|Sherlock Holmes, London|
As a Sherlockian, I sometimes feel that I live in the best of times and the worst of times.
The Sherlockian community has expanded tremendously with the fans of the "Sherlock" and "Elementary" TV programs and the Guy Ritchey movies. These new Holmes devotees have joined the old ones in spreading their passion on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and whatever has been invented since I began this sentence.
Even though I personally would rather read one of the original Holmes stories than watch one of these new interpretations, I love the big wave of interest in Holmes and Watson.
Contrast this to my younger years. When I was in elementary school, I knew one other reader of Sherlock Holmes -- the one who introduced me to the Master. In college, there were three of us. We called ourselves The Three Students and held parties in which we read the stories out loud. Sometimes there was a little Imperial Tokay involved.
I knew that there were scion societies of the Baker Street Irregulars, but that seemed very remote until I joined the Tankerville Club in 1981. Now anyone in the world, of any age, can instantly plug into a vast community of like-minded individuals in cyberspace even if they don't live near a scion. There also many Holmes conferences each year at which we can meet in person.
Also there's an unending stream of Holmes-related books -- scholarship, pastiches, classic reprints, biographies, you name it. Some books are better than others, but finding out which ones is part of the fun.
So can this also be the worst of times?
Not all of the long-time Sherlockians welcome this infusion. Some have even tried to draw distinctions, essentially deciding who is a "real" Sherlockian (or Holmesian or Sherlock Holmes devotee -- pick your term) and who is not.
There have also been some tensions caused by individuals posting spoilers for television programs not yet available to everyone.
These conflicts are regrettable, but I suppose they are unavoidable. After all, Sherlockians are a family -- a very big one -- and families don't always get along.