The View from Sherlock Peoria (124)
October 17, 2004
Sherlock Peoria Area 51
In these weekly blogs here at Sherlock Peoria, I always try to give some sense of what's happening Holmes-wise here each week. Sometimes it's an actual occurrence, sometimes it's just something that happens to be on my mind that week. But in the background, there are alway a Sherlockian thing or two that goes unreported. In fact, one area of my Holmes-work absolutely never gets touched on.
It's the Area 51 of Sherlock Peoria. For those of you unfamiliar with UFOs, conspiracy theory, or other X-files, type stuff, Area 51 is/was the government's secret Groom Lake facility some miles north of Las Vegas. It's where the stuff was kept that we weren't supposed to find out about. The advanced technologies. The alien life forms. The things for which the world is not yet prepared.
But there are things for which the world is not yet prepared, and then there are those things that are not yet prepared for the world. I would wager that Sherlock Peoria's own Area 51 contains more of the latter. The experiments. The raw creations. The long-term studies, waiting for final fruition.
But let me end the mysteriousness . . . most of these things are books-in-the-offing. Novels of the past or present. Longer Sherlockian studies. There are the other projects, sure, but the books, they seem to alway get the most attention. Especially when the weather starts turning cooler like it is now, and the demands on my time from the outdoors are lessening.
I feel a bit like Dr. Frankenstein when it comes to talking about them -- Dr. Frankenstein before he created the monster. The lunatic who was going around telling people he could create life from dead tissue. Before you get to be a mad genius, you tend to just look mad. Before the villagers come after you with torches, they just laugh and point. (Sure, the torch part isn't fun, but at least you know they're taking you seriously.)
But since you're here and you've read this far, I'll tell you a little bit about what I'm attempting to work on, or at least what I'd like it to be before my hunchback slips in a bad brain. One is a Sherlockian murder mystery, as I've always been a great admirer of mysteries with actual modern Sherlockians as detectives. That's modern as in post-2000 . . . no classic Irregulars, as I'd hate to tread on Philip Shreffler's turf. There really haven't been any lately. Of course, it's not really the way they used to be. The main character is a Sherlockian who has left the faith, yet retains at least one close friend in it. I've always liked detectives who find the role forced upon them, and this one finds the whole Sherlockian world forced upon him. Of course, there's more to it than that, but I've got to save something to spring on a potential publisher. This one's about a quarter done.
Another resident of this local Area 51 is the much-dreaded "Sherlock Holmes come to Peoria" novel. And trust me, there's much more to dread about this novel than just a deus ex machina relocation of Holmes. Dr. Watson dies in the first chapter. Or is it the second? I forget, but it sure is shocking, isn't it? I really love this novel-in-the works, as it has the potential to violate every one of every pastiche-haters list of rules. I've got a U.S. president in it, for heaven's sakes! Boy, it has to stink, doesn't it? But for some reason, I really love the story that drags out all this rubbish, and I hope to get through it one day, just for the sheer nerve of it. This one's about a third done.
But then there's classic Sherlockian writing to think of. If I abuse Watson too much in that previous work, I'm hoping to make it up to him in a work of Sherlockian study done specifically about him. Okay, I'm not going to make it up to Watson, I'm probably going to beat on him some more. We always hurt the ones we love right? Well, maybe in Victorian times. I'd hope we're nicer now, presidential elections withstanding.
Well, I suppose it's time to stop blogging for the weekend and get to one of those poor neglected residents of the literary netherworld. Or maybe those other experiments, for which the world is really not prepared . . .
Your humble correspondent,