So, you all know that Katherine Addison’s Goblin Emperor is a favorite of mine. You may know she has a new book out, just released, set in an altogether different world.
Here’s the description:
This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.
In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings in a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.
Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.
Jack is not the first serial killer, or even the first “modern” serial killer, but he’s the one we remember. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important ones is his name. Not “the Whitechapel murderer” but “Jack the Ripper.” Someone was very cunning when they came up with that name. It’s short, punchy, imagination-catching. And the idea of a serial killer writing to the newspapers was new. …
I will add, from the reviews on Amazon though in no way indicated from the above description, it’s clear that this is essentially a retelling of Sherlock Holmes stories, with renamed main characters plus supernatural elements plus a Jack the Ripper frame story. It’s also clear that WOW THE PUBLISHER SHOULD HAVE SAID SO UP FRONT. A large proportion of early reveiwers were taken by surprise, not in a good way. If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan and know going in that this is a Holmes homage, you will probably like the book much better.
I … am not actually a Sherlock Holmes fan. I read some of the stories in a desultory way many years ago and have never watched any of the modern adaptations. Since Katherine Addison / Sarah Monette wrote this, sure, I’m interested, to a degree, but not remotely enough to pick up the book at the currently high price. For Holmes fans, though, this may be something you at least want to drop on your wishlist.
Also, I have learned a new term: Wingfic is fanfic where important characters are given wings (for any reason). In this story, Sherlock Holmes is “Crow,” an odd type of angel; thus this novel actually started explicitly as Sherlock Holmes wingfic before being adapted into novel form and brought out by a publisher.
I can only think of one other novel that started as fanfic … doubtless there are others … but I am thinking of Barbara Hambly’s Star Trek novel Ishmael, one of my very favorite Star Trek novelizations. Does anybody know of any other novels that started that way?