What Two New Sherlock Holmes Pastiches Tell Us About the State of Fan Fiction

by Rachel Baker on January 18, 2015

This is an interesting look at both fan fiction and two new books about Sherlock Holmes.


Read More: Sherlock Vs. Sherlock: What Two New Sherlock Holmes Pastiches Tell Us About the State of Fan Fiction

When Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released at midnight in 2000, the manager of the bookstore I worked for in Phoenix, Arizona, screwed with the staff by reading some Potter fan-erotica over the loudspeaker before we opened the doors to the public. Fifteen years later, the term “fan fiction” is way more commonplace, but, if you want to get real, mainstream fan fiction has existed in the realm of another British literary stalwart—Sherlock Holmes—for about 100 years. Two recent releases—the novel Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz (HARPER) and the anthology In the Company of Sherlock Holmes edited by Leslie S. Klinger and Laurie R. King (PEAGUSUS)—are fascinating and opposing entries into wacky world of Sherlock Holmes pastiches.

Anyone who knows anything about Sherlock Holmes scholarship is aware of “the game”; the idea that Sherlock Holmes “scholars” (nerds) know the “truth” (fiction) that Holmes and Watson were real people and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was merely John Watson’s literary front. If you read the footnotes in The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes (also edited by Klinger) and you failed to catch the stuff in the introduction about “the game,” you’ll think you’re going crazy since all the academic minutia proceeds from the a priori notion that one of the greatest fictional characters in the western canon was a real person. Even Harry Potter slash fic where Harry is having sex with Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, doesn’t go this far.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

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