Monday, August 27, 2007


I gave up reading Sherlock Holmes pastiches years ago, when it grew clear that most were written by hacks who didn’t give a shit for Sherlock and used the Doyle template out of pure laziness. And since then, I’ve cast a skeptical eye on almost all literary spin-offs. But I couldn’t resist this bit of Faux Verne when I spotted it last week at Nan’s used book shop. First of all, I’m a Jules Verne fan and hadn’t until now read any Verne imitations. Second, I’m a lifelong admirer of Captain Nemo, literature’s greatest seafaring anarchist. And third, I heard author Kevin J. Anderson speak at Comic-Con last month and thought, well, what the hell?

Well, Captain Nemo, by K.J. Anderson, isn’t a great work. But it is a light, fun, sweet tribute to Verne’s novels. It purports to be the “true” story behind all of Verne’s books. Every one of them, Anderson tells us — from Five Weeks in a Balloon, to A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and, naturally, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea — is based on the real-life exploits of Verne’s childhood chum André Nemo. So this novel is comprised of a half-dozen or so “real accounts” of Nemo’s adventures, mixed with a biographical telling of Verne’s ascent to literary stardom. Silly? Sure it is. But it got me re-reading Leagues again for the first time in years.

And Captain Nemo is also kind of a blast in its own right.

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At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, I think 'Nemo' is actually an alias, and I had not wish to find out about his nationality...

...but this is different, so meh. I really wanted to know more, in spite of the mystery's appeal, now that I've just finished the book.

As for Holmes 'tributes', I rather liked this quaint collection whose names escapes me at the moment. The most unique, is that of "The Adventure of the Extraterrestrial" by Mack Reynolds. It also features a short story in which the tale of Sumatra's giant rats are told, through the eyes of sailors to whom Holmes is a stranger.

I think you might like the Reynolds one, since it has a rather Verne favour to it. A son has requested Holmes to gather evidence that his father is insane before his father squander his fortune on an earth defense task force. Holmes discover that there are aliens through the discovery of a technology that should not exist yet.

For me, that story was how the Holmes adventures 'ended'.

- Mercurial Georgia


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