neadods: (sherdoc)
OMG those credits! Doctor Who should have had those credits FOREVER.

Capaldi is living up to my every hope for him as the Doctor. His delivery, his timing, his enthusiasm, his ability to pull off insane lines with gravitas, his ability to flip from emotion to emotion believably, and it looks like he can gear up to some serious anger and grief. I'm looking forward to that. Matt Smith could do goofy, but his Oncoming Storm never achieved more than the Oncoming Strop. (To this day, I blame his lack of classical training. Eccleston and Tennant had Shakespearean training; Smith did not - and the Doctor is a very Shakespearean character.

The ads kept throwing me off; I need to see the episode again, unbroken. But I liked it, and I'm intrigued by the ending, and Capaldi's great.
neadods: (sherdoc)
It's patently ridiculous for me to talk about anything but Peter Capaldi today, but it's still a couple hours to the American premiere and I've been busy researching The Final Problem.

That's the story for the next Tin Box meeting and I was asked to lead the Q&A because our current Gasogene has quick wit for filking, which is the next presentation and she has a horror of making the meetings the All About Her Show. So I was asked to lead the story discussion and said yes in a blatant attempt to further my plans for world domination being asked to be a gasogene someday same thing.

There's a certain irony here, in that Watson's Tin Box was founded by people who like to play the Great Game and I... don't. At all. I would far rather discuss the actual history behind the writing of the stories -- although with The Final Problem, that's not going to BE a problem because Doyle's intent is inescapable.

While mousing around on the internet, I ran into a discussion on Diane Duane's blog, quoting a now-deleted post from the (now deleted?) Kovaniy tumblr musing:
you know I wonder if back in the day when The Final Problem came out Victorians were sending out letters with “Dear sir, have you read the latest Holmes story yet? I simply cannot handle it. I have cried an unseemly amount of tears. I cannot. Oh God.” and then there’s just a big ink scribble because keysmashing wasn’t an option
little drawings of crying people in the margins

The answer is "Yes, actually," considering that Doyle later said that he got mail starting "You Brute!"

Final Problem was the moment when literary fandom and media fandom merge into the mack daddy of fan culture as we know it today. The first popular series cancellation. The first letter writing campaign. The first lashing out at the producer for not producing it. (Here, the Beauty and the Beast fans thought they were unique in taking out a full-page ad in Variety telling Koslow to basically fuck himself.) The first boycotts - Strand Magazine lost 20,000 subscribers.

For that matter, the first time Christmas was ruined by a series finale, a century before Blake's 7.

And look what that spawned: The first series renewal after popular outcry (and Doyle's need for cash). The first retcon, as the highly overrated Moriarty got wedged into multiple "prequel" stories.

Truly, everything old is new again.

Just like the Doctor, come to think of it...
neadods: (Default)
First of two posts today.

In honor of my first event with Watson's Tin Box tomorrow, a comment/reaction post to The Problem of Thor Bridge, the first of the canonical stories to mention the tin dispatch box tantalizingly full of unwritten stories. For a while there, every single pastiche I read claimed to have been discovered in that tin box; a prologue about how said box came into the author's hands was as expected (and had as blatantly a "stand up and put your hand on your heart" tone) as singing the National Anthem before a sports event.

We open with Holmes being so stroppy that the Sherlock interpretation of him makes sense. (As much as I enjoy Sherlock, Holmes -- unlike his modern counterpart -- is not "a dick all the time.") However, the reader can deduce he likes his eggs soft boiled, as he, in a roundabout Victorian manner, is bitching that the cook was reading "a love romance" (surely this is redundant, Holmes?) and must have lost track of time, because their breakfast includes two hard boiled eggs, which Holmes promptly commands Watson to eat.

Soon, however, Holmes is back to his more courtly self, and proving for the hundredth time that he's not the misogynist Watson insists he is. Just from the newspaper accounts he's on the side of the late Mrs. Gibson, aware that she was trapped in a house with a violent man and a "very attractive governess," and his first question to Gibson is an attempt to get the man to confess to being in love with Miss Dunbar. When Gibson denies it, Holmes promptly throws him out; when Gibson admits it, Holmes snaps that it's dishonorable to mess with the staff, as they are "in a sense under your protection" and the conversation goes downhill from there. Watson reports that Holmes was formidable, sneering, and stern, before making it patently clear that he was taking the case only for the sake of Miss Dunbar. He's too Victorian to outright say "fuck you and the horse you rode in on" but in these days of Occupy there's a certain modern ring to "Some of you rich men have to be taught that all the world cannot be bribed into condoning your offenses."

The real misogynist is Gibson. His nattering was probably meant to be irritating then; nowadays, it's stomach-turning to know that women in his wife's position had no legal recourse. His oblivion just gets worse every time he opens his gob, going from justifying his horrible treatment to whining that his wife was jealous of his obvious emotional infidelity and how could she when he kept his zipper shut? Dunbar, at least, shows that she has belatedly grasped that hanging around making Mrs. Gibson miserable was a bad move. (It's been a while since I've seen the Granada version; I don't remember if she admits there that she was a source of unhappiness and should have left. I do remember being pissed off that in Granada, Dunbar was essentially teaching the children to be ashamed of their own mother and the heritage she brought them.)

I also remember that in Granada, Watson actually reacted to Holmes' attempt to damage and drown his revolver. Oddly, in canon Watson doesn't seem to care one way or the other, just as canon!Watson doesn't chronicle his reaction to a lot of things, such as the bet in Blue Carbuncle. (I can see more of why BBC!Watson puts up with so much with so little reaction.)

As for the Doyle Cliche Count, we have:

Two exotic people: An American senator and a Brazilian wife
One fabulous fortune: "the greatest gold-mining magnate in the world"

We don't have the motivation of sheer greed or stupidity, which is nice -- Holmes even makes his case off of the one damning bit of evidence that would require seriously stupidity had it meant what the police thought it had. (And there really is a case here. There's an actual mystery and Holmes actually solves it. These two elements can be surprisingly rare in a Holmes mystery.)

Also, under the heading of "the more things change, the more they stay the same," we have the line "And these Americans are readier with pistols than our folk are." 100 years ago, and we were already considered the universally armed pistol-packing yahoos of the civilized world. Even though, technically, no Americans so much as touched a weapon of any sort in this story. *sigh*
neadods: (Default)
I've just written and delivered what I think will be my last official review ever. I used to really love that, but I don't anymore, and when I have to sit down and *make* myself do something after several days of successful diversions, it's time to admit that it's not fun anymore and walk away.

I think the reason Saturday Sherlock has been missing - it's been on my list for three weeks now - is the lingering overtone of "having" to do it. But I have enjoyed reading the stories (I finished everything except my reread of Baskervilles last weekend), and it's worth having notes of my findings.

Today: The Resident Patient. Not sure there's much to say about this one; I don't have a lot of flags peppering it. There is Watson talking about Holmes "loving to lie in the very centre of five millions of people... responsive to every little rumour or suspicion of unsolved crime. Appreciation of nature found no place among his many gifts" which rather makes the knowledge that Holmes is going to run off to the country to keep bees almost as much of a "oh, go AWAY" to the fan as killing Holmes off was.

I'm also amused by the line "your hand stole toward your own old wound." Doyle has gotten pretty good about avoiding just where that is!

Plotwise, I find it more than a bit "meh." A man takes both a position and a case that seem too good to be true; the man finds that he's been a catspaw. It's practically Standard Holmes Plot #3 at this point. Holmes at least does some actual and necessary detecting, pointing out that the "suicide" was really a murder and why.

Things to Note:

It's the second story where Holmes and Watson take a walk just for the sake of walking, although this time Holmes talks (shows off to, really) Watson.

Watson as a real doctor - he recognizes "the author of a monograph upon obscure nervous lesions." (And then fails at realizing that Holmes is faking his fit.)

Grandiloquent Holmes: the whole speech about the shield of British law and the sword of justice is rather poetic.

Next up, The Greek Interpreter. Not a story that I'm wildly fond of, but one stuffed to the gills with Holmes' relationship with his brother and his (and Watson's) views on women.

I am amused that one of the baddies is named "Moffat," considering.
neadods: (Default)
I need to do this tonight or it won't get done at all - I'm about to head into the real nonsense. (I'm probably going to be offline entirely May 16-21; that week looks like this: May 16-17, night class after work. May 18, running around house sealing up computer, mail slot, TV. May 19-20, floor refinishing of 2/3 of main floor. May 19, sleep on couch and use housemate's bathroom because own bedroom will be cut off. May 20, clean up after refinishing. May 21-22, set up shelves and attempt to start going through piles of books in living room... winnowing down, so that what *used* to fit in 10 bookshelves can fit in 5.)

So, one story to keep me in the swing:

The Crooked Man )
neadods: (reading)
Gloria Scott )

Musgrave Ritual )

Reigate Puzzle/Squires )

Exotic people/places/gangs: I'm not sure if I should count Gloria Scott as one story or enumerate the multiple instances within Gloria Scott.

Abusive/controlling men: 1

Recluses: 0

Venial victims: 0

Fanciful Sherlockisms: 0

Misogyny?: Hard to say, really, in that Holmes doesn't interact with any women in any of these stories. As for the maid in Ritual, he slightly takes her side (in pointing out how hard it is for men to realize that there comes a time when the woman who loves him cannot be swayed) and he doesn't sound particularly upset at the idea of her conscience being her only punishment. The line in Reigate about Holmes fussing a bit until "Holmes understood the establishment was a bachelor one and that he would be allowed the fullest freedom" can be argued either way, really. It's easy enough to interpret that he doesn't want to live in close contact with a woman (who isn't his landlady) as not liking to be around women. On the other hand, he's already taken a spare room in a woman's house (Twisted Lip) so maybe right now he's just so tired that he doesn't have the strength to be as polite as he usually is to a woman.

Actual crime solving by deduction: 1 All Holmes does in Gloria Scott is give Trevor Sr. the creeps and solve a code that does nothing to stop a crime; all he does in Ritual is piece together the same clues someone else solved first. It's not until Reigate that he actually does something.

Watson's wits: In two stories he doesn't figure in the plot, but in the last one, despite his trying to help Holmes with the best of Victorian (wrong) advice, Holmes runs such rings around him that he ends up blurting "Oh, what an ass I have been!"

Next week:
The Crooked Man, The Resident Patient, The Greek Interpreter
neadods: (Default)
sjarl marker

And to keep this from being a content-free post, I am starting to wonder how many folks are lurking and how many are scrolling past on the Saturday Sherlock posts. Because I'm zooming ahead myself in the schedule - I just read 3 Students before I got online - and because it's a lot of typing, I just want to know if I'm providing interest to the readership (at which point I'll continue on the schedule already posted) or just typing into the void (at which point I'll spend the time looking for Sherlock porn being more productive).

[Poll #1730484]
neadods: (Default)
The Cardboard Box )

The Yellow Face )

The Stock-Broker's Clerk )

Exotic People/Places/Group count: 2 American Civil War in Cardboard, American woman in Face.

No recluses, abusive men or fanciful Sherlockisms.

Venial Victim count: 1 Hall Pycroft is a damned idiot. Period.

Not-so-Misogynistic Holmes:
In Cardboard, he's pretty soothing towards Susan Cushing, even though she's a rather nasty old bat to him. In Face, he's aware that the wife is lying - something a true misogynist would be all over as an example of the perfidy of all womankind - and he pretty much handwaves it as her fleeing for her life/safety/sanity and being blackmailed.

Sherlock Solves Something Only Sherlock Could Solve: .5
- Well, it could be argued that he does do all the intellectual heavy lifting in Cardboard. But any competent detective should have looked into the rest of the family, at which point the whole story would tumble out on its own. Sherlock pretty much says as much to Lestrade as he stalks off: "I choose to be only associated with those crimes which present some difficulty in their solution."

Yellow Face is one of those stories that could have been cleared up with 7 seconds' honest conversation; all Sherlock really does is force that conversation, albeit mistakenly, as he has leaped gracefully to the wrong deduction about who's in the house. (I'll give him bonus points for the pretty set of deductions out of the abandoned pipe, though.)

I'll give him half credit for Stock Broker... he was on the right track, but he was still gathering info when the crime was all over.

Watson's Wits:
Not so smart - a medical man ought to be well aware of what medical students get up to with their cadavers, and know the difference between a body bit that has been preserved and one that has been hacked off. Although it's probably not Watson's fault that Holmes has that "As you know, Bob" moment about ear shapes, as it's exposition that needs to be given somehow.

Next week: The "Gloria Scott", The Musgrave Ritual, The Reigate Puzzle
neadods: (reading)
The remaining cats are starting to go back to normal behavior, finally. Kaylee was taken off and came back shaved; DB was taken off and never came back. It's made the kittens skittish and unwilling to be touched - until yesterday, when Gytha rolled over and let me tickle her belly, then climbed in my lap when I had my afternoon read* purring madly. And Mulder has started to sleep on me again.

*As a bit of "me time" ever since the time change I've been coming home and reading a Holmes story/chapter a day as a bit of quiet time before I get on with the rest of the night's work.

Also, I notice that there are less than half the clumps in the clumping litter than there used to be, and M has to refill the little water bowl upstairs every other day instead of twice a day. DB was sicker than we thought for a longer time than we thought. But he still had enough left in him to demand petting and to purr for it...

Anyway! Stories.

Read more... )

Read more... )

Read more... )

Exotic people/locales count: .5 for mention of gypsies (who have nothing to do with Silver Blaze)

Oppressive/abusive villain count: 2 Sir George in Beryl and then Rucastle of Copper is a prime example of the species

Venial victim count: 0 I count "venial victims" as people who know that they've been given an offer too good to be true but take it anyway for greed of the reward. Mr. Holder wasn't trying to get riches for himself in Beryl, profoundly stupid as his actions were. Violet (I just typed that with an extra n!) Hunter knew that she was being flim-flammed, had no alternative options, and took what steps she could to protect herself (thus proving to be one of the smartest "victims" in the canon). And Brown of Blaze simply took advantage of an accidental opportunity.

Sherlock actually solves something count: 3. He may have been too late to actually catch the criminal in Beryl or aid one of the women in Beeches, but he figures it all out. Even if Beryl was the kind of crime that Encyclopedia Brown could have figured out at the dinner table. (I loved the Encyclopedia Brown books as a kid, not least because his sidekick - and bodyguard - was named Sally. Who occasionally solves the crimes herself.) And a competent detective could have followed all the clues he did in Blaze... but the point of the stories is that there's only one really competent detective in town.

Misogynist Holmes?:
In Beryl, even though the woman is arguably the villain, the supposedly woman-hating Holmes casts her betrayal not as the fickleness of her gender, but due to a loving woman being seduced by a terrible man. "There are women in whom the love of a lover extinguishes all over loves" is a simple statement of fact - look at all the stories of girls running from their families to be with the men they love, fictional or factual. It could be argued that it was a terrible thing for Holmes to leave Mary with Sir George when he reclaimed the stones, but would she have come? Did she know yet what Sir George really was? Certainly Holmes doesn't sound gloating when he says that she will end up paying for her sins.

In Beeches, although Holmes starts out snitting that his skills are "degenerating into an agency for ... giving advice to young ladies from boarding-schools," he rapidly switches tracks into not only taking Miss Hunter seriously, but actively getting all fraternal and worried about her. "No sister of mine..." This is the only time he's going to be that wrapped up in a female client, so it's no real wonder the romantic Watson is hoping that Holmes will take his interest further. Despite the fact that Holmes must be privately thinking "Sister. I said SISTER! Pervert." when Watson is doubtless nudging him off screen. The supposed woman-hater goes from calling the case "my zero point" to "the most interesting which ahs come my way for some months" - and then caps it with an extremely concerned reminder that he will be at Violet's beck and call "any time day or night." That's more than he offered Miss Stoner in Speckled Band, and he knew she was being physically abused. Add in calling Violet "quite exceptional" and... well, you can see why Watson got all hopeful that Holmes would fall in love at last!

Fanciful Sherlockisms: 0, although there is that long speech about the evils of the countryside in Copper Beeches, followed by... a visit to the country to see horses which doesn't bother him at all. I don't consider his "Haven't I met you, Mrs. Straker?" moment to be fanciful because he was using it to directly gather data.

Watson's Wits: Variable. In Beeches Holmes has to remind him that the child's behavior is a clue to the parents' attitudes. However, in Blaze, Holmes calls one of Watson's points "excellent" and "important" and outright asks "if you can give me any light, I shall be infinitely obliged." And it's Watson who saves them time by finding the hoofprints doubling back.

Next week: The Cardboard Box, The Yellow Face, The Stock-Broker's Clerk (Cardboard is from a different collection, but the stories were written in this order.)
neadods: (reading)
The Speckled Band )

Engineer's Thumb )

Noble Bachelor )

Exotic Locales/People Count:
3 - Gypsies in Speckled Band, "Indian" (because not all those animals come from India) animals in Band, Americans in Bachelor

Abusive/Oppressive Villain Count:
2 - Roylott is the Doyle hat trick all in one: reclusive, abusive, and psychologically twisting. And then there's the wife-abusing psychotic villain in Thumb.

Venial Victim Count:
.5 - Hatherley knew he was being paid too much for a suspicious story, but I can't entirely blame a man who's had no work to jump at the chance to bring a little something in. (Just as I cannot blame Violet Hunter in Copper Beeches for being forced to take a job she knew stank like a flat skunk in July.)

Misogyny Watch: The more I read, the less I find any real evidence of Holmes' so-called hatred of women. Not when:
- He gets more or less blown out of bed in Speckled Band. Instead of resenting it, he assumes that it's a very important business and promptly soothes his female client, points out that she has been physically abused, and eventually offers to take her to her aunt to avoid more abuse. Not to mention solving the attempted murder of her and the actual murder of her sister, and without asking for pay when she pointed out that she didn't have money.

- He is so kind and understanding to the missing bride in Bachelor that she sings his praises. And when she's out of earshot, Holmes defends her side and practically begs forgiveness for her; he's certainly gone out of his way to try to set up a peacemaking dinner. A real misogynist, a true hater of womankind, would not have done it. Such a person *couldn't* have done it, because such a person would never see her point of view, much less said "I fail to see that anyone is to blame" and "you must make allowance."

(Yes, I am using this chunk of the Saturday Sherlock to pretty much marshal my arguments for the inevitable [ profile] meta_holmes "He's not a misogynist" post.)

Fanciful Sherlockisms:
- He piffles a lot when Roylott is trying to intimidate him, and he makes light of the chain of circumstances that led him to Watson's bedside, but the only real silliness in Band is "Well, a cheetah is just a big cat and yet a saucer of milk does not go very far in satisfying its wants, I daresay."

I'm adding this one in because it's surprising how often he doesn't actually solve anything that a competent policeman (or in some cases, an enterprising and determined kitten) couldn't figure out.
Sherlock actually solves something count:
2 - In Band he deduces the bizarre means of murder before he arrives; in Bachelor he finds the missing bride.

Watson waffles between being clever & outright stupid. In Band, he can't recognize a snake that he should have been warned against while in India. In Bachelor Holmes wants his help giving background... although this is the oddly diffident Watson who "feared" to bring up the surprise disappearance to Holmes, just as he couldn't bring himself to mention "stop taking that damned cocaine!" for several months.

Here I've been cheering the Richie and BBC Watsons for putting a little butch back into the character, and the original one is as submissive as a well-trained dog!

But a dog Holmes wants; he tells Watson "do not dream of going" when he's got the consultation in Bachelor.

Next up: The Beryl Coronet, The Copper Beeches, Silver Blaze Also, Saturday Sherlock is probably going to be posted on Thursday because I'll be with my parents on Saturday. (Or should I do a double feature the Saturday after? It's hard to tell who's following this or actually doing the read-along vs commenting on what they already know when I post.)

Also (and this is as much a note to me as for anyone else) - week after next we're reading Cardboard Box, which apparently was written right around now but wasn't published until His Last Bow, so Americans are going to have to scramble to find it. It's online, I'm sure.
neadods: (reading)
The Five Orange Pips )

The Man With the Twisted Lip )

The Blue Carbuncle )

Count of Exotic Locales, Dark Recluses, and Strange Cults:
One each for Orange Pips - I count America as exotic for the purposes of the Strand audience, "uncle" is a recluse and the KKK is being treated like a cult. Carbuncle scores a point for mentioning China.

Sherlock doesn't actually *solve* anything: Orange Pips. Stories like that are going to come faster, says the woman who's been reading head. (Gloria Scott is a particular nadir; he makes one deduction. Which is wrong.)

(Not) Mysogyny watch:
5OP: "I have been beaten four times - three times by men and once by a woman." Much can be read into this - that the loss to Irene is more painful because of her gender seems to be a common interpretation - but I don't see a lot of horror of femininity rolling out of what is a basic statement of fact.

MTL: "I was wondering what I should say to this dear little woman tonight when she meets me." Would a man who loathed women call one "dear," much less worry that much about her feelings, which he twice mentions? I think not. Holmes also mentions with approval Mrs. St. Clair's quick eye in finding details and her bravery in rushing into the opium den. And finally, when she directly challenges Holmes to tell her his opinion without sparing her feelings... he tries to spare them anyway. (Modern Sherlock, on the other hand, would have just blurted whatever was in his head.)

The line "I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner" can cut either way. If you read it as Holmes saying it seriously, then it's another blow to the misogyny theory. But it's also possible to read it as him trying to humor a woman who has put a lot of weight onto the newly-delivered letter.

Nothing is particularly said either way in Blue Carbuncle.

Oddly Poetic Holmes: They're all in Carbuncle this week:
- "Has [the goose] returned to life and flapped off through the kitchen window?"
- "They are the devil's pet baits... every facet may stand for a bloody deed."
- "It laid an egg after it was dead."

New category: Useful Watson. Because he's starting to get his druthers as a true colleague of Holmes':
5OP: Watson (presumably because of his taste in seafaring tales) recognized that all the orange pips came from someone travelling by boat

MTL - Holmes laying out the facts saying "maybe you may see a spark where all is dark to me."
- Watson pointing out that the body would not be wearing a coat alone

BC: Admittedly, here's a blow on the other side: Watson is the butt of the standard "you know my methods" and "You fail... to reason from what you see" lines.

Next up: March 26: The Speckled Band (link to Stanford U version), The Engineer's Thumb, The Noble Bachelor
neadods: (Default)
The Red-Headed League )

A Case of Identity )

The Boscombe Valley Mystery )

I'm starting to notice that just like Terry Pratchett returns over and over to certain types of characters to make his plots move (look at how often the hero is some form of rationalist and the villain a psychotic homicidal maniac), Doyle is developing specific tropes. Complete lack of continuity is the most famous one (I love [ profile] mustangsally78's "Artie, you're not fussed with details" line), closely followed by the tantalizing hints of cases never described by Watson.

But look at how often these show up as well:

THE EXOTIC FOREIGN SETTING (at least by London standards):
- the American West
- deepest, darkest India
- Australian mining country
All of these places have the capacity for untold riches as well - either in the mines or in fabulous treasure lying around for people to steal.

- The Mormons in Study in Scarlet used first love and then violence to control Lucy and her father
- Murder and betrayal in several ways make the plot of Sign of the 4 move
- The King of Bohemia is not outright violent, but he's certainly doing his best to betray Irene, who claims that he Done Her Wrong in an unspecified manner
- The plotline of Case of Identity revolves around emotional blackmail and manipulation

- I'm counting the Mormons in Study in Scarlet as a cult; Doyle certainly did
- The Sign of the Four
- Black Jack of Ballarat and the criminals he rode with (Boscome Valley)

- The Sholtos in Sign of Four
- McCarthy in Boscome Valley

- The King of Bohemia
- John Clay (Red-Headed) demanding to be treated with deference even while he's led off in cuffs

What I'm not finding? A lot of evidence of Holmes' vaunted misogyny. So far he's been chivalrous in person to women, gives as much credence to their problems as to any man's, and outright complimented both Mary's (Sign of 4) and Irene's (Scandal in Bohemia) intelligence. He's said he doesn't trust women as a gender, true... but precisely how much trust does he give to men, either? On the other hand, for someone who supposedly loathes women, he's going to be willing more than once to be physically violent to anyone who mistreats them.

On the other hand, Holmes is being continually metaphorical and flippant, following up last book's line about flamingo-feather clouds with references to "off to violin land where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony (Red-Headed League), "If we could fly out of that window hand and hand, hover over this great city [extended metaphor for being a fly on the wall] It would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable (Case of Identity) and "moonshine is a brighter thing than fog." (Boscombe Valley)

Canon Holmes is not fanon Holmes, and hasn't been for a long while. On the other hand, kinky Sherlock fans may want to pay attention to how often that riding crop gets mentioned - Study in Scarlet, Red-Headed League, and Case of Identity (and counting).

And he's a hell of a casually violent man, our Holmes - having ordered Watson to bring his gun on cases in Sign of the Four, he's escalated to casual comments in Red-Headed League about "Watson, have no compunction about shooting them down." And that's not even counting the righteous beatdown he offers Windibank in Identity.

Next week: The Five Orange Pips, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Blue Carbuncle
neadods: (reading)
What made it doubly interesting is that my Dover Thrift copy of Sign of Four (So4) is bound with Study in Scarlet (SiS) so I could do some immediate comparison of the infamous continuity glitches:

"I was struck in the shoulder by a Jezail bullet" (SiS, p2)
"...sat nursing my wounded leg. I had had a Jezail bullet through it" (So4, p95)

"Sherlock Holmes: his limits. Knowledge of literature, nil. Knowledge of philosophy, nil... Knowledge of politics, feeble." (Sis, p10)
"He spoke on a quick succession of subjects - on miracle plays, on medieval pottery,... on the Buddhism of Ceylon... handling each subject as though he had made a special study of it." (So4, p150)
"Let me recommend this book... Reade's Martyrdom of Man." (So4, p103)
"Goethe is always pithy" (S04, p126)
([ profile] redpanda13 has pointed out that the limits list was made very early in Watson's acquaintance with Holmes, and Holmes may have been jerking him around.)

Or Watson could be that unobservant, considering the internal glitches )

Perhaps this is to be expected of someone who routinely gets flustered and says things like "I told her one moving anecdote as to how a musket looked into my tent... and how I fired a double-barrelled tiger cub at it" and "overheard me caution him against the great danger of taking more than two drops of castoroil, while I recommended strychnine in large doses."

Maybe he didn't get sent home from the army because he got shot, y'know?

On the other hand, Sherlock's not so bright either, not when he keeps mentioning the "many" cases of his that Watson has published -- all of one at this point, which Holmes claimed was too romantic ("much the same effect as if you worked a love-story... into the 5th proposition of Euclid") and then turned around and himself says stuff like this )

Sign introduces the infamous 7% solution, and I notice that my annotated copy was very anxious to sidetrack by pointing out that at the time cocaine was legal, and then wandering off into a discussion of how likely it would be to be injected and if Holmes was actually taking a reduced dose. Certainly the straighforward Watson seems to be willing to eat his own stomach lining out in an ulcer over "many months" resenting the drug habit until he gets his courage up through his own Watson's Little Helper ("the Beaune [burgundy] which I had taken with my lunch".)

We learn much about Watson; his nerves, his love life, and the reminder that he was a man of his time (read: dismissive and racist) )

So4 is also a little bit like that joke about Hamlet being nothing but cliches strung together - it's certainly a kickline of famous Holmesian moments )

And then there's the Holmes and Women issue. Watson's main issue in complaining of misogyny appears to be that Holmes "did not observe" if Mary was beautiful; in Holmes' defense, he's right that getting involved leads to biased judgment and that charm and looks have nothing to do with personal character. (Besides, Holmes is observant enough to realize that Watson's practically panting at first look at her, IMO.) Holmes insists throughout that it's not that he dislikes women, he dislikes "whatever is emotional [because it] is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things." He neither tries to split the newly formed couple apart (as Holmes does in the Ritchie movie) nor insults her. Instead, the supposed misogynist compliments Mary as "one of the most charming young ladies I ever met" and even higher, calls her "a decided genius."

Next Saturday is entirely devoted to the Team Wench Privateer Feast, our biggest fundraiser for the year. So I'll see the rest of the Saturday Sherlockians in two weeks, when we discuss The Red-headed League, A Case of Identity, & The Boscombe Valley Mystery.
neadods: (Default)
Gally Housecleaning Post aka, a note on costumes
Considering the number of costumers in my readership, I thought I'd mention in passing that there were lots of Amys, one Rose (in the pink and denim 50s outfit), several River Songs (inevitably in the brown tight pants/white shirt & vest and gun ensemble), a couple of Weeping Angels, and naturally tons of Doctors. I was a bit surprised that there were no Marthas in the halls; Liz 10 appears to be the current choice for cosplayers of color.

Saturday Sherlock
Just a note in passing that because I read all of Sign of the Four on the plane and next Saturday is the Team Wench Privateer Feast (for which I am a kitchen and ticket wench, so will be working all day), this Saturday I was going to comment on the whole dang thing. My copy is stuffed full with post-it notes (color coded for "look up," "comment on," and "continuity error") so I'm going to have lots to say.

Fic Rec:
I'm almost a week behind on even scanning Sherlock fic, but I don't want y'all to miss out a minute on the chance to read this delight: the AU called Family Affairs. In it, an 8-year-old John Watson was orphaned in a car accident that ruined his shoulder. A year later, he's being considered as a prospective adoptee by the Holmes family. But against the Home rules they haven't outright adopted John; he's on spec until they find out if he and Sherlock can get along... and Sherlock is not at all pleased with the idea of a new brother.

It's beyond adorable and yet not twee and absolutely in character, albeit scaled down to pint size. John is damaged in body and heart, but still steady, sensible, and a bit starstruck by Sherlock. Sherlock is in turns selfish, engaging, manipulative, kind, dismissive, and always, always observant and intelligent.

The author does note that s/he isn't a native speaker of English and every now and then you can tell - but very rarely. Don't let that put you off. This is so very worth the read.

Links to all parts in order under cut )
neadods: (Default)
To add a point of clarification on the previous poll (as I can't change the post now without mucking up the poll) the really easy way out - dump paper and get from library if you ever want to reread - isn't an option. I checked the availability in the county system along with the availability on ebooks.

While I'm not doing what I ought to be doing today, or at least not giving it full concentration thinking about books, I've had an idea about Saturday Sherlock. Or at least Hound of the Baskervilles when I/we get there... in May... not that I'm really jumping the gun here...

Anyway - although anyone playing the home game has been reading along at the clip of 3 chapters a week, I thought because it's a given everyone doing this has a computer and because the downloads are free, when we hit Hound we shift to reading directly from the Stanford U pdf edition. It's going to extend the reading time a bit, BUT I think it's totally worth it because SU's version is an exact duplicate of how it was originally printed - including all the cliffhangers.

I think it would be a ton of fun to read it exactly as it had been first presented, including not peeking ahead. (Bonus points in comments for people either reading for the first time or pretending to read for the first time and speculating.)

When we get there I'll mention it on [ profile] meta_holmes and [ profile] holmesian_news, because this would be a really cool group project, Y/Y?
neadods: (reading)
Slight change. I've been posting chapters and then reading, which is fine until you end up with a week so strange that you don't even get to Scandal in Bohemia until about 10 hours before you post the *next* Saturday Sherlock installment.

And adding to the fun, next Saturday I'll be at Gallifrey One and not have a moment to think about Holmes, quite likely. On the other hand, I'm going to have 15 hours in the air getting there and back.

So! Following the original rules, this is the discussion post for the first six chapters of Sign of the Four (two weeks at 3 chapters a week). Feel free to read and comment below; I will be keeping an eye on LJ at the con. (Although I won't have the usual "fandom's token morning person" advantage of a couple of quiet hours in the morning before the con gears up, not with the time change.)

However, I'm going to take the opportunity to probably read the entire book, or at least the first nine chapters. In other words, when I make the next new post, Saturday Sherlock won't be what I'm *about* to read, it'll be the three chapters/stories I have *just* read.

Read at your own speed as always, but if you want to make the shift with me, you know what I'll be up to. Also, the comments will include spoilers because I'll put in my reactions, not just a placeholder with the title.

In related news, there's a new readalong community (nothin' to do with my read-in-a-year program) at [ profile] blogging_holmes.
neadods: (reading)
At long last, the return to Our Heroes as we wrap up Study in Scarlet! What I find most interesting about this book is the rather hilarious description of Holmes as quiet and tidy, considering how he's going to be described later

Rather than read only a single chapter of Sign of the Four, which is next, I'm going to jump ahead chronologically to A Scandal in Bohemia. And I'm going to pimp Stanford University.

For a couple of years, S.U. had a reading project where they wanted to give people the feeling of what it was like to read classic serial publications as actual serials. So you could sign up and get Hard Times and some Sherlock Holmes delivered to you weekly in little newsprint booklets. (My life feeling as out of control then as now, I saved them all up to read later. *sigh*)

All of these booklets are up online as readable/downloadable .pdf files. I highly recommend them because I just flat out like the way they're presented - using the same typeface and illustrations as the original Strand Magazine, plus with neat little notes at the end explaining some things. (I particularly like that these are endnotes and not footnotes/annotations scattered throughout the text distracting you from the actual story.

A Scandal in Bohemia can be downloaded here.
neadods: (reading)
Lots of Mormons this week. Fortunately next week, we return to Dr. Watson.

(Also and unrelated - check [ profile] meta_holmes tonight for a post called "Mummy Issues." I've been thinking about it ever since the Baker St. Supper Club post about Mrs. Hudson, but won't be back online until evening.)
neadods: (reading)
In which we bid goodbye to part 1 and Sherlock Holmes and enter 5 chapters of Mormon!fail digression. Fortunately, we'll catch up with our heroes again in two weeks, in chapter 6 of part 2.

While I'm at it, this is the reading order I'm following, which is the publication order:


A Scandal in Bohemia, 1891
The Red-headed League, 1891
A Case of Identity, 1891
The Boscombe Valley Mystery, 1891
The Five Orange Pips, 1891
The Man with the Twisted Lip, 1891
The Blue Carbuncle, 1892
The Speckled Band, 1892
The Engineer's Thumb, 1892
The Noble Bachelor, 1892
The Beryl Coronet, 1892
The Copper Beeches, 1892

Silver Blaze, 1892
The Yellow Face, 1893
The Stock-Broker's Clerk, 1893
The "Gloria Scott", 1893
The Musgrave Ritual, 1893
The Reigate Puzzle, 1893
The Crooked Man, 1893
The Resident Patient, 1893
The Greek Interpreter, 1893
The Naval Treaty, 1893
The Final Problem, 1893


The Empty House, 1903
The Norwood Builder, 1903
The Dancing Men, 1903
The Solitary Cyclist, 1903
The Priory School, 1904
The Adventure of Black Peter, 1904
Charles Augustus Milverton, 1904
The Six Napoleons, 1904
The Three Students, 1904
The Golden Pince-Nez, 1904
The Missing Three-Quarter, 1904
The Abbey Grange, 1904
The Second Stain, 1904


The Cardboard Box, 1893
The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge, 1908
Ch I. The Singular Experience of Mr....
Ch II. The Tiger of San Pedro
The Bruce-Partington Plans, 1908
The Devil's Foot, 1910
The Red Circle, 1911
Lady Frances Carfax, 1911
The Dying Detective, 1913
His Last Bow, 1917

The Mazarin Stone, 1921
The Problem of Thor Bridge, 1922
The Creeping Man, 1923
The Sussex Vampire, 1924
The Three Garridebs, 1924
The Illustrious Client, 1924
The Blanched Soldier, 1926
The Retired Colourman, 1926
The Three Gables, 1926
The Lion's Mane, 1926
The Veiled Lodger, 1927
Shoscombe Old Place, 1927


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