No Ghosts Need Apply: 5 Most Speculative Sherlock Holmes Stories

This version of Sherlock isn’t just updated, it’s gone futuristic.
One of these guys is inhuman, and the others are John Watson and Data in a deerstalker.
In many of his adventures, the heroically smug Sherlock Holmes often acts as a debunker of pseudo-science or paranormal activity. Though arguably more high-brow, its hard to imagine the sleuths of The Mystery Machine a priori of Holmes. Paradoxically, Holmes’s creator, Arthur Conan Doyle entertained various fantastical beliefs, including an interest in fairies and séances.

These sensibilities seem to forever collide within the famous Holmes maxim “when you eliminate the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” (Originally from The Sign of the Four.) Holmes allows his imagination to inform his process, but only to a point. In “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” he says “This Agency stands flat-footed upon the ground and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghost need apply.” And though many post-Doyle authors have taken Holmes on fantasy and science fiction adventures (check out a selection I analyzed for Clarkesworld Magazine) below are a few stories from the original canon, which approach the universe of speculative fiction.

For the full article on 5 Improbable Sherlock Holmes Stories, visit our sister science fiction and fantasy blog,

(See Criminal Element’s Sherlockiana feature page for all things, well, you know who.)


  1. KateH

    The caption for the picture is awesome! I laughed so loud my dogs came running to see what was happening. Thank you.

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