Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Belated Birthday for My Favorite Fandom {sherlock holmes}

via Pixabay
Sherlock Holmes and I go way back.

I think I started the first story at my aunt's house. Our home library had these delightfully hefty paperbacks (part one and part two) of the Holmes adventures, and I picked one up to bring it home. It felt like such a grown-up thing to be reading them. It didn't take long until I was a dedicated fan. I even put up with the hair tonic commercials on those delightfully vintage Ton Conway radio dramas that came from the library in cracked cassette cases.

It brings back good memories.

After my brother and I were past playing with toys together, we shared the Sherlock fandom for a long time. In my early teens I discovered the BBC radio shows, which made my Sherlock heart absolutely happy. The ones produced by Bert Coules were especially good; he could add extra lines and scenarios to the original stories that were so absolutely, quintessentially Sherlock that I loved them. Ask me about the eggs quote sometime. I listened to those for ages until I went through a phase where any language in books really threw me off the loop. I still don't approve of language in books, but I think I understand a little more of why it upset me so much (ask me about that sometime too, if you want). Even though my standards haven't changed, I think I'm at the point where I'd be comfortable picking them up again.

it's dangerous tutoring at your favorite library

I also went on to the Sherlock Holmes fanfiction novels. We would go into the city where my dad works and spend the day shopping before we hit highschool. At the end of the day we would go to the library, and I would comb the shelves for Sherlock books. I think I even picked up some sort of commentary-type book that pegged Watson as dying just after the first World War. As a staunch Watson fan, I was livid with rage. Interestingly enough, the two authors I liked the most were both women. The other series I loved was Rober Newton's fiction telling mysteries from the perspective of two children who knew Sherlock Holmes. (If you look it up, don't hold it against me. I haven't read them in years.) But the Sherlock fanfiction can be an iffy place to explore if you don't know the author, so I let that fall by the wayside eventually

My favorite long novels are probably A Study in Scarlet (young Holmes and Watson are absolutely Favorite Things Ever) and The Valley of Fear (gut-wrenching, which might Explain Some Things About Schuyler). The Valley of Fear fandom came about from listening to the BBC radio show, which added the Minstrel Boy in for theme music. I also loved The Three Garridebs (even though Americans get a bad rap) and The Illustrious Client. I read A Study in Scarlet the proper way the first time, but oftentimes when I re-read it, I'll start in the middle with all the backstory so I can get it out of the way and enjoy the mystery without interruptions. #protips Last night I read The Final Problem again (can you imagine if that story was released with social media? Trending topic.) I could feel the squeeze of emotion again as Watson closes with his tribute. Also, according to fandom mythology, Sherlock would have been 36 or 37 at that time. Fascinating, isn't it?

A few years ago I stumbled on the Jeremy Brett movie adaptations. This Christmas I rediscovered them through Brit Box. They are everything the old, classic, vintage Sherlock should be. (Though, while I haven't seen the new Sherlock, I'm totally not against modern retellings of a story either!) The fandom, the setting, Edward Hardwicke as a kind and intelligent Watson...While they consumed Brett's life in the making, he captured Holmes so incredibly, so authentically, that I love them deeply. Someday I'm going to spend $60 and get the set.

According to accepted legend, Sherlock Holmes was born January 6, 1854, and I knew I had to do a post in celebration. Yesterday, as I started drafting it, I wondered exactly why I loved Sherlock Holmes stories so much.

with schuyler, there has to be a reason 

I love an iconic friendship that feels real to me. Like it really, actually happened, and Baker Street existed with the pipe and the tobacco and the VR shot into the wall with bullet holes. I love how Sherlock and Watson balance each other's strengths and weaknesses. I love the drama in the mysteries. I love the emotion of friendship, shudder at the sorrow of loss, feel relieved at the joy of reunion. The Baker Street stories are an immersive world.

Beyond that, I don't know.

But the fandom is strong with this one.


  1. Did you ever watch any of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock? Quite honestly, he is my favorite Sherlock adaption as of yet and I honestly can't peg the why.

    I honestly think Sherlock Holmes was my first 'chosen fandom' (I grew up with Star Wars. I did not get a choice in the matter but to fall in love with those movies. I think I have a baby pic somewhere of me being a few months old and watching SW from my dad's lap). While I'm not aggressively pursuing Sherlock Holmes fiction anymore...theres a sense of, fondness? about the whole thing? Like, Holmes and Watson feel like old childhood friends who I can visit anytime without any awkwardness due to passed time. It's a cozy, warm place for me. And I feel an instant kindred spirit to those who love them too (especially people who love the good old classics in all their british lit delight).


  2. I love the new Sherlock soooo much! Granted, it is pretty intense and I'd recommend researching first to make sure you'll feel comfortable watching it. But it is so. Well. Done. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, especially since you're such a long-time Holmes fan!


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