Sherlock Holmes, the pipe-smoking, cocaine-taking detective whose adventures were faithfully recounted by his loyal companion Dr Watson, is undergoing something of a make-over. Just as the BBC reinvented him for a modern television audience, now Fringeworks will be reinventing him as a steampunk hero, bringing him to life in the first of an ongoing series of novels revisiting the original canon of Sherlock Holmes. Known as The Moriarty Paradigm, the series will be set in an alternate British Empire created by the genius of James Moriarty, time traveller.
The first Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, will be re-imagined as A Study in Steampunk by author David A. McIntee, better known as a master of the licenced franchise, having written novels in the worlds of Doctor Who, Star Trek and even Space 1999. It will be published later in 2013.
>We asked David what will makes the series different from the traditional gaslit mysteries we’ve previously been used to.
The steampunk elements, the focus on adventure, and… you know, actually that’s one that needs to be answered with an “it just is, trust us,” because so much of the specifics would be spoilers…
But, also, to be honest, the Holmes canon was always a prototype of that genre, not just an example of it – and it’s still Holmes, it’s about these characters and their skill-set, not about bobbies on the foggy beat as the gaslit mystery ended up becoming. So why should it be that?
>We’ve all seen and heard about Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. Doesn’t a mash-up novel, mixing original text with new material, not undermine the integrity of the original?
There’s certainly a danger of that if it’s done badly, but, if it’s done well, it can bring a lot of new interest, both in terms of making it more accessible or interesting to an audience from a different culture (and our 21st century culture is very different than that of, say, Victorian London), and of bringing in new readers who might then seek out the original.
People and cultures have always reinterpreted prior tales like this – every time a Shakespeare play or classic opera is re-set into a different era or country, that’s a mashup on some level.
Sometimes, though, it’s just fun, or – in this case, I think – it’s a natural outgrowth of the popularity of two distinct elements, which sort of make you wonder what would happen if you mixed them into a cocktail. Maybe it’s two similar elements, and maybe it’s two opposites, but it’s a natural thing to wonder how they’d mix.
It just has to be done very carefully.
>Will Study be the same detective story, or will there be a new mystery for Holmes and Watson to solve?
The original story will still be there in it, but there’ll be more to it – imagine it as the unedited version, before Watson cut it down for publication in The Strand. So… both. The same and new!
>Are you a fan of Holmes? Have you written for him before? How were you introduced?
Yeah, like, I suspect, most people my age I grew up on BBC2 always showing the Rathbone/Bruce series in the run-up to christmas, and totally loved them – in fact I still do, I’ll watch them whenever they turn up, usually on TCM these days.
Having been hooked by those, I went and read the original stories – must have been in my early teens, I guess – and then along came the Jeremy Brett series at about the same time, and that was fantastic too.
I have written Holmes and Watson before, actually – both in a still-to-be-finished radio play, and they make anonymous large cameos in Destination Zero, a book I wrote in the Final Destination franchise.
For more information about the book and its progress, you can follow it on facebook.
A Note to Editors: The first volume of Sherlock Holmes mash-ups, also called A Study in Steampunk, will be published as a series of ebooks throughout 2013, then released in print form as a compilation at the end of the year.
This entry was posted by Fringeworks in Fringeworks News
on Saturday, January 19th 2013 at 4:12 pm.
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