I don't think the word "pastiche" gets used more by any other group of human beings than Sherlock Holmes fans. What's kind of amusing to me is that unlike the "elite devotee," pastiche commentators are usually use their very fine word to describe something they find of lesser quality. It's also kind of curious to me that one of my more (to my eyes) mundane blogs a couple of days ago got a few more eyes for being on that topic.
It's one of those topics that never becomes less controversial. Heck, I'd even argue with myself on that topic. When I was between 18 and 35, I read a ton of pastiche, both fan written and professional. Even wrote a bit myself. It's what an enthusiastic freshman Sherlockian does. Later, between ages 40 and 55, they just became very had to read . . . or maybe there just wasn't a writer taking to the keyboard who could quite excite my more jaded tastes. Nothing is ever quite so good as every single thing that occurs when we're young. Or so it seems sometimes.
But just because we might become old and jaded doesn't mean we're untouchable. Discovering BBC Sherlock was like that first read of the first Harry Potter for me, one of those moments when you know something special just occurred, when you feel little switches getting flipped in your very soul that don't often turn over. I know for certain that particular Holmes pastiche didn't do it for everyone. I can think of a few folks who didn't make it through the first episode. But I'm sure those fans have their triggers as well . . . heck, CBS's accursed Elementary might be their cola of choice. If you've ever been a fan of Holmes, there are some triggers in there somewhere, just waiting for the right finger to pull them.
Because we all started somewhere. And as much as we might rally around the Canon, the original sixty stories, as the source of all the Sherlock goodness, I would bet that most Sherlockians out there have gotten more hours of enjoyment out of Sherlock Holmes as presented by persons other than Conan Doyle, if the totals were added up and put into a pretty graph.
There is just so much Sherlock out there. And lots of fun to be had. Which is why pastiches are such a hot button issue with Sherlockians. We roll the dice every time we look into a new Sherlock Holmes. We might hit the jackpot, but most times we just lose our bet. Over time, a lot of us become bitter and leave the game rather than place another losing bet on another Sherlock.
These days there are so many more amateur productions easily available, thanks to Amazon and the like, books that often see less peer review before publishing than an old-school fanzine, the game can seem more like a state lottery than a spin of the roulette wheel. So many chances to lose your money on a bad guess. And yet, there's always the chance that somewhere in the million monkeys we're going to get a Shakespeare of Sherlock. So fans keep writing, and fans keep reading.
And when that Shakespeare of Sherlock does come along, you can bet that there's going to be at least one fan out there ready to say his work sucks, royally. Because fans are going to keep getting old and jaded in the process as well.
Old and jaded? I prefer to think of it as older and wiser.ReplyDelete
Once I hit 50, I realized there's little time left, so it had better be spent on the classics rather than the ever present glut of cheap fiction. It boggles my mind that, despite years in academia, I've never actually read any Mark Twain or D. H. Lawrence or quite a few others in the pantheon. But, unless a 16 ton weight falls on my head, I sure as hell will...
"When I was between 18 and 35, I read a ton of pastiche.... It's what an enthusiastic freshman Sherlockian does. Later, between ages 40 and 55, they just became very had [hard?] to read . . . or maybe there just wasn't a writer taking to the keyboard who could quite excite my more jaded tastes."--B.K. "Once I hit 50, I realized there's little time left, so it had better be spent on the classics rather than the ever present glut of cheap fiction."--D.M. Exactly so, gentlemen. I am grateful to those who read pastiches and review them so that if there is something out there worthwhile to read I *may* check it out. (I'm glad to have read "Dust and Shadow" and "The Hound of the D'Urbervilles"recently.) Too much chaff, not enough wheat and rereading Doyle still satisfies. Can a very good pastiche read for the first time be as savory as "The Hound" or "Sign" after the tenth meal? Increasingly, the answer is no."Older and wiser" and perhaps a bit sadder.ReplyDelete
You know, David, I have had the same idea. I am much more discerning about what I spend my time reading because I have less time left. And there is a lot I want and need to read.ReplyDelete
I suspect that I am not so much different than a lot of Sherlockian collectors: collecting it and actually reading it (or reading it carefully anyway) are different things. And while I do indeed spend a lot of time reading Sherlockiana, from the canon to the writings to (yes) pastiche, my friends who see that collection are always suprised to learn that I, by far, mostly read other things.
And I find it hard to re-read many books (excepting the canon and there is a limit even to that), because there are so many books that I haven't read and want to read. And if I live another 30 years, even at 100 books a year, that's just 3,000 books. And while that might seem like a lot, a simple visit to a library or a large bookstore tells you it's not. So if I have only 3,000 books left to read in this lifetime, I am very, very unlikely (even if I overcome my initial suspicions to give it a try) to get past that gross grammatical mistake or spelling error or totally unconvincing premise in the first two pages of your POD pastiche.