The Zeitgeist is a lively place. Our appreciation of what is important and interesting always changes. But it seems clear that it is Sherlock Holmes's time to be a universal cultural icon. Yes, to Sherlockians he always has been a fixed point, but now the whole world seems to be thinking about Sherlock Holmes. He's in movies, television series, comic books, the Internet—he's everywhere.
Some may argue that this change began forty years ago with The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, but, while that helped start the pastiche avalanche that continues to bury us, it did not lead to today's sheer ubiquity of all things Holmesian. More Holmes is headed our way in every form. New books seem to appear almost every day. Carry something with an even vaguely Sherlockian look and be prepared to enter into a lengthy discussion with perfect strangers (some more perfect than others). There are no looks askance now, when one broadcasts one's love for the Master.
All of this is to the good. We have had fun with Sherlock Holmes since childhood and are quite pleased to share our delight with others. It is not necessary to know Christ's four-letter codes or to memorize the order of the stories. Sherlockian literacy should be the only shibboleth to joining our never-ending conversations. And even that should be broadly drawn. If you know well your cinematic or televisual Holmes, or if you cosplay Holmes or create new adventures, you can find your place among Sherlockians. But if your knowledge stops at funny hats, bent pipes, and magnifying glasses, please stay home.
The Editor's Gas-Lamp, Spring 2015, Vol. 65, No. 1.