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“It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance” [CARD] 

Multiverse of Mystery, now crowdfunding, is a collection of new stories about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson across the multiverse. The authors are all members of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, so they know how adaptations work. As the project page says, 

"Our writers have placed the archetypal detectives into new genres, new alien worlds, or new historical time periods that may or may not exist. We go from medieval India to futuristic military sleuths, from 12th-century manhunters to gender-swapped consulting detectives, from…well, you get the idea."

I interviewed book co-editor Carrie Harris and project manager Bob Greenberger about the genesis of the volume. The Kickstarter is open for two more weeks, and pledges are available for paperback, hardcover, and/or digital copies. 

I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere: Why this topic, now? Did the characters going public domain have an influence on timing? 

Carrie Harris: When the project team got together, we discussed potential topics for the anthology, with the only caveats being that the project had to be tied into a license (since it’s sponsored by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers), and the license had to be in the public domain (for simplicity’s sake). I brought up the idea of using Holmes and Watson for a purely self-serving reason: I love them. I was also hot on the heels of seeing Everything Everywhere All at Once, which is where the multiverse idea came from. I was thrilled when it made the final cut.

Bob Greenberger: Holmes and Watson have achieved universal affection, largely because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave us something so unique it resonated with the general public. The love for the duo forced him to resurrect his dead detective, and he's been unkillable ever since.

IHOSE: Any theme beyond Holmes and Watson? Or was it anything goes on stories? 

CH: No other theme. We wanted it to be clear which character was Holmes and which was Watson, regardless of their names. I love random Easter eggs for folks who are fans of the original stories, and we’ve got some really great ones, but we didn’t require them. 

I think leaving the gates fairly wide open gave us the opportunity to see the wide range of where these characters could go. Some have been moved into other genres or historical time periods. Some stories move them onto other worlds. Some play with the relationship between the characters. But they are always identifiably Watson and Holmes, and the game is always afoot.

IHOSE: How were creators for this anthology selected / determined? And please tell us more about The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. 

CH: This project is the IAMTW’s second anthology, and therefore, the call was only open to IAMTW members. These folks are seasoned professionals, and they gave us some spectacular pitches, so the selection process was quite easy. The IAMTW is an organization that promotes the craft of tie-in writing, provides networking opportunities for tie-in writers, and sponsors the Scribe Awards to recognize the best-licensed works each year. Our members have written for just about any franchise you can think of, and probably plenty that you can’t! There’s a real craft to writing licensed fiction, and these folks are experts in the field.

BG: The anthologies and essay collections we've done to date are all ways to publicize our organization and showcase our members. Unlike, say, SFWA, we can't produce a collection of award-nominated stories since we don't control the copyrights. Going [public domain] made the most sense. Each collective is brainstorming their own themes, and people sign up as their schedules and interests allow.

IHOSE: Have any of the contributors written Holmes before? 

BG: Aaron Rosenberg, Keith DeCandido, and Scott Pearson have all previously written the traditional Holmes & Watson. Christopher A. Abbott has been producing annual collections of novellas, and they've contributed to these, as I will for a 2025 book. My schedule didn't allow me to do more than project manage this book for Carrie. I am running the Kickstarter campaign and will help coordinate the back-end as needed.

IHOSE: What makes this collection stand out from the many other Sherlock Holmes books out each year? 

CH: This is an excellent question! I’m personally excited to be a part of this project because of the talent and experience of the contributors. These writers are experienced at diving into an established world, identifying what makes it special, and using those elements as a backbone for creating something new and interesting. We’ve seen a lot of takes on these characters over the years, and from day one I felt confident that we could contribute something special to that body of work.

IHOSE: Do any of the stories feature a Holmes and Watson who are more than just friends? 

CH: Yes! When I was working through the pitches, I really wanted to explore the potential in this relationship. The dynamic between the two of them is one of my favorite elements of the original canon. Could their friendship turn into something else? Hate? Romantic love? What would that look like? We’ll be exploring all of that. Honestly, I can’t wait.


Support Multiverse of Mystery on Kickstarter here at a level that works for you. Hurry! The campaign closes on March 26, 2024.