Great White Snark: Dracula + Sherlock Holmes = ???

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dracula + Sherlock Holmes = ???

My sado-masochistic relationship with Holmes pastiches continues, even though I keep telling myself I don't like it. But secretly, I think I do. 

No, really, I keep hoping I'll find one, JUST ONE, that doesn't totally suck. 

This one came SO. CLOSE. 

My Dad got me this for Christmas, and I was so hopeful. I mean, Dracula AND Sherlock Holmes?! Even if it wasn't faithful to either of the originals, HOW COULD THIS BE A BAD THING?? And then it was by Saberhagen, who I think I read in my sci-fi class (if it wasn't my sci-fi class it was somewhere, but I don't recall where). 

So I start it and it's actually very good. You get the feel of London, the crime isn't outrageous to the point that it couldn't happen, everyone was pretty in character...except Dracula, but how does one write Dracula in character? It's not like Stoker spent a lot of time describing his habits or feelings. He just is. And I applaud Saberhagen for giving him a person outside of being a wall-scaling-blood-sucking creep. 

So we're tramping along, everything is going well. Then we get introduced to the remaining members of The Team for Light and what they're doing after the supposed killing of Dracula. Highly silly, because I don't believe for a minute that Arthur Holmwood/Lord Godalming and Jack Seward somehow ended up in London's underground dog/rat fighting circles. They were really crazily OOC and that bothered me, Dracula being one of my favorite books. 

Then comes the punch line, which I will spoil here. 

Sherlock Holmes's mother had an affair with Dracula's brother and Sherlock was actually half of a set of twins, and the other twin is a vampire, which makes Dracula Sherlock's uncle. 


First of all: nowhere ever in my extensive research of vampire lore have I read that sleeping with a vampire produces twins, one of whom is human and one of whom is a vampire. If you have heard of this before, please, tell me. Even Stephanie Meyers's effed up vampire offspring makes more sense to me. 

Secondly, there is no account in ANY of Doyle's work that Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were anything less than happy and faithful with each other. Also, Sherlock was not a twin. Mr. and Mrs. Holmes had already inflicted the names Mycroft and Sherlock upon actual living babies. There wasn't room for one more absurdly named child in their house, I'm sorry. 

And while it's true that Vlad Tepes/The Impaler historically had two half brothers and a younger brother, nowhere in Stoker's book is there any evidence of vampirism among them (though Saberhagen wasn't the first to think this up. But I don't buy it, especially because Radu, the younger brother, was some kind of possibly gay pretty boy and an enemy of Vlad. MOVING ON.). And even if there was, COME ON. The likelihood of him sleeping with and impregnating Mrs. Holmes (why was she in Transylvania in the first place?)? The whole thing is incredibly far-fetched. 

Also, spoiler, the bad guys are Arthur Holmwood and Jack Seward. Which I guess makes sense...if Dracula is your protagonist, then the good guys from Dracula have to be the bad guys. BUT STILL. Not buying it. 


So overall, Saberhagen came SO CLOSE. Did I like this book? Yes, of course. Was it true to either of its original sources? Not really, but especially not Dracula, which bothers me. Granted, throwing together Holmes, the epitome of realism, and Dracula, a supernatural being, is like putting oil and water in a cup. You can try and mix it, and it might work for like, a third of a second, but then they separate. I had a hard time believing that Holmes would so readily accept the supernatural, especially having read "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire," a case which Holmes solved (and therefore disproved vampires) before he even left the house to investigate. 

Saberhagen touches on this story, suggesting that Watson thought this story (of Dracula and Holmes) too outrageous to publish and so wrote "The Sussex Vampire." Certainly, "The Giant Rat of Sumatra" features in this novel. I like books where an author takes one of the many cases Watson mentioned throughout the Holmes canon without expounding upon, and creates a story based off of it. But this was not one of them. 

Anyway, do I recommend it? Yes. It's a fun romp with a very nice "I just need a hug" Dracula and his nephew, Sherlock Holmes. Just don't get all excited thinking it's going to be canonical. Because it will be, up until the last quarter. Then, like a bad football game, it all goes downhill very quickly. 

PS: If you didn't read Dracula and have no idea what I've just talked about, might I suggest my highly ridiculous summary/review?

1 comment:

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