Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Am I having Wisteria hysteria? Or a glimpse of the truth!

Those of us who prefer analog to digital clocks know that even a broken clock is right twice a day, at least if it isn't the hands that have broken off.  And likewise, even the most crackpot of theories can have a grain or two of truth. But then again, we can give a theory a bit more than its due for our own reasons, as well.

In John Allen's Shadow Woman: The Real Creator of Sherlock Holmes, Allen puts forth the very wild theory that Conan Doyle's two wives wrote practically the entire Sherlockian Canon. Louise got her licks in up until "Final Problem," then Jean took over sometime later.  The idea that Conan Doyle would put his name on works someone else wrote is as ludicrous as the idea that he was Watson's litera . . . oh, wait, we like that one, don't we? It's our Santa Claus, a cherished tradition, if not, perhaps what proper historians will accept from us.

But all those Sherlock Holmes stories being written by Louise or Jean? That's just a bridge too far . . . well, with one exception for me.

"The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge."

There may be other stories held up as the worst of the Canon, but for me that one deserves special recognition. First, it has that ridiculous 1892 date to it, being the only story to fall between "Final Problem" and "Empty House." It's a level of error that I can't believe Conan Doyle capable of, despite all the other slips of season or month we've seen him do. And when was "Wisteria Lodge" published?

August of 1908. About a month shy of a year since Conan Doyle married Jean Leckie. It had been four years since he had published anything about Sherlock Holmes. He had spent all of 1908 up until that time honeymooning and playing a lot of cricket, plainly feeling full of manly vigor.

And along comes "Wisteria Lodge." Watson thinks it's 1892. Sherlock is talking about "Colonel Carruthers" when you know he has to mean Moran and the true end of the Moriarty empire. Holmes's big deduction is "But no one can glance at your toilet and attire without seeing that your distubance dates from the moment of your waking." Wow, he can tell when someone just got up and ran out that morning! Genius!

The writer of "Wisteria Lodge" suffers from that weakness of so many pastiche writers: They want to use Sherlock Holmes, but don't know exactly what to do with him. And while I find the idea that Conan Doyle would let his wives write most of Sherlock Holmes, the thought that he would let his second wife -- the one whose spirit-possessed scribblings he would later find worth publishing -- try her hand does not seem that out of the question. Conan Doyle was plainly all kinds of smitten over Jean Leckie, and, like I said, he did do crazier things with her involved.

Is it telling that he put "Wisteria Lodge" as the lead in the collection of His Last Bow, to be followed by a tale he was a bit ashamed of, one about marital infidelity from the decade before? Or that "Bruce-Partington Plans," which followed "Wisteria Lodge" by a few months in original publication, was a return to the original Conan Doyle "snap" of a writing style, which seemed lost a few months before?

I may disagree with John Allen on fifty-nine other stories, but when it comes to "Wisteria Lodge," I am a little more suspicious of Conan Doyle letting his heart over-ride his authorial integrity "just one time" during his honeymoon year.

And it wasn't like Watson was writing for him in 1908, anyway, as Sherlock Holmes had to write up his own 1907 adventure with the "Lion's Mane." I mean, come on!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Yon grate beastie ye call "Sherlockiana"

 Do you ever just try to figure out what's going on with Sherlockiana? There's Sherlock Holmes at the center, of course, looking different from every angle. But surrounding him is the greater mass of cultural protoplasm, and always staying nearest to that attractive detective center are his faithful, those who stick around after the credits have rolled. And as fascinating as the man himself can be, that big shifting Lovecraftian formless life form around him is just as intriguing a study.

This week's "Interesting Though Elementary" interview from Rob Nunn set me pondering the current form of Sherlockiana yet again. Heather Hinson had expressed the thought that "Sherlockian fandom has two distinct groups, the devout media fandom, and the devout academic fandom." She qualified that, of course, saying, "There is some meshing between both, but a portion of the fandom is either one or the other."

Now, we're all going to squeal a bit and go, "But I'm more than that!" Personally, before reading Heather's interview I was thinking about how so much of Sherlockiana is now pastiche writers versus historical scholars. (Not that they fight or anything.) There are areas like MX Publishing that are just pastiche wild, while older resources like The Baker Street Journal have settled into more researched and footnoted works on actual people and events. There's room for it all out there, though, so while you might hear a Sherlockian go, "I really prefer this or that," I don't think I've ever heard "All these pastiches are going to wipe out serious study!"

Sometimes I fear that all the imagination people are going toward pastiches while all of the research people are going toward historical fact pieces, and we might lose that charming mix of the two we call the Game, grand or great. But that certainly isn't happening. The number of people with an interest in something as arcane as Sherlockian chronology that I've encountered certainly disproves that. And one can always find folks willing to debate Watson's relationship with Australia or what was going on with that marriage situation. And shippers have been with us forever, even if they didn't know that's what they were called when middle-aged men were sure Sherlock and Irene were bound to get in on.

Crafters. Collectors. Cosplayers. Curmudgeons. And that's in just the "C" categories of Sherlockians. Sherlockiana is as big as the world, because it is a world now, and hard to hold in one human brain, as hard as one of those Lovecraftian thingies that would drive a man mad just to look upon it. But the great part is -- and here's where the metaphor gets weird -- the great beastie has udders. A near infinite number of milk-able teats that produce fortifying sustenance for the thirsty mind.

Sometimes, ya just gotta give up trying to parse it all out and grab an udder and squeeze. Maybe aim and try to hit a nearby barn cat, like my great uncle used to do. Because that barn cat is probably a Sherlockian too.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Wednesday Holmes?

 Having just begun the new series Wednesday on Netflix, I'm thinking that this incarnation of Wednesday Addams has a lot of Sherlock Holmes in her.

No, not that she has mysterious to solve. More in her personality. The dark detachment, her private school practice of fencing, playing something moody on a cello, which isn't all that far from a violin . . . and a decided interest in crime, if possibly from the wrong side of it.

Not a social animal at all, she finds herself saddled with a room-mate with some Watson potential. The brother is younger, yes, and less skilled at things, but Wednesday's parents seem to serve as her Mycroft. She has a housemother that fills her Mrs. Hudson spot. Her new psychic visions fill a bit of the detective powers requirement. And here's the odd thing . . .

So far, Wednesday actually seems more like a proper "young Sherlock Holmes" to me than the actual movie Young Sherlock Holmes.  (That movie always had its problems, character-wise, in any case.)

'Tis a pity Netflix does not have the time, money, or creative freedom just to make an Enola Holmes/Wednesday Addams team-up special. The contrast between the characters is actually an interesting study in what makes Sherlock Holmes his full self.

But there's a whole series left to watch -- I was very surprised that it wasn't just a one-off movie with some of the names involved. Let us see how the rest goes.

The gratitudes of Sherlock Holmes

 Sometimes I get tired of the Maxie Sunshines preaching "gratitude" at us.

Human resources departments push seminars on gratitude as "lunch and learns" so you can spend your free moments learning to just be happy with whatever bad job situation they might be dealing to you. Self-help industrialists add it to their bag of tools for selling yet another book. And, like all else, it has its time and its place.

What was its place in the lore of Sherlock Holmes?

Well, let's start with "the old crone" who showed up at Baker Street to reclaim her daughter's wedding ring in A Study in Scarlet, so full of gratitude for getting the ring back before Holmes went, "Old woman be damned!" and started chasing her cab. Her gratitude was as much a pose as her age and gender.

There was the theoretical "love and gratitude" of a niece, adopted by her uncle, that was overcome with her feelings for the villain she fell in love with in "Beryl Coronet."

There were the repeated, needful words of the servant to the master, spoken by Barrymore in The Hound of the Baskervilles, that speak more of the power dynamic than fair appreciation.

Scotland Yard's Stanley Hopkins appreciating Sherlock Holmes for his usual excellent work in "Black Peter" is a pretty solid piece of gratitude.

And Sherlock Holmes has perhaps the most heartfelt moment of gratitude in the whole of the Sherlockian Canon, when he breathes "a prayer of gratitude" that Sir Henry Baskerville is still alive after the supposed hellhound attack.

On the other side of the coin, the person with the worst complaint of someone's lack of gratitude is one of the most unpleasant people Sherlock Holmes had to deal with: Josiah Amberley of "Retired Colourman."

It's easy to see that the sixty stories of Sherlock Holmes represent gratitude as a very personal choice, something one comes to as situations arise. It can be inauthentic. It can be expected. It can be delight. And it can be the recovery moment once a tragic force misses its target. Gratitude can be many things, but one thing it is not is a steady mantra of decided satisfaction with one's lot. And not another holiday-required emotional state . . . well, quite yet, as we haven't gotten a Thanksgiving Charles Dickens to arm the fans of the American holiday with a slur for those folks who choose not to get into "the spirit" of the thing.

So my gratitude on this Thursday of November is most definitely placed on all the parts of a feast day that are not yet expected nor required. May your day be phony crone free. May you not need to breathe in relief after your Canadian friends barely survive something horrid. And may you never have to travel in the company of Josiah Amberley, perhaps the worst experience Sherlock Holmes ever put upon his friend Watson.

Happy Thursday!

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Sherlockian social network

 As we watch another billionaire with a questionable agenda alter the status quo -- have a feeling this is the new norm -- those of us that had fun with Twitter are, quite naturally, looking for the next thing while monitoring the melting ice beneath us on the old thing.

The early adopters jumped on Mastodon soon enough, but Sherlockiana has not always been known for early adopters with a notable exception or two. Those who never even made it to Twitter are probably in all their Facebook glory these days, if the algorithm is letting them. But who knows? (That is the best motto for a lot of things these days: "Who knows?")

In any case, having lived in the pre-internet Sherlockian world, I have a certain faith in our connections. We all have enough e-mail and physical addresses of enough other Sherlockians who have e-mail and physical addresses that should all social media fall, we will find each other again. It might take a little more active participation in the process, but the connections are there.

Because Sherlockiana has always been a social network.

If Twitter does completely fall apart, we probably won't know who we've lost until they're gone, so hopefully everyone has made a few other connections since we've been playing on that site. And things never die quite as quickly as we expect them to . . . there could be a long, painful decline. And maybe a glorious alternative will come together, once all the ex-Twitter folks and investors come together. We shall see.

But we've still got Sherlockiana or Holmesiana or Watsoniana and all the connections we've made with whatever channel is available. And that's not going anywhere.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

So Sherlock Holmes isn't Sherlock Holmes in the Marvel Universe?

Sherlock Holmes has been in comics a long time. In his later years, he even trained Batman in detection, according to one DC Comics tale years ago. But in DC's counterpart comic company, Marvel, Sherlock Holmes has not been such a memorable figure. Spiderman quoted him once, a Master of Kung Fu character might have been related to him, but as far as actual appearances go? Not so much.

Until this month, and Immortal X-men #8.

Sherlock Holmes appears in the comic, living at 221B Baker Street in Victorian London, clients raving about his genius, pretty much being himself . . . except he's not himself.

He's Mystique.

The long-lived shape-changing mutant who has been presidents, was, in the 1800s, apparently Sherlock Holmes. Using Irene Adler, a mutant also known as Destiny, to help solve crime with her psychic powers, just to cheat at being Sherlock a bit, Mystique is running around being Sherlock Holmes.

So did the real deal die at Reichenbach after all, and she's just filling in?

Was there never a Sherlock who wasn't Mystique in Marvel's Victorian era?

Will we even get answers in a future issue?

Hard to say, but you might want to add this one to your Sherlock Holmes comic collection, it's going fast.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Getting Your Name on the Books

The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes named some new members this week at their autumn meeting, with a lot of familiar names on the list. Congratulations all 'round on that, because  . . . well, in American Sherlockiana, getting your name on the lists, be it BSI or ASH, is something most of us aspire to. Is it because we don't have knighthoods and such over here?

I don't know. But getting your name on those lists, announced and preserved more than those of any other Sherlockian club, has long been a mile marker, as well as a "blue check mark" that some editors of collections like to use to show that they've got contributors of note.

Are the letters "BSI" or "ASH" our own blue check mark? Could the head of one of those organizations pull a Elon Musk and just start selling those titles like some Scottish lord title you can buy with a square foot of land? It could happen, if the wrong billionaire ever gets their hands on the reigns, I guess. The "benevolent dictator" thing does have its dangers.

The digital age has certainly showed us how things can change, very dramatically. Getting your name on the books . . . the actual books, as in seeing your name on the spine of a book . . . used to be a very hard thing to do. Vanity publishers did exist, if you wanted to invest hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. But you couldn't just upload something to Amazon with the only investment being owning a computer with the right software and taking the time to put something book-ish together.

Yet all of these things still have the same core they've had from day one: Loving Sherlock Holmes (and hopefully John Watson) and wanting to express that love in the greatest way possible. One way to look at the bestowing of investitures in the Baker Street Irregulars or Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes is as the finish line in Sherlockian achievement, but I think I might prefer to look at them as "taking your vows" in some religious order, a statement of future committment. For what are the BSI and ASH if not brothers, sisters, and gender-non-specific siblings in the Order of Sherlock Holmes?

Perhaps I puzzle over the common customs of Sherlockiana too much on occasion, but, hey, it's what we socially awkward sorts tend to do out of habit. And, like those customs themselves, it's one more way of celebrating the deerstalkered figurehead at the center of it all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

That time Sherlock Holmes invaded America as Uncle Sam

 This fall's passing of the crown over in Britain was another reminder of the differences between "the mother country" and the United States of America. We've gone our two hundred plus years without a monarch, an ongoing apolitical figurehead, or even a national mascot. Our first candidate for such a thing was Columbia or Lady Liberty, who then had to compete with a second contender, Uncle Sam, after the War of 1812 saw his rise to cultural prominence. 

And while Uncle Sam's origins and timeline are somewhat hazy, we Sherlockians know one thing: When Sherlock Holmes had to enmesh himself in American culture, he took on the look of Uncle Sam for his invasion of America in 1912, about a hundred years after Uncle Sam was born. "His Last Bow," the story of Holmes's Uncle Sam look, was published in October of 1917, which makes a study of the rise of Uncle Sam's image an interesting thing for Sherlockians.

Uncle Sam's look, according to Wikipedia of the moment, didn't really get standardized until after the Civil War, and had one of its big moments on the cover of a magazine called Leslie's Weekly in July of 1916. Where Uncle Sam was appearing in Britain, where Watson or Conan Doyle might have seen him to compare Sherlock Holmes to, is an interesting question. What is more interesting is what might have inspired Sherlock Holmes to take on that look in 1912.

Did Sherlock Holmes see Uncle Sam's rise in American culture early enough to take on that look as comforting and welcome to American's? And would his tale of wandering America in the early part of his spy days have brought him into contact with the artists who would shape Uncle Sam's image for the rest of that century?

And with a brother like Mycroft who "was" the British government, wouldn't Mycroft have loved to see his baby brother as personifying America to feel a bit bonded with the offspring nation?

Uncle Sam definitely has an interesting place in the life of Sherlock Holmes, and one I hope we see explored further one day. (If I haven't missed somewhere it was already, which I probably have.)

Saturday, November 5, 2022

What I have never understood about Facebook.

As we all question the future of Twitter, with its quirky new egomaniac in charge, one can't help but look to Facebook as an alternative social platform, that old place full of old folks and those who just never got Twitter. But, to tell you the truth, I've never gotten Facebook.

For example, Facebook tells everyone its your birthday. A hundred people are motivated to type the words "Happy Birthday!" almost like it was a button they were voting with. It could just as well be a button they are voting with. Similarly, someone posts a selfie of one of their better looks and it gets a hundred "How cute!" or something similar repeated, making you think it could have been a button. And a part of me, sounding very "Scrooge McFacebook," goes "Why bother to express exactly the same thought someone already expressed? That's not very interesting." 

I don't type those reactions, of course, because that would be mean.

But, it's a stormy Saturday morning, and I'm feeling a little argumentative today, because I actually saw a Sherlockian question answered in that same way on Facebook, and I didn't believe everyone who repeated the most common answer was telling the truth. In fact, I wondered if they were influenced by the preceding answers to join the crowd, expressing enthusiasm for that particular answer, rather than actually thinking about the question.

Here's the other thing I hate about Facebook, though: It's organization is so messy, its algorithms so wacky, that I often cannot find something again once I leave the site and go back. I've learned to screenshot anything of importance that I really want to revisit the details of, which is hella crude and pretty stupid, but at least I can be sure of being able to see the thing again.

So I can't really quote the thread I'm mentioning above because I have lost it already, and I don't want to be imprecise in making a point that's apt to irritate a few folks. And, really, why irritate them anyway? Being a troll isn't any fun, and my opinions aren't that precious that they have to all be expressed.

But as we await the culture changes of Twitter, we're probably all going to be reconsidering our likes and dislikes of our online spaces. Sherlockiana is its own headspace, and the fans of Sherlock Holmes have built communities on places not all of us visit in the last decade or two, even as the core leadership of traditional old-school American Sherlockiana was purposefully avoiding all online spaces. "Victorian values" or something like that, even though e-mail replaced actual letters in the post. 

Where do we go from here? On a blustery Saturday morning, I sure don't know.

Friday, November 4, 2022

A Canon of Her Own

 Okay, first off . . . no spoilers for Enola Holmes 2 in the following.

The newest Millie Bobby Brown romp through Sherlock Holmes's London was enormous fun, and really made me realize how much I like it was adaptations and additions to the Sherlockian Canon vary from the classic script. Inserting a younger sister into Sherlock Holmes's life couldn't help but change a few details from the Holmes we knew of old, and this latest "What if?" of Sherlock plays its cards with marvelous finesse.

It doesn't follow Nancy Springer's work so closely, so one cannot expect Doyle to be followed as well. (Interestingly the credits thank both the Doyle Estate and Leslie Klinger.) And at this point, I think that is what I like best. For those of us that know the stories far too well, what is the better choice, anyway? An adaptation of something like "The Red-Headed League," so perfect on paper, but not created for a medium that did not exist then? (Or even theater, which its author could never get right?) Or a new tale created specifically to use the full powers of the medium in which it's being told?

Over the years we've seen far too many TV movies with original Holmes stories told by hack scriptwriters and lame TV directors. We've also seen movies like Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, which did a fine box office, and gave us a few new Holmes tropes in the bargain. Robert Downey Junior's Sherlock has his own Canon, and now Millie Bobby Brown's Enola has hers, complete with her loving brother as almost her Watson, paralleling her investigations with his own. (So he's her Lucy Liu sort of Watson, I guess!)

Me, I'm happy with letting the original sixty stories stay stories, and take all the original movie "What if?" versions of Holmes I can get. What if Holmes faced the Ripper? What if Holmes debunked the Loch Ness Monster? What if Sherlock had a sister, as well as a mother, running about with their own agendas?

There are bits of Enola Holmes 2 that we come to expect in films, but even there this one does the commonplace with a certain finesse, as I said once already. It plays the audience quite wonderfully in that respect, and what's a Sherlock Holmes story without at least one real surprise?

Something this viewer enjoys, to be sure! Here's hoping for a third installment one day!

The Death Row "Sherlock" of "The Inside Man"

 Let me start this review of Netflix's The Inside Man by saying this: I didn't have quite the grudge against Steven Moffat that some Sherlockians do after BBC Sherlock. However . . .

His new four-episode series The Inside Man on Netflix is a rather . . . unpleasant . . . thing with a Sherlock-ish character I'd have loved to see in a better show.

The series starts out with a commuter train bully so just plain yuck that he set off all my old bully alarms from high school as its hook. It was like a warning -- "This show is going to try to push your buttons, back slowly away!"

But it starred David Tennant. And we like David Tennant, right? Even as the villainous Purple Man in Jessica Jones, he was still watchable, right? And then there's Stanley Tucci, whom the good Carter and I used to think was the albatross warning of a video-store "dramedy" posing as a comedy when selecting movies at Blockbuster back in the day. Never been a fan.

But in The Inside Man, Tucci plays a death row prison inmate with Sherlock Holmes like abilities to solve mysteries. Stuck in one place like a Mycroft or Nero Wolfe, with a Watson who combines the comedic nature of a Nigel Bruce with the useful skill of a perfect memory and a clever mind, Tucci's character became the thing that kept me watching the show . . . or should I say part of the show.

The wife-murdering death row detective says early on that all it takes for anyone to commit murder is meeting "the right person," and you quickly know that is the path for David Tennant's well-off vicar in the show, who then spends the rest of the series making bad choice after bad choice as a priest covering for a pedophile. Did I say I favored Tennant over Tucci going into this show?

Watching the show I soon found I was fast-forwarding through the painful Tennant bits to get to the Tucci bits to see what he and his Watson were up to next. I can't think of a show where I ever did that before. The Tennant story would come on and skip-skip-skip, "Oh, here's the happy prison! Stop and watch this part!" 

I haven't finished it yet, and I hope Stanley Tucci somehow saves David Tennant's apparent victim before he finally kills her, But it'll probably go quickly.

Be forewarned about this one, Sherlock-ish character or no.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

A Zoomin' BSI Dinner Eve for the Rest of Us

 So, January 6th isn't that far off, and we're all starting to decide whether or not we can make New York City for the Sherlock Holmes birthday weekend. If you're one of the lucky ones, we're glad you get to do the thing. It's a good thing! But if you're stuck at home, or elsewhere with a Zoom link, we've got another thing you can do . . . the second annual Pub Night at the Dangling Prussian!

It's basically a six hour Zoom with some of the best Sherlockians you're going to meet on a Friday night Zoom the same night as the Baker Street Irregulars dinner. You can come at any time, leave at any time, but we do have a schedule of "sort of" events for your entertainment if you want to go for the whole six hour marathon with us. Here's what's currently on the agenda:

6:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Central -- Happy Hour, Welcomes, and Ice Breakers

7:00 PM Eastern/6:00 PM Central-- The Old-Timey Sherlockian Rememberin' Hour! Remember the '70s and '80s? This is the hour to tell your tales, if you can get your fellow oldsters to quit jabberin' about their own old-timey stories long enough to get yours in!

8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central -- The Official Annual Meeting of the Montague Street Incorrigibles. New members will be inducted. (All you have to do is show up!) Random programming shall occur.

9:00 PM Eastern/8:00 PM Central -- Open Mike Spotlight Hour! Recitations, poetry, song, declamations, stand-up, commemorations, salutations, abbreviations, and anything else you care to hold forth on in three to five minutes.

10:00 PM Eastern/9:00 PM Central  -- The Sherlockian Underground Reports! Our spies risk it all to report things they might not be supposed to, and we're totally there for it!

Here's the registration link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

So Many Sherlockian Cornerstones

 There have been a couple of moments lately when I was forced to stop and think about generational change in Sherlockiana. We always like to cheer "Sherlock Holmes is an immortal figure!" and think about our fandom going on into the future. And I have no doubt it will. Sherlockiana has survived a lot, and it's a pretty scalable hobby. There have been times when, world-wide, we might have only numbered in the hundreds.

But Sherlock Holmes is a part of our culture, one might argue. Those who love Sherlock Holmes are everywhere! This is true, but a fandom's population isn't usually counted in those who go, "Oh, that movie has Sherlock Holmes in it, I'll see it if I have time." No, it's that extra step, that purposeful seeking out of Sherlock material, collecting or creating, going beyond just one more thing you like.

Rob Nunn asks folks "How do you define the word 'Sherlockian'?" in his Interesting Though Elementary blog interviews, and a lot of the answers are a bit of a reaction to gate-keeping we've seen in the past, very inclusive, very open. Anyone can be a Sherlockian. All you have to do is like Sherlock Holmes . . . and self-identify as a Sherlockian. And I think that last part is key. You have. to be aware that Sherlockians (or Holmesians) exist to be able to put yourself in the category, to even think of yourself as one.

One of those gatekeeper-y lines that you used to see a lot was "You can't call yourself a true fan (though the snobs in our crowd hated "fan" and used other words) unless you have read X, Y, Z!" The "cornerstone" works, the one Sherlock Holmes thing that turned you, like drinking a vampire's blood after they bit you, the thing that made you go, "Sherlockians are real and I am one of them now."

Movies don't turn Sherlockians. Novels don't turn Sherlockians. It has to be something that shows you there are others like you out there, not just that Sherlock Holmes is cool. It's your introduction to the community, the cornerstone block that you build your internal fandom upon. A book, a journal, an event, another Sherlockian. It's a process, surely, but we all have milestones along the way, something or someone that made a difference. And those cornerstones are so era-dependent.

One of my great personal cornerstones was a book I found on a field trip to Chicago with my college French class. I had been reading pastiches like crazy, studying the Canon, even writing fic for my own enjoyment, but it was Beyond Baker Street: A Sherlockian Anthology edited and annotated by Michael Harrison that made me realize there were others out there like me. It's practically unknown today, but for me it was a revelation. Do I insist every new Sherlockian I meet has to read it to be a Sherlockian? Of course not. It was a thing of its time.

But it defined Sherlockiana for me in a way that set my course, even before I actually met another Sherlockian in person, at a club that did story quizzes and watched Rathbone films for their meetings. That statement alone seem so like ancient times now, all pre-internet when you found out about things like that from a flyer on a college lamppost. Both the invitations and and the cornerstone moments come entirely differently now. AO3 and 221B Con introduced me to so many Sherlockians who found the hobby and community without ever needing a subscription to a journal or a scion society. Their cornerstones were things I could never have even imagined just a decade before. And even though the BBC Sherlock tide has risen and fallen, those who came to our old structures from those different on-ramps are going to carry different angles and versions of this hobby into its future.

We may come to visit the same stories from Conan Doyle together, but our stories in getting here are all different, and there are a lot more of them than sixty. So many cornerstones that Sherlockians have been and are currently being built on . . . you know that actually might make a readable collection if somebody was to put it together. Hmmm.