Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

All Your Holmes Belong To Us

January 13, 2014

Well, most of them, anyway. This popped up a few days ago and I never got a chance to say anything about it, so I’m saying something now. A judge recently declared that a big chunk of Conan Doyle’s work is, in fact, part of public domain. Though, not all of it. There were ten stories published after 1922 and those are still verboten to anyone out there who wants to write about Sherlock, who wants to pump out some fiction of their own. Now, I think this is the stuff that you can’t use. If there is something mentioned in them, and only in them, you can’t use it for your own stuff. Though it’s probably easier to just consult this list of things that you can use.

So, why do I make a post about this? Have I written some kick ass Holmesian story that I can now flog to every mystery mag I can find? No, not really. It’s more that I just hate copyright law in the US. I hate that Mickey Mouse still can’t be touched by anyone. It’s bullshit. This stuff is put out there, and part of a healthy artistic society is re-appropriating stuff that is old and putting a new spin on it. Making it breath again. When was the last time Disney did anything with Mickey Mouse that was worth the five minutes it took to look at it and realize it wasn’t worth your time?  Maybe Epic Mickey, but I don’t think so. It was sort of fun, but also sloppy and with some serious control/camera issues. So, not even Epic Mickey. Has Mickey even done anything in the past twenty years? Has he had a movie? I can’t think of anything big and Mickey. So why does Disney cling so desperately to it just to put college kids into those god awful foam suits every summer and threaten to kill’em should they rip off their mouse heads within view of the public?

At least Holmes has the movies lately. The television shows. And they do something different with it. I’m not a fan of the two modernized television shows, but it’s something different.

Anyway. So, this is sort of big news. what I find most interesting about this whole sordid affair is that while his estate has zealously protected copyright, Doyle didn’t seem to be nearly as fervent about it in his life time. A ton of Holmes stuff was done in his lifetime, from movies to stage plays. Maybe letting it drift into the public domain, and allowing the public to finally take it and run with it is just the right thing to do. as for if I’m looking forward to more Holmes stuff…I’ll have to see what the Holmes stuff is. But at least folks have a chance now.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – Review

June 20, 2012

At this point, there isn’t much to stay about Larsson’s posthumous hit that hasn’t already been said. It’s a good read. It’s quick. It’s thoroughly entertaining. At times, the writing is a bit weak, Larsson does labor through his characters at times (especially Salander – I got the impression that Larsson knew what he wanted the woman to be like but had a difficult time presenting her to us without beating us over the head with the traits he thought important). Blomkvist and Berger are characters the author clearly feels more comfortable with and who he creates with ease. It’s understandable, given how Blomkvist seems to be taken largely from Larsson’s own life, while Salander seems to be the antithesis of this, but it still stood out for its occasional clunkiness.

I’m not a huge mystery/thriller reader any more (though I used to love Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot mysteries, this seems to fall into somewhat of a different realm), so I can’t really speak to how it stands in its genre, or what it brings that is new or fresh. There are times where Salander’s ability to just pull something off the web seems like Holmes making a sudden leap in deduction where we’re never sure how or why he made the leap (or we’re given the reasons after the fact) and it seems a bit too convenient. Oddly enough, where the story works best is when she is without a computer, such as towards the end where she is forced to do some footwork and go through actual archives to find something. When the fallback of “Well, she’s a hacker” is taken away, I think Larsson’s writing picks up a notch and we begin to see how skilled of a writer he was and what he could have become.

Finally, what really stood out, was how closely the book resembled the original foreign movie version. There are some minor differences (such as the circumstances of Martin’s final scenes in either work, though the end result is the same), but I don’t recall anything huge. Also, the casting was dead-on, as I found myself envisioning characters roughly similar to those in the movie. I always hear the complaint that movies don’t do a book justice; though this is usually because someone is unhappy their favorite, entirely unnecessary, scene was left on the cutting room floor. The original foreign release did justice to the book. So, if you’ve seen the movie but have been hesitant about the book, or vice versa, you don’t have any real fears here. If you liked one, you will almost certainly like the other. The later American release, however, I have no idea about. I didn’t watch it.

So, give it a shot. It’s a good read, I found it quick, not something to be labored with. A good summer read. Here is the Banes and Noble link.