Fan Fiction and the Reimagining of BBC's Sherlock
by Ann K. McClellan
Pub Date 15 Nov 2018
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Sherlock Holmes remains more popular than ever some 130 years after the detective first appeared in print. These days, the iconic character’s staying power is due in large part to the success of the recent BBC series Sherlock, which brings the famous sleuth into the twenty-first century.
One of the most-watched television series in BBC history, Sherlock is set in contemporary London, where thirtysomething Sherlock and John (no longer fussy old Holmes and Watson), alongside New Scotland Yard, solve crimes with the help of smartphones, texting, online forums, and the internet. In their modernization of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s nineteenth-century world, Sherlock creators Stephen Moffatt and Mark Gatiss make London as much a character of their show as the actors themselves. The highly stylized series has inspired an impassioned fan community in Britain, the U.S., and beyond. Fans create and share their writings, which reimagine the characters in even more dramatic ways than the series can.
Interweaving fan fiction studies, world-building, and genre studies, Ann McClellan examines the hit series and the fan fiction it inspires. Using Sherlock to trace the changing face of fan fiction studies, McClellan’s book explores how far fans are willing to go to change the Sherlockian canon while still reinforcing its power and status as the source text. What makes Sherlock fanfic Sherlockian? How does it stay within the canon even while engaging in the wildest reimaginings? Sherlock’s World explores the boundaries between canon, genre, character, and reality through the lenses of fan fiction and world-building. This book promises to be a valuable resource for fan studies scholars, those who write fan fiction, and Sherlock fans alike.
“Sherlock’s World offers a nuanced look into Sherlock fan authorship, considering fan fiction as art, literature, story world, and cultural fabric. This book will serve as a rich resource to fans and scholars of the great detective, and to anyone interested in the study of fandom and fan fiction.”—Louisa Ellen Stein, author, Millennial Fandom
“Sherlock’s World is groundbreaking in its treatment of fan fiction as literary texts rather than sociological phenomena, and offers a comprehensive survey of the (often startling) range of fan engagements with the BBC’s Sherlock. With echoes of D. A. Miller’s argument that the experience of the Victorian novel was constituted as much by breaks in the reading as by textual content, McClellan suggestively argues that the increasing temporal gaps between seasons of Sherlock had a vital role in promoting fan creativity and experience. McClellan persuasively sees fan fictions as sophisticated reflections on the relationship between actor and character, postmodernism and Victorianism, and author and reader. The book’s theoretically informed treatment of Sherlock’s alternative worlds and parallel universes will make it a valuable resource for future fan culture and Holmesian studies.” —Christopher Pittard, University of Portsmouth