(I had a longer review written but Amazon didn't accept it somehow... So I'll keep this one shorter.)
I bought this book because I am writing an essay for university about digital media and Sherlock. I expected a lot more insight than I actually received, especially for such a steep price (says the poor student).
Positive about this book: - A closer look at "traditional" Sherlockians and the Great Game they are playing - "But it's the Solar System" (Scott-Zechlin) shows what astronomy meant in Victorian London in relation to science and how it is shaped in the adaption - drawing attention to the blatant Orientalism in The Blind Banker - "Critical Reception by the Media" details critics' responses to season 1 - "Holmes Abroad" alludes to reader-response-theory (however briefly) and how this affects perception of non-British fans
The essay that reconciled me with the book: - "Sherlock as Cyborg: Bridging Mind and Body" in which Francesca Coppa compares Cumberbatch's Sherlock to Spock and other not-quite-human species and why they are so popular with (female) fans. She also details how fanfiction has explored asexuality and asexual aspects of Holmes thanks to the new adaption and manages to present fandom and slash fandom as equal. Then again, Coppa is cofounder of the OTW that also runs archiveofourown.org, so she knows what slash fandom looks like from the inside.
1. OUT-DATEDNESS. This book was written during the hiatus between seasons one and two. Why, though? The authors mention that they are aware they are dealing with an unfinished canon - in the conclusion, mind you - but don't say why they wrote it nevertheless. So many arguments can be shot down in light of season 2 and 3 and having these six additional episodes at one's disposal would have given a lot of arguments much more substance.
2. BLATANT HETERONORMATIVITY. Especially Roberta Pearson shows how incredibly heteronormative academic writing still is. In her essay on the infinite archive, p. 150-164) she also describes John's and Sherlock's first dinner at Angelo's. "... when John inadvertently sends the wrong signals" she writes about John's "You're unattatched. Like me." to which Sherlock responds with proclaiming he is flattered by JohN's interest but married to his work. Why INADVERTENTLY, though? If Pearson were to look just a tiny bit closer at the scene and not take it at face value, she would have noticed the ambiguity of it. But alas, she sees the scene through a heteronormative lense like every other author in this book.
3. CONDESCENDING ATTITUDE ... towards parts of fandom. I mean, seriously - "fannish extremes of slash fiction" (p. 141)? Throughout the book, with the exception of Coppa's essay, the authors' attitude towards slash fandom came across as condescending. There are the "normal" fans on the one side and those writing slash on the other. Just like the Chinese in The Blind Banker, slash writers are the exotic who latch onto every spark of homoerotic subtext like vampires. Don’t devalue queer people by degrading their chosen form of expression and interaction with popular heteronormative culture. Why can't academia take slashers seriously instead of smiling at them indulgently, I wonder?
CONCLUSION I don't recommend that book if you are looking for an up-to-date discourse on Sherlock. It has some interesting points, granted, but for me they don't outweigh the faults I have found with the book.