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Review: Encounters of Sherlock Holmes/ Author: George Mann / Publisher: Titan / Release Date: Out Now 

Sherlock Holmes is regarded as timeless for many reasons. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective is an archetype; the clever man, separated from humanity by his intellect, but compelled to wade waist-deep into the darker side of human nature. Because the character is so recognisable, it means that writers have been recasting and re-imagining Holmes’ world for years, knowing that he will be recognisable regardless.

The Encounters of Sherlock Holmes takes full advantage of this; it’s an anthology that remixes and riffs on the original and casts the hero in a series of unlikely circumstances. For example, Nick Kyme’s tale Post Modern Prometheus is a charming little crossover that features iconic monsters from other Victorian era fiction, but remains entirely consistent as a Holmes story. It’s also nice to see a story by Kyme which is neither grim or dark, but still gritty and filled with action.

Other highlights include Eric Brown’s The Tragic Affair of the Martian Ambassador. Brown has a sharp talent for the unusual and slightly warped, and though Holmes/War of the Worlds crossovers are hardly new, Brown handles the concept in a neat and interesting way. It’s a firmly crafted tale based on a thoroughly entertaining premise, though I must confess I’m a sucker for any story with Martians in it. James Lovegrove presents a solid tale of deceit and mystery in his story, The Fallen Financier, though I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t one of Lovegrove’s Godpunk stories. Cavan Scott’s Demon Slasher of the Seven Sisters is a great example of what this collection is all about; a clever re-mix of familiar themes and ideas, presented in a fresh yet familiar way.

As Holmes is a Victorian hero, there’s plenty here to feed a lovers of all things steampunk, and all in all they are some fantastic mash-ups and homages to the original here. Fans of Holmes looking for a strong anthology that just happens to feature some of the most exciting upcoming genre fiction talent in the UK today should take a look. Mann has a compiled a great collection here, and it’s well worth your time.

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