and convinced myself to extend the detour.) The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was maliciously positioned on top of a library shelf where it was known my eye would glance whilst retrieving previously-requested tomes. And so it did and so I nabbed it; my resolve dissolving as if in a beaker of Aqua Regia.It’s a longish book with almost 30 tales by authors as varied as Tanith Lee, Anthony Burgess, Stephen King and Michael Moorcock. While most follow the standard formula of a tale narrated (written) by Watson about Holmes, several change that up – maybe not the most imaginative variations one could conceive of, but certainly interesting ones.Many anthologies suffer from a glut of mediocrity. They collect as many works as possible (possibly at as favorable a royalty as possible) throwing in a couple of better works or works by notable authors to ensnare more readers. Sadly, I have found this formula to hold even when dealing with the World’s First and Foremost Consulting Detective. Given its popularity, this is a subject where one should expect to find numerous choices from top-flight authors as they try their hand at constructing a worthy pastiche. And, I am happy to report this one does!I’ll refrain from mentioning specific stores in favor of praising the entire assembly. This is one of the best collections in any genre that I have read. Yes, it benefits from the surfeit of material available, but at the same time, the editor chose oh-so-wisely. Most of the stores are of recent vintage (90s and 00s) although a couple are older (80s) and almost all have been published previously 9and deservedly so); kudos to the editor.If you have read all the official tales and desire more, I strongly recommend this anthology. But be warned, the tales themselves are not mere copies of what Dr. Watson’s literary agent (ACD) would have published. So, if you only like to stay within the narrow confines of the mundane (as far as mundane can be applied to this topic), then you may not agree with my assessment. Then, I suggest you read more of the “traditional” short and long fiction that others have created. Once you reach the point where you can appreciate the twists these authors use, then come back and read them. A well-deserved Four (4) Stars.

  • Nesa Sivagnanam
    2018-11-18 00:53

    The focus of this anthology lies in one of Holmes' famous quotes: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."Now what if Holmes investigates a crime scene and has all of his deduction techniques at his disposal, but one variable has changed - Holmes cannot eliminate the impossible - what then?In this book you'll find Holmes and Watson investigating ghosts, aliens, pirates, dinosaurs, shape-shifters, evil gods and criminal masterminds, including the Napoleon of Crime, Professor Moriarty.You'll learn the truth behind some of the many cases alluded to by Watson in the original batch of Holmes' stories by Conan Doyle. Incidentally, Doyle appears as a character in some of the stories in this book.Lovecraft's mythos can be felt in Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" as well as in Tim Lebbon's "The Horror of Many Faces" and Barbara Hamby's "The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece".Another story steeped in the supernatural is Barbara Roden's "The Things that Shall Come Upon Them" where Holmes teams up with fellow investigator Flaxman Low. Low was a fictional psychic investigator. Here,the two detectives solve a case using wildly differing methods but arriving at the same conclusion. There are significant appearances by the rest of the Holmesian dramatis personae besides the trusty Watson, who solves a case before his friend in a story by Stephen King. Mrs. Hudson gets her moment in the sun in a piece from Laurie R. King's Mary Russell canon. Inspector Lestrade is here, as is The Woman — sublime Irene Adler, and the formidable older brother Mycroft Holmes. A Young H.G. Wells assists in Stephen Baxter's "The Adventure of the Internal Adjustor" An elderly Rev. Charles Dodgson helps investigate the cold case of the untimely demise of a student named Doyle many years ago in Tony Pi's "Dynamics of a Hanging". Arthur Conan Doyle himself appears as a client who summons Holmes and Watson to investigate crop circles and strange lights in the night sky over his estate. "The Adventure of the Field Theorems" by Vonda N. McIntyre is a sharp and very funny look at the differences between Sherlock Holmes and his creator.

  • Alexis Neal
    2018-11-28 00:26

    Quite good, and thoroughly enjoyable. Which is a pleasant surprise, since "continuing adventures" of classic characters can be atrocious when done poorly--which they often are. In this case, the editors wisely culled (or commissioned) stories from some extremely gifted authors--and more importantly, authors who seemed to truly cherish and appreciate Holmes and his work.Many of the stories take advantage of the overlapping lives of such well-known authors as H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. What would happen if Holmes met Doyle? If he went to school with Stoker? If he were hired by Wells to investigate a seemingly paranormal mystery? If the mythology of Lovecraft were true?The authors overall do an excellent job of keeping Holmes true to himself--they do little violence to the character of the man himself. Some choose to write mysteries mentioned in passing in the canonical Holmes stories: the shocking affair of the Dutch steamship Friesland (referenced in Doyle's "Adventure of the Norwood Builder" and the basis for two stories in this collection); Merridew of abominable memory (referenced in "Adventure of the Empty House"); and the inexplicable disappearance of James Phillimore (referenced in "Problem of Thor Bridge"). Others choose to flesh out existing characters like Irene Adler, Mrs. Hudson, and Professor Moriarty. Many of the stories have truly fantastical elements--dinosaurs, aliens, time travel, a mummy's curse, ghosts . . . There are stronger and weaker stories of course. I particularly enjoyed "The Singular Habits of Wasps" and (not surprisingly) "A Study in Emerald". I was less impressed by "The Adventure of the Death-Fetch" and "You See But You Do Not Observe". Ultimately, I think Holmes is at his best when he finds a rational solution to a seemingly supernatural mystery (which in no way disproves the existence of the supernatural on the larger scale), though several of the authors were able to introduce clearly supernatural elements into Holmes' world quite smoothly. All in all, it's a fun collection, and definitely worth the read.

  • Katie M.
    2018-12-02 03:51

    The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes contains an excellent collection of what is essentially Sherlock Holmes fanfic written by professional writers. I do not intend this as an insult; most stories in this book are well-written explorations of Holmes and Watson having new adventures, sometimes filling in the gaps between Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. The concept of this collection is that it contains a mix of genres: some straight-up mystery stories where every bizarre occurrence can be explained away, and some speculative fiction stories where the solution to the mystery involves something like aliens, Cthulhu, or travel to a parallel universe. In almost all of the stories I was able to tell whether the supernatural occurrences were "real" almost immediately, well before the reveal, but the variety of genres was fun nevertheless. As in any collection of short stories, some are better than others, but there were a number of stories I absolutely adored and only one or two I truly disliked. My favorite stories included "The Doctor's Case" (wherein Dr. Watson is awesome and Lestrade enjoys some schadenfreude at Holmes's expense), "The Singular Habits of Wasps" (wherein the explanation for Jack the Ripper is very creepy indeed), "A Study in Emerald" (wherein Neil Gaiman + Holmes + H.P. Lovecraft-influenced mythology = a dark gem of a story where all is not as it seems), "The Adventure of the Lost World" (wherein I burst into laughter many times, and there are no trombone malfunctions), and "Commenplaces" (wherein Naomi Novik directly addresses the question of exactly how deep the connection between Holmes and Watson runs and Irene Adler is awesome). I've been in a bit of a Holmesian phase lately, so this anthology was pure fun for me. Your mileage may vary, but I think many people who have read some of the original Holmes stories and enjoy fantasy/sci-fi will like this book.

  • L.
    2018-11-15 21:44

    Inevitably every fan of Sherlock Holmes will reach the final story and sadly realize that there will be no more trips to 221B Baker Street from Arthur Conan Doyle's pen. The tantalizing hints dropped by Watson of other adventures seem to be destined to be forever untold. Happily others have taken up the task of chronicling these and other adventures of Holmes and/or Watson. Some have produced tales worthy of being included in the 'Canon' of Doyle's stories and others....well others make the reader appreciate Doyle's work even more. These works have appeared in various forms, full length novels, screen and stage plays and short stories - many, many short stories which have appeared in various publications. There are quite a few collections of these stories, often selected in a particular theme.This particular anthology features stories that share a fantasy or science fiction slant, in some the stories are set in an alternative universe, in others the stories fit in with the original canon almost seamlessly. Many of these stories are meant to be taken seriously, others are strictly for fun. The quality of these selections also varies, many are page turners equal to Doyle's own stories, others are surprisingly amateurish, and a few a just boring.This is a worthwhile read for fans, although it is not a place to begin reading the Holmes' stories. The gems found in this collection are wonderful additions to the canon, well worth wading through the lesser selections. Dedicated fans may have run across some of these stories before, most have been published elsewhere.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-12-12 23:33 this is basically just jumped-up fanfiction. Mostly good fanfiction, sure, but nobody really manages to believably capture Conan Doyle's voice. Having said that, these are worth a reread :The Adventure of the Field Theorems, by Vonda N. McIntyreThe Adventure of the Inertial Adjuster, by Stephen BaxterThe Vale of the White Horse, by Sharyn McCrumbThe Adventure of the Lost World, by Dominic GreenThe Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece, by Barbara HamblyDynamics of a Hanging, by Tony PiCommonplaces, by Naomi NovikThe Adventure of the Pirates of Devil's Cape, by Rob Rogers - this is the better of the two "Dutch ship Friesland" stories in hereA Study in Emerald, by Neil Gaiman - probably the best at actually mimicking Conan Doyle's styleYou See But You Do Not Observe, by Robert J. SawyerInterestingly, at least two of these stories reference the match-worker's disease, "phossy-jaw", and three, iirc, reference Moriarty's paper "Dynamics of an Asteroid"! There's also a great little Indiana Jones cameo in The Adventure of the Death-Fetch (which is actually a very subtle Lovecraft crossover - the plateau of Leng!), that I thought was hilarious.

  • Leigh
    2018-12-01 23:46

    The book is aptly titled "Improbable" as most of the stories in this collection are well beyond believability and many fantastical, futuristic, science-fiction types of scenarios. That being said, the book was an enjoyable read. Being a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, like so many others, I am always longing for more stories about this great detective. But, being a purist, I would at least like to keep him within the realm of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original intent with this character. In the Improbable Adventures, we find Sherlock in time travel, on the trail of space aliens, and even tracking a dinosaur. While many of the authors in this collection kept the settings and plots in the realm of familiarity, some were stretched to the ridiculous! Imagine: Sherlock Holmes meets Scooby Doo. But, there were the nuggets within the collection that kept Watson and Sherlock on the foggy streets of London late at night with the gaslights burning, footsteps echoing, and the sound of a farwaway hansom, or off in the English countryside in the springtime to investigate strange occurrences at some ancient castle - those were the stories I most enjoyed. It's always nice to find something new to read about Sherlock Holmes, a storyline which I never want to end.