mrs. watson? which one?

If you’re the sort of person who worries about that sort of thing, the timeline of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries is really tangled. For example, when was Watson married and how many times was he married? Internal evidence is not possible to reconcile.

Most readers don’t seem to care — Holmes and Watson are still (by far) the most popular fictional characters in the English-speaking world over the last 120+ years.

Some people, of course, do obsess about these sorts of things (I can see The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, by William Stuart Baring-Gould, two large volumes in a slip case, from where I’m typing this), but Arthur Conan Doyle obviously didn’t.

He just wanted to tell a good story.

In a recent blog post, I talked about the freedom I felt once I decided to hop back in time to an earlier period in the mystery-solving career of the great detective Jan Sleet and her loyal assistant Marshall. I’ve already written about 7,000 words of a new story (a few notes but mostly scenes — I’m not much for notes).

I’m not going back to reread A Sane Woman either, and I’m not even sure if this story happens before that book or after it. I’m just writing.

On another subject, I really enjoyed reading this interview with Paul W. S. Anderson: “How the Mastermind behind ‘Resident Evil’ Kept the Franchise Going For 15 Years

Here are some specific quotes that struck me:

I always had it in my mind that we would eventually come back to The Hive and kind of give away the secrets that I’ve been holding for 15 years now, the truth about the Alice character. The truth about her face, about the Red Queen, the real agenda of the Umbrella Corporation. These are things that I was aware of when I was writing and making the first movie.

I was pretty sure that the big reveal about Alice had been planned for a while, but even I didn’t realize that Anderson had thought of it right at the start. He hadn’t even told Milla Jovovich (the series star and his wife) — I’m sure because he didn’t want her to play the part with certain facts in mind.

I’m really, really proud of the movie. I think it delivers not only the big action that people have come to expect from the franchise, but it also has these great narrative reveals, and as a result of them, I think it also has an emotional undertow that people might not normally associate with a Resident Evil movie. Even me, as a kind of stiff upper lip, repressed British person … I’ve seen the movie 100 times. I still start tearing up at the end of it.

I kind of do, too, I will admit.

I had a strong female lead back in the day when that was absolutely not acceptable in mainstream Hollywood movies.

Always worth remembering, now that everybody else seems to be, finally, maybe, starting to catch up.

And, as I’ve pointed out before, the really great thing about these films is the number and variety of women in them. In the fifth one, the top six actors in the credits at the end are all women, and in this one Anderson obviously decided to have the major heroes all be women and the major villains all men, maybe to see if anybody would notice.

(To be precise, one of the “women” referred to in the last sentence above is gender-fluid actor Ruby Rose, whose character wears a T-shirt saying “Not All of Us Are Under Control” — a very Resident Evil thought. The link is to a video that you probably shouldn’t watch if you’re at work.)

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