Pairing: Sherlock/John (Or not! You choose!)
Length: 6,000 words, give or take
Warnings: Graphic depictions of violence.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: A Choose Your Own Adventure story set in the ruins of a far-future London. Help Sherlock find his missing scarf, or don't! You decide.
Reccer's comments: If you liked CYOA books as a kid, welcome to the brilliantly cracky, sad, snarky, "of course that mystery writer was buttsnax" adult version. This Holmestice gift for nia_kantorka is cleverly crafted as a stand-alone Livejournal with multiple linked entries.
The setting: a weird, unexplained post-apocalypic AU. You are Sherlock Holmes. The problem: you are cold. The reason: you have lost your scarf. The complication:
A terrible and mysterious accident befell you, the likes of which you don't remember, nor could speak of if you did. Your only method of communication is the construction and wearing of an elaborate system of masks. Even now, a mask like a second flesh covers your face--the one you dare not remove beneath all the others. You carry these masks with you in a small sack sewn of a thread unknown to this earth and to you. Each mask represents a facet of your intent or emotional state that John has become adept at interpreting. Most of the time. Occasionally he has trouble with it.
You need to let John know about your missing scarf.
Your choices are to:
[Wear the Mask of Loss]
[Wear the Mask of Ice]
[Wear the Mask of Asphyxiation]
I think my personal favorite is The Mask of Not Getting Killed Immediately.
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 122,209 words
Author's summary: Renowned Shakespearean actor Sherlock Holmes has finally burned all of his bridges in the theatre industry save for his constant director, Greg Lestrade. John Watson has made a name for himself in the musical theatre circuit, but age and injury are working against him. Can they reinvent themselves for an all-male Macbeth without killing one another?
Reccer's comments: There will be inevitable comparisons made between this and Mad_Lori’s Performance in a Leading Role, as the author acknowledges from the outset. To my mind, this fic absolutely stands up to the scrutiny, amply filling the shoes of the classic actors AU. It’s by no means a derivative or a copy, however, standing completely independent on its own considerable merits.
The author writes with authority, familiarity, and an obvious love of the New York theater world, including Broadway, musicals, plays, the Tony Awards, restaurants and other establishments, and many popular personalities from Ian Clarke and Sean Fagan to Neal Patrick Harris and Helen Mirren. This intimacy makes this an absolute pleasure and thrill to read, drawing the reader in emotionally as well as in a very nearly viscerally physical way such that it’s all but impossible to escape the pull of the floorboards and greasepaint.
But brilliant as all of that is, let’s be honest: most of us are probably here for the Johnlock. And that, my friends, is absolutely incendiary. From the moment they meet, their mutual admiration and appreciation is clear to everyone, and I especially liked that the author allowed their relationship to grow and mature through friendship and trust, realistically depicting the potential pitfalls of navigating a publicly scrutinized relationship, even in a segment of society as relatively accepting of homosexuality as this is.
There are a couple of touches of angst as both Moriarty and Mary are allowed a chance to try and wreak their havoc, but I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that in the end, no hearts are broken or burnt, and even though all the world’s a stage, these characters are not just players but as real and vivid as the affection and love they have for each other, and we for them. Truly a tour de force offering.
Pairing: Sherlock/John, Sherlock & John, John/Mary
Length: 3143 words
Author's summary: At least shut the curtains, then.
Reccer's comments: This missing scene fic for TSoT is keenly observed and beautifully written and quietly tragic. Sherlock teaching John to dance is certainly ripe ground for fic, but holyfant puts her own delicate spin on it. The attention to detail and the weight of what's left unsaid make this as intimate and careful as a held breath, and Sherlock's belated self-awareness of his own desires is heartbreaking. There's so much story and knowledge of the characters packed into just a few thousand words. It's phenomenal work.
Pairing: Gen, pre-slash Sherlock/John
Length: 2,839 words
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Emergency lights flicker on.
Never a good sign.
John opens his eyes. Smoke, hazy air, smells sour, concrete dust. Not the desert. City. Insurgent bombings. Civilians. Casualties.
Reccer's comments: Sherlock and John are trapped in an elevator after a terrorist attack at Mycroft’s building. I don't feel like i'm giving anything away when I say they make it out, but not without some heartstopping moments. (ETA: No one dies in this!) The intensity is sky high as Sherlock and John fight to escape and the author does not hold back in showing us just how precarious their situation is, physically and emotionally. Each of them is almost primal in how they make the other's escape their main priority. It's a thrilling read with a great heaping dose of hurt/comfort in the end.
The author has tagged this both gen and pre-slash, so you could read this with either intense friendship or slash goggles on. Either way, it's not a disappointment. This is a fantastic look at Sherlock and John's deep friendship and just how much they really mean to each other. I will never get tired of coming back to this story.
Pairing: Mycroft Holmes/Greg Lestrade, incidental Mycroft Holmes/OMC
Length: 29,271 words
Verse: Sherlock (BBC)
Author's summary: The past is always with us, but sometimes life gives us a second chance.
Reccer's comments: Charming, canny, heartbreaking, and hot? Check, check, check, check. I'll risk being fifteen minutes late for work if Bold_as_Brass shows up in my inbox first thing in the morning.
I don't know what this writer does at work, but boy can they edit. Scenes are set up at an easy pace, sensual detail interlocking neatly with background information, light humor and enough tension to keep things ticking along.
This pair of stories explores first times, twice.( Minor spoilers follow.Collapse )
Title: Sherlock: The Story of Redbeard
Music Title & Artist: None (voiceovers and background soundtracks only)
Pairing or Character: Sherlock Holmes, 'the other one', additional cast (Gen)
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Link: Vidder's announcement on tumblr
Vidder's Summary: This was partly inspired by a tumblr post I read the other day! The gist is that "Redbeard" is in fact Mycroft and Sherlock's older brother.
Reccer's Comments: Sorry for posting 2 recs in one day but I just watched this and cannot wait to share it! To put a twist on an old saying, I think this vidder could probably make a video of a phone book and I’d beg for more. This is far from a phone book, though. This is a gut-wrenching, high-tension, expertly edited work of art that in all honesty is probably better than whatever the writers on the real show will do with Redbeard. This is based on a fan theory (you can see it here, by @wellthengameover) that in itself is highly seductive and that’s what makes this fanvid even more exceptional for me, because the creator has basically brought someone else’s vision to life, gone out and found footage from several other sources – including Amanda Abbington in Cuffs, which is super awesome and the first time I’ve seen Cuffs used in a Sherlock fanvid – and made it one step closer to reality. Even if it turns out that Redbeard really was just a dog, and is never mentioned again, that doesn’t matter because we have this, we have the entire story here, and it is beautiful and emotional and real.
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson, John Watson/Stamford, Sherlock Holmes/Tobias Gregson
Length: 49,977 words
Verse: ACD Canon
Author's summary: An indiscreet photograph ends up online, forcing Watson to postpone his pursuit of a medical degree. Turning to the life of a soldier, he takes a bullet through the shoulder and is sent home to London a lost and broken man. Friendless and facing homelessness, he is introduced to an eager young man in the chemical labs at Bart's Hospital.
As a friendship begins to form between them, a murder investigation pulls Watson into Holmes' world. Between crime scenes, a killer with an eye on revenge, and frustrating police officers, their friendship grows into something neither of them had expected.
Reccer's comments: This is an independent modernization of the original canon that has nothing to do with the BBC version, recasting Conan Doyle's characters in a 21st-century setting and basically giving them free rein to live out their natural inclinations. It's an exciting, smart, raunchy adventure with lots of casual sex, dark humor, and questionable morals. The author has done a fantastic job with bringing things into the modern era, with enough tweaks and surprises that even a reader who knows STUD backwards and forwards will find plently to hold their interest. Not least of which, of course, is Holmes and Watson’s relationship, which is given a chance here to flourish naturally without any of the hangups and dancing about that is often seen in the BBC version.
The author has also continued the story as an RP on tumblr, although I admit I have not gone through those blogs thoroughly. If you're interested, though:
Holmes can be found here: http://bakerstreetbranch.tumblr.com/
While Watson is here: http://medschoolandmysteries.tumblr.c
Artist: Nina Mikhailova / lady-ninka
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, other canon characters (Gen)
Rating: Unrated, SFW
Author's summary: Design-concept of "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle is a degree project. Main idea of said project is in the literal interpretation of its title: this edition is shaped as an actual travel diary of Dr. Watson, with hastily scraped notes and pictures on its margins. 6 stories, 17 illustrations, 72 illustrations and inscriptions on margins.
Reccer's comments: This is an astonishing, professional quality piece of work. Each illustration is done in a style that is reminiscent of a personal journal from the turn of the 20th century, yet with incredible precision and attention to detail that makes it clear just how much skill, talent, care, and effort went into each and every perfectly executed line. I’m sorry I don’t understand Russian, as the handwritten annotations on the pictures probably constitute an additional dimension to the project, but even viewed as part of the artwork they contribute both beauty and whimsy to the overall picture.
(I hope it's all right to rec an entire book like this, but the book itself is the art project. This is a one-off, unique, hand-painted piece that is not being published or available for sale.)
Music Title & Artist: W.A. Mozart, "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"
Vidder: Digital Sherlock / Zuza Ritt
Pairing or Character: None - unless you count 221B Baker Street as a character
Verse: Sherlock (BBC)
Link: Vidder's post on tumblr
Reccer's Comments: The vidder has recreated the living room and kitchen sets of 221B Baker Street in 3D animation, in beautiful and painstaking detail. I can’t even imagine how long this took. There is just so much to take in, from the wallpaper, artwork, and furnishings to all of the clutter and bric-a-brac, including such iconic pieces as Sherlock’s violin, the skull, and even a bevy of paper swans. (Yes, I had to look that word up!) Not only that, but the whole thing is set in charming motion in a Fantasia-like dance to Mozart’s "Eine kleine Nachtmusik", with a large dose of humor and canon references.
The creator has also set up a entire tumblr blog with screenshots from the project, where you can view and appreciate each scene at your leisure: http://digitalsherlock.zuzaritt.com/.
I missed our anniversary last month, but better late than never: 221b_recs was created and had its first posts on January 7, 2011. We're now five years old and still standing, Thank you so much to all the reccers, members, volunteers, and readers who have contributed to this lucky recs comm.
For this month, welcome to our February reccers: ficklepig, swissmarg, verdant_fire, and write_out, all valued veterans. We look forward to your posts.
Thank you to January's reccers: chapbook, dognmonkeyshow, and rachelindeed. We've enjoyed your varied and inventive recs.
Sign ups are open now for March and any later month. You only need to make four recs a month, for completed works from any date created for any version of Sherlock Holmes, as fic, art, vids, podfic, or meta. Sign up here! Info and Guidelines here. We want to keep this community active for as long as volunteers are interested in making recs.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: IRENE: D’you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes? However hard you try, it’s always a self-portrait.
SHERLOCK: You think I’m a vicar with a bleeding face?
IRENE: No, I think you’re damaged, delusional and believe in a higher power. In your case, it’s yourself.
Irene, here, is seemingly talking about Sherlock’s obvious disguise—he’s dressed as a vicar. She’s talking about that, but she’s also talking about another disguise that Sherlock uses—one that he never acknowledges is a disguise.
SHERLOCK: I’m not a psychopath, Anderson. I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.
Reccer's comments: One of the things I admire about this meta, beyond the insights into Sherlock's character, is that both Sherlock and John here come off as complex and flawed. If Sherlock so assiduously hides his humanity, we cannot blame John for not fully accepting its existence. If John hides from those flashes of Sherlock's humanity, we cannot condemn Sherlock for thinking that John only stays for that "higher power". Both men fail to see and observe what is in front of them in order to protect what they have, but those attempts at protection and preservation have failed and will need to razed to the ground before they can make progress as partners. When you understand this, it is easier to retain compassion for both characters, even when you are intensely frustrated with them.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: “I’ve made a mess of you, Watson.”
Some Victorian moustache twirling inspired by this lovely ficlet by @hudders-and-hiddles.
Reccer's comments: I adore the tender, besotted expressions on the boys' faces as TAB!Sherlock fixes the moustache of TAB!John. Bonus: the rendering of the different textures and details like the curl that has escaped Sherlock's coiffure.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Based on the arrival of the Queen of the Night. Stage set by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841) for an 1815 production.
I’ve been wanting to put Mycroft, Protector of London (and Sherlock, of course) in this painting for ages.
Reccer's comments: I about fell over when I saw this piece of fanart, for it brought together a famous print associated with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (a favourite opera of mine) and the world of Sherlock. Mycroft may act rather more like Sarastro than the actual Queen of the Night, but I do like the punning reference to the Holmes brothers' quarrelling during the Buckingham Palace scene in ASiB.
I have no doubt that Mycroft would prefer the opera to the musicals his parents force him to attend with them, though I doubt the plot of this one is one of his favourites. :D
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: None. A meta on TAB as Sherlock's dreamworld, specifically looking at how Mary is treated in contrast to the other women in the episode and what that might say about Sherlock's state of mind regarding Mary in the wake of HLV.
Reccer's comments: Although TAB is just one episode and a "special" at that, it is such a structurally and symbolically rich work that it is inspiring some interesting, thoughtful meta.
As TAB is not historical fiction, but rather a Mind Palace episode powerfully influenced by an overdose of drugs and interrupted only once or twice by the show’s waking “reality”, it makes sense to analyze it as a dream. Although I don't think this meta’s central argument represents the key to the entire episode as claimed, I certainly agree that it helps us understand one of the two central stories that are interwoven in this brilliant bit of television: 1) Sherlock’s fantasy remixing of HLV and 2) the mystery tied to Moriarty’s seeming return and its link to Sherlock's struggle to acknowledge the legitimacy of his emotions and embodiment.
The story that is explored so well in this meta is a re-working-out of HLV in a way that allows Sherlock to give John who he thinks John wants: "Mary", someone who Sherlock believes is better than himself, “an unprincipled drug addict”. Plaidadder notes that Mary is set apart from the “brides” and their conspiracy, who, as demonstrated by the mystery’s solution, “can be endlessly substituted for each other”. Moreover, unlike them Mary is doubled: she is the inverse of the brides in her black veil and dress, but she is also the spy who finds the brides before “Holmes” does. Sherlock, plaidadder argues, “quarantines” Mary’s real-life recklessness, propensity for violence, and remorselessness by assigning them to the brides, giving her instead the roles of a clever and selflessly patriotic spy and loyal, if put-upon, wife. Such a woman should be an ideal spouse for John, yet the fractured narrative and symbolism of the dream/Mind Palace hint that however competent and selfless Mary is in this dream world, she still may be a terrible denger to John and Sherlock in the show’s reality. As plaidadder points out, Mary in a widow’s attire suggests that she has lost her husband. On the surface it’s a passive-aggressive protest over John’s lack of interest in married life and her; but the choice of black is also the same color as her assassin’s gear the night she mortally wounded Sherlock. Mary is not just a dissatisfied woman just dressed like a widow, she is also an expert assassin who almost certainly has been a widow-maker and seems quite capable of making herself a widow for real if she felt it necessary. No amount of ret-conning by Sherlock can erase this. Because of her dangerous past actions and lack of repentance, at least part of Sherlock’s mind seems to question to whether she is truly refomed. Remember what Lestrade asked her: “Are you for or against?” It may be only a moment of pro-feminist humour, but I suspect it may also be Sherlock—remember the characters are of Sherlock’s constructing and represent at certain times his perception of them and at others different aspects of his own psyche—wondering if she can truly be trusted, even as he also tries to sell himself on the idea that Mary is the worthy partner of John.
In the end, Sherlock appears to have solved the Moriarty-related mystery and even made a bit of progress regarding his emotions and embodiment, but Mary remains, for now, a unsolved mystery.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: None. A fancomic inspired by the glasshouse scene in TAB.
Reccer's comments: A lovely fancomic that makes the subtext of the glasshouse scene text. If you are wondering about this, one likely source of inspiration for the scene is the conversation between Holmes and Watson in Billy Wilder's heartbreaking film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. This scene had a powerful impact on Mark Gatiss, as he writes in the Guardian:
It's a fantastically melancholy film. The relationship between Sherlock and Watson is treated beautifully; Sherlock effectively falls in love with him in the film, but it's so desperately unspoken. There's an amazing scene where, to get out of a situation where a Russian ballerina wants Sherlock to father her child, he claims Watson and he are gay. Watson is outraged and, when he calms down, speaks of the women all over the world who could attest to his sexuality. He says to Sherlock, "You do too, don't you?" Holmes is silent, and Watson says, "Am I being presumptuous? There have been women, haven't there?" Holmes says, "The answer is yes – you are being presumptuous." Sensational.
I particularly like the spareness and rhythm of this comic, as well as the terrific use of a callback to ASiP in a way that mirrors the way the waking and dream worlds of TAB are occasionally intercut.
Author: lyricalprose (fairylights)
Length: 4,300 words
Verse: Sherlock BBC, fusion with Star Wars
Author's summary: "He's a freak, you know." Donovan's sneer bleeds into her voice. "A Jedi washout. Such a nutter that even the damn mystics didn't want him." John and Sherlock - a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Reccer's comments: Here we are at the end of the month, and given that a new, good Star Wars movie has recently come out to restore fandom love for that galaxy far, far away, let's celebrate with this thoughtful, interesting piece. It explores Sherlock and John from their pre-series experiences through 'A Study in Pink,' all re-imagined to fit beautifully within the Star Wars universe. I find Sherlock's history particularly interesting here, especially his brush with the Dark Side and the battle within him between his addictions and his determination to control his own mind. A fascinating character study that traces an iconoclastic Jedi drop-out and a war-torn rebel medic who wind their way through great perils only to find each other and begin their shared journey with, dare I say it, a new hope.
Please note, the story is marked as the first in a series, but the intended sequels never arrived, so it is a standalone. However, it works wonderfully as a oneshot, and I hope you will enjoy it!
As always, I have really enjoyed sharing some of my favorite stories this month, thank you all and thanks to the mods for keeping this comm alive <3
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 4,000 words
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: A strangely romantic gesture, coming from Sherlock: a marriage of science and symbolism.
Reccer's comments: Happy January 29th, everyone! (It's the day that Sherlock Holmes and John Watson first met, according to the BBC show's timeline.) Today, I'd like to recommend this lovely little vignette, which takes up the prompt: "Sherlock courting John." It's full of simple, surprisingly traditional romantic gestures, and I find Sherlock's air of gentle formality and unabashed sincerity delightful. The final image of the story is perfect.
We're looking for reccers, for February especially, but also for any later month.
We welcome recs for completed fic, vids, art, podfic, and meta, for any version of Sherlock Holmes. All are invited to share, though you must be a member of the comm to make posts. We ask that reccers make between four and twelve recs for the month, and wait three months before volunteering again. Sign up here! Info and Guidelines here. We want to keep this community active for as long as members are interested in making recs.
Please contact a mod or leave a comment with any questions
Length: 1500 words
Verse: Sherlock BBC, crossover with Yes, Minister
Author's summary: A Civil Service highflyer may need his wings clipped.
Reccer's comments: Mycroft is very much on my mind these days, so as my last rec this month I bring a tiny jewel of a Mycroft fic. A short, very funny view on the early days of Mycroft's career in the civil service, partly told from the point-of-view of the one person in the administration more devious than him. And any author who can cite the Thirty Year Rule is a writer after my own heart.
Pairing: pre-slash Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 13,000 words
Rating: Teen (but there is a small NSFW image at the beginning of the story, a production still from the stage production of Frankenstein which includes nudity)
Warnings: descriptions of wartime injuries and surgeries
Verse: Sherlock BBC, fusion with Frankenstein
Author's summary: In which Sherlock's mother's maiden name is Frankenstein and Dr Watson has been invalided home towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars... What if Dr Frankenstein had had Dr Watson to keep him right? Excerpt: “We are all egoists,” he said. “Every child likes to hear the story of his beginnings, the tale of his parents’ courtship, the events surrounding his birth, the parts of his story he cannot know himself.”
Reccer's comments: It's hard to pick just one of saki101's works to recommend this month, but here we go. This is a lovely variation on the Frankenstein tale which turns the novel's original themes on their head by dwelling on the wonder and beauty of Dr. Frankenstein's victory over death rather than on its unnaturalness or horror. Saki101 sets the scene on the beautiful grounds of a hospital and sanitorium where Dr. Watson joins forces with Sherlock Holmes to heal the wounded minds and bodies of traumatized veterans returning from the Napoleonic Wars. Having seen so much terrible mortality, Watson welcomes Holmes's reanimated man as a precious and worthy patient, while Holmes himself recoils in guilt from the mauled, imperfect life he created.
The story ultimately celebrates the compassion that motivates pioneers in medicine to push back against death itself, and sometimes - miraculously - win. It also shows the quiet but consuming ways that Holmes reanimates Watson himself, and is guided to greatness, acceptance and love in return. A beautiful story.