DOYLE, Sir Arthur Conan

DOYLE, Sir Arthur Conan
   UK writer known primarily for his work outside the sf field and in particular for his Sherlock Holmes stories. Born in Edinburgh and educated by Jesuits, he studied medicine at Edinburgh University and initiated his own practice in Portsmouth in 1882, supplementing his income by writing. The first Holmes novel was A Study in Scarlet (1887). His historical novels, Micah Clarke (1889) and The White Company (1891), were relatively unsuccessful, but the first series of Holmes short stories in The STRAND MAGAZINE (1891-2) secured his popularity. His interest in subjects on the borderline between science and mysticism is evident in a potboiler about supernatural vengeance from the mysterious East, The Mystery of Cloomber (1889), and in a short novel of telepathic vampirism, The Parasite (1895). Although the Holmes stories suggest an incisively analytical and determinedly rationalistic mind, ACD was fascinated by all manner of occult disciplines, including hypnotism, Theosophy and oriental mysticism; following the death of his son he became an ardent convert to Spiritualism.ACD's first SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE, The Doings of Raffles Haw (1891), is a hurriedly written account of a gold-maker who becomes disenchanted with the fruits of his philanthropy. His early sf short stories include "The Los Amigos Fiasco" (1892), in which an experimental electric chair "supercharges" a criminal instead of killing him, and the personality-exchange story "The Great Keinplatz Experiment" (1894). ACD abandoned sf during the early decades of his literary success but returned before WWI to make his most important contribution to the genre: following "The Terror of Blue John Gap" (1910) - about a monstrous visitor from an underground world - and a satirical account of "The Great Brown-Pericord Motor" (1911) came The Lost World (1912), a classic LOST-WORLD novel in which the redoubtable Professor Challenger leads an expedition to a plateau in South America where dinosaurs still survive. In a sequel, The Poison Belt (1913), the Earth faces disaster as a result of atmospheric poisoning. "The Horror of the Heights" (1913) is an account of strange forms of life inhabiting the upper atmosphere. The novelette "Danger!" (1914; reprinted in Danger!, and Other Stories, coll 1918) is Doyle's contribution to the imminent- WAR genre, anticipating submarine attacks on shipping - a prophecy received sceptically by the Admiralty but validated within months.ACD's post-WWI passion for the paranormal, which led him to such excesses as the endorsement of Elsie Wright's and Frances Griffiths's clumsily faked photographs of the "Cottingley fairies" in The Coming of the Fairies (1922), strongly infects his later sf. In The Land of Mist (1926) Challenger is converted to spiritualism; the remaining stories in the series-which can be found alongside the titular occult romance in The Maracot Deep and Other Stories (coll 1929) as well as in The Professor Challenger Stories (omni 1952; vt The Complete Professor Challenger) - are weak, though "When the World Screamed" (1929) is a striking early LIVING-WORLD tale.ACD's earlier short stories, including numerous fantasies and a few trivial sf stories not mentioned above, exist in many collections, including The Captain of the Polestar and Other Tales (coll 1890), The Great Keinplatz Experiment, and Other Stories (coll 1894 US; rev vt The Great Keinplatz Experiment, and Other Tales of Twilight and the Unseen 1919 US), and Round the Red Lamp: Being Facts and Fancies of Medical Life (coll 1894), most of whose contents are reprinted in The Conan Doyle Stories (coll 1929). The Best Science Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle (coll 1981), ed Charles G. WAUGH and Martin H. GREENBERG, collects almost all of his shorter sf; one notable exception is an interesting essay in alternative history (ALTERNATE WORLDS), "The Death Voyage" (The Strand 1929).Since Sherlock Holmes fell into the public domain the character has been popular in sf stories, appearing in key roles in, among others, Morlock Night * (1979) by K.W. JETER, Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds * (1975) by Manly Wade and Wade WELLMAN, Exit Sherlock Holmes * (1977) by Robert Lee HALL, Dr Jekyll and Mr Holmes * (1979) by Loren D. Estleman and Time for Sherlock Holmes * (1983) by David DVORKIN. Druid's Blood (1988) by Esther M. Friesner features Holmes (here called Brihtric Donne) in an alternate world where MAGIC works; ACD himself appears as Arthur Elric Boyle. The first novel of this "revival", The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974) by Nicholas Meyer is of sf interest in that it involves early psychoanalysis (PSYCHOLOGY) and the father of psychoanalysis himself, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). A relevant anthology is Sherlock Holmes through Time and Space (anth 1984) ed Isaac ASIMOV, Martin H. GREENBERG and Charles G. WAUGH.
   Other works: The Best Supernatural Tales of Arthur Conan Doyle (coll 1979 US) ed E.F. BLEILER; The Supernatural Tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (anth 1987) ed Peter Haining.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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  • Doyle,Sir Arthur Conan — Doyle (doil), Sir Arthur Conan. 1859 1930. British writer known chiefly for a series of stories featuring the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes, including The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902). * * * …   Universalium

  • Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan —    LL.D. (b. 1859)    Novelist. A Study in Scarlet (1887), Micah Clarke (1888), The Sign of Four (1889), White Company (1890), Firm of Girdlestone (1890), Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1891), Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893), Exploits of… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

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  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — Arthur Conan Doyle Arthur Conan Doyle …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur — born May 22, 1859, Edinburgh, Scot. died July 7, 1930, Crowborough, Sussex, Eng. Scottish writer. He became a doctor and practiced until 1891, studying with Dr. Joseph Bell, who was the model for his fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. Conan… …   Universalium

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  • Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur — (22 may. 1859, Edimburgo, Escocia–7 jul. 1930, Crowborough, Sussex, Inglaterra). Escritor escocés. Médico de profesión, se inspiró en uno de sus profesores, el doctor Joseph Bell, para crear el famoso personaje Sherlock Holmes. Ejerció la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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