Saturday, December 12, 2015

Crossover of the Week


April 1917
Dr. Watson’s pregnant wife, Nylepthah, is staying with her cousin, Sir George Curtis. In 1919, Holmes would visit his old friend with a large financial payment from the English Lord of the Apes, the result of their adventure in Africa in 1916. Holmes’ gardener, Black Mike Croteau, has been murdered. After examining the body, Holmes and Watson are met at the former’s cottage by Harry Dickson, who has apprenticed with both Barker (Holmes’ Surrey rival) and Blake. He takes them to the Diogenes Club, where Holmes accuses his brother Mycroft of knowing there was a possibility he and Watson would be blown off course during the previous year’s African expedition he sent them upon. Holmes suggests Mycroft knew all along the ape lord was actually impersonating his deceased cousin, “William Clayton, the 7th Duke of Grey—.” Holmes points out Mycroft identified their flier, Leftenant John Drummond, as the great-nephew of Holmes’ old acquaintance, the 6th Duke. However, if Mycroft had been unaware of the imposture, he would have identified the Leftenant as the 6th Duke’s grandson. Mycroft reveals William Clayton was a government agent reporting directly to him, and William’s alleged shipwreck in Africa was actually part of his investigation. When he died, the Duke’s cousin, the ape lord, who had survived a prior shipwreck as an infant, assumed his identity, wishing to avoid the publicity attendant to the discovery of an English lord who had been reared and suckled by apes. The mission involved tracking down the German spy Von Bork and his bacillus. Holmes deduces Mycroft hoped he and Watson would encounter the ape lord and asks why. Holmes speculates it has to do with the many unlikely coincidences the ape man comes up against. Mycroft says their scientists call it “the human magnetic moment.” Holmes’ adversary, Dr. Shan Ming Fu, informed Holmes of the lotus vitae almost ten years ago. Holmes’ encounter with the ape man brought him into contact with the jungle man’s “human magnetic” influence, causing him to discover the lotus in the hidden valley of Zu-Vendis, though he asked Watson to omit that discovery from his written account. The lotus has been stolen from Holmes’ garden. Mycroft says if Holmes’ bees can be induced to sample the lotus’ nectar, a particular honey may result, which would be the key ingredient in a unique concoction. Holmes mentions the “Hellbirds” incident, in which Von Bork escaped, though Mycroft asked Watson to distort his account of these events so Von Bork fell to his death from the Eiffel Tower. Von Bork is being trailed by Sexton Blake. The mastermind of the theft is a man who has been known by many names, including Wolf Larsen, Karl Woldheim, and Carl Woldhaus; currently, he goes by the name of Baron Ulf Von Waldman. He is the Commandant of a seemingly inescapable German prison camp for those who have escaped from other camps and been recaptured. The Baron also conducts experiments on humans. There are rumors Von Waldman is the son of Professor Moriarty. Holmes, Watson, Dickson and Isis Vanderhoek travel to Blakeney House. Isis’ father was Mr. Klaw, “the dreaming detective.” Mycroft tells Sherlock that the Diogenes Club has recently become more focused on investigating outré and unexplainable matters that affect the Empire. The butler at Blakeney House gives Dickson a coded message from Blake, in which he says he has wired Peter Blakeney in Richmond (with whom he has common relatives dating back to the mid 17th century), and Blakeney House is at their disposal, with Blakeney Jr. off at war. Blake soon arrives with a captive Von Bork in tow. Holmes recalls the tale of Openshaw. Blake tells his comrades about several places of interest in the East Riding of Yorkshire, including the village of Wold Newton, where a meteor fell near Major Edward Topham’s property, the Wold Cottage, in 1795. Holmes decides they must visit the Wold Cottage and the monument Topham had placed at the site of the meteor’s fall. Holmes unmasks “Blake” as Von Waldman. Holmes and his allies free the true Blake, and discover some fragments of stone. Holmes concludes the Germans believe exposing the lotus vitae to the meteor fragments will result in the prolongation of human life. Isis mentions Holmes’ own cultivation of the plant. Von Waldman escapes from his bonds, taking the plant with him; however, Holmes still has seeds to grow more. When Watson asks Holmes if he thinks Von Waldman is really the son of Professor Moriarty, Holmes replies that Mycroft’s files on the Baron indicate that he was born in 1888, that he was investigating Moriarty quite thoroughly at that time, and that there was no indication of a child born to the Professor in that period. Dickson suggests Von Waldman may have been someone else, much older, who once had access to a similar elixir, but whose supply may have run out, leading him to attempt to find a means of duplicating it.
Short story by Dr. Watson, edited by Win Scott Eckert in Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook, Howard Hopkins, ed., Moonstone Books, 2012. This story serves as a sequel to Watson’s account The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, as edited by Philip José Farmer. Watson’s wife Nylepthah and child are from that novel; Nylepthah is the daughter of Sir Henry Curtis from the Allan Quatermain stories (although Farmer says she is Curtis’ granddaughter, Eckert’s essay “Who’s Going to Take Over the World When I'm Gone?: A Look at the Genealogies of Wold Newton Family Super-Villains and Their Nemeses” [Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe, Win Scott Eckert, ed., MonkeyBrain Books, 2005] argues she is in fact his daughter). Nylepthah’s cousin, Sir George Curtis, is from Farmer’s translation and adaptation of J.-H. Rosny aîné’s Ironcastle; Farmer specifically identifies Sir George as Sir Henry’s nephew. The ape lord is Lord Greystoke, of course. Harry Dickson is “the American Sherlock Holmes” who appeared in French pulp stories by Jean Ray and others. Holmes’ rival Cecil Barker first appeared in the story “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman”; Dickson acted as his apprentice in Eckert’s story “No Ghosts Need Apply” (The Phantom Chronicles, Vol. 2, Joe Gentile and Mike Bullock, eds., Moonstone Books, 2010). Sexton Blake is one of the longest-running British penny dreadful detectives; Dickson acted as his apprentice in Greg Gick’s story “The Werewolf of Rutherford Grange” (originally published in two parts in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 1: The Modern Babylon, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2005, and Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 2: Gentlemen of the Night, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2006; reprinted in Harry Dickson and the Werewolf of Rutherford Grange, Black Coat Press, 2011). William Clayton, the 7th Duke of Greystoke, appears in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels Tarzan of the Apes and The Return of Tarzan; in his essay “A Case of Identity,” H. W. Starr identified the 6th Duke of Holdernesse and his son Lord Saltire from the Holmes story “The Adventure of the Priory School” as the 6th and 7th Duke of Greystoke, respectively, a theory adapted by Farmer for his biography Tarzan Alive. Leftenant Drummond is the jungle lord’s adopted son John Drummond-Clayton. Farmer identified the human magnetic moment in Tarzan Alive. Dr. Shan Ming Fu is Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu; Dennis E. Power revealed the Devil Doctor’s birth name in his essay “The Devil Doctor: The Early History of Fu Manchu,” found on the Wold Newton Universe: A Secret History website. The lotus vitae is the plant from which Fu Manchu’s life-prolonging Elixir vitae is derived; Fu Manchu told Holmes about the elixir in George Alec Effinger’s story “The Adventure of the Celestial Snows.” The honey is the Royal Jelly that, according to William S. Baring-Gould in his biography Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, has extended Holmes’ natural lifespan. The Hellbirds incident refers to Austin Mitchelson and Nicholas Utechin’s Holmes pastiche Hellbirds. Wolf Larsen is from Jack London’s novel The Sea Wolf; in his essay “The Green Eyes Have It—Or Are They Blue? or Another Case of Identity Recased” (Myths for the Modern Age), Christopher Paul Carey argued Larsen and Baron von Hessel (from Farmer’s authorized Doc Wildman novel Escape from Loki) were really aliases of XauXaz from Farmer’s trilogy of novels about the evil secret society known as the Nine. In his essay “Asian Detectives in the Wold Newton Universe” (Myths for the Modern Age), Dennis E. Power instead offered the alternative theory Larsen was the son of Professor Moriarty. Isis and her father Moris Klaw are from Sax Rohmer’s book The Dream Detective. The Diogenes Club’s latter-day focus on outré matters is the subject of many stories by Kim Newman. Blakeney House is one of the holdings of the Blakeney family, whose most famous member is Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel. Blakeney House previously appeared in Eckert’s stories “Is He in Hell?” (Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 6: Grand Guignol, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2010; reprinted and revised in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 1: Protean Dimensions, Michael Croteau, ed., Meteor House, 2010) and “Nadine’s Invitation” (Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 7: Femmes Fatales, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2010). Peter Blakeney Jr. is Sir Percy’s descendant from The Pimpernel and Rosemary. In his series of articles “The Wold Wold West” (found at the Wold Newton Universe: A Secret History website), Dennis E. Power argued Sexton Blake was distantly related to the Blakeney family, a theory Eckert adopted for his essay “The Blakeney Family Tree” (The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 1). Openshaw is from the Holmes story “The Five Orange Pips.”

1 comment:

  1. You said Farmer's authorized Doc Wildman novel Escape from Loki. I think you mean Doc Savage. Okay, I mean Doc Savage and Doc Wildman are the same person so I am being pedantic.

    I am pretty sure I recognized all the Crossovers when I read this years ago except for who Isis was. That said reading it here helped me to keep it in context with all the Wold Newton theories.