Bill Barton has been an avid Sherlockian since reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in a Children’s Literature class in college. (He’d enjoyed the Rathbone and other Holmes movies prior to that, but had previously read only one of the original stories in a high-school English class.) Bill attended his first scion meeting in December 1979, a Victorian pitch-in dinner held by the recently revived Illustrious Clients. He joined the scion and, over the next several years, served twice as secretary/newsletter editor (Lomax) and once each as vice-president (DeMerville of Kyber Fame) and president (The Illustrious Client), during the revived scion’s heyday. (He never missed a meeting for 11 years, and not many for the next seven years that he remained a member.) During that period, he wrote, directed, and performed in four short Sherlockian plays for the scion (parodies such as “The Scion of Four” and “The Final Pablum”), three of which were collected in The Play’s Afoot! (now out of print). He also contributed a short pastiche to The Illustrious Clients Case-Notes and co-edited The Illustrious Clients Fourth Casebook, to which he contributed a “fill-in-the-blank, do-it-yourself” pastiche.
Bill’s other Sherlockian activities include writing much of the script for a progressive mystery play, From Dark Pages, presented at Halloween for many years at the Victorian-era Morris Butler House, in Indianapolis. (The first two years of the production, he played the part of Sherlock Holmes.) He also served as News and Reviews Editor for most of the run of The Sherlock Holmes Review. An award-winning role-playing game author, Bill slipped Sherlockian references into all the games and supplements that he wrote (for example, The Deerstalker Nebula in a science-fiction Space Atlas), and he even designed an entire supplement for Chaosium’s H.P. Lovecraft game, Call of Cthulhu, that he set in the 1890s London of Holmes: Cthulhu By Gaslight. His modern RPG, So Ya Wanna Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star! A Rock ‘N’ Role-playing Game, includes a Sherlockian-themed band, Sherlock & the CDs. (For information, check out his Web site at http://bill-barton-games.iwarp.com/.) He’s currently working on a Victorian worldbook (GURPS Gaslight) for Steve Jackson Games. Bill also played standup bass for several years in a folk band playing 19th-century music, and as a songwriter has penned several Sherlockian songs, most of which he’s performed at various scion meetings. His other interests include biblical history/prophecy, Fortean phenomena, Japanese Kaiju, Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, and science fiction in general. Future projects include a compilation of his Sherlockian ephemera and a cross-genre Victorian novel featuring a certain London detective.
Bill’s most recent Sherlockian endeavor was to co-found Indianapolis’ newest scion, The Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore, in January 2002, with several other former members of his previous scion. He currently serves as president (Barker) of the Hated Rivals and hopes with the new group to recapture some of the fun and variety that characterized the Illustrious Clients during the 1980s.
Bill holds a BA in English Composition/Journalism from I.U.P.U.I. and, in addition to his occasional freelance writing, has worked professionally for more than 20 years as a copy editor, including three years at The Saturday Evening Post in the early ’80s. He currently works as a Senior Copy Editor for Wiley Publishing (formerly IDG Books Worldwide), where he’s edited many titles in the popular For Dummies and CliffsNotes lines of trade and technical books. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Vicki, and three cats (none of which have Sherlockian names, although he and his wife did own a big, long-haired tabby named Watson, who lived to the venerable age of 15-quite respectable for a cat).