A Study in Honor, by Claire O’Dell
A Study in Honor, [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound] by Claire O’Dell, is a near-future twist on Sherlock Holmes.
And according to O’Dell’s Big Idea post over on John Scalzi’s blog? It’s my fault. As she explains,
“Back in 2014, Jim wrote a blog post about his experience writing fanfic. I’d never felt the tug of fanfic before, but after reading about how satisfying and involving it was for him, I decided to take a stab at writing some myself. After all, fiction is a conversation with itself, and what else is fanfic but a very intimate conversation?”
Now, the book sounds really interesting. Watson and Holmes as two black queer women in a future Washington D.C. still reeling from the New Civil War? Here’s an excerpt, if you’d like to start reading the first few chapters now.
I haven’t read the book yet, so I’m not in a position to talk much about it. But I’m still reeling a bit over that first line in O’Dell’s blog post.
“A Study in Honor is all Jim Hines’s fault.”
Now, I’d argue this point. O’Dell did all the work of actually writing the book, after all. But the fact that it started with a random blog post I did four years ago, talking about my silly Frosty the Snowman vs. Rudolph fanfiction? That’s … that’s a metaphorical boot to my head right there.
I struggle sometimes, as I imagine many of us do, with the question of whether any of this stuff makes a difference. The blog posts, the social media, and so on. Is it really worth the time and energy it takes to keep posting? How many people actually read and remember any of it?
I don’t want to overinflate my own importance here. O’Dell/Bernobich is a good writer with a solid publication history behind her. Her new book is getting some good buzz, and that’s all her.
But in some small way, I was a part of that. A thing I wrote sparked something new for someone else.
What more could a writer hope for?
August 2, 2018 @ 11:42 am
Jim, you’ve touched my life in a relatively small but meaningful way.
I think I first became aware of you as a person doing entertaining things thanks to your cover poses (probably from something on Scalzi’s blog). From there, I started reading your blog occasionally and read the Jig books and Libriomancer. Somewhere along the line I added your blog to my RSS reader and have been reading regularly. A couple years ago, you had a giveaway for a Revisionary ARC, which I won. I bought the first three books and read through the series in a few days.
The thing is, I was having a bit of a personal crisis at the time. Somehow it was meaningful to have a small interaction with a Cool Author/Internet Person, especially someone who was using his privilege to amplify marginalized voices and doing his best to include diverse representation in his books, even though at that point I was desperately trying to tell myself that I didn’t have any vested interest in stuff like LGBT representation. Something about the way you wrote the queer characters in Magic Ex Libris was unique compared to most of what I’d read before, maybe because they’re well-rounded characters who aren’t just the token gay character.
It took a lot of voices over many years to counteract the shame I’d internalized, but you were one of those voices at a critical time and you said that people like me were valued and that made a difference.
Two years ago I finally admitted to myself that I’m trans. A year ago I came out to my wife. I started medically transitioning last fall and I’m pretty much out and living as me with a couple unavoidable exceptions. I’m healthier mentally, emotionally, and physically than I’ve been for my entire adult life, my relationship with my wife is stronger than ever, and I’m more available and involved as a parent. None of that would have happened without all the supportive people along the way – that includes folks who are personally involved in my life, out and proud trans folk who showed me a possible way forward, and people like you who’ve put their skin in the game even when they didn’t have to.
I hope some day I can thank you in person and get you to re-autograph Revisionary with my right name.
August 2, 2018 @ 8:43 pm
Hey, Jim. You really did pay a pivotal role for me. If not for your blog post, I might never have decided to try fanfic, which meant I would not have dreamed of creating Janet Watson. So thank you.
Jim C. Hines
August 4, 2018 @ 12:22 pm
Claire – you’re so welcome 🙂 I hope Janet does amazingly well for you!!!
Jim C. Hines
August 4, 2018 @ 12:24 pm
Ellie – Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m so glad the books were able to help in some small way, and more importantly, I’m thrilled you’re in a better, stronger place now, and able to be true to who you are. Much love to you and your family.