Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fics and recs, fics and recs, what would we do without fics and recs?

The latest episode of the Three Patch Podcast came out this week, and even though they are mammoth beasties nigh three hours in length that could seem fearsome to the average Sherlockian of the pre-Cumberbatch era, I waded into it with great eagerness.

It featured their reportage on and during 221B Con, among other delights, and I looked forward to one last look back at that grand event. The thing I would mention, however, to any other pre-Cumberbatcher who has not yet acclimated themselves to this new world of Sherlockiana, is that much of the creative impulses of these new Sherlockians center around fan fiction.

Fan fiction. It's a place where many a first-time writer finds their voice and others, sad to say, a bit of writerly disappointment, as in any field of literature. I don't claim to be an expert on the genre, being a fellow who finds himself standing on the edge of that great sea, poking the occasional toe in to test the water. But I've spent enough time looking out at that sea of late to realize what those who keep it at a distance may have missed: it is no small, nor unimportant, thing.

Consider the way our world is going. Intellectual property rights are being tied up by corporate entities left and right. Economic factors are eating away at the middle class, leaving more and more of us without excess funds to spend on luxuries. Put those two things together and you get a prime driver for fan fiction being one of the next great areas of literary development.

Because it's free. It's all free. Free to do what you want, free to read, free to write. Free, free, free.

And that means open access for both artists and audiences. True, we may one day look back on this era as the wild West before the corporations cracked down on their intellectual properties, only allowing fan fiction by licensed entities or the like. But for now, we have a marvelous terrain where entire generations of wordsmiths can sharpen their pens.

That said, one must not make the mistake of viewing this great sea of new literature as amateur clap-trap, not worth the bits and bites that store it. Because where you hear of fan fiction, you'll soon hear of recommendations. Fics and recs, coming together like salt and pepper, Bonnie and Clyde, tisket and tasket . . . .

Because writers aren't just writing fan fiction. Readers are reading fan fiction. And loving it. Hard.

Sherlock fandom literally has fandoms within the fandom, enthusiasts for particular stories and novels within its genres. And it has genres within genres, worlds within worlds, which is what makes it anything but some boring little fandom dead-end one can just write off. (Solar Pons societies, anyone? Sorry -- I'm sure there must be one or two of you Pons fans still die-harding it out there.)

The Three-Patch Podcasts continue to delight, humble, and exhaust me with all the thought and energy that goes into them, and their latest episode is no different. I suppose I should have written an actual review of it here, but the thing about Three-Patch . . . if you give them an open-minded listen, they will certain make you think. And that's where I wind up wandering off with a blog on a larger view of fan fiction, as "We knew that!" as it might be to fans of greater depth than I.

Onward, happily, onward.


  1. Boy it is exhausting to think about a 3 hour podcast. I believe you'd classify me as a pre-Cumberbatcher. I'm not yet convinced about fan fiction at this volume is good. Since we pre-C have lived through a lot of bad pastiches and now are hit with MX publishing with low standards. Since anybody can post fan fiction I assume there is some awful stuff mixed with good. Reminds be of the 1950's Mystery Magazine era. Then somebody systematically selected the masterpieces for anthologies moving the stories into a more permanent format. Other than other fan recommendations do you think the good writing will emerge into some readable for me like a book?
    Do you have one fan fiction author that you can recommend to me to sample?

    1. Still working on my own recommendations, but they are coming!

    2. Still working on my own recommendations, but they are coming!

  2. Oh, may I? Please, please? I'd like to recommend my absolute favourite BBC Sherlock fanfiction:

    Genius Loci by Silverpard

    And following these two:

    Never Have I Ever by Awanderingbard

    The Holmes Revolution by Awanderingbard

    They're really nice and - even for an old-school Sherlockian - not a bit embarrassing.

  3. If any one decides to follow my recs and read one of these, it would be nice, if you'd let me know how you liked them.

    1. I thought the ones by awanderingbard were charming.

  4. I tried to read the recommended AO3 stories. Genius Loci had an unconventional style without puctuation and differing fonts and colors that was a distraction. The two by Awanderingbard were both about alcohol and intoxication rather than ratiocination and deduction. I doubt if either could be selected for an anthology of best Sherlock Holmes stories.
    I will wait to see what Brad can offer but I really think it best to avoid AO3. I am about to start the new Mary Russell book and see if I can get a bootleg copy of Mr. Holmes before the US release in July.

  5. Thank you for letting me know. I, otoh, avoid the Mary Russell stories like the plague they are in my eyes.

  6. Fanfiction has already passed through one era of attempted corporate control (touched on in Anne Jamison's great book, mysteriously titled _Fic_ ; see also articles on Fanlore like this: . As people have been squatting in the interstices of stories since before the invention of writing, I don't think capitalism has a chance of controlling it, in the end.