Friday, August 28, 2015

"I Am an Old Man Who Has Retained the Use of His Brains"

"But Our Hero Was Not Dead."
By Manly Wade Wellman (1903-86).
Short short short story (4 pages).
Found in Argosy Weekly, August 9, 1941.
Online HERE (text somewhat faded).
"In England now there is an old and very famous gentleman who has never lived and will never die. This story is a moment of his greatness . . ."
In the gray early dawn a man with sinister plans encounters three very familiar people who, if only they knew, would never let him carry them out:
. . . "You're a devil!" he raged at his discoverer.
 The blue eyes twinkled. "Not at all. I am an old man who has retained the use of his brains, even after long and restful idleness." . . .
- Manly Wade Wellman is fondly remembered for his high-quality, multi-award-winning fantasy stories (Wikipedia article HERE); going further afield Wellman incorporated Sherlock Holmes into some of his fiction: "His 1975 novel Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds was collected from a series of Sherlock Holmes pastiche stories co-written with his son Wade Wellman and originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction." About those pastiches Wikipedia says:
The story consists of the tales of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Professor Challenger in London during the Martian invasion. The underlying philosophy of the book is very different to, indeed contradictory to, the original Wells story in which the idea is repeatedly expressed of humans being completely helpless before the Martian invaders, as are other creatures before humans. Conversely, in the Wellmans' book Holmes, Watson, and Challenger continually confront and outwit the Martians, undeterred by the invaders' technological superiority. The story features a romantic relationship between Holmes and his landlady Mrs. Hudson, of which Watson is oblivious.

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