Not being great TV watchers, there is only one TV program my wife and I tune in regularly. It's a science-fiction show called "Fringe." After several seasons, the plot line has grown quite complex. But the essential conceit is that of an alternative universe to ours, in which much is the same but much else is different.
In last Friday's episode, Dr. Walter Bishop from our universe mentions "the dog in the night-time" to a woman I think of as "other-world Olivia." When her face goes blank he says something along the lines of "You know, Sherlock Holmes." She shakes her head. Immediately we know there is no Sherlock Holmes in the other universe.
The first interesting thing to note is that it never occurred to me that she just hasn't heard of Sherlock Holmes. No, if the name isn't familiar to her it's because he doesn't exist in her universe -- because in this one, the name is familiar to everyone.
The second interesting thought that this brief scene evokes is the startling notion of a world without Sherlock Holmes. What would that be like? More than just nine books and all the TV shows, movies, comics, and books that flowed from them would be gone. So would every image of a deerstalker and magnifying glass representing a detective, every joke or other cultural reference related to Holmes, every "you don't have to be a Sherlock Holmes to know . . . "
And the impact on mystery literature would be simply incalculable. So much started with Sherlock Holmes. But without him, would it have started anyway? Who knows?
One thing for sure about a world without Sherlock Holmes: It would be a lot less interesting than ours. And so would a lot of the people in it.
What are your thoughts about a world without Sherlock Holmes?
Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.