Sherlockian.Net: Fanfic list and commentary

[The eyes of Sherlock]

Fanfiction — a commentary by Elinor Gray (

Fanfiction exists in the realm of “what if.” Like pastiche, it takes characters that are already familiar to the reader and places them in new situations, new arrangements, and presents them with new challenges. But unlike pastiche, fanfiction often dares to go where traditional print literature does not. Slash fiction (i.e. romance between two characters of the same sex) is the genre that comes immediately to mind, but it isn't the only risk fanfic writers take. Some fic takes characters and places them, more or less intact, into an Alternate Universe (referred to as an AU). Sometimes this AU is as subtle as one or two details changed resulting in an alternative course of action (a “want of a nail” AU), and sometimes this AU can be as dramatic as placing Earth-bound characters in space, historical characters in the modern world, or swapping the characters’ genders.

Fanfiction is subversive in ways that only free media can be. Laurie Penny writes, specifically about Sherlock fanfiction, “What is significant about unofficial, extra-canonical fan fiction is that it often spins the kind of stories that showrunners” (and, perhaps, male, educated, middle-class Victorian authors) “wouldn't think to tell, because fanficcers o ften come from a different demographic.” For example, “women, people of colour, queer kids, horny teenagers, people who are not professional writers, [and] people who actually care about continuity (sorry).”

Non-Sherlockian links discussing fanfic

  • The phenomenon of fan fiction
  • Time magazine explains fan fiction
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Wikipedia article on fan fiction
  • Fanfic FAQ
  • Sherlock Holmes, “the mother of all fan fiction honeypots” (video)
  • Fan fiction and copyright
  • For readers who may be interested in the scholarly aspects of fanfiction and internet fandom, I suggest picking up Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World by Annie Grossman, or One Fixed Point in a Changing Age edited by Kristina Manente, Maria Fleischhack, Sarah Roy and Taylor Blumenberg. These critical thinkers and writers of meta can express this better than I can, so I encourage you to delve into the wherefore of fic even as you get hooked on reading fic itself.

    The fic side of fandom wants to welcome the traditionalist side with open arms and its best showing of work. This is by no means the be-all-end-all list of what is “good” or “important” in the Sherlock Holmes multiverse fandom. To quantify fic that way would be impossible. I can't even say this is more than a sliver of a slice of the fanfiction that exists. However, what I have tried to do is provide a touchstone, a point of reference, which a reader new to fanfiction can use to engage with the online fandom. This list is a living work, as any document on the internet is, and is likely to change and grow.

    I asked my corner of fandom — people whom I could reach on Tumblr through reblogs and sharing as well as friends on LiveJournal and Twitter — to recommend to me what they considered “important” or “influential” fanfiction. The list below is curated partially from the results of that poll (as well as from other recommendation communities, groups, posts, bookmarks, and my own reading experience), but an adventurous party may decide to delve into the resulting spreadsheet itself (try sorting by title to see what fics are recommended frequently, or by author to see which authors have many fics recommended; also try sorting by sub-fandom category to focus the results a little). Contributions to the spreadsheet can be submitted here and are welcome; this list is a little (very) Sherlock Holmes/John Watson heavy, because that's what I received a lot of and what I read primarily myself; this is a weakness in the list. A further list of rec communities is provided at the bottom of the page.

    Many authors have whole collections found at the archives linked, so stick around if you find something you like. Also don't forget to leave comments! This is the only payment most fanfic authors get for the effort they put into their works.

    Proceed at your own discretion and please heed warnings where posted. Many links below contain adult content.

    Selected fanfics of the Canon kind

  • Pedestrian by 17pansies
  • Could Fill a Book by Irene Adler
  • Perception by ancalime8301
  • An Ordinary Meeting by aragonite
  • The Presbury Letters by Katie Forsythe
  • On the Mend by gardnerhill
  • Auld Reekie by Garonne
  • One To Live With by ingridmatthews
  • Worth and Choice by KCS
  • Journey's End by Kate Lear
  • A Matter of Integrity by mainecoon76
  • Bending the Rules by methylviolet10b
  • The Adventure of the Doctor's Heart by Mistyzeo
  • The Truth of the Musgrave Ritual by Mydwynter
  • The Courtship of Rabbits by NLR Alicia
  • On Afghanistan's Plains by Pompey
  • Sub Rosa by prof_pangaea
  • The Premature Sentence by Protector of the Gray Fortress
  • The Acting Physician by spacemutineer
  • The Rational Mind by Sam Storyteller
  • Homo Ex Machina by toft
  • Face Value by tweedisgood
  • Two Days by tweedisgood
  • One Week by Jane Turenne
  • Matches, or a Treatice Upon the Education of a Young Gentleman by Jane Turenne and rabidsamfan
  • Masked Ball by w_a_i_d
  • From Trifle to Infinity by wordybirdy

    Sherlock (TV) fanfics

  • 'More Things Than are Dreamt Of' series by 1electricpirate
  • Two Two One Bravo Baker by abundantlyqueer
  • A Moment's Surrender by anchors
  • Equilibrium by augustbird
  • Proximity by autumnroses
  • Indecorous by Basingstoke
  • Electric Pink Hand Grenade by beautifulfiction
  • The World on His Wrist by bendingsignpost
  • How the Mouth Changes its Shape by breathedout
  • Nature and Nurture by earlgreytea68
  • The Norwood Love Builders by flawedamythyst
  • The Full House by Emcee Frodis
  • The Good Morrow by greywash
  • What Meager Amends by greywash
  • The Speed of Objects in Motion by holyfant
  • What to Do When Your Flatmate is Homocidal by hyacinth_sky747
  • The Progress of Sherlock Holmes by ivyblossom
  • A Study in Winning by Jupiter_Ash
  • Northwest Passage by Kryptaria
  • Alone on the Water by Mad_Lori
  • Performance in a Leading Role by Mad_Lori
  • Sustain Series by maybe_amanda
  • Through the Clouds by Mazarin221b
  • Corpus Hominis by mycapeisplaid
  • De Facto by pennydreadful
  • Four Corners of the Western World by pennypaperbrain
  • The Pirate and the Doctor by Petra Todd
  • The Heart in the Whole by Verityburns
  • A Beginner's Guide to Apiology by VictoryCandescence
  • Hitting the Water at Sixty Miles an Hour by what_alchemy
  • The Paradox Series by wordstrings

    Elementary (TV) fanfics

  • A Secret History of Sherlock's Socks by dashakay
  • A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue by language_escapes
  • The Art of Negotiation by language_escapes
  • May You Live in Interesting Times by Medie
  • waltz across naïve wood floors. by paperclipbitch
  • Paler Than Grass by philalethia
  • your love is my scripture by postcardmystery
  • Without Beauty by queenklu
  • maybe she's gone and i can't resurrect her by thatcolossalwreck
  • Death Before Dusk by Yahtzee
  • Solve For X by Yahtzee

    Guy Ritchie movie fanfics

  • The Adventure of the Tattoed Fighter by ariadnes_string
  • The Other Way of the World by Candle Beck
  • History, Repeating Itself by Gyzym
  • The Greek Problem by Candle Beck
  • These Things Were Promises by paperclipbitch
  • Soldier's Heart by piplover
  • Observations on Sentinels and Guides in Victorian London by RyuuzaKochou
  • Over the Edge by Sarah Thornburg

    Fanfics based on other adaptations

  • Moustery by rabidsamfan (The Great Mouse Detective)
  • An Improvement on a Hatstand by TheRimmerConnection (Granada)
  • Particular Peculiarity by saavik13 (Granada)
  • Interference Fit by tweedisgood (Granada)
  • Returning by spacemutineer (Granada)
  • A Dozen Different Hours by o2doko (ACD canon crossover with Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland)
  • Something of Vengeance by Blackletter (ACD canon crossover with P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves & Wooster)
  • Underland by crimson_adder (ACD canon crossover with Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere)

    Recommendation (rec) lists, archives, and communities

  • Liquid Fic Holmes/Watson archive (a collection of fics that were classics before the Ritchie films caused the fandom "boom")
  • Cox & Co. at Livejournal (a community focused on Sherlock Holmes slash, various pairings)
  • Sacrilege! archive (as with Liquid Fic)
  • 221B Recs at Livejournal (sortable by themes, pairings, characters, etc)
  • Three Patch Podcast's That's My Division Rec Master Post
  • Recs by Mojoflower on Tumblr (many Sherlockian tumblrs have fic rec pages or tags; Mojoflower is not alone in this respect)
  • Recs by Swissmarg (Marg has a truly amazing number of recs under her belt, and she always has thorough and thoughtful commentary on the fics she recommends; she also has AO3 collections for her recs to make sorting easier)
  • fuckyeahjohnlockfanfic on tumblr (focused on the pairing John Watson/Sherlock Holmes)
  • Sherlockian Modern Classics with covers by Alicia on tumblr
  • The Red Phoenix

    Holmes adaptations on fanfiction archives

  • Book canon
  • CBS's Elementary
  • The BBC's Sherlock
  • Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movies

    At (AO3)
  • Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms (broad spectrum, includes both book canon fics and fics based in adaptations)
  • The BBC's Sherlock
  • Book canon specifically
  • Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
  • Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movies
  • CBS's Elementary
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    Copyright © Elinor Gray and Chris Redmond 2014