Monday, 23 February 2015

Book Review: The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes

Are you depressed? Are you missing Sherlock Holmes? Are you pining for an adventure? MX has the perfect cure for you: The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes - a fantastic collection of Sherlockian art that will leave you in stitches!
 
Oh yes, it is that good. And very, very clever.
 
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Glenn Schatell in New York last month at the BSI Cocktail Reception. Glenn showed me his book - a compilation of Sherlock Holmes cartoons by his father, Mr Norman Schatell. Now, regular readers of the Baker Street Journal, the Sherlock Holmes Journal, the Serpentine Muse and several other Sherlockian publications would no doubt be already familiar with the works of Mr Schatell...but for those who are not, Glenn has painstakingly compiled this utterly delightful treat. I say "treat" because there is something in it for each and every Sherlockian/Holmesian - no matter your age, temperament or style of humour!
 
The cover itself is a fantastic prelude to the humour that runs through the book:
 
 
 
I have spent many hours in the last few weeks giggling in the back of a cab after long (and often tiresome) workdays over the Kindle version of "The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes", which I bought as soon as I was back in India. I am sure my sanity was questioned - but who cares, it was too good to resist! The hardcopy turned up a couple of days back - even better! Just look at these:
 


 
 
Humour aside, the cartoons are also diabolically clever. Many, many times I would look at one, smile and come back to it after a few more pages - only to reach for the canon to figure out a reference (Google, too, at times). And when I figured out some all by myself...ah, well - it's a matter of great pride, ain't it? There are very few things in life better than clever humour. Here's the proof:
 


 


Almost three hundred pages of sheer delight! What more could a Sherlockian possibly want? This is an absolute "must-have" book for all of us. Let's end with my favourite:
 
 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

BSI Weekend Day #1: ASH Wednesday

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I took plenty of them!
 
A bit of background before the goodies: ASH Wednesday is the informal dinner of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, and is held on the first Wednesday of each month and kicks off the BSI Weekend each year. BSI (Baker Street Irregulars) has its annual BSI Weekend (around Sherlock's birthday) - well, it's the most awesome birthday party ever, with people from all over the world and goes on for days.
 
This is my first time - both in New York as well as at the BSI Weekend. Obviously, I'm wide-eyed and open-mouthed most of the time - and so it occurred that I thought of taking pictures (despite lugging my big camera all the way to NY just for this purpose) only after a bellyful of chicken fingers, fries and sauvignon blanc.
 
A roomful of interesting Sherlockians - a truly colourful variety of people, ranging from veterans to newbies, with talks of Rathbone to Brett to Cumberbatch - I can think of no better way to have spent my first evening in New York. Even though I'd only met only about four people in the entire hall previously (and knew perhaps four more through emails) - it didn't end up with me sulking in a corner by myself (quite the norm at large gatherings for the socially-awkward me); the folks at ASH are incredibly friendly and make you feel so welcome!
 
Now, without further ado, here are the promised pictures:
 


 
That's David Stuart Davies (yup, the well-known British Sherlockian pastiche-writer - all the way from Yorkshire!) with his lovely wife - and being photo-bombed by Maria Fleishhack (yup, the Baker Street Babe herself!).
 

 
Evelyn Herzog and Susan Rice - the driving forces of ASH!
 

 
Ursula Moran (the best dinner conversationalist ever) and Christopher Zordan (the man behind the Gaslight Gala)
 
 
Catherine Cooke - all the way from London! Amazin' lady.
 




 
Lyndsay Faye (oh yes, the Baker Street Babe herself), Scott Monty (heard of I Hear of Sherlock? the very same) and Maria with her autographed mug - sent to her by Benedict Cumberbatch! Awesome, ain't it?
 

 
Al Gregory, BSI - a most charming gentleman!
 














 
Fun pictures at ASH Wednesday, 7 January 2015, New York - oh, right, the location: Annie Moore's (50 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017). Look, that's me in there, too!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Proceedings of the Pondicherry Lodge - all issues

The PDF download thing seems to be a great hit, so I'm putting all four issues so far up for download here. Good, hmm?

So, here we go - all issues of Proceedings of the Pondicherry Lodge released so far:

  1. Volume 1 Issue 1, Summer issue: 1 June 2013 - download
  2. Volume 1 Issue 2, Winter issue: 1 December 2013 - download
  3. Volume 2 Issue 1, Summer issue: 1 June 2014 - download
  4. Volume 2 Issue 2, Winter issue: 1 December 2014 - download
Hope that's made everyone happy! 

As always, feel free to circulate/share. It's free, after all! :)

The game is afoot!


Monday, 1 December 2014

Proceedings of the Pondicherry Lodge - 1 December 2014 (Vol 2 Iss 2)

And here we are with the fourth e-magazine - the winter issue of 2014!

Trying out some new stuff for easy download - so you can download it HERE.

As always, feel free to circulate, distribute etc - it's free, after all!

And here's the cover for you to see:


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Book Launch: The Hound of The Baskervilles

Petr Kopl, Master of Sherlockian Art, strikes again.

After the resounding success of the English translation of "A Scandal in Bohemia" from the original Czech, MX Publishing has taken up "The Hound of the Baskervilles" next. The Kickstarter Project, of course, was oversubscribed within days. Only a handful of copies remain, and with five days to go, if you haven't booked it yet, I'd suggest doing so right away! Pick up your book here.

Anyhow - about the book launch. On 22 November 2014, Steve (Emecz) has organised a book launch at the quaint Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street. Petr is flying down from the Czech Republic - so you can meet Petr in person and get him to sign your copy. Bundled signed copies are available, too - I am eyeing the bundle of four. It has two of Petr, and two of Luke (Benjamen Kuhns) - the entire MX graphic novel collection so far...and all signed! (And I can attest to the excellence of all four - yup, read them all!) Plus, Petr, Luke and Steve are lovely people to meet. You can also make a contribution to the Undershaw Preservation Trust and feel good about yourself! Generous as ever, Steve gives away raffle tickets as usual, and the prizes are amazing! Book your tickets here - before they are sold out!

Here's the cover - gorgeous, isn't it? And as one of the privileged few to have glimpsed the inside, I can confirm that the entire book is just as beautiful. If you follow MX Publishing, you would have seen some of the panels Steve has put up, and you would know exactly what I am talking about. And if you have already read Petr's "A Scandal in Bohemia", I don't need to say another word. Yes, here is a book you can judge by its cover!

Interesting bit of trivia - The Hound was actually the first Sherlock Holmes graphic novel created by Petr in Czech.
 
To sum up the book launch:
  • Book: Petr Kopl's The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Date: 22 November 2014 (Saturday)
  • Time: 1500 - 1700 hrs
  • Venue: Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes, 108 Baker Street, London
  • Tickets: Buy here
Hope to see you there!
 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Advance Review: A Scandal in Bohemia by Petr Kopl

Strange, eh? The book isn't even out yet. But I am one of the privileged few to see it (thank you, Steve Emecz and Petr Kopl), and I couldn't be happier. The funding of this comic book on Kickstarter has gathered well over thrice the amount aimed at. There's still time left, so it will probably cross four times the required amount. If you haven't booked your copy yet - do so right away here; I have a feeling all places stocking it would put up "sold out" boards within days of its release, and Steve will have to run to the press again to get the reprints out.

Anyhow - back to the matter at hand - the review. I have been wondering for a week now - what can I possibly say about this graphic novel that would do justice to the brilliance of its artwork, the cleverness of its adaptation and the sheer genius of the man behind it? The conclusion - anything I say will be inadequate. Anything anyone ever says will be inadequate - for there are no words in in the languages I know to measure or capture the "superlative" quotient of this book. I could start rattling off in alphabetical order - astounding, bedazzling, charming, delightful, elegant, fantastic, glamorous, humorous, impeccable, jolly, kaleidoscopic, lovely, magnificent, neat, outstanding, perspicacious, quick-witted, radiant, sophisticated, thoughtful, unique, vivid, witty, xtra-ordinary (well, I can't think of another with x), youthful and zany. No, it's not enough. It's not even close. You cannot measure the immeasurable. You can only revel in its glory. 

Surprisingly true to the canon (yes, true enough to satisfy even the most rigid of purists), the adaptation captures the spirit of every character so well, you would be drawn into the plot, whether you want to or not. Even if you know the canon by heart, you are in for a surprise - Petr seamlessly weaves two tales into this one (A Scandal in Bohemia and The Adventure of the Speckled Band) - with interesting results. Ingeniously placed cameos by well-known (and well-loved) literary characters as well as original Petr Kopl characters are a delight. Sherlock Holmes is a deadly combination of genius, sassy and adorable, Dr Watson is at his most virtuous and Irene Adler is drop-dead gorgeous (and smart).

I don't speak Czech, so I honestly can't say if anything has been lost in translation. From what I can see, the translators have done an amazing job - the dialogues are witty and amusing, and remarkably true to the canon. When I read the Czech version months ago, it was thanks to Google Translate - a bit tedious, but all right to get the gist - obviously, I missed the clever quips that the English version has now captured. I am very, very impressed. In any case, offers of translations in other languages have started flowing in (and this, before the book is out - can you imagine what it's going to be like when it is actually out?) - so if you speak neither Czech nor English, do not fret. Go ahead and take a look...and then ask Steve if your language is on his list yet.

You can't afford to miss this. Still need more reason? Here are a few:

  • To the Sherlockians out there, I say - this is the most gorgeous and intelligent adaptation of "A Scandal in Bohemia" I have ever seen. If Sir Arthur could see it, he would be overwhelmed. This is a must-have for the collection of every Sherlockian in the world. 

  • To the comic-lovers out there, I say - the artwork is immaculate. Rarely would come across such a talented artist. Every panel, every stroke is perfect. You will not be able to take your eyes off, I can guarantee.

  • To those fond of English literature, I say - the quirky and delightfully twisted literary references will leave you breathless. The more you read, the more you shall spot, and the cleverer you shall feel. 

  • To the brainiacs, puzzle-lovers and armchair-detectives out there, I say - think yourself smart? Think again...unless you have been able to pick up every single clue Petr has surreptitiously hidden away in plain sight. 

In the end, at the risk of sounding like a teenage-boy-band, I'll say no matter who you are, what you do or where you're from, "A Scandal in Bohemia" will leave you stunned, impressed and hungering for the next book. I am rubbing my hands in anticipation...are you?

And last, but not the least, I have to thank Ales Kolodrubec, the President of Česká společnost Sherlocka Holmese (the Czech Sherlock Holmes Society), for giving me the opportunity to take a look at Petr's work. Ales, you are a true Sherlockian!

And here's the cover of the book: