Some people would argue that it has never been a better time to be a Sherlockian. Two successful TV series (three when the Russian series starts) and a successful film franchise have led to a tidal wave of fan inspired blogs, fiction, Twitter, Tumblr and so on. Away from the internet there has been a surge in the production of Holmes pastiche works - be they books or plays.
However is there not a danger that we’re becoming saturated with material?
Well the answer to this would be yes if you tried to sample it all. If we look purely at the written output there are conventional pastiches, fan fiction, slash fiction, steam-punk fantasy pastiche (i.e. with wizards and magic) and futuristic adventures. All of them feature the characters of Holmes and Watson. True, their similarity to the originals varies widely. This could be down to the writer's skill level or the situation into which they have placed the characters - it is difficult to have a traditional Holmes in the world of magic and fairies.
I find the best way to look at these situations is via an analogy (no matter how tenuous). In this case I would pick food. There are more dishes in the world than we can ever hope to sample in one lifetime yet do chefs stop trying to conjure up new taste sensations for us? Of course they don't. Without constant invention any field will stagnate. It is how we advance (in one direction or another).
Yes this constant tide of invention (or reinvention) will lead to a huge amount of chaff and not a lot of wheat but one man's wheat is another man's chaff and ultimately the market will ensure that the worst of the material produced is forgotten. The simple fact is that even the best pastiche story has a shelf-life measured in months rather than years because no sooner have you read it there will be a dozen more out there to read. Sherlock Holmes pastiche fiction has become as readily disposable as yesterday's newspaper or last week's TV guide.
The only downside I can see to this level of output is that we may collectively miss the odd true gem as it is swept away along with everything else. So keep those eyes peeled.
For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .
The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.
Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.
Eliminate the Impossible is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.