Friday, April 26, 2024

The Blood and Bone of Sherlockiana

 During some recent conversations about The Watsonian, the journal of the John H. Watson Society, I started thinking about the body of the Sherlockian party and its two most important parts: the blood and the bones.

The bones of Sherlock Holmes fandom are old and solid, over a century old. The original Canon. The Victorian era. The Sherlockian societies. The pseudo-scholarship, studying Holmes as if his were historical. Traditional Sherlockiana.

The blood of Sherlock Holmes fandom are hot and fast-moving, surging and receding. The movies. The TV shows. The popular Sherlock in any medium, getting people excited, inspiring them to write, to draw, to create . . . and to learn more about Sherlock Holmes.

And like any body, we need both to keep Sherlockiana alive.

The bones might look at the blood and go, "This blood was not here last year and will be gone next year. It does not have the importance of bone. It flows here and there and does not stay in one place as bones do. Bones are secure. Bones give comfort."

And the blood, the blood just looks at bone and goes, "Boring old bones. Never changing, not moving on the way blood does. Blood is life, blood is energy, blood powers action, creativity, joy."

When BBC Sherlock came and hit Sherlockian fandom, there were many on the side of bone Sherlockiana who were a little afraid of blood Sherlockiana flowing in and replacing their cherished tradition with a tide that would ebb. They set up walls and went "this is a literary hobby," knowing full well that Sherlockian cinephiles have been with us as long as movies. And the new blood so often replied in kind, not having the patience to deal with those old dry bones and their stiff traditional structures. And yet, there were still old bones who welcomed the energy of new blood, and new blood that saw the value in old bones that had been holding up Sherlockiana before they came.

Sherlockiana, like any body, needs both to endure. New Sherlockians rarely come from reading Victorian literature for entertainment without being led to it by some more modern text, be it written, filmed, or otherwise made to intrigue the mind of today.

The John H. Watson Society and its publications have long had one foot in both worlds, publishing both fanfic and the most studious of papers on Dr. Watson's life. Not every publication has the bandwidth or audience to do that, we've been lucky that way. Exploring a man with so much mystery and depth as John H. Watson takes both research and imagination, treatises on the Battle of Maiwand and fic explorations of how his character would live as a leprechaun cohabitating with a pixie Sherlock Holmes. There is something to be gained from looking at all sides of this gem of a man.

The blood and the bones of Sherlockiana. Together they make us whole and bring this hobby to life, every single day.

1 comment:

  1. And the occasional tea review. đŸ˜†