Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Crossover Covers: Allan Quatermain at the Dawn of Time
In August 1873, Allan Quatermain and his Hottentot companion Hans encounter a group of scientists that are attempting to learn the true nature of the Star of Bethlehem. Impey Barbicane is the group’s chief engineer. The group uses a pair of submarines based on technical details about Captain Nemo’s Nautilus told to Barbicane by Professor Aronnax. This tale is framed as a letter by Lady Luna Holmes Ragnall to her cousin, recounting to him how Quatermain told her the story in turn in 1882. Annotations and apicultural commentary written in 1905 are provided by men identified as “M” and “SS.” A pair of footnotes state, “Some authorities have argued from internal evidence that ‘M’ is the initial of a pseudonymous name used by a certain Great Detective during his retirement in Sussex,” and, “The same authorities sometimes suggest that ‘SS’ are the initials of a neighbor, fellow honey fancier, and occasional assistant of M during this late interlude.” A clipping from a news story by E.D. Malone about the third expedition by Professor Challenger to South America in 1915 appears. Allan Quatermain, Hans, and Lady Luna Holmes Ragnall are from the novels of H. Rider Haggard. Impey Barbicane is from Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon. Professor Aronnax, Captain Nemo, and the Nautilus are from Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. “M” is a reference to Mr. Mycroft, the elderly beekeeping sleuth featured in novels and stories by H.F. Heard, who is heavily implied to be Sherlock Holmes. “Mycroft’s” sidekick and fellow apiarist is named Sidney Silchester. E.D. Malone and Professor Challenger appear in The Lost World and other tales by Arthur Conan Doyle.