Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Back to Baker Street

Forget the purists, Calgary publisher keeps Sherlock Holmes evolving

Charles Prepolec did not want to add to the perception that Sherlock Holmes fans, or Sherlockians as they call themselves, are rigid and overly protective of their territory when it comes to interpretations of the famous detective.

But the Calgarian admits he has found it necessary to enforce at least one rule when gathering short stories for collections that mix Arthur Conan Doyle's famous Baker Street investigator with horror scenarios: Do not bring a certain serial killer into the mix.

"No Jack the Ripper stories," says Prepolec, one of the editors of Gaslight Grotesque: Nightmare Tales of Sherlock Holmes (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 336 pages,$16.95) "We see him in short stories so often, and novels. No Ripper stories."

After all, having Holmes face the historical slasher isn't exactly a new idea. With an encyclopedic knowledge of all-things Sherlockian, Prepolec and co-editor J.R. Campbell can rhyme off the more notable attempts to bring the two Victorian icons together. The 1979 film, Murder by Decree with Christopher Plummer and 1965's A Study in Terror with John Neville were among the high-profile trips to that particular well.

So if you want to get your story into one of the collections, you will need to find Mr. Holmes a more original opponent.

"There are some things you have to avoid," says Campbell, who also contributed two stories to the book. "Your stories still have to be exciting. There's a lot of pastiche that tends to be more style over storytelling. You have to avoid that. There's a lot of stories that bring in a historical person. Which is fine . . . if they have a place."

With the Christmas Day release of Sherlock Holmes, a high-octane blockbuster featuring smirking Yank Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role, it could be argued that this latest release of short stories is perfectly timed to cash in on what could be a full-blown resurgence.

But Prepolec and Campbell are hardly bandwagon jumpers. Gaslight Grotesque is the fourth book that has been put together featuring creepy Holmes tales and the second to be published by Calgary-based genre kings Edge Publishing. They are working on a fifth. Both are members of Calgary's Singular Society of the Baker Street Dozen, a group that has been getting together in one form or another since 1987 to discuss the constant evolution of Doyle's character in the pop-culture consciousness.

And both have fairly high standards when it comes to what they'll accept as additions to the Holmes legend. The 13 tales come from a wide variety of authors who hail from Canada, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia. The book has gotten some high-profile shout-outs from Canuck sci-fi king Robert J. Sawyer and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.... (click to read the full article at the Calgary Herald)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Sherlockian reviewer, and compiler of the pastiche database, Philip K. Jones has provided the following review of GASLIGHT GROTESQUE: NIGHTMARE TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES to the editors and has also posted it to Amazon.Com.

"This is a collection of Sherlockian tales in which, to quote Leslie S. Klinger's Forward, "...the pillar of Victorian reason and intellect, Sherlock Holmes, would be called upon to confront the forces of darkness in every form." Make no mistake. This is a collection of horror stories, not the usual Sherlockian investigations of human crime. In this book, Holmes and Watson deal with monsters, not twisted humans, but horrors out of myth and nightmare

In the opening tale, "Hounded," by Stephen Volk, Watson attends a seance. What he finds there is what he had hoped to escape, his own memories of The Hound. Once confronted, they lead him to his only escape. "The Death Lantern,"by Lawrence C. Connolly, tells of a magician who filmed himself practicing one of his illusions, catching an explosive bullet in his teeth. The early silent movie is destroyed after Holmes, Watson and Lestrade witness the death(?) of the magician. William Meikle's "The Quality of Mercy" is a story of an old Army friend of Watson's yearning for a dead sweetheart. The form that desire takes is gruesome to say the least.

"Emily's Kiss," by James A. Moore, is one of the most horrifying tales in my opinion. The events are described but the cause and explanation are never stated explicitly, leaving the imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks, over and over and over again. "The Tragic Case of the Child Prodigy," by William Patrick Maynard, has an Aleister Crowley surrogate, disguised as one "Christopher Frawley," preying on an ambitious `stage mother' to control the income generated by a young violinist. "The Last Windigo," by Hayden Trenholm, has Holmes an Watson sent to Canada by Mycroft on The Queen's Business. While waiting for the situation to develop, they stumble on a land theft scheme that is being contested by the local natives. Resolving that dispute requires more than logic and diplomacy.

In "Celeste," by Neil Jackson, Holmes and Watson work, at the request of The Prince of Wales, to put a final end to the recurring nightmare of a ghost ship. "The Best Laid Plans," by Robert Lauderdale, presents an alternative view of events in "The Final Problem," as seen through the eyes of Inspector Lestrade. The view is neither pretty nor simple. "Exalted Are the Forces of Darkness," by Leigh Blackmore introduces Aleister Crowley, this time as an ally of Holmes in dealing with a conjured Demon attacking members of The Golden Dawn. "The Affair of the Heart," by Mark Morris, introduces Holmes to a sort of time travel, which engulfs him and Watson in a trap of double jeopardy. "The Hand-Delivered Letter," by Simon Kurt Unsworth, brings back Moriarty, in a truly stunning and terrifying revenge. "On the Origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles," by Barbera Roden, fills in the untold bits of HOUN deftly and seamlessly and horribly. J. R. Campbell's "Mr. Other's Children" finishes the book on a note of true terror. It's villain escapes and leaves the world at risk.

Sherlockians are not as likely to recognise many of the authors, other than Barbera Roden and J. R. Campbell, since most have worked in the horror genre rather than in detective tales up to this time. That takes nothing away from their abilities and the errors for purists are mostly confined to the villains and `ghosties' introduced, rather than to Canonical problems. In addition, most are not Americans, so the `slanguage' problems are not nearly so much in evidence as in most recent anthologies."


GASLIGHT GROTESQUE: NIGHTMARE TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES has now been released. For anyone in the Calgary area, the editors J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, will be signing at a local Chapters store on Saturday, November 28th, 2009. Come on by and pick up a copy or just say hello!

17:00 - 21:00
Chapters - Spectrum (Sunridge)
#500 - 2555 32nd St NE
 Calgary, AB, Canada

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Our follow-up volume to GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE: FANTASTIC TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES is rapidly coming together for a release in November 2009.


Between the shadowy realms of fear and the unforgiving glare of science lies a battleground of unspeakable horror. In vile alleyways with blood-slick cobblestones, impenetrable fog, and the wan glow of gaslight, lurk the inhuman denizens of nightmare.


Faced with his worst fears, Sherlock Holmes has his faith in the science of observation and deduction shaken to the core in all-new tales of terror from today’s modern masters of the macabre!

Edited by J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec

Foreword: Tales of Terror & Mystery
by Leslie S. Klinger
Introduction by Charles V. Prepolec

by Stephen Volk
The Death Lantern by Lawrence C. Connolly
The Quality of Mercy by William Meikle
Emily's Kiss by James A. Moore
The Tragic Case of the Child Prodigy by William Patrick Maynard
The Last Windigo by Hayden Trenholm
Celeste by Neil Jackson
The Best Laid Plans by Robert Lauderdale
Exalted Are the Forces of Darkness by Leigh Blackmore
The Affair of the Heart by Mark Morris
The Hand Delivered Letter by Simon K. Unsworth
Of the Origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles by Barbara Roden
Mr. Other's Children by J.R. Campbell

Available November 2009 from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE Reviewed at Dust & Corruption

GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE: FANTASTIC TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES was reviewed on the Dust & Corruption blog. To read the review click here to visit the Dust & Corruption blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gaslight Grimoire Reviewed - The Passenger's Log: January 6, 2009 Summer Issue

The Passenger's Log: January 6, 2009 Summer Issue
Gaslight Grimoire
Edited by J.R. Campbell & Charles Prepolec
Reviewed by Rosane McNamara

Gaslight Grimoire is a terrific read. At this point, several of my fellow Passengers have probably just fainted as I am known for my dislike of , not all, but most pastiches - not because I can only be satisfied by “the real thing” but because I have so often been disappointed by pallid, sometimes inept, imitators who think it sufficient to dress up a quasi-canonical plot line with a few typical situations (Holmes ticking Watson off for being a lousy writer) and some Victorian sounding dialogue.

This book is different however as all involved are so deeply imbued with the world of Sherlock Holmes that the stories flow naturally and convincingly. Instead of attempting to slavishly reproduce canonical look-alikes, these authors use the original as a point of departure to have fun with the Holmesian milleur and, so assured is their grasp of the original, that the result is witty, imaginative and very entertaining. Moreover, each of the authors writes confidently in the style of Doyle’s era, without self-conscious imitation or jarring anachronisms.

Although the eleven adventures have a common theme - Holmes encountering the world of the supernatural - the range of stories is amazingly varied and inventive: e.g Barbara Hambly sets Holmes the problem of finding the missing Darling children of Peter Pan; Martin Powell plants Holmes in The Lost World searching for Professor Challenger; Kim Newman uncovers a very funny “reminiscence” by Colonel Sebastian Moran; Barbara Roden matches Holmes against a rival detective more in touch with things that go bump in the night; and Bob Madison brings Holmes and Philip Marlowe together in a clever stylistic combo that produces some hysterical verbal exchanges. The contributions of Sydney Passengers Chris Sequeira and Peter Calamai are outstanding, Peter intriguing us with the “real” solution to the murder of John Openshaw (‘Five Orange Pips’) and Chris presenting a chilling exposé of the “real” Sherlock Holmes.

To add to the enjoyment, each story is illustrated by the one and only Philip Cornell. Everyone involved with this book is to be congratulated on taking us so amusingly back into the world of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
ISBN-10: 1894063171; Paperback: 304 pages
US$11.53 + postage from Amazon.com

Note: Reprinted with the kind permission of Rosane McNamara

Visit the website of The Sydney Passengers at http://www.sherlock.on.net/

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gaslight Grimoire Nominated for Prix Aurora Award

We are pleased to note that GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE: FANTASTIC TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES has been nominated for a Prix Aurora Award in the category of Best Work in English (Other). The Aurora Awards recognize Canadian science fiction and fantasy artwork, writing, and fan activities. The full list of nominees is available here. The Aurora Awards will be presented at Anticipation, The 67th World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal from August 6th - 10th, 2009. Voting is open to all Canadians until July 15, 2009 at the Aurora Awards site. Click here now to cast your ballot.

The editors would like to thank all our readers who nominated GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gaslight Grimoire Reviewed - SF Site

GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE: FANTASTIC TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES has been reviewed by Mario Guslandi as a featured review on SF Site


"By far the best contributions come from Barbara Roden, Bob Madison and editor J.R. Campbell.

In Roden's "The Things That Shall Come Upon Them," Holmes finds himself unexpectedly teaming with occult investigator Flaxmen Low to unravel the mystery of some strange disturbances taking place in a country mansion. Entertaining and elegantly written, the story would have pleased Conan Doyle Himself.

Madison provides "Red Sunset," where an ultracentenarian Holmes, now living in USA helps a hardboiled PI to defeat the invasion of bunch of vampires imported from Romania. An extremely amusing piece, crafted with skill and a touch of humour.

Campbell's story is an excellent, well balanced mix between a typical Holmesian case and an effective horror story featuring a series of related murders and a girl torn between two worlds."

Read the full review by clicking here.

Full Link:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gaslight Grimoire Reviewed - The National Post

GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE: FANTASTIC TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES was reviewed in Canada's The National Post on January 31, 2009.


"...all of them will leave you wanting more of the detective who just won't die. Hm, perhaps an anthology of Sherlock Holmes zombie stories is next?" Buy it."

Read the full review by clicking here.

Full Link:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE Reviewed in CM Magazine

GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE has been reviewed by Ronald Hore in the January 9, 2009 edition of CM Magazine and was rated ***½ /4 stars. Click here to read the review.

Full link: http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/vol15/no10/gaslightgrimoire.html