A Study in Honor, by Claire O’Dell

Cover Art: A Study in HonorA 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?