Friday, November 15, 2019

The Watsonian beats The Sherlockian?

As the editor of The Watsonian, I feel obligated to point out the following milestone:

The Watsonian has now had more issues and been active for more years than The Sherlockian.

Started as a Sherlockian quarterly by publisher Magico Magazine, The Sherlockian came in huge out of the gate. Edited by the hard-working Kelvin I Jones, and with articles in the first issue by luminaries like Roger Johnson and Michael Hardwick.

The opening editorial spoke of the ephemeral nature of Sherlockian journals, spoke of the need for a British journal to supplement The Sherlock Holmes Journal's limits on only being able to publish so many articles, and stated, "It is the opinion of your obsequious editor that the pastiche should and must be encouraged." The journal had worthy goals, but still knew well the field it was venturing out to play upon.

The Baker Street Journal and The Sherlock Holmes Journal both have societies built up to the point of "institution" to support their ongoing existence, and the BSJ is definitely helped by the hope that writing for it might aid one's path to the BSI shilling, whether or not that's true. And while The Watsonian might not have as mighty a society behind it as those two organs, we still do benefit from having some population banded together as members of the John H. Watson Society. The Sherlockian was doing a very bold thing in going out without a group and just soliciting writers on its existence alone.

And on a quarterly basis, that's something to attempt.

I don't recall it being subscription based, but issues you could order from Magico's catalog, along with your other Sherlockian purchases. Like The Watsonian, it pretty much stuck with the same cover every issue, though printing that cover on different color stock, and it came out with six issues over the course of five years, if I remember correctly. And thought not purposefully, there sure were a lot of articles somehow tied to The Hound of the Baskervilles as the journal went on. But solid works throughout.

Growing up with three siblings, I think I gained a bit of a competitive streak, and during the eighties I would always look at all the journals out there to see if Kelvin I. Jones had more articles than I had published in a given crop. He was better at it than I, and having a target competitor in a given market, even if that person never knows it, can be a decent motivator.

So if you wonder why, oh, why, did I have to point out that The Watsonian passed up The Sherlockian at this point, even though Kelvin Jones edited that journal for its entire run, and I have just started on The Watsonian, you might add that little reason to the basket. Envy gets us a lot of things, even presidents, sometimes. Plus, I mean, Watsonian/Sherlockian . . . the similarity of name is enough to go back and celebrate a moment of Sherlockian publishing history alone, as if we ever need a reason.

And who knows? Maybe The Sherlockian will come back again someday and retake the crown!

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