James (elven_wolf) wrote,

The Case of the Strange Fan Fiction

After a day of slaving over act two of Terra Paradox, I decided that I needed to do some more reading. So I took out my Munchkin (what I named my Kindle) and picked The Hound of the Baskervilles back up. Well, that was working out rather well until I decided I felt like reading some Sherlock fan fiction instead.

I've made it ridiculously easy to feed Munchkin some fanfic, so away I went.

The problem with going on a fanfic searching spree is that you don't really know what you're going to get. I've read some really good fan fiction in my day, but it's like rummaging through the world's largest slush pile. You have to go through a lot of shit to find some gold. It also depends on what you're in the mood for. I don't normally read fan fiction tagged as 'gen' (a classification term which means there are no relationship factors in the story which are not in the source material – no Sherlock and John shagging each other, basically). I don't care for gen because if you're simply replicating the  source material, you're not adding anything new and I might as well watch the TV show which I know is well-written and superbly acted.

So that's where slash comes in. I'm not going to go into a dissertation about the origins and nature of slash fiction. You can google that and get a pretty good idea. And I won't justify why I read slash or why I like to think Sherlock and John are doing it because I don't have to. That's the beauty of fiction.

The first story I found was interesting, but incomplete. You run into that, the old 'Chapter 1 of ?' Work In Progress. I normally won't touch those because chances are it will be abandoned or I will forget to check back for the next installment. The second one was actually pretty good, a story where Sherlock uses a psychological study to get into John's head and of course, they end up shagging.

The third one seemed strange. From the summary I thought it would be good enough, but as I began reading I couldn't figure out why Mrs. Hudson was making the boys breakfast. I could hear her in my head saying, "I'm not your housekeeper, dear." It took a few more pages for me to realize this wasn't BBC's Sherlock, but the American motion picture. Fail.

Obvious Photoshop is ObviousI looked at the next one carefully before starting to make sure I was in the right fandom. Now, fanfic writers take many different approaches to bridge the gap between the source material and the collective understanding of what slash entails. In this one, much like in the show itself, John insisted over and over again that he was straight. Sherlock, as usual, does not deny being gay or anything along that spectrum, but he manages to convince John to jerk him off in a variety of ways. Now, I have never been a straight man, so I don't know how likely such manipulation as was used would work in real life, but I found the whole premise somewhat awkward. This may, of course, be my own hang up – and probably why I don't usually write about so-called straight characters realizing their true identity very often.

Maybe I'm getting old, but give me some fluff over some hardcore porn any day. And in the end, I was able to find the type of story I wanted, not too long, not too short, good characterization, and enough schmoop for my sweet tooth. Now I can go back to work!


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