The Joy Of… Sherlock Holmes

2016 Artwork The Joy Of Sherlock Holmes

Well, since I couldn’t think of a proper idea for an article, I thought that I’d ramble about my experiences with one of the greatest fictional characters ever invented.

I first discovered Sherlock Holmes in the summer of 2005. At the time, I was shopping in Waterlooville and had been browsing in a charity shop for quite a while, when I thought that I should probably buy something out of politeness. Since the most interesting book on the shelf was an old Penguin Classics edition of “The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes”, I decided to get it.

Needless to say, within a couple of weeks, I had a boxset of all of Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories. I read them in the same way that you would watch a DVD boxset of a fascinating TV show. In other words, I tried to ration myself to just three or four short stories a day. Not only that, when I’d finished reading them, I re-read them again. And again.

In fact, one of the many coolest moments from the following year was discovering that, in my haste to read all of the stories, I’d actually missed one (“The Adventure of The Six Napoleons”) and I had a “new” original Sherlock Holmes story to read.

To say that I was obsessed would be an understatement. These books had an impact on me, on my writing style and even on my personality at the time. I loved everything about the stories, from the intricate mysteries, to Holmes himself, to the atmosphere of Victorian London, to the old-fashioned (yet still interesting, unlike the Victorian set texts I had to read at college at the time) narration.

I have never really been quite as interested in a series of books ever since. Discovering Sherlock Holmes by accident was as much of a significant life-changing moment to me as discovering heavy metal music by accident (in 2001) was.

The great thing about Sherlock Holmes is that he’s a timeless character. He can appear in any part the world in any part of history and he’ll still both fit in perfectly and stand out as someone slightly strange. The same can’t really be said about many other fictional characters.

Not only that, there are also decades of fan fiction about him out there. In fact, he was probably the very first character to inspire what we now know as fan fiction. The only real difference being that most old pre-internet Sherlock Holmes fan fiction was actually of publishable quality.

Like with fan-made levels for the first two “Doom” games, the world will never run out of new stories and films about Sherlock Holmes. Like the original “Doom”, Sherlock Holmes is timeless and eternal. In fifty years time, people will still be reading Sherlock Holmes and playing the original “Doom”. In a hundred years time, people will still be playing the original “Doom” and reading Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes a character that has been re-interpreted and parodied countless times and yet he still retains everything that makes him great. Unlike many other heroic characters, Sherlock Holmes’ strength comes almost entirely from his mind (and maybe his boxing practice too).

He solves seemingly unsolvable mysteries purely through the power of thought and observation. He’s a “realistic” superhero (but without the silly spandex outfit and all of the other usual superhero nonsense).

But, best of all, Sherlock Holmes is an eccentric, a misfit, a geek and an introvert. Not only is he these things, but they are also his strengths – rather than his weaknesses.

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Anyway, I hope this was interesting 🙂

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