This past weekend I attended the Scintillation of Scions V, hosted by Watson's Tin Box in Laurel, Maryland. I'm a firm believer in the fellowship of Sherlockians. It's true that following in the master's footsteps can be a solitary pursuit, but the game is much more exciting when many Hounds (of the Internet and otherwise!) are on the trail with you.
This year's meeting was packed with 81 attendees and featured nine presentations on topics ranging from what constitutes a proper English tea to a roll call of Victorian Gentleman's Clubs, thoughts on where Holmes bought his violin, a consideration of what everyone else did during the "Great Hiatus"and a primer on how to work Sherlock Holmes into every academic subject imaginable, including astronomy! Author Henry Zecher (shown at left) treated the group to his slide show on the life of William Gillette, the great American actor who established the traditional 'look' of Sherlock Holmes. (I apologize for the quality of these pictures. I forgot to grab my camera and had to make do ith my iphone.)
Especially exciting were two presentations given by young women representing the new generation of Sherlockians. Jaime Mahoney led the group through stories in which Holmes interacts young adults, demonstrating how Holmes not only used them in his work, but gave them sound, almost paternal advice. The final presentation of the day was by Kristina Manente of the Baker Street Babes (shown below) on the new Internet-based Sherlock Holmes fandom. From her report, we learned how the upcoming generation of Sherlockians is creative, technologically savvy, and largely female. Personally, I think this is very good news for keeping Holmes alive and well into the 21st century.
I also gave a presentation on my Sherlock Holmes class at Wofford College. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to share what I do with such a remarkable group of people. I met folks who have taught or are currently teaching the canon at different grade levels. I also picked up lots of tips and suggestions for improvements to the course! They are all greaty appreciated.
And no gathering is complete without a dealer's room. In that space I had fun hanging out with Henry Zecher, fellow MX author Dan Andriacco, Karen Murdock from the Hounds of the Internet, and Taylor Blumenberg of the Baker Street Babes, who did the interview with me on their podcast! I even managed to sell a few copies of ShadowFall and Shadowblood, plus a Sherlock Hares and what I refer to as the 'Swag Sack' for carrying away books and other loot.
All in all, I had a wonderful time. I enjoyed presenting and it was great to finally meet so many people I had known only via Facebook or email. Babes, Hounds, Beacon Society, members of ASH and the BSI were all there, making for a fantastically diverse and interesting crowd. As I reflected on the way home, a gathering of Sherlockians is a place where the things we often judge others by---race, age, marital status, etc.---simply don't apply. What matters is that you're friendly, enthusiastic, and have something to contribute to the Great Game we are all playing. I really hope I will be able to attend the Scintillation of Scions VI next year. Many thanks to Watson's Tin Box for a grand event, and especially to Jacquelynn Morris for being so wonderful as a hostess/organizer and to Beth Austin for wrangling the technology for our presentations.