The ‘seven degrees of Kevin Bacon’ game gets even more surreal when it edges into fiction.

Now: At the end of the Kindle version of Laurie R. King’s novella Beekeeping for Beginners, there is a transcription of a Twitter “interview” with Mary Russell (who is apparently flourishing despite being 111 years old now). She claims Neil Gaiman as a friend of herself and her husband (apparently Sherlock Holmes is also still flourishing, despite being 40 years older than Russell – perhaps both are members of hte Howard family).

Anyway, the implications are far-reaching. By the information in the Mary Russell books, this means Neil Gaiman is only two degrees from both Lord Peter Wimsey and Kim O’Hara. I think it’s fair to assume Gaiman is one degree from his own characters – which assumption should also make him two degrees from e.g. Terry Pratchett’s. So there are two degrees of separation between Odin and Sherlock Holmes, three degrees between Sam Vimes and Holmes and the same for Granny Weatherwax. Dr. John Watson would probably be shocked to learn he’s two degrees from the Sandman, though possibly not as shocked than Mrs. Hudson to find herself four degrees from a number of Klingons (I’m figuring from Mrs. Hudson (who is presumably no longer with us and would therefore not have met Neil Gaiman directly) to Holmes to Gaiman to Mike Ford to the Klingons).

More prosaically, of course once you factor in the connection between author and character, the number of Holmes pastiches with a fantastic element, and the tendency of SF and fantasy writers to meet each other at cons, it’s probable that no SFF writer is more than three degrees from Holmes anyway – and given the number of stories involving time travel, it’s probable many of their characters have gone and met Holmes directly.

This also means a fair share of my friendslist on LiveJournal is only 2 or 3 degrees from Holmes.