On Sherlock the Ratiocinative Android

Today I realized how entirely appropriate it was that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss cast Martin Freeman as John H. Watson in the BBC’s Sherlock.

No, it’s not Freeman’s unbridled everyman-neess nor his stolid Britishness.

Rather, it’s the obvious fact that Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes is clearly the latest product of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Besides being “a bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes,” the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation also manufactured Marvin the Paranoid Android who wasn’t paranoid so much as he was clinically, sardonically depressed.

But why would I say that Sherlock must be a product of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?

Consider this passage from chapter twenty of Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in which the crew of the Heart of Gold is discussing the question of “42” that’s encoded into Arthur Dent:

A low voice echoed dully around the cabin.

“I know,” said Marvin.

Ford called out from the controls he was fighting a losing battle with.

“Stay out of this,” he said. “This is organism talk.”

“It’s printed in the Earthman’s brainwave patterns,” continued Marvin, “but I don’t suppose you’ll be very interested in knowing that.”

“You mean,” said Arthur, “you mean you can see into my mind?”

“Yes,” said Marvin.

Arthur stared in astonishment.

“And…?” he said.

“It amazes me how you can manage to live in anything that small.”

And Sherlock famously in “A Study in Pink” echoes Marvin’s perception of humanity’s cranial capacity thusly:

“Dear God, what is it like in your funny little brains, it must be so boring. Look at you lot, you’re all so vacant.

Thus, after tangling with Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Martin Freeman is matched to Sherlock the Ratiocinative Android in Sherlock.

Admittedly, the evidence for Sherlock’s construction in the factories of Sirius B is thin. But it’s not impossible, merely improbable, and as Sherlock himself might say, “When you have eliminated the impossible, that which remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

And almost certainly power the Heart of Gold, come to think of it.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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