Not long ago my brother texted me to say, “Took a break from reading yesterday to watch several episodes of The Twilight Zone before I realized we’re living in one.”
I know what he means. Even though I’m retired and no social butterfly, I’m finding life under a state “stay at home” order just plain weird. So, now is the perfect time to read stories with a weird take on Sherlock Holmes. I have some suggestions.
I’ve long enjoyed Shadows Over Baker Street, edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan. This collection of stories by various authors Holmes into “the nightmare world of H.P. Lovecraft.” Neil Gaiman’s Hugo-awarding winning “A Study in Emerald” made its debut here. You can’t get any better than that. Just thinking about Gaiman’s Queen Victoria makes me shiver.
But J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec have staked out a special claim in this field with their four Gaslight anthologies: Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes, Gaslight Grotesque: Nightmare Tales of Sherlock, Gaslight Arcanium: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes, and Gaslight Gothic: Strange Tales of Sherlock Holmes.
The most recent addition of these to my library is the first in the series, Gaslight Grimoire. It’s a fine anthology with a great variety of alternative realities. I especially liked Barbara Hambly’s hauntingly written Peter Pan story, “The Lost Boy,” and Bob Madison’s highly original take on the Holmes-Dracula trope, “Red Sunset.” Fans of Kim Newman’s Colonel Moran will enjoy his “The Red-Planet League.”
In the surreal world of April 2020, none of this seems not quite as unbelievable as it did a few months back. What are you reading to keep you sane?