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The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes | [John Joseph Adams (editor), Robert J. Sawyer, Christopher Roden, Michael Moorcock, Anne Perry, Neil Gaiman, Anthony Burgess, Laurie R. King]

The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A modern short story collection featuring the great detective.
Regular Price:$20.99
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Publisher's Summary

A modern short-story collection featuring the great detective. Stories included:

"A Sherlockiana Primer", © 2009 by Christopher Roden
"The Horror of the Many Faces", © 2003 by Tim Lebbon
"The Case of the Bloodless Sock", © 2001 by Anne Perry
"The Adventure of the Other Detective", © 2003 by Bradley H. Sinor
"A Scandal in Montreal", © 2008 by Edward D. Hoch
"The Adventure of the Field Theorems"; © 1995 Vonda N. McIntyre
"The Adventure of the Death-Fetch", © 1994 by Darrell Schweitzer
"The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland", © 2005 by Mary Robinette Kowal
"The Adventure of the Mummy's Curse", © 2006 by H. Paul Jeffers
"The Things That Shall Come Upon Them", © 2008 by Barbara Roden
"Murder to Music", © 1989 by Anthony Burgess
"The Adventure of the Inertial Adjustor", © 1997 Stephen Baxter
"Mrs. Hudson's Case", © 1997 Laurie R. King
"The Singular Habits of Wasps", © 1994 by Geoffrey A. Landis
"The Affair of the 46th Birthday"; © 2009 by Amy Myers
"The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey", © 2001 by Peter Tremayne
"The Vale of the White Horse"; © 2003 by Sharyn McCrumb
"The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger", © 1993 by Michael Moorcock
"The Adventure of the Lost World", © 2004 by Dominic Green
"The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece"; © 2003 by Barbara Hambly
"Dynamics of a Hanging", © 2005 by Tony Pi
"Merridew of Abominable Memory" © 2008 by Monkeybrain, Inc.
"Commonplaces" © 2008-2009 by Naomi Novik
"The Adventure of the Pirates of Devil's Cape", © 2009 by Rob Rogers
"The Adventure of the Green Skull", © 2008 by Mark Valentine
"The Human Mystery", © 1999 by Tanith Lee
"A Study in Emerald", © 2003 by Neil Gaiman
"You See But You Do Not Observe", © 1995 by Robert J. Sawyer.

©2010 John Joseph Adams; (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"For the most part, this volume of short Sherlock Holmes pastiches - a mix of straightforward imitations and parodies - delivers on its goal of presenting the best of such work from the last 30 years....Barbara Roden's "The Things That Shall Come Upon Them" riffs cleverly on M.R. James's "Casting the Runes". Perhaps the highlight is Peter Tremayne's "The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey", which offers a plausible explanation for a classic untold tale in which a man disappears from the face of the earth after returning home to fetch an umbrella." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (385 )
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4.1 (211 )
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  •  
    03-28-10
    03-28-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Improbable and Incredible."

    If you're precious about Doyle's works, I probably wouldn't recommend this. It does tend to lean more towards the speculative than the detective side. Then again it's a little strange in my opinion to be a staunch defender of the Holmesian canon when the author himself said to another writer "You may marry [Holmes], or murder or do what you like with him."

    And these authors do. If you allow yourself more than your usual helping of willing suspension of disbelieve you will encounter terror, hilarity, shock, excitement and suspense. You will also discover (and this is an official spoiler alert) dinosaurs, pirates, Siamese twins, mummy's curses, Jack the Ripper, alien abductions, Lovecraftian horrors (a lot of these actually), alternate dimensions, ghost, ghouls, strange contraptions and some brilliant interpretations of the world's greatest consulting detective. We also get a slew of cameos from Doyle's work as well as the appearance of actual historical figures (including Doyle himself. Twice.)

    I tended to dislike Anne Flosnik narrations but that could be because they pale in comparison to Simon Vance's renditions. His are genius.

    The quality varies from author to author as you would expect, but there has to be at least one tale here that tickles your fancy. For all the ones I hated there were two I adored. I highly recommend this collection.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaliali Sevierville, TN, United States 12-20-10
    Shaliali Sevierville, TN, United States 12-20-10 Member Since 2007

    I love the BBC and British mysteries, but my tastes are very eclectic. I live with my husband and menagerie of rescued cats and dogs.

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    "Very Enjoyable"

    First, I must point out that I am not a die-hard Sherlock Holmes aficionado. I’ve read some of the stories, but not all, watched the TV series with Jeremy Brett, seen some other adaptations. I fall into that category of Holmes’s fans who can enjoy departures from the canon. (I even enjoyed the recent movie featuring Holmes.)

    About the book, Simon Vance is (as I anticipated) brilliant. The other narrator was fine, but the reader who introduces the stories has an annoying voice; fortunately the introductions are short. The stories themselves are very respectful of Doyle’s characters. Frankly, given the number SF and fantasy writers, I expected to find Holmes in some very unusual territory. This was not the case. While there were a few stories I just couldn’t make it through, they were few and far between. (The notable stand-out for truly horrible story which did not respect the Holmes canon was the one by Sharyn McCrumb, who made her story about her characters and her themes with little respect for Holmes; I did not finish that one.)
    Overall, I found that the number of stories I really enjoyed far outweighed the ones I just couldn’t endure. As a final thought, most of the “chapter” breaks are between stories, so it is easy to find the beginning of a new story.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bill doyle adelaide, south australia 07-12-12
    bill doyle adelaide, south australia 07-12-12 Member Since 2011

    Bloke who took to audiobooks in order to beguile long hours on the road travelling to photography gigs across his home state. Now addicted!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A mixed bag: with agonising introductions!"

    I have to say, first off, that I found John Joseph Adams' introductions excruciating. Amiable fellow he may be, but I really don't enjoy being told what I'm about to think of something, or how many obscure SF awards a particular writer has received, and convenient chapters allowing the introductions to each piece to be easily skipped would have been a real plus from my perspective.

    Simon Vance, on the other hand, is a consistently outstanding Watson, and where he is the narrator his efforts really help to lift the material; in some cases this is certainly required, as some stories fall well short of the original mark.

    The tales are indeed a mixed bag, with many showing Science Fiction and Fantasy leanings, and some even outright Horror. Most manage to capture the 'Sherlockian' tone well enough, but some manage to combine 'dull' with 'faithful'.

    However, there's more good than bad, and the collection as a whole constitutes agreeable entertainment.

    While I prefer more straightforward detective narratives with the typical rationalist flavour of the original, I found Neil Gaiman's effort the most appealing, despite its reliance on the whole gamut of SF, Fantasy, and even Horror. I don't know that my namesake would have approved, but I'm sure that Gaiman has placed his two characters exactly where he would have wanted them to be in this nightmarish alternate past.

    My recommendation? If you're a Holmes fan, and have enjoyed respectful pastiches such as Bert Coules' 'Further Adventures...' radio plays for the BBC, AND you have a credit to spare, I reckon you'll be happy enough!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darren Pasadena, CA, USA 06-23-10
    Darren Pasadena, CA, USA 06-23-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Good when good, bad when bad"

    In a sentence this book is waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy too long. It really could have used a tougher editor. Some of these stories are as good as short stories get. Yet, sadly, others reek of ham handed Fan Fiction. It's as if they simply included every story they received without review.
    But you can't argue with value. At 30+ hours it's well worth the one credit. Just keep the skip button handy.
    Oh, and where is the Stephen King story? I could not find it either.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jacob Madison, WI, United States 08-24-10
    jacob Madison, WI, United States 08-24-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Simply Brilliant Writing"

    I was skeptical at first, but I was hooked after the american stopped talking and the Brit started reading about Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu. Such brilliant stories!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John William Berry 02-06-10 Member Since 2004
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    "The Case of the Missing Author"

    "Stephen King does a solid job of giving Dr. Watson a chance to show his own detective skills in "The Good Doctor" - Critics Comment

    I couldn't find this story in the TOC or on this "unabridged" recording. Otherwise, I enjoyed the narrator and some of the stories.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert San Antonio, TX, United States 01-28-13
    Robert San Antonio, TX, United States 01-28-13
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    "Very Entertaining"

    As a lover of the Sherlock Holmes stories, I really enjoyed the unique approach offered in having Holmes solve these Sci-fi mysteries . The stories are well written and the editor (John Joseph Adams) does a fantastic job of maintaining the continuity of the narrating form used of Watson throughout the book.

    Simon Vance is a great narrator and he does a particularly good job in his portrayal of all the English characters in this book, but especially Holmes and Watson. Very Entertaining in deed,.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 12-08-12
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 12-08-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "not all of highest quality"

    there are some good stories here, of note are the Tanith Lee, the Burgess, even the Gaiman though I'm not normally a fan of his. And the very last story is a little classic in it's own right. But overall, though the authors may love Sherlock, I felt not many had the tone right nor the overall feel of Sherlock and so many left me disappointed or unimpressed. Take your chance, but I'd be tempted to listen to only the ones I mention, those I would listen to again, the others, not so much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew A. Razzano 01-26-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Very good if you're not too dear about holmes"

    Let's face it, certain stories in this series are particularly non-canon. And there are even a few that are almost insulting in their cavalier creative lisence with the characters. However, even those stories I've mentioned above aren't without a certain amusement for someone who can take a little ribbing about being a Holmes fanatic. Just remember that not everyone is as reverant as a devoted fan and shouldn't have to be to enjoy spinning these characters into new stories that give us more chances to see them in action. As long as you're prepared to take this series of shorts as just that, a series of short stories and not an attempt to revamp or in any way challenge the Arthur Conan Doyle versions of our heroes, you'll find it, over all, a very satisfying listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Houston, TX, United States 09-03-10
    Paul Houston, TX, United States 09-03-10 Member Since 2002

    I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "EDITING where is it? "

    This book is tooooo long and mixes genres from sheer fantasy to mystery. About half the stories are hack stories with little or no point to them. There are some great stories in this book though. Although, the description of the actual book claims to include a story from Stephen King. It is not included in this story - so it can't be called "unabridged".

    Naration is 4.5 stars. 5 Stars for Simon and 4 for Ms. Flosnik. Simon plays an excellent Dr. Watson. Anne had some trouble in her first couple of stories. Her accents were a little off, but she did an overall good job. Her last story was well done.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 21 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Sharon
    Crewe, cheshire, United Kingdom
    4/2/10
    Overall
    "worth every penny and more"

    I bought this with some hesitation as the sample is read, not by the narrators, but by someone who introduces each story and the reader is somewhat dry. However the stories are suberp and on the whole well read. They have provided me with many hours of entertainment and have sometimes been amused and sometimes found it spooky, an excellent mix all round. My advice is if you are a fan of Baker Street don't hesitate, the occasional odd pronounciation won't effect your enjoyment and may introduce you to new authors.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • SHEENA
    COMBER, United Kingdom
    6/27/11
    Overall
    "I've really enjoyed these stories."

    It took me a long time to decide whether or not to download this book of stories. I love Sherlock Holmes' amazing and logical powers of deduction and didn't know if I liked the sound of some of the tales in this selection.
    Some of the stories are better than others but they all have the feel of Conan Doyle's Sherlock and Watson and I've really enjoyed this audio download.
    One downside is the American who explains a little about the author of each story before each story begins. I don't like his voice, especially his pronunciation of "Moriarty".... but this is a small niggle.
    If you like Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock and Watson there's a good chance you'll enjoy this book.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Sam
    Penryn, United Kingdom
    8/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some good, some bad"
    What did you like best about The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes? What did you like least?

    There are some excellent stories in this collection, especially those that occupy the more improbable or impossible reimaginings of Sherlock's world, as suggested by the title. There are unfortunately also many duller offerings, which don't seem to fit the brief at all and leave the listener wondering why they are part of the collection. The same can be said for the narration: Simon Vance does a great job of producing voices for both Watson and Holmes which are uncannily like the ones I have in my head when reading Holmes stories. Anne Flosnik, on the other hand, has no business reading audio books, least of all those which require any kind of regional accent.


    What three words best describe Simon Vance and Anne Flosnik ’s voice?

    Vance > Flosnik


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    3/6/12
    Overall
    "Improbable is right."

    The stories are improbable, but some of them are also very entertaining and in the style of Conan Doyle. What is difficult to take is the reading of the link man between the first few stories, who seems to have never read Sherlock Holmes and persists in calling Moriaty, Holmes arch enemy ' Morierity' Surely someone doing such a job should at least get the pronunciation of a charector right.!!! On the whole a good listen, if in places a tad too improbable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Miss L. Slade
    Surrey
    6/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "OK stories irritating commentary between"
    What would have made The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes better?

    The correct pronunciation of Profession MORIATY would help


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Stories are OK but the commentary in-between is distracting and irritating.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Simon Vance and Anne Flosnik ’s performances?

    NO - The constant mispronunciation of Profession MORIATY is extremely annoying


    What character would you cut from The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes?

    The bits in-between the stories


    Any additional comments?

    FFS pronounce Profession MORIATY properly

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S. Hall
    UK
    6/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Keep Writing these Sherlock Stories....."

    I ordered this book with some hesitations as I was concerned these improbable stories would be far too fantastical or futuristic to be anywhere like the 'old' Holmes stories and while one or two made me groan with annoyance generally I loved these stories. The narrators Watson voice is really good and much like the old TV version.

    I too found the introductions of the authors grating but eventually decided to use the time of the intros to settle down for a good listen afterwards without missing the initial and relevant start to the stories. Also rather grating is the US pronounciation of Moriarty (US add an extra i to make it Moriarity every time they say it and I have no idea why).

    If authors can continue to write Sherlock Holmes stories similar to the bulk of these then I will continue to read/listen to them so please keep adding pen to paper.

    Sally

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. Mccartney
    Cambridge, UK
    2/21/13
    Overall
    "A Mixed Bag, but an Enjoyable One"

    Perhaps unsurprisingly,the quality here varies wildly. Some stories evoke Doyle brilliantly, while others demonstrate the poorer instincts of fanfiction: Watson's American nephew will turn up as a Mary Sue for the (US) author or dialogue will be peppered with Americanisms followed by "-as our American cousins would say".



    Enjoyment depends a bit on familiarity with the Doyle stories. Some authors seem to use crib-sheets of clichés, rather than canon. Thus Irene Adler is the *only* thing able to coax Holmes out of retirement (to America, naturally), and Watson still reels in surprise at basic deductions, despite decades of friendship with Holmes. Comically, a third of the stories make painstaking reference to Holmes filling his pipe from a Persian slipper - a detail only actually mentioned once by Doyle.



    Yet other stories are wonderful, a superb melding of Doyle's style with the weird. Most fall into the format of "Holmes+": Holmes+Lovecraft, Holmes+Time Travel, etc. The best work both as satisfying detective stories as well as genre tales, and the worst at least maintain your interest for the genre-mashing. A highlight combines Holmes with psychic detective Flaxman Low: they investigate in tandem, providing parallel solutions (one natural, one supernatural) and the listener must make his/her mind up.



    The only sour note is the continual presence of the Editor, who introduces each story... often badly. "This story involves parallel universes," he says. Well that's the solution to that one then.



    Simon Vance is on excellent form, with a very traditional Holmes and Watson that grounds the pastiches nicely before they fly off into stranger realms. Flosnik, though able, is less successful. She reads those stories with female narrators (good plan), but then parades through Italian, Scottish, and Somerset accents with little success.



    At 22 hours and over 30 stories, treat this as a lucky dip. Variable quality, but worth it for the highlights.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suffolk Nobody
    Stutton, Nr Ipswich, United Kingdom
    2/16/13
    Overall
    "Something to appeal to everyone, but..."

    This is an interesting collection of short stories featuring (to a greater or lesser extent) the world of Conan Doyle's immortal detective. Some of them fill in blanks from the original stories - cases mentioned but not published - others are complete flights of fancy. There are some real gems in here - Neil Gaiman's Study in Emerald for one (if you'll forgive the pun) offering a twist on Study in Scarlet. Others are less accessible, and some very odd indeed. Don't expect to love all the stories - I didn't - but there are no real howlers, they are simply an eclectic mix. There is something to appeal to just about every Holmes fan, but because of the sheer diversity of the stories, authors and approaches, not everything will appeal to everyone. The narration is generally extremely good. Some of the stories are narrated by a female voice/from a female perspective, which takes some getting used to if you have been brought up on the male narration of Watson, but it is nonetheless engaging. The biographical note before each story is a feature some will love, others will hate. Personally I think it is nice to have some background and pointers to further work by the author. Note - the reader of the biographies is not the male reader of the stories - the latter being much better. Excellent value for the Credit I used to purchase this, good value if you pay the regular price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    HARPENDEN, United Kingdom
    1/13/13
    Overall
    "Improbable and slightly tedious at times"

    An interesting mix of short stories by some well known authors, ranging from bee people to mirror worlds... Good price for the amount of content, but some of the narrators can be a little tiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Very interesting and well written"

    Usually a collection of short stories by different authors would be difficult to review. However, the stories in this collection are all of a high standard and are all very intriguing. And at 21 and a half hours, it is very good value for money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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