starlady: Mary, Holmes and Watson at home in Baker Street (not impressed OT3)
[personal profile] starlady
As a follow up to [personal profile] spacefall's fandom books post, I'd like to rec (and hopefully discuss!) a fandom book that actually does manage to queer Holmes pretty thoroughly. By making Holmes a trilaterally symmetrical trisexual sentient crustacean, that is.

No, I'm not making this up. The book in question is Their Majesties' Bucketeers by L. Neil Smith, and I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb to say that everyone in this community would probably find it fascinating if only for the Holmes AU aspects. It's pretty awesome on most levels: depending on your point of view, this book is either a science fiction novel depicting a society of trilaterally symmetrical trisexual sentient crustaceans in the rough equivalent to Britain's Edwardian period, or it's a professionally published Sherlock Holmes OT3 AU.

I first heard about this book from [personal profile] melannen, in this long post about subordinate Holmes canons, and all in all Smith does not disappoint (though I ought to warn for colonialism and libertarianism in the background). (The following text is c&p'd from my longer review of the book here, with some discussion of queer and transgender experiences in this setup in the comments.)

Our narrator is Mymy (Mymisiir Offe Woom, to give rher full name), the surdaughter of the Empire's first surmale surgeon; rhe aspires to follow in rher surfather's footsteps, and has elected to join Their Majesties' Bucketeers to train as a paracauterist to that end. Mymy is quite proud of rher achievements in joining the Bucketeers, and in being rher surfather's child: deservedly so, given the gender-based discrimination surmales confront daily and the barriers that rher family's upper-middle class insistence on "decency" also present.

In the Bucketeers Mymy meets Mav, a brilliant Senior Inquisitor who is beginning to devise not only crime scene investigation techniques but also the science of detection, though Mav (a two-thirds-caste ex-Air Navy officer who nonetheless enjoys an unassailable social position in Imperial society) clashes often with his superior officers's traditionalism. When Mav's old friend and teacher Srafen, the devisor of the theory of ascension, is murdered at a public lecture, Mav seizes the chance to put his theories and ideas about detection to the test, with Mymy's help. Along the way Mymy meets Mav's friend Vyssu, a true original who has come up from the capital's mean streets through an unbeatable combination of luck and ingenuity, and comes to value her for her own sake as well.

It's hugely interesting to see Smith redistribute the traits of the major canonical Conan Doyle characters (Holmes, Watson, Morstan, Adler) amongst his crustaceans; to take just one example it's Mav who has the limp, because he's the one who served in a colonial war, because females don't join the military, period, and surmales only serve in the medical branches. It's also hugely interesting to consider what the lamviin's trisexuality means, for society and for queerness; Smith does a decent job of teasing its repercussions out despite the book's brevity, but of course there's always more to say. In the end, of course, one can't help but draw comparisons with humanity, which is definitely part of the point.
damned_colonial: Dr. John Watson (watson)
[personal profile] damned_colonial
So, this came up in a sub-thread on the asexuality post, and was threatening to get pretty tangential/deraily, so I thought it was worth creating a new post for it.

Sherlock Holmes fandom goes back a very long way, of course. And people have been writing H/W slash for a long time, too. Now we have this new movie, there's a whole new generation coming to the fandom who don't have experience with the older phases of the fandom, and while there is a lot of interesting stuff coming out of the newer fans' engagement with the canon, there are also older fans shaking their walking sticks at those kids on their lawn.

Personally, I'm fascinated by older Sherlock Holmes fandom even if I don't feel very much a part of it. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who was involved with Holmes fandom in its earlier/older incarnations -- any of the Sherlockian societies, or zine-based slash fandom, or mailing lists, or even LJ/DW fandom prior to the 2009 movie -- about your experiences and the changes you've seen.

And to bring it round to the subject of this comm, I'm especially interested in talking about how different groups or generations of Sherlock Holmes have addressed his (potential) queerness. Obviously it's changed over time -- we can have another go-round on the Watson Was a Woman thing and whether or not Stout was really trying to point out Holmes and Watson's queerness, if you like, and if anyone has any other pointers to older Sherlockiana on gender/sexuality issues I would love to know about them!

As for fic-writing fandom, I know when I read older H/W slash online I find it has a different aesthetic and different tropes than modern LJ/DW-centred slash fandom commonly uses. We're Not Gay, We Just Love Each Other is part of it, for sure. I feel like slash fandom has really changed the way we address homosexuality in recent years, based on the fic I've read. We seem much more likely to show our characters having had previous homosexual experiences, or being happily and openly bisexual, or being connected to a homosexual subculture, or being non-heteronormative in other ways (genderqueer/transgendered, asexual, kinky, etc.) At least, I *think* we're more likely to do that... am I missing stuff from the older fic, and if so, where can I find the fic that talks about these things? And, is this happening because newer generations of fans are more likely to be queer, more likely to be out as queer, more likely to be used to discussing and dissecting queerness online?

Bringing in another post that I found this morning (via), by [personal profile] obsession_inc on the subjection of "Affirmational" vs "Transformational" fandom, do you think Holmes fandom is shifting from affirmational to transformational, and is that a generational shift? (I like obsession_inc's observation that "fixing" the story so that our beloved characters have sex is one of the most common forms of transformation.) I found myself pointing at obsession_inc's post and saying YES THIS and I know I'm going to be pointing to it a lot in future because it resonates very strongly with me, and I'm definitely feeling that resonance in what I see of Sherlock Holmes fandom in its various incarnations.

What do you think?

ETA: I know we're getting linked pretty regularly in LJ comms like [livejournal.com profile] holmesian_news, so if anyone comes in from there and would like a DW account to comment on posts here (or post your own), here are three invite codes:

SYMVMRXY9SGCNAAADRN7
ARHCWS7ZK2V66AAADRN8
3AKGFN8AF8B5XAAADRN9

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