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More Solar Pons

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017 in Pastiche, Pulps, Reprints, Review, Sherlock Holmes
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

More Solar Pons

'The Dossier of Solar Pons'Solar Pons is popular pastiche of Sherlock Holmes that was created by August Derleth and continued by Basil Copper. I previously posted on him, and at the time bemoaned the fact that while the Derleth Pons stories are still in print, no one has brought back the Copper ones.

Well, now that has changed.

Thanks to the work of Stephen Jones, PS Publishing in the United Kingdom has brought back into print all of Basil Copper‘s Solar Pons stories in hardback and now seven paperback volumes. And these are the definitive versions, as they restore the text that had been altered by Pinnacle Books. And I loved the fact they kept Pinnacle’s “Solar Pons” logo, though the cover artwork is new and very nice.

The volumes are:

  1. The Dossier of Solar Pons
  2. The Further Adventures of Solar Pons
  3. Some Uncollected Cases of Solar Pons
  4. The Secret Files of Solar Pons
  5. The Exploits of Solar Pons
  6. The Recollections of Solar Pons
  7. The Solar Pons Companion

The titles match (more or less) the Pinnacle editions, as they were the original planned titles. Copper had planned for six volumes of Solar Pons stories, but Pinnacle stopped after four. Fedogan and Bremer published the last two. Scarab Press books were basically the unpublished novel, The Devil’s Claw, and restored Pons stories.  The Devil’s Claw is included in volume #6.

The Solar Pons CompanionThe seventh volume by PS Publishing is a collection of “altered” stories and non-fiction material. The intro gives the “story” behind Copper coming to write the new Solar Pons works, and the long road to get them in print. It also explains the problems with The Solar Pons Omnibus of Derleth’s stories that Copper edited. Copper was fixing the Americanism in the text, making the language more accurate to British usage and the like. But this upset purists. Funny thing is Copper had to deal with the reverse happening with his Pons stories being altered by Pinnacle editors who did not understand proper British expressions.

We get a trio of articles by Copper on the Solar Pons story plots, the characters, and Pons’ sayings. Copper wrote up plot ideas for Pons, which he would cross off once used, and we get a facsimile reprint of this, which is interesting.

The cover artist for all the Pinnacle Solar Pons works was Ben Stahl, and we get a short article about him and the covers of the four Basil Copper volumes reprinted here, tho sadly in black and white.

Finally, we get three stories. Two are the altered versions of two stories. These were printed in the original collections, but the originals were restored in this new series, so we get the altered versions here. In case that’s not clear, Copper for various reasons altered these stories before publication, and those were the ones first printed. First up is “The Adventure of the Defeated Doctor,” which replaced the original character with Dr. Fu Manchu (done as a nod to Derleth using him in the Pons stories, but just referring to him as “The Doctor”). The second is “The Adventure of the Agonised Actor,” which has the original name of the actor used. The final story is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche that Copper wrote.

If you haven’t read the Basil Copper Solar Pons stories, here is your chance.  It appears the Pinnacle volume are a bit pricey if you find them. I’ll be getting these volumes to get the few stories I haven’t read.

Now, I have also learned of a new, and authorized, collection of Solar Pons stories! The Papers of Solar Pons by David Marcum has recently come out. I haven’t gotten it, but plan to. One story is intended as an “origin” of Solar Pons. The only thing I am disappointed in (other than the high price for a paperback) is that the publisher didn’t make use of the Pinnacle Solar Pons logo! I hope to do a more indepth review once I get my hands on one.

3 Comments

  1. I wrote one of the intros for the new Marcum collection. And there’s only website devoted to Solar Pons, which you can find at: http://www.solarpons.com/

  2. Michael – I hope that you enjoy the book! We discussed using the Pinnacle Pons logo, but – while I had the authorization and permission from the Derleth Heirs to write the book, as they own Solar Pons – the ownership of the logo was uncertain. – David Marcum

    • I haven’t yet got the book, but hope to. As PS used the old Pinnacle logo, I would have thought they checked into its usage, and they could have advised.

What do you think?