In Edinburgh, in the Surgeon’s Museum (which is located in the University of Edinburgh Medical School), there is a special exhibit on the man who served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh). Since self is extremely nosy, she decided to open a closed door that was at the far end of the exhibit area, and saw an empty amphitheater, with rows and rows of wooden desks all facing a proscenium. Class was not in session.
Today, self is thinking about Sherlock Holmes because she is once again tackling her Pile of Stuff (which is absolutely exploding with unread magazines). The January 27, 2014 issue of The New Yorker is what she is looking at this afternoon. There’s a very interesting article by Emily Nussbaum called FAN FRICTION: SHERLOCK AND ITS AUDIENCES.
As self proceeds through the article, she learns that a particular scene in Sherlock Season 3 was inspired by Sherlock Holmes fan fiction. Can you guess which one, dear blog readers?
One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five . . .
We’re at a critical moment: Holmes is on the roof of a building, preparing to jump. Somehow, Moriarty winds up there, too, and leans in for a kiss. Self’s jaw almost dropped to the floor.
Self knew it! She knew it! Because it’s in the same episode where a group of London geeks (fan fiction practitioners) sit in someone’s cramped and cluttered apartment and conjecture about the two years Sherlock was thought by everyone to have perished. (They also tweet theories using hashtag #sherlocklives)
Anyhoo, self loves the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock. The first time she saw the actor was in a movie called Amazing Grace, where he played anti-slavery parliamentarian Pitt. At that point in time, there was only one reason self wanted to see the movie, and that was Ioaon Gruffud. She had absolutely no idea where the filmmakers had picked up the beady-eyed Cumberbatch. Only years later, after watching her first episode of Sherlock, did self finally “get” the Cumberbatch affect: the lankiness! The floppy, messy hair! The cigarette pants! The sexy!
In the series, “when Sherlock reads a crime scene, enormous words appear on the screen, like an on-line word cloud.”
Sherlock, Nussbaum writes, “has inspired reams of slash fiction.” Today, “you can find slash fic about almost any character you can imagine, from Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy onward.”
Self recently registered for membership in fanfiction.net, and she can attest how addictive it is. There are actually people who leave comments like these:
“I work as a waiter and I’m right now in an alley behind the restaurant, hoping for an update to your story before my boss comes out and catches me . . . “
“I’m on a cruise of the Mediterranean and I keep thinking up excuses to go back to my room so I can check for any updates of your story. My family thinks I’m nuts . . . “
Never, ever will self reveal her fanfiction.net identity, because she’s doing very fluffy writing. She follows seven writers. She hopes with all her heart they don’t turn out to be 14, but they might be. Because they still worry about getting “caught” during chemistry class or skipping math class to do some urgent reading in the bathroom!
She’s heard it so many times: The internet is the death of books. It may be the death of books, but it is definitely a clarion call to the imagination, and to the power of the simple act of reading.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.