Monday, 24 April 2017

A Computer And A Dog

Much sf used to be set in the twenty first century. Now novels written and set in the twenty first century read like what would have been sf fifty years ago:

downloaded articles;
P.D.F. files;
a Zip drive;
disks -

- are mentioned in one paragraph on p. 251 of Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played With Fire (London, 2010).

But another reference harks back to the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries and also forges a link with Poul Anderson. A detective examining a crime scene expects to find a second computer somewhere in the apartment but fails to do so. His way of expressing the significance of this is:

The strange thing about the dog is that it did not bark, my dear Watson. (ibid.)

Even if we do not remember the dog that did not bark, my dear Watson would be a giveaway, like "Horatio":

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio..."

Holmes, like Hamlet, is culturally embedded and will continue to be quoted in fiction beyond the twenty first century.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, Sherlock Holmes has become an eminently quotable cultural arch type. Even in an alternate world like Stirling's THE PESHAWAR LANCERS.

I've tried again to think of any kind of Holmesian allusions in Anderson's Technic Civilization series, with no success.