That's a weird statement to feel like one has to make at the beginning of an essay, but it seems to be something the internet makes necessary. Especially these days, when I haven't been able to get to as many Sherlockian events as I'd like to, and I'm feeling a bit guilty for not keeping up with as many old friends as I'd like. Because when your primary Sherlockian existence is on the internet, you definitely lose the "real people" side of things you'd be getting if you were discussing the same topic over a drink at some cozy establishment.
I knew I was stepping out on to a minefield this week with open considerations of fan fic. It's a fascinating topic, one that is having a huge influence on Sherlockian culture, and one that has some very strong opinions on both the "Love it!" and "Hate it!" sides. And it is far too easy to step on toes when writing upon the subject, as some folks actually seem to extend their feet into the aisle just waiting for you to walk through.
Where it really gets interesting is when a conversation gets going on Twitter, which one only seems to be getting a disjointed portion of in some parts, as I suspect someone has blocked me (I'm a nice guy, really!). And Twitter is a durned hard place to explain something at length, though I am obliged to @spacefall for giving it a try. Fanzines of the 1990s are an interesting terrain, and apparently the Sherlockian fanzine publishers I was hanging out with at MediaWest*Con back in those days weren't entirely representative of the entirety of Sherlockian fanzine culture of the time.
We all only have our own perspective to go on, and some of us are ready and willing to be educated otherwise and spread the word when we're wrong.
How far back does Johnlock fanfic actually go? Well, I'm hearing evidence back to 1990 now, and there probably were isolated examples before that. What was the first tale included in a mediazine collection? What was the first volume devoted entirely to Holmes/Watson fanfic? With print runs of a hundred or less, they can be a bit difficult to track down, and they certainly weren't having the impact of the Trek stuff or some others. And before the 1960s, fan publications had a very hard time existing just due to limited printing options. Those things are a little hard to track. And even harder to get a feel for their true context.
As Johnlock moves into its place in Sherlockiana going forward, we shouldn't conflate it too strongly with the history of Sherlockiana already on the record books. The article that helped inspire my last blog made it sound like Rex Stout was a Johnlocker, which got a bit weird. And the thought that even Doyle had them originally in mind as a gay couple? Well, it's a thought. I'll give it that. But the moon landing being filmed on a Hollywood sound stage is also a thought. (Not saying it's completely crazy -- it does make chronology work better.)
So, anyway, some days I wish we could all sit down and discuss this stuff. Most of us are actually pretty nice people, fun to have dinner with, all that stuff. Not offensive at all in person. Kind to children and animals.
Especially with yet another Minneapolis conference coming up, which have always been my favorites. So many folks I will yet again miss talking to in person . . . so back to struggling to get by with this internet thing.