eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
Happy Birthday, William (or Thomas, depending, apparently, on what mood Doyle was in) Sherlock Scott Holmes! The man who went by "Sherlock Holmes" was (possibly) born today in (probably) the North Riding of Yorkshire in (maybe) 1854. Ahh, the Holmesian canon: it's like trying to work out the Highlander universe. Or the wormhole physics of Stargate.

Which reminds me that I wanted to ask if anyone has checked out Sayers on Holmes: Essays and Fiction on Sherlock Holmes which has been out for a few years now. It's supposed to be a collection of Sayers' Holmesian essays, which I thought of as she wrote one attempting to pinpoint his birth year (fat chance!), though the reason I'm most interested in it is her famous radio play for Holmes' (possible) hundredth birthday, in which a young Wimsey consults Holmes on an Important Case. (Not that I used Sayers' essays today; Holmes' birthdate is from Baring-Gould.)

Actually, on the subject of writing about detectives, has anyone ever read Baring-Gould's Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street, in which Baring-Gould hypothesizes that Archie is Wolfe's nephew and that Wolfe is Holmes' son? (This would make Holmes Archie's great-uncle: hilarious.) It's not in print anymore, I don't think, but I might grab it somewhere if people said it was as amusing as it sounds.

And, of course, to bring this full circle, there's Rex Stout's famous speech to the Baker Street Irregulars: Watson was a woman.
eruthros: Norrington and Governor Swann from PotC, captioned "courtly man-love" (PotC - Norrington Swann courtly man-love)
Really, I'm impossibly codependent. I'm sitting here going "yes, yes, yes, but when will it be back?"

That's right, my laptop is In The Shop. Metaphorically speaking, of course, as it's more likely In Transit or On An Airplane or Dropped in a Vat of Boiling Acid Never To See Human Hands Again or something similar. I have crucial data backed up, of course, but still... laptop! Laptop not here! Laptop gone! And someone else is going to touch it! Clearly this is a horror that cannot be accepted.

Sadly, I must put up with it, as the connection of the AC adapter to the laptop itself was what is politely referred to as "loose." Meaning "sometimes I could maybe get power if I wiggled the plug and then held it right. there." And the battery only held a charge for 15 minutes. Between the two ... well. It was getting very frustrating. And I am a reasonable person. Really. So I took my laptop out of its safe case and gave it to some weird kid who wasn't even sure how to plug it in. And now it's gone.


And at work today, similar computer stuff going on. I have a terminal, see, not a real computer, so I can connect to a "desktop" via citrix or to accounting software via telnet. And I got in this morning to find that -- surprise suprise! -- neither connection was working. Helpdesk stories )

Oh, yes, computers are the wave of the future, whoo boy. I can see them improving my work ethic e'en as we speak.


At least my very productive work day left me enough time to bookmark one of my favorite quotes from Small Gods, one that really says something about PTerry to me.Pratchetty goodness )

Actually, Small Gods is the first first Pratchett I ever read. Loaned to me by [ profile] copperbadge. In return, I believe, for my copy of The League of Frightened Men, the second Nero Wolfe book, which I feel obligated to point out I never got back. *clears throat* A-hem.

And, okay, so there were like ten DW books before it, but SG came out in 1992. I was eleven. I think I'm doing pretty good in that I'd read every DW book before they were all published in the States. (Thanks for the loans, [ profile] copperbadge; really, it's okay, you can keep the Rex Stout.) I feel comfortable in my fannishness. *g*


In other Random News, that being all I'm doing today, Robert Heinlein's widow donated his personal library, including letters and manuscripts, to UCSC. And also funded a position to do research and organizing. How's that for weird?

Nero Wolfe

Oct. 15th, 2002 01:41 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
I've been a fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe for ages. I first read him as a kid, in my post-Doyle and Chesterton phase. First I tried Agatha Christie, but she never really did anything for me. Lots of folks adore her work, but the characters are too cardboard. Once you figure out who done it, why bother? I mean, sometimes the plot twists are startling, but I just found the characters blah.

Rex Stout, on the other hand, wrote great characters. It doesn't matter who done it, because you read the story for the interaction between Wolfe and Archie, and for the great secondary characters -- Lily Rowan, Saul Panzer, Fritz the cook, and Theodore and the orchids. And so you could read them again. And again. My favorite's probable The League of Frightened Men.

So when they started a series on A&E, I took a look, because I like the books so much. Unfortunately, although they hit most of the characters and sets physically (Wolfe's size, the yellow pajamas, and so on), I didn't like the portrayals. Wolfe isn't just supposed to be physically big; he needs to command more psychic space, have a presence that goes beyond his appearance. He needs to almost never have to raise his voice, but be riveting to everyone in the room anyway, and to be able to cut into a shouting match with a few, well-chosen words. Saul needs to blend in, to not attract notice until he wants to do so. Archie needs to be funny and intelligent. Not just a sidekick, no: he's a sidekick by choice. When he works on his own, he makes more money than he does working for Wolfe, and he solves plenty of cases.

I thought about this again recently because when I was home for the weekend, my dad and I caught the end of the TV show and once again bitched about it. And we did what we always do (I think my dad and I have done this on a yearly basis for ages): we tried to cast the books better.

We keep coming back to Dustin Hoffman for Saul. The nose is perfect, the attitude is perfect, you can just see him in the funny little hat....

But Archie and Wolfe are really, really difficult to cast because we're not just talking about physical stuff. We've talked a lot, suggested Marlon Brando for Wolfe and joked about Johnny Depp for Archie. (Joseph Fiennes? Too broody.) We've suggested casting possibilities if we could make it in the '50s (Cary Grant? No, too clean-cut, but Katherine Hepburn would make a beautiful Lily Rowan), okay, okay, what about that guy from ... and so on.

My dad finally came up with the perfect Nero Wolfe: Dame Judi Dench. I don't care that she's not 300 pounds, male, or from Montenegro. He suggested it, I thought about it, and it's perfect. She's got the voice, the mannerisms, the persona; she can command the attention of a room with a word, and be dismissive and a perfect Wolfe-style genius. Okay, Wolfe being a woman changes the story a bit, but I don't give a flying fuck. I mean, if she can be M and James Bond's boss, she can be Wolfe.

So then we were all: who could be Archie? If Wolfe's a woman, would Archie be a woman? If not, there would be a temptation to turn it into a love story, which is exactly the direction we don't want to go.

So we thought: maybe Janeane Garofalo? She could pull off the intelligent snark, but could she pull off the taking-everyone-out-dancing "lady"-killer that Archie needs to be? Maybe not. What about Gillian Anderson, not as a redhead? Could be fun... she could do intelligent, snarky, and take everyone out to the Flamingo Club to dance...

So now I just have to become a wealthy movie producer, stat. So that I can see Judi Dench saying "pfui." Just imagine that. Or "Mr Cramer. I repeat. I am not interested, not involved, and not curious." Or "If true, boorish. If false, inane." It would rock my world.


eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)

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