Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spock and Sherlock 2012

Trivia time: Can you name a movie of the last few years that featured, not one, but three people who claimed Sherlock Holmes as an ancestor?

I'll wait here for a moment, if you want to think about it.

If you came up with the title, chances are that you are one of those folks we might call the "Sherlekkie."

And as much as that looks like a mispelling of some rare Holmes fan who's really into Conan Doyle's second wife, Jean Leckie, it's not. The movie that's answers the trivia question is the 2009 Star Trek, which feature the Leonard Nimoy version of Mr. Spock, who once quoted Holmes as "an ancestor of mine" in a previous movie, as well as the younger version of himself played by Zachary Quinto. Since the two Spocks came to exist together in the same timeline, they count as two people but both share that same ancestor. And since Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson (played by Winona Ryder), was obviously the source of his human genetics, she too qualifies as a descendant of Sherlock Holmes.

Geeky enough for you?

Tying Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek together goes back as far as Star Trek itself. Mr. Spock's Vulcan logic found its natural predecessor in Sherlock Holmes's powers of deduction, and fans of one have long been, quite naturally, fans of the other. Even Spock's attempted Star Trek: The Next Generation replacement character, Mr. Data, went so far as to don deerstalker and Invernesse cloak at least once.

One of the great dismays of my Sherlockian life was the demise of a great little fanzine called The Holmesian Federation that centered on crossing over Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek, but wandered into many another fandom as well (the apparent source of its demise due to a copyright infringement case). With Star Trek proving to have seemingly as much long-term viability as Sherlock Holmes these days, it's a real shame that tradition couldn't have continued.

Of course, with the wide open world of the internet, who's to say it won't or hasn't.

And consider this little notion: Mr. Spock said, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, just said, "An ancestor of mine maintained that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. If we did not fire those torpedoes, another ship did."

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would dearly love to see fanfic crossing over Zachary Quinto's Spock with Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes (Despite the inevitable, "Hey, you look like that villain Gary Mitchell!" that's sure to be coming from the May movie). After all, Cumberbatch's Holmes used the "improbable/impossible" line in "The Hounds of Baskerville," so he could be the ancestor of Spock's instead of Victorian Sherlock Holmes . . . except for that one small thing.

Watson calls Sherlock "Spock" in that same episode, which creates an inter-fiction paradox that seems inescapable. Unless, of course, we can convince ourselves that Watson was comparing Sherlock to Dr. Spock the popular baby doctor of decades past. Finally! A use for that Mr. Spock/Dr. Spock confusion that has plagued Trekkies for years!

And if the Quinto Spock can be an ancestor of Cumberbatch Sherlock . . . and the Benedict Cumberbatch villain of the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness has those Cumberbatch looks that definitely make him, too, a descendant of Cumberbatch Holmes (Re-read The Hound of the Baskervilles -- it's that Sir Hugo/Stapleton thing all over again!) . . . well, can you spell "Sherlekkie geekgasm?" (There's a spelling bee nightmare.)

Two more descendents of Sherlock in the same movie! Is this a great world, or what?


  1. Live long and prosper.

    And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't share this (all in good humor, as it's not too far from the Vendors Room at the BSI).

    1. Interesting thing about that skit: Having been to many a Star Trek convention in that era, I always found it ringing a bit false due to the gender breakdown. The conventions were predominantly female. There were some guys, sure, but the Q&A's I was at had mostly ladies doing the talking.