Eliminating the Possible by Adrian Middleton

If you get the character of Holmes right, he can exist anywhere.
Eliminating the Possible book cover

“Imagine the richly detailed Victorian London of Sherlock Holmes reinvented as a steampunk world created by the criminal genius of his arch-nemesis, Professor James Moriarty. Airships. Ray Guns. Moonshots. Tesla. Time Machines. Welcome to The Moriarty paradigm.

Eliminating the Possible uses a remarkable series of excerpts, articles and original fiction to provide the introduction to an entirely new Holmes canon. Filled with all the familiar tropes of the steampunk genre, the Moriarty paradigm brings together writers including Damon Cavalchini, Mike Chinn, Jonathan Green and David McIntee to reintroduce modern readers to the mystery and adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”

As a fan of both the Steampunk genre and Sherlock Holmes I was surprised something like this has not been tried before. These excerpts and short stories splice the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories with the Steampunk genre.

I was relieved to discover that all the authors involved in this enterprise are fans of Doyle’s iconic consulting detective and clearly know their subject’s background. The stories are affectionate tributes to one of literature’s most popular and enduring characters. At no point did I feel that Sherlock Holmes had been cheapened, misrepresented or diminished. His character, mannerisms and quirks are all present and correct. That is the strength of this collection: they have not created something alien; rather, they have taken something well known and given it an interesting twist.

With the revealing author interviews and their introductions to the stories, there is plenty of evidence that this has been carefully planned and researched. The authors are at pains to show they respect the original canon and are just trying something new.

I found this a refreshing perspective, showing imagination and passion for its central character. There is even a helpful chapter (for non-initiates) explaining what the genre Steampunk is.

One succinct point that one of the authors make sums this up perfectly “If you get the character of Holmes right, he can exist anywhere.” Here, here.

This is an exciting and ambitious project: Eliminating the Possible is a mere taster of what is to come and I await the proposed series of novels with interest.

Eliminating the Possible: Introducing the Moriarty Paradigm
Edited by Adrian Middleton
Published 2013 by Fringeworks Ltd
ISBN: 978-1909573055

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When I pick up a book I want it to meet my expectations, but also to be surprised by what lies inside. This does both. It is only a sampler (with exceppts, short stories and backgrounds) but it creates a completely immersive steampunk world that feels exactly right. A lot of care and attention has gone into this project, and it has might attention. Roll on The Scoundrel of Bohemia.

9/10 from 2 reviews

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