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David Hines [userpic]

Holmes: A Study in Scarlet

September 16th, 2006 (05:16 pm)

Goddamn it, __marcelo! It's your fault.

So I’m reading Sherlock Holmes again. It’s been a good few years since I read the Holmes stories, and I know a lot more about storytelling now, and about fandom, than I did back then. As a kid, I loved Holmes; as an adult, who occasionally scribbles stuff, I’m even more impressed.

Some comments on “A Study in Scarlet” in a minute, but first: Livia’s comments about what a weird, cracktastic Peter Wimsey LJ fandom would be like got me thinking about what LJ fandom would have been like for a whole bunch of properties that never got to experience it. (I wound up writing a post on that, then thinking better of it, because one of those properties was something we all should be really, really grateful never got a cracktastic LJ fandom, and mentioning it in public would a) offend a lot of people and b) put me on the path straight to hell.) Holmes got me thinking about it over again.

It would have been a weird LJ fandom. “A Study in Scarlet” appeared in 1887. It was a hit, but Conan Doyle was busy, and interested in other stuff – when he eventually (temporarily) killed Holmes off, it was so he could spend more time writing historical novels – so “The Sign of the Four” didn’t come out until 1890. After “The Sign of the Four,” Watson gets married and moves out of 221B Baker Street. The short stories in the Strand, which is where we always think of Holmes appearing, don’t start until 1891, and they run with Watson married and Holmes able to afford 221B on his own. So there’s a gap of three years after the first novel (and you think Harry Potter fans were starved for canon?), then another novel that changes the set-up of the series a bit (“what? Watson got MARRIED? oh noes! Holmes/Watson OTP!!!”), then a couple years of canon, then in 1893 Holmes DIES WTF, then in 1901 we get a flashback with “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (OMG SO GOOD plz more!) then in 1903 Holmes comes back to life and the fans are OMG YAY. In the story in which Holmes returns (“The Adventure of the Empty House”) it turns out that Mary has died (literally, the only mention of her is the fact that she’s dead) and Watson moves in with Holmes again. You can *tell* Doyle did that to shut his readers up.

Modern fannish tropes didn’t exist at the time, but it would’ve been interesting to see the female-dominated fanfic culture go through Holmes. (Historically, Sherlockians have been overwhelmingly male -- though Dorothy L. Sayers counted herself among their number -- and their studies have tended more to the minute analysis of canon than the creation of participatory culture; though Holmes fanfic and pastiches certainly did exist, they were invariably parodies or case fic. Nothing like the stuff we see in fanfic today.)

Fanfic tends to be produced according to particular stages in continuity. In Batman fandom, for example, you could write a story with Dick, Jason, Tim, or Steph as Robin; each of those periods has a different set of characters, and of opportunities, for storytelling. If Holmes had had an active LJ fandom in the day, my bet is that most stories would have concentrated on the early canon. The stuff we never actually got to see, because Doyle married off Watson quickly, stories set (like “Baskervilles”) between “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Sign of the Four.”. More time for slash; no annoying marriage in the way. Even in the gen, that’s how you picture Holmes and Watson: roommates and partners.

Anyway, here are the things that fans seem to do when establishing participatory aspects of a fan culture. At least, these are the things I do – as Holmes says, "from long habit the train of thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind, that I arrived at the conclusion without being conscious of intermediate steps. There were such steps, however."

  • look for inter-character dynamics and character traits that can be employed in characterization or used as story fodder.

    The Holmes/Watson dynamic is what sells the fandom, IMHO. It’s not just Holmes’s brilliance, but the way he interacts with Watson, who works to humanize him.

  • Identify potential reoccurring and supporting characters.

    This is a cottage industry in fanfic, which specializes in using underused characters. Holmes actually has a lot of great characters who recurred only sporadically (Gregson and Lestrade, the Irregulars), and characters who barely appeared (Watson’s school chums Stamford and Whitney.)

  • Identify potential narrative hooks.

    i.e., things mentioned but not developed by canon that could be expanded by the fandom into stories. Example: Watson’s life was saved in Afghanistan by his orderly Murray, who bundled him on a horse and got him to safety. This character is never mentioned again. You’d expect him to turn up and make life interesting for Holmes and Watson at some point, wouldn’t you?

  • Identify things that might become fanon.

    Subset of narrative hook; it might not be a story, but it’s good for a running gag or an idea that informs other stories.

To these, I’ll add my standard story generator: Identify things that characters have in common, particularly characters who don’t appear together, and explore that by putting them together in an appropriate situation. And the Holmes canon is chock full of underused characters who don’t get development or have scenes together. Even in fanfic! For example, I’m amazed that, as far as I can tell, there’s no Holmes fic in which Watson gets in trouble and Holmes and Watson's wife Mary must work together to save him. To me, Holmes-reluctantly-gets-to-know-Mary fic is screamingly obvious.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. From my experience in fandom, fanfic usually arises because there’s a fascination for the dynamic between two characters. And oh, man, do Holmes and Watson fit the bill. They’re really terrific as a team, and reading them with a writerly eye made me realize a few things that escaped me.

“A Study in Scarlet” opens with Watson fresh back from Afghanistan, where he was wounded at the Battle of Maiwand. He made it back to Peshawar, began to recover, and then caught enteric fever and nearly died. So he’s invalided out with a disability pension. Before long, though, he realizes he’s running out of money, so he looks for a roommate. An old schoolmate, Stamford, whom Watson meets by chance, mentions that he knows a fellow who’s looking for a roommate.

"I should like to meet him," I said. "If I am to lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence."

Oh, Watson. If you only knew.

Stamford takes Watson to meet Holmes at the laboratory:

This was a lofty chamber, lined and littered with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen lamps,
with their blue flickering flames. There was only one student in the room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At the sound of our steps he glanced round and sprang to his feet with a cry of pleasure. "I've found it! I've found it," he shouted to my companion, running towards us with a test-tube in his hand. "I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by haemoglobin, and by nothing else." Had he discovered a gold mine, greater delight could not have shone upon his features.

"Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," said Stamford, introducing us.

"How are you?" he said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should hardly have given him credit. "You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive."

Is that a great introduction for Holmes, or what?

Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me. "I have my eye on a suite in Baker Street," he said, "which would suit us down to the ground. You don't mind the smell of strong tobacco, I hope?"

"I always smoke `ship's' myself," I answered.

"That's good enough. I generally have chemicals about, and occasionally do experiments. Would that annoy you?"

"By no means."

"Let me see -- what are my other shortcomings. I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right. What have you to confess now? It's just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they begin to live together."

I laughed at this cross-examination. "I keep a bull pup," I said, "and I object to rows because my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I'm well, but those are the principal ones at present."

You like the guys already, don’t you? And not just because all the slashers in the audience perked up at Watson’s comment that “I have another set of vices when I’m well.”

Holmes and Watson seemed younger than I remembered. Because they are. At the time of “A Study in Scarlet,” they’re in their mid-to-to late twenties, or very early thirties at the absolute most. (The story is set in 1881; Watson completed medical training and entered Army service in 1878, and his fanon birth year is 1852. Holmes fandom, just so you know, *invented* fanon.) While we tend to picture Watson stout, he’s actually quite thin and easily tired, due to his illness, so he sleeps in a lot. Holmes is a university student who works in a hospital laboratory and pursues independent coursework in anatomy and chemistry. So you’ve got a sick war veteran and an eccentric consulting-detective trying to make a name for himself, both of them young men, rather than the middle-aged men I’ve always pictured in the roles. I’m often annoyed by studios casting young and pretty, but that might actually work here, and would certainly result in a different Holmes and Watson than we’ve seen before. (Reading Holmes’s dialog, I keep seeing David Tennant. He doesn’t look anything like Holmes, but the voice is surprisingly plausible.)

And the banter. Good grief, the banter. Watson and Holmes banter a lot. And it’s terrific, especially as the characters come to know each other. I’m reading around haphazardly now, and so far my favorite is in the opening scene of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” which I’ll post about in a bit. (Gregson and Lestrade also bicker in “A Study in Scarlet,” which is cute, but they don’t appear together too often.) Banter always suckers fans, and the Holmes-Watson dynamic has suckered people into writing pastiches for over a century.

The best thing about their interaction, though, is the way they work together to overcome their separate character flaws. The first time you really see this is in the scene where Holmes receives a message inviting him to the scene of the eponymous murder. Holmes initially is reluctant to go, because Gregson and Lestrade will just take the credit, and the murder can’t be that interesting anyway. This sets the stage for a terrific reversal: Watson, who’s been lazing about on his disability pension, sleeping in every morning, not going out much –- and Doyle details all this in the early part of the story, and uses it to build the characters of his principals, because the only thing the shut-in Watson does, pretty much, is study Holmes -- Watson becomes the one who stands up and prods Holmes into action to go solve the mystery.

"Surely there is not a moment to be lost," I cried, "shall I go and order you a cab?"

"I'm not sure about whether I shall go. I am the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather -- that is, when the fit is on me, for I can be spry enough at times."

"Why, it is just such a chance as you have been longing for."

"My dear fellow, what does it matter to me. Supposing I unravel the whole matter, you may be sure that Gregson, Lestrade, and Co. will pocket all the credit. That comes of being an unofficial personage."

"But he begs you to help him."

"Yes. He knows that I am his superior, and acknowledges it to me; but he would cut his tongue out before he would own it to any third person. However, we may as well go and have a look. I shall work it out on my own hook. I may have a laugh at them if I have nothing else. Come on!"

He hustled on his overcoat, and bustled about in a way that showed that an energetic fit had superseded the apathetic one.

"Get your hat," he said.

To me, as a writer, that’s terrific. Doyle has Watson rise out of the rut he’s been in, not because Holmes pulls him, but because *he has to get out of it to push Holmes.* It makes Watson change from a passive character into an active one, and I didn’t realize how well it was done before. And then, of course, Holmes invites him to come along, and the partnership is formed.

I’d forgotten how witty the stories are. Here’s a bit describing the newspapers’ take on the murder case in “A Study in Scarlet:”

The _Daily Telegraph_ remarked that . . . [t]he German name of the victim, the absence of all other motive, and the sinister inscription on the wall, all pointed to its perpetration by political refugees and revolutionists. … the article concluded by admonishing the Government and advocating a closer watch over foreigners in England.

The _Standard_ commented upon the fact that lawless outrages of the sort usually occurred under a Liberal Administration. They arose from the unsettling of the minds of the masses, and the consequent weakening of all authority….

The _Daily News_ observed that there was no doubt as to the crime being a political one. The despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental Governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone.

Go on, tell me that’s not fall-down funny. Some things don’t change much in a hundred and twenty years, do they?

And Holmes is full of snark:

"Gregson is the smartest of the Scotland Yarders," my friend remarked; "he and Lestrade are the pick of a bad lot. They are both quick and energetic, but conventional – shockingly so. They have their knives into one another, too. They are as jealous as a pair of professional beauties. There will be some fun over this case if they are both put upon the scent."

I mean, full of snark. This is when they meet Gregson, right after Holmes bitches about the exterior of the crime scene being disturbed and Gregson offers the excuse that they’ve had a lot to do:

Holmes glanced at me and raised his eyebrows sardonically. "With two such men as yourself and Lestrade upon the ground, there will not be much for a third party to find out," he said.

Dude, that’s *cold.* And Gregson is so oblivious that he takes it as a compliment.

Watson is also quite an interesting character. He is very far from a buffoon. In the early part of the story, when he’s trying to figure out what exactly Holmes is trying to do with his life, he doesn’t pry.

He said that he would acquire no knowledge which did not bear upon his object. Therefore all the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him. I enumerated in my own mind all the various points upon which he had shown me that he was exceptionally well-informed. I even took a pencil and jotted them down.

This leads to Watson’s famous list: “Sherlock Holmes – his limits.” We tend to remember that Watson’s list is incorrect (he lists Holmes’s knowledge of literature as “Nil,” when Holmes actually enjoys antiquarian books and drops literary quotes, including Goethe, on occasion), but I was struck by the fact that Watson’s methodology was really very smart. He’s not a dumb man, our Dr. Watson – he listed the symptoms he observed, then tried to diagnose the condition. It’s not his fault that Sherlock Holmes was well outside his professional experience.

Another character bit I liked: although Watson doesn’t dwell on it, it’s clear that his military experience and near death have affected him deeply. He tries to rest while Holmes goes out to a concert, and instead finds himself dwelling on the murder and unable to sleep.

He was very late in returning -- so late, that I knew that the concert could not have detained him all the time. Dinner was on the table before he appeared.

"It was magnificent," he said, as he took his seat. "Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood."

"That's rather a broad idea," I remarked.

"One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature," he answered. "What's the matter? You're not looking quite yourself. This Brixton Road affair has upset you."

"To tell the truth, it has," I said. "I ought to be more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces at Maiwand without losing my nerve."

"I can understand. There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination; where there is no imagination there is no horror. Have you seen the evening paper?"

Admit it: you just went *awwwww.* Watson is unsettled; Holmes notices, says something gently supportive, and then goes on with business as usual. That’s a really nice, human moment. I like it a lot. Holmes has to humanize himself for a moment for Watson’s sake. In a Holmesian way.

The murder in “A Study in Scarlet” is probably the least interesting part of the story. It’s not that exciting as a crime, or a death scene, and the backstory abandons our main characters to deliver a flashback combined with an anti-Mormon screed. (Annoyingly, the backstory is detailed by one character, but begins well before he arrives on the scene.) But it’s a decent introduction to the characters, and to the dynamic that would make Holmes and Watson a winning combination.

(And one day Tim Drake drops in, because he got ripped out of his universe by accident and got installed in one where Higher Powers felt he’d sort of fit in. Plus, Cass and Holmes practice baritsu. Damn it, Marcelo!)


Posted by: Betty (brown_betty)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)

I wound up writing a post on that, then thinking better of it, because one of those properties was something we all should be really, really grateful never got a cracktastic LJ fandom, and mentioning it in public would a) offend a lot of people and b) put me on the path straight to hell.)

Were you thinking of Bible fandom? Because I have had those thoughts my friend.

There is actually a small amount of Holmes fiction on the internet, although my impression is that it's mostly slash.

(And also, Jason Todd could be an irregular!)

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)

Were you thinking of Bible fandom?

TROY MCLURE. "Bible fandom? I wish!"

There is actually a small amount of Holmes fiction on the internet, although my impression is that it's mostly slash.

And most of what there is, isn't very good. Although the two slash stories that I absolutely whole-heartedly love -- as in, they're among my favorite of any fanfic ever -- are Irene Adler's Holmes/Watson stories "Absurdly Simple" and its sequel, "An Ideal Husband."

(And also, Jason Todd could be an irregular!)

Jason would run a gang that beat up the Irregulars and took the money Holmes paid them. No doubt.

Posted by: Betty (brown_betty)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)

"Hi, I'm actor Troy Mclure. You might remember me from such films as Sex Pollen: No Time for Plot!, and Five Time a Ludicrous Plot Device was Used."

Posted by: the Jack (buggery)
Posted at: September 17th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)
generic m/m slash icon

Have you read the Holmesfic written for Yuletide? I never did get round to reading the stories from after the first year, and I advise you to avoid "The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland," but the others were, as best I remember, quite good.

Posted by: the Sanity Faerie (sanityfaerie)
Posted at: January 12th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)

There is an LJ group for Jesus slash. Most common pairing seems to be Judas.

Also, the reason I am here - I have been reading your fanfiction.net stories. They are bizarre and strange and wrong. The laughter that they have wrenched from my body has been uncontrollable and hideous. "The Last Temptation of Alfred" in particular has given me cause to doubt my own species. Humans simply do not make those sorts of noises. The trope subversion at the end of "Escape Artistry" was sublime, and I was deep enough in the story that I failed to see it coming even with the massive hint in the subtitle - and *all* of your stories were good.

Sir, I salute you.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 12th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)

Wow. Thanks very much! Glad you liked the stories; I haven't written much lately, for life-related reasons, but I'm always glad to hear folks enjoy my work.

(Checked out your LJ quickly -- I think some of your theorizing squares with my oft-repeated phrase: "Men can't take hints.")

Posted by: Dammit, Clark's penis is going in *something*. (thete1)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
Tim is flirting.

This was a fabulous post, of course. It's really -- damned impressive how well you know "us," where "us" is considered as a function of how I, personally, define "fangirls." *snerk* You're like an anthropologist, really.

'My Years Among The Fangirls, by David H.'

Of course, now I want you to write the flamewars. Jack suggests the Holmes/Watson 'shippers vs. the Sherlock/Mycroft (the names are important!) ones. Also, you should do it in 'period' language. *snicker*

... how long have you been *among* our tribe, anyway? You were totally in DC fandom before I was, but... what about before?

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)

You're like an anthropologist, really.

...I *am* an anthropologist... (Physical, but... never mind. *goes to hide*)

Of course, now I want you to write the flamewars.

Well, most of the flamewars revolved around the communities belonging to the respective archives.

  • 221B_is_OTP: All Holmes/Watson, all the time. Major recurring flamewar: Watson's marriage, and HOW COULD IT BE? Notable for killing Mary off in uncountable ways, from carriage accidents to death traps set for the heroes to a very literary and romantic tuberculousis, mostly to shuffle her offstage and show Holmes helping Watson learn to live on.

    One member of the 221B community becomes a MASSIVE BNF for her "Murray" stories, in which Watson's orderly comes back from the army and promptly starts up with Watson, thus making Holmes insanely jealous. The Murray stories become so popular that AUs and AUs of AUs result, and Watson/Murray shippers begin to become a major presence in the community. This leads to massive flamewars with the OTPers, and finally the Watson/Murray shippers leave to start their own AU community, AFGHANISTAN'S PLAINS, which eventually spawns the monstrously popular "Jezail Bullet" AU, dedicated to the proposition that Watson was never wounded, never left the Army, and fought with his orderly/lover Murray through the Afghan War.

  • THE WOMAN: Irene Adler fan community. An increasingly detailed series of het, femslash, and gen devoted to Irene Adler, including fan art and petitions for her to appear in more than the one story. Several of the stories have her romancing Holmes in a DOOMED!LOVE that MUST BE! but CANNOT BE! Among fans at large, the archive is most known for the non-con Irene/Mary femslash. Among its own fans, there are endless squabbles about what Irene should do, exactly; the only thing everybody agrees on is that she should come back. In fanfic, Irene is either 1) in love with Holmes or 2) lesbian or 3) in the middle of a lot of threesomes. In any event, she gets laid a lot. Several stories wind up pairing her husband Godfrey Norton with Mary Morstan, Watson's wife or not-yet wife, just to get both of them out of the fans' way. (There are actually a few stories on the site in which Irene doesn't appear. They're all about Holmes pining for her.)

    Chief AU: "Stradivarius." Irene is a famous opera singer; Holmes plays the violin in the orchestra pit, looks up to her, and sighs...

  • THE GAME'S AFOOT. Dedicated to genfic and casefic, but it tends to dwell more on the emotional life of the characters than does canon. Low story volume, but the stuff that comes out tends to be pretty good.

  • NO. 3 PINCHIN LANE. More of an annual challenge than a real site community, but popular nonetheless. Dedicated to obscure or understated characters. A lot of the stories here revolve around the Irregulars; the most popular AU came about when somebody realized that the Holmes stories cover a multitude of years, and Wiggins can't stay a boy forever. The resulting story, "Most Irregular," spawned an archive of its own. Less popular, but even more beloved by the devotees, are the stories involving Toby, the mongrel with a brilliant nose. Sometimes he's used as humorous counterpoint to a human story; other times, he solves doggy mysteries on his own to help out his owner, Mr. Sherman.

  • THE DIOGENES CLUB. A pure fic archive. No forums. No community aspect whatsoever. The archivists' contact information is on a page called "The Strangers' Room."

... how long have you been *among* our tribe, anyway? You were totally in DC fandom before I was, but... what about before?

I've been in SF fandom for ages. Did MiSTings in the mid-nineties, but didn't write fanfic per se (none distributed, anyway) until I hit the Batfamily, and even then I was on the periphery of the fandom for 2-3 years before I posted any stories. I'm actually fairly new to this particular corner of fandom, I think. I was always more into analysis, discussion, and reviews than I was participatory culture, though.

Posted by: Dammit, Clark's penis is going in *something*. (thete1)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
Bruce/Tim: Detectives.

*squeaking noises* I -- *heart*. Very much *heart*.

I love... fanthropology, though not enough to actually follow the community for it. Mainly I just like to sit back and watch us do our thing, and theorize about it, and judge others harshly. It's always interesting/freaky to find people who do it far more *seriously* -- with deeper thought. You and thefourthvine, mate. *snerk*

Though I wish I could *believe* you that Irene would get that much love. I have to say, the percentage of stories about female characters (be they gen, het, or femslash) really is a lot *higher*, overall, in DC than it is in fandoms which aren't, well, *Xena*. It's one of the attractions.

(And, well, you can see, I think, that there's nothing *like* equal time there.)

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)

Though I wish I could *believe* you that Irene would get that much love. I have to say, the percentage of stories about female characters (be they gen, het, or femslash) really is a lot *higher*, overall, in DC than it is in fandoms which aren't, well, *Xena*. It's one of the attractions.

I think most of the Irene stories would start out as het, or having her subordinate to Holmes and Watson, but... I think the fact that she *is* such a formidable character, and so admired by Holmes, would boost her: even if she's not a love interest, she's someone Holmes deeply respects. Certainly, it'd give her a leg up over Mary, who is only a love interest and is thus IN THE WAY.

Posted by: Dammit, Clark's penis is going in *something*. (thete1)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
Cass = Geek Girl Of DEATH.

I don't know. I *still* think you'd wind up with two or three increasingly bitter fans writing brilliant Irene epics of various sorts, a handful of other fans guiltily/relievedly periodically writing a snippet or two, and everyone else gleefully ignoring her -- or writing the standard "just because she's a good character doesn't mean she's good for *me* to write." essays -- and I'd probably be one of them. ;-)

Posted by: Persephone (persephone_kore)
Posted at: September 17th, 2006 03:19 am (UTC)

Well, actually I'd imagine Irene would probably get Sue-ified for het purposes approximately as often as Mary got vindictively removed from interfering with the slash, and with approximately the same level of skill.

Posted by: the Jack (buggery)
Posted at: September 17th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC)
Clark approves!

Hm, LJ ate my "<333" the first time... ::tries again::

Posted by: mendori (mendori)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)

.... Do you really want him to write that publication? Because he will now that you put it in his head....

-hides under the couch-

Posted by: __marcelo (__marcelo)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)

Indeed, that sounds absolutely plausible. Holmes and Watson are one of the prototypical duos, as much in some ways as Batman and Robin, and, as you say, Doyle's skill is as present in Watson as it is in Holmes, just in a lower key. That time when Watson is shot and Sherlock loses it for a moment was *great*...

Darn it, now I'm wondering what the "Watson died" AUs would look like.

(And one day Tim Drake drops in, because he got ripped out of his universe by accident and got installed in one where Higher Powers felt he’d sort of fit in. Plus, Cass and Holmes practice baritsu. Damn it, Marcelo!)

Alright, how cool would that be, Tim and Cass setting up shop with or next to Holmes and Watson? Even beyond getting to see what Cass makes out of period mores, *a lot*.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
pointy teeth

I see Mary sort of adopting Cass, and shoehorning her into period garb.

MARY. *adjusts petticoats* "There. Isn't that better?"
CASS. *block* *punch* *sweep* *spinning kick* *falls over in cloud of ruffles*
MARY. "Oh, my dear! Are you all right?"
CASS. "Makes it hard to kick."

Posted by: __marcelo (__marcelo)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)


Posted by: mendori (mendori)
Posted at: September 16th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)

I have to wonder where into all of this one would put the often ooc, often wildly weird realm of the radio and movie shorts of the 40s and 50s, not to mention the later BBC radio and tv versions. In a way, these are fan fiction in their purest forms - the "New Adventures" usually springboarded off of a mention of another adventure in a cannon story, or off a gap in the chronology. And it has some of the weirdest moments of pure "WTF" ever - like Holmes akwardly trying to talk a little girl into letting him borrow her dog for a half crown, or Watson dressed as Santa for orphans.

...Now that I think about it, if it weren't for the professional productions, these things read like fan fic gone horribly wrong sometimes.

Posted by: codenamecarrot (codenamecarrot)
Posted at: September 17th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Not Quite Fandom

Dreamweaver's Dilemma, a collection of short stories and essays by Lois McMaster Bujold (the most notable essay talking about how Shard's of Honor grew out of a fanfic about a Federation Captain and a Klingon stranded on an uninhabited world) opens with The Adventure of the Lady on the Embankment, a short Sherlock Holmes piece.

Embarrassingly, it's the only Holmes story I've ever read, but I quite enjoyed it, and while not on-line, it surely counts as Holmes fanfic.

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