Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Brilliant Ignoramus: Sherlock Holmes and the Universe at Large

"Sherlock Holmes & The Science Fiction of Deduction."
By Ryan Britt.
Clarkesworld Magazine.
Online HERE.
The worlds of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction are closer than you might think:
One purported purpose of fiction seems to be an attempt to understand the human experience through stories. Science fiction has always been highly equipped to handle this problem by viewing culture and individuals through the lens of technology or fantastical concepts. Explaining life as we know it, or might one day live it, is certainly the task of all good science fiction. Similarly, the stories and enduring character of Sherlock Holmes provide a lens through which the human experience can be explained. Commenting on why Sherlock Holmes speaks to him specifically, Nicholas Meyer notes that, "They [the Doyle stories] constitute a sort of secular bible." For many, growing up with science fiction, the experience is similar. In an unreasonable world, the greatest science fiction can frequently comfort us, while at the same time forcing us to confront our greatest fears. And the ultimate impact of Sherlock Holmes is the same.
Arriving late in a century of breathtaking material advancement, Sherlock Holmes could be said to embody the late Victorians' idea of scientific progress:
Essentially, Holmes believes any mystery can be approached, and a solution deduced, scientifically, by gathering necessary data, and drawing conclusions based on logic and reason. In the Doyle stories, the science of deduction usually always works, and serves as the basic premise for every single Holmes adventure. Like a science fiction writer, Doyle seemed to start with the premise of "what if?" Instead of a detective who arrived at the answers through intuition or moxy, Doyle asserted a different premise with the Holmes stories — what if the detective discovers the answers scientifically? What kind of adventures might he have? Looked at from this semantic angle, the original canon of Sherlock Holmes almost passes for science fiction.
Follow the link to the full article.
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback HERE.
- Sherlock Holmes in Orbit is for sale HERE and The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is HERE.

Category: Detective fiction criticism (with a science fictional tangent)

No comments:

Post a Comment