Through Time and Space

The other day, as I was going through my collection of old Sherlock Holmes pastiches, I came across one of my most cherished books as a kid — Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space. In the 1980s, this was a milestone book for me, which I mention on the About page. Full of science fiction pastiches, the book connected with my burgeoning interests in speculative fiction and the weird, while also hewing pretty close (I think?) to the Canon in most regards.

I can’t really comment in detail on whether or not these stories have held up, because, to be honest, I haven’t read many of them in a very long time. But, well, I’m sure four of them have, at least — ACD’s “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot,” reprinted here, Isaac Asimov’s “The Ultimate Crime,” which is less a science fiction pastiche and more a wonderful exploration of playing “the game,” and a couple of short pieces by the always-amazing Philip José Farmer.

But what struck me when I found it was how I used to stare at this amazing, weird, and funny cover as a teenager — Holmes’s sitting room! A big green alien! An… Apple Lisa? Sort of? On Holmes’s table! (Beneath my thumb). I loved it, and the attention to detail in the rest of the painting (the knife on the mantle, the violin). One thing that always struck me about this, too, was that this was a science fiction collection where Holmes was depicted doing… what Holmes did. Listening to a client, trying to understand a case. None of the contemporary “action Holmes” depictions, no Watson, no deerstalker, no Meerschaum. Just Holmes listening to an (alien) client who, by the way, was genteelly sipping on a cup of tea.

So, fast forward to last week, and as part of my ongoing dive into Sherlockiana again, I decided to try to find out who made the art for this book. Turns out that was easy to find via a quick Googling — it was Tom Kidd, and it turns out that Tom Kidd has an Etsy store. And, it turns out, that Tom Kidd had two copies left of prints of the cover of Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space (only one left now as I write this). Of course, I instantly ordered one, and it just arrived this afternoon.

It’s gorgeous, and as soon as I get out of self-quarantine and go buy myself a frame, it’s going up on the wall over my desk in my home office. And maybe someday I’ll buy an Apple Lisa to sit under it!