Curated List of Pastiche, Parody, and Fan Fiction

Fan Fiction: 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 often 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)."

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.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.

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.

Non-Sherlockian links discussing fanfic

Recommendation Lists, Archives, and Communities

Selected fanfics of the Canon kind

Sherlock (TV) fanfics

Elementary (TV) fanfics

Guy Ritchie movie fanfics

Fanfics based on other adaptations

Holmes Adaptations on Fan Fiction Archives


At (AO3)