Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 9 - February 15, 2013)

Doyleockian, like the soothsayer Calchas of old, comments on emerging points of conflict developing in the Sherlockian world and the potential for all out civil war between various camps. First referencing the now infamous Philip Shreffler editorial (“Elite Devotee Redux”) published in January, Mr Duncan quickly moves on to some of the biggest Sherlockian legal news to appear in some time: “Now we have what appears to be a declaration of war by respected Sherlockian Leslie Klinger against the Conan Doyle Estate (see Free Sherlock). I make no comment on the rights and wrongs of this or the positions of the parties involved. That is clearly now a legal issue.” Duncan does comment on some of the potential (negative) implications for getting carried away by said skirmishes: “ How many bodies and long-term dislikes are going to exist when the dust finally settles? I am also growing increasingly concerned at the kind of “let’s get ‘em” attitude being displayed by those who agree with Klinger. There appears to be an almost Star Wars element to this. The plucky rebels going against the evil empire which I feel confident is far from the truth. I hope the game turns out to be worth the candle.” A sobering critique… UPDATE: Lyndsay Faye posted a reaction piece wherein she makes three clarifications/interpretations in regard to Mr Duncan’s post: “1) The notion that the lawsuit, a matter dealing with America’s abstruse copyright law, is declaring a “war” with previously amicable parties is simply factually untrue; 2) the David vs Goliath characterization “rings false to the insider” ; and 3) in case the “war,” as you describe it, seems frivolous or emotionally driven, may I add that under American copyright law, “fair use” cannot be determined until legal action has already been taken against you.” I highly recommend reading both Mr Duncan's piece as well as Ms Faye's reaction piece in order to get a robust and nuanced perspective on the issues involved.

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[A portent of dark times ahead for Sherlockian culture?]

Baker Street Blog is where I originally found out about the pending Klinger v. ACD Estate legal wrangle. Most of the legal documents/statements can be found in this post, but the Baker Street Blog clearly accepts the David and Goliath narrative (“Don’t Imagine That You Can Bully Me” is the title of the post) and has thrown it’s support behind Camp Klinger. Going beyond just the legal documents, references are made to abuses and intimidation perpetuated by the ACD Estate and directed towards various Sherlockian authors, directors, publishers, producers, etc. - and it’s these abuses which sparked Klinger’s civil action in the first place.

Free Sherlock! mouthpiece for Camp Klinger is a new blog dedicated to the fight against keeping Holmes and friends behind the copyright wall. ”The characters of Holmes, Watson, and others are fully established in those fifty ‘public-domain’ stories. Under U.S. law, this should mean that anyone is free to create new stories about Holmes and Watson.” I’m looking forward to future posts and maybe even a t-shirt inscribed with “Free Sherlock!” 

New York Times Arts Beat is perhaps one of the most high profile pieces to appear reporting on the Klinger v ACD Estate case, though subsequently hundreds of articles and posts have been published with no end in site. (A Google search for “Klinger Doyle Estate civil suit” currently brings up 58,500 hits.)

Boing Boing, if you’re looking for a non-Sherlockian site that is sure to not only keep up with this case but report on it expertly, posted their first of what I’m sure will be many articles detailing in the specifics of the case all within the larger context of ‘Copy Fight Culture’, BoingBoing’s cause célèbre

Bloomberg ”Kirsch and Scott Gilbert of Chicago’s Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP are seeking to have the federal court in Chicago declare that most of Doyle’s books and stories involving his most famous creation — Sherlock Holmes — are no longer protected by copyright law….The complaint alleges that while Random House agreed to a licensing agreement with the agent of the Conan Doyle estate, Pegasus Books hasn’t spurring Klinger to file suit to clarify the copyright question.” Interestingly, “Benjamin Allison, an attorney with Sutin Thayer & Browne APC in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represents the Conan Doyle Estate. Allison didn’t respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment.” This particular article from the Bloomberg wire is the most succinct and informative piece to date to cover: Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd, 1:13- cv-01226, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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[Someone call a séance and get ACD’s opinion ASAP!]

This Week’s Non-Civil War Sherlockian Links:

Laurie R King announced a new ebook release which features “eight essays on Holmes, from “A Holmes Chronology” to “Watson’s War Wound” that date from 1996 to 2012” available on Amazon as Laurie R King’s Sherlock Holmes- and priced at only 2.99 for your Kindle!

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[Cover for LRK’s Sherlock Holmes 64 page eBook available on Amazon for the Kindle.]

Listverse in”10 Common Misconceptions About Sherlock Holmes” enumerates “ten things most people think about Sherlock Holmes, that are completely wrong” such as “Holmes dresses in an eccentric manner and is often dirty or unkempt” or “Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes are middle-aged gentlemen”. A well conceived, fascinating read. (Also: “His popularity is so great that there is an entire society devoted to Sherlock Holmes fan fiction and sometimes to pretending he is real, called the Baker Street Irregulars.” Heh!)

Kickstarter is hosting a project titled Sir Boast-A-Lot: A Fanbook - “An artbook by 15 Sherlockian artists, lavishly illustrating the tale of Sir Boast-a-Lot” which, for fans of BBC Sherlock, is Moriarty’s little cab ride video presentation Sherlock is forced to watch in The Reichenbach Fall.

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[Over the past few months a group of talented 15 artists have come together to create an illustrated paperback book of The Story of Sir Boast-a-lot from BBC’s Sherlock. Click the above image for a short trailer.]

Harvard Magazine ran a piece “Seeing & Observing” inspired by Maria Konnikova's (Class of '05) Mastermind. From the author: “When I was little, my dad used to read us Sherlock Holmes stories before bed…What I couldn’t understand then was that Holmes…had been honing a method of mindful interaction with the world. The Baker Street steps? Just a way of showing off a skill that now came so naturally to him that it didn’t require the least bit of thought.”

Unreality Primetime announced that on the ITV period drama, Mr Selfridge “legendary author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pays the Selfridges a visit for the Sherlock Holmes book signing, which pleases Harry who greets him with huge grandeur. After enjoying a very pleasant lunch with Sir Arthur and an American companion of his, Rex Crennell, a spiritual medium and Rose, Harry is subjected to a conversation of the spiritual kind when the subject turns to his near-death experience, with Rex offering to hold a séance for the staff.” I’ve never seen (or heard of) the show Mr Selfridge (“Centers on the real-life story of the flamboyant and visionary American founder of Selfridge’s, London’s department store.”) but now I very much want to give it a look, especially the seventh episode as described above. 

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[The cast of ITV’s period drama Mr Selfridge.]

MX Publishing announced the imminent release of The Art of Deduction: A Sherlock Holmes Collection edited by Hannah Rogers: “A collection of art, poetry and writing from fans of the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Doctor Watson. From the deadly Moriarty to domestic life of Holmes and Watson, the Art of Deduction showcases some of the greatest talent from arguably the oldest fan base in the world. Raising awareness for the Save Undershaw campaign and royalties to Help For Heroes.” Here’s an excellent example of what’s to be found inside: 

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[“The Art of Deduction - A Sherlock Holmes Collection, contains more than 50 brilliant examples of fan art (like this one) and loads of stories, writings and poems. The book was created by blogger and huge BBC Sherlock fan Hannah Rogers and is coming out in the USA (click here) and UK (currently the #1 Sherlock Holmes book in the UK click here) - and soon worldwide…”]

Quick Sherlock Links:

Baker Street Babes in Episode 37: The Detective, The Woman, & The Winking Tree interview fellow Babe Amy Thomas and her sequel to The Detective & The Woman, “this time with a Winking Tree! Learn about her writing process, the dangers of plot bunnies, plus a few announcements of a 221b Con and essay collection nature.

Markings in “”Some Deep Organizing Power” - Professor Moriarty and Doyle’s Imagination”” in considering “Conan Doyle’s creation of Moriarty in “The Final Problem" I have been thinking of the inherent importance of imagination in building a memory palace. The method of creating dramatic, even bizarre images in the mind’s eye reminded me of Holmes’s repeated reference to the importance of imagination."

Dan Andriacco, within the context of deciding which Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout (a Sherlockian famous for his “Watson Was a Woman" essay read at an early BSI dinner) he should read next discusses the so-called "Great O-E Theory" or the theory of how the name "Nero Wolfe" is related to the name "Sherlock Holmes" in regards to letter and vowel arrangements; I straongly suggest reading Andriacco’s complete article for Fred Dannay’s (of Ellery Queen) explanation, as laid out in the book In the Queen’s Parlor

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[Rex Stout, creator of Nero Wolfe, c. 1931 - ten years before the first reading of “Watson Was a Woman”.]

The Swedish Pathological Society whimsically speculates on what it looks like when Sherlock Holmes decides to have a Valentine date - i.e. meeting Colonel Valentine Walter in “The Bruce-Partington Plans”:

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[Col Walter in BRUC.] 

More Man Than Philosopher, speaking of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, has been reviewing from time to time various episodes from the 2002 adaptation of Nero Wolfe - Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin and Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe. This week he reviews Season 2, Episode 5’s Murder is Corny, where we find Archie under suspicion of murder for killing a man delivering corn (hence the title).

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[Cover for the DVD release of Nero Wolfe.] 

What, Ho! posted a “compendium of Sherlockian papers. There were loose sheets flying randomly all over the place for too long. If you wish to know the sources for some of them, just /ask.” 

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[Part of the Holmesiaca Compendium - click for entire list.]

Tabstr suggested ”9 versions of Holmes and Watson you may not have been aware” such as They Might Be Giants (1971), Sherlock Holmes Returns (1993), Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999) and Veggie Tales: Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler (2006).

FireDogLake posted this segment from The Muppet Players - Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Disappearing Clues, from episode 103 of The Muppet Show.

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[Screenshot from The Muppet Show: Sherlock Holmes & The Case Of The Disappearing Clues.]

Teat at 221B dug up this great photo of George C. Scott as Sherlock Holmes in They Might Be Giants (1971):

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[Click for a much larger version of George C. Scott as the Don Quixote-inspired Great Detective.]

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