Jim Butcher


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Orthos wrote:

Binder was first introduced in Turn Coat.

** spoiler omitted **

Actually, he turned up again later in Turn Coat

Spoiler:
on Demonreach when Harry invited everyone chasing Morgan there for the big showdown. That's when Harry tells him he'll kill him if he catches him working in his town again.

Kalshane wrote:
Orthos wrote:

Binder was first introduced in Turn Coat.

** spoiler omitted **

Actually, he turned up again later in Turn Coat** spoiler omitted **

That's right, I'd forgotten about that later one.


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Huh, I need to read Turn Coat again. (I do remember several parts of that book, including,...)

Spoiler:
The whole reveal of the behind the scenes bad guy, using photographs by the vanilla private eye Harry met. And just the fact that Morgan was being framed, and needed Harry to clear his name. That was priceless after all of the early tribulations Morgan had put Harry through.

But obviously I need a refresher on other parts! ;P


Yeah, I actually have the RPG, I enjoy reading the side comments more than reading the actual rules and stuff. ;)


Some favorite quotes:

Harry: Because I'm too stubborn to die. And Thomas is too pretty to die. And you aren't going to die, Butters, because tomorrow is Oktoberfest and polka will never die!

Murphy: You're enjoying this. You just love to dance around questions and spring surprises when you know something the rest of us don't.
Harry: It's like heroin for wizards.


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PARKOUR!!!

Silver Crusade

I'm almost done with Skin Game. It's a shame it's going to be at least a year before another book releases.


Anybody have any idea how long until Cinder Spires starts?


Last I heard it will be "early 2015" - I know he said it was delayed somewhat due to dental trauma.
Also, there is at least one reading of the first part of it on you tube somewhere. (I missed a lot of the Jim B. panels at D*Con this year, so found a bunch of recorded ones online from other cons and stumbled across that reading.)

-TimD


Early 2015 sounds dandy. I don't know anything about this next volume, but love the title.


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It's a new series; not another volume in the Dresden Files. Steampunk set in a rather different world with towering spires above the clouds and airships... already set to be a trilogy.


Awwwww...


Yeah, sorry for the confusion. No announcement yet on Dresden #16, at least according to Wiki.


Oh, no worries. I'm always nervous about a new series from a favorite author. I either love 'em or absolutely hate 'em.


I have high hopes, but I also loved Codex Alera as much as Dresden. So I haven't been let down yet, which makes me more optimistic about Cinder Spires.

I'm the same way with Brandon Sanderson - I've loved every book he's put out, so I rarely get the feeling of impending disappointment with his stuff.


Orthos wrote:

I have high hopes, but I also loved Codex Alera as much as Dresden. So I haven't been let down yet, which makes me more optimistic about Cinder Spires.

I'm the same way with Brandon Sanderson - I've loved every book he's put out, so I rarely get the feeling of impending disappointment with his stuff.

I enjoyed Codex Allera and thought it was as well written as most of the Dresden Files, but since it was a fantasy story the fact that he reused so many common tropes took away from it for me. He uses just as many in Dresden Files, but I'm less familiar with noir or mystery tropes, so they are less noticeable.

The Exchange

He began writing Codex Allera before the Dresden books, but couldn't sell it. Hence the Dresden books were the first to be published. I enjoyed the Codex Allera too but it is much more of a standard heroic fantasy and so less original, but it may also be the fact that it is more like his juvenillia despite the later publication. He also did the thing in those books where people from a fantasy culture all really think and act like 21st Centure Americans, which doesn't exactly grate but doesn't really set it apart as a great work of fantasy fiction. Interested to read here that there will be a new series from him as a more mature writer now.


I've never heard that he started Alera before Dresden.
From what I recall from his panels I've either been to or heard online, Dresden came first as part of a college assignment from Debbie Chester and the Alera books were part of an online bet with someone about what is most important in writing. Alera was written as a response to the challenge of writing a compelling story about the Lost Roman Legion & Pokeman.
While I will admit I may be wrong, my impression of the writing of Alera was well after he finished Storm Front (aka Semi-Auto Magic) in 1996.

-TimD

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I might have my details a bit wrong. I think it might be more accurate to say he tried to write something like the Alera Codex before Dresden, in that he wanted to write an epic fantasy rather than an urban one. But he couldn't sell it, and changed his approach to writing th Dresden stuff. I believe he wrote a short story with Dresden in it and his agent encouraged him to develop it instead.


Yeah, this is the first time I've ever heard anyone claim CA predated Dresden in any way. I'll need a cite on that, Aubrey.

The Exchange

Pfft, what am I, your librarian? I can't remember where I saw it, to be honest, but I think he wrote something along those lines in a Dresden book while trying to plug the Alera books in an afterword. But I doubt that would be all editiona anyway. I'll see if I can find something.


Yes, I've heard the same about his fantasy writings prior to Dresden (there's a bit on his writing blog, I think, about his struggle to write 3rd person as well as he does 1st person).

On the short story thing, it's more the other way around. He wanted to write detective fiction and used his main character from that unpublished work (Nick Angel) in a Dresden short story (and now in at least one Dresden novel).

Still curious what his Epic, Epic, Epic Fantasy™ will be about / like that he mentions on occasion.

-TimD


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Pfft, what am I, your librarian?

It is generally accepted discussion procedure that the burden of proof is on the person making the claim.

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This.

I was basically wrong, but vaguely right in that he wanted to write the epic stuff at first rather than urban fantasy. But what he wrote doesn't appear to have been a proto-Alera - much.

EDIT: By the way, I don't endorse the review, but it has Butcher's comments up front.

The Exchange

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Good gods, that review was a horribly condescending piece of self indulgent nonsense. One of the top comments was:

comment from the review wrote:
Wow, that was a long review to essentially say that the book sucked because the author has bad hair and all his fans are fat.

Couldn't agree more. Sure, Butcher's writing is not the greatest example that humanity has to offer, and Storm Front is especially bad in that regard, but... deriving that all fantasy fans are stupid because this one book you didn't like is popular? Calling Jim Butcher stupid because you don't appreciate his sense of humor? (P.S, I laugh out loud about twice per Dresden book and chuckle numerous times). He kind of went as far as saying Butcher has Asperger at some point there. Jeez.


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When trolls are given a professional forum...

the more you know...


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The more you despair. Norgorber can help with this.

As for Skin Game,

Spoiler:
I love the scene with Hades. Who's a good dog?


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Lord Snow wrote:
Couldn't agree more. Sure, Butcher's writing is not the greatest example that humanity has to offer

I actually disagree, at least as far as urban fantasy authors go, he is the best. And he manages to make his next book (almost) always to be better than his last one, a feat I have yet to see any other author manage, even the vaunted George R.R. Martin. And he writes very fast and comes across as a very congenial and funny person in his seminars and interviews. Also, he is a Pathfinder fan.

The Exchange

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magnuskn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Couldn't agree more. Sure, Butcher's writing is not the greatest example that humanity has to offer
I actually disagree, at least as far as urban fantasy authors go, he is the best. And he manages to make his next book (almost) always to be better than his last one, a feat I have yet to see any other author manage, even the vaunted George R.R. Martin. And he writes very fast and comes across as a very congenial and funny person in his seminars and interviews. Also, he is a Pathfinder fan.

I'm not generally a fan of urban fantasy so it's hard for me to give a very relevant answer here, but the only thing I can say is that I see some glaring flaws and annoying trends in his writing (for example, the tendency to describe what every pretty female looks like/is wearing in tiresome details. Happened in every one of the 4 books I read so far).

Certainly his writing serves the purpose of the books well - I always burn through his books in a couple of days (which is very fast for me), the pages flow quickly and naturally, the humor is good, the action mostly well written.

Anyway, while Butcher as a writer is not above criticism, he's certainly good. I was just saying that there is some applicable criticism, which seemed fair to point out given that I was attacking that blog post about him.


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Agreed. You can see him getting better every time, and Butcher himself has talked about how much his writing has improved and how he looks for ways to make it better, but even his first books are enjoyable. I think he is a great writer. Not in a 'Giants of English Literature 201' sense, but he is a damned fine storyteller. I'm never bored or skimming over sections. The writing draws me into the story rather than pulling me out. I laugh, I chortle, and I'm left feeling pumped and excited about life after reading one of his books. Hard to do better than that.

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Kryzbyn wrote:

When trolls are given a professional forum...

the more you know...

The review seemed mainly driven by jealousy than anything else. Storm Front is, of course, Butcher's first published book and it certainly isn't perfect. But then again, he noticably hones his craft in the next few books, so the review is out of date anyway. I'm not enturely sure when the review was written, but Storm Front is a pretty old book by now.

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Lord Snow wrote:
(for example, the tendency to describe what every pretty female looks like/is wearing in tiresome details)

That tends to be Molly. I guess he's a visual writer and, presumably, prefers visualising the pretty young female characters more.


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Lord Snow wrote:

I'm not generally a fan of urban fantasy so it's hard for me to give a very relevant answer here, but the only thing I can say is that I see some glaring flaws and annoying trends in his writing (for example, the tendency to describe what every pretty female looks like/is wearing in tiresome details. Happened in every one of the 4 books I read so far).

Certainly his writing serves the purpose of the books well - I always burn through his books in a couple of days (which is very fast for me), the pages flow quickly and naturally, the humor is good, the action mostly well written.

Anyway, while Butcher as a writer is not above criticism, he's certainly good. I was just saying that there is some applicable criticism, which seemed fair to point out given that I was attacking that blog post about him.

Well, the femme fatales never really stop in his novels, but he really gets noticeably better in that regard later. He actually says in one or some of his interviews that he began writing the series as a much younger man and naturally that had him have sex more on his mind than it is now.

Anyway, if you say that you just read the first four novels, then with the fifth it is that the series really goes from "good" to "great".


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Yeah, IMO the first four are a mixed bag (Storm Front is okay, Fool Moon is meh, Grave Peril is all right, and Summer Knight is good) but Death Masks is awesome, and from there on I can't think of one I didn't love.

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I find it hard to believe that Butcher was younger than I am now when he wrote his first books, so his age is not exactly an excuse as far as I'm concerned. I like pretty ladies, but then I also like chocolate chip cookies, and I wouldn't do the drooling-equivalent of writing about either of these things.

Anyway, nice to hear about death masks. It's already on my kindle and ready to go, and I'll get to it as soon as I finish my current book. I'm all about this series getting better :)

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"It was brown and slightly crumbly, a few tantalising fragments scattered across the pristine white of the plate. The gentle craggy ripples on the surface intrigued me, called me to reach out and feel its rough yet sensual touch under my fingertips, to draw it to my mouth. Dark drops of chocolate gazed at me knowingly like the eyes of a sultry temptress, knowing what I wanted, and that this was where to find it. My breathing quickened, my tongue nevously licked my lips. I wanted it, yet I hated it too. Damn diet...."


*slow clap*


Lord Snow wrote:
I find it hard to believe that Butcher was younger than I am now when he wrote his first books, so his age is not exactly an excuse as far as I'm concerned.

Well how old are you? Wiki says he wrote Storm Front at 25, was 27 when it was published; that's younger than I am now (I'm 29), but I don't know my age relative to yours. Which coincidentally puts his "improving" phase of books around when he hit his 30s. He's not that old - he'll only be 43 in a few days.

The Exchange

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Personally, I'm 43 and I haven't really stopped thinking about women. Maybe both me and Mr Butcher are having midlife crises.


magnuskn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Couldn't agree more. Sure, Butcher's writing is not the greatest example that humanity has to offer
I actually disagree, at least as far as urban fantasy authors go, he is the best. And he manages to make his next book (almost) always to be better than his last one, a feat I have yet to see any other author manage, even the vaunted George R.R. Martin. And he writes very fast and comes across as a very congenial and funny person in his seminars and interviews. Also, he is a Pathfinder fan.

I think the early Laurell K Hamilton stuff (before she started writing romance novels/furry porn)was better than Dresden. Dresden has now had a longer run for me, since I stopped reading the Hamilton stuff, and I love the characters. I don't think his books are constantly getting better though. He's had a couple of books that I didn't enjoy all that much (White Knight springs to mind). I had kind of said goodbye to Dresden until I heard some spoilers from Changes, and HAD to read that book, and now I'm back aboard the Dresden line...


Constantine wrote:
I think the early Laurell K Hamilton stuff (before she started writing romance novels/furry porn)was better than Dresden. . . .

Hmm... I'll not say it's better, but up until the point where there wasn't enough plot to hang the sex on, I liked the Anita Blake novels pretty well. I started reading when three different people with three totally different sets of interests recommended the books to me independently.

I think I stopped liking the character of Anita around Obsidian Butterfly, but got disgusted and gave up after Micah.

I think Harry still acts like Harry even though there has been some character changes, and I like that. I also find myself having stronger emotional reactions to most of the side characters in the Dresden Universe, rather than being indifferently meh to mildly grr with Laurell K. Hamilton's characters.

At least her other series, the Meredith Gentry one, started out about sex and didn't try to fool me that it had a plot other than making fey babies.

The Exchange

Quote:
Well how old are you? Wiki says he wrote Storm Front at 25, was 27 when it was published; that's younger than I am now (I'm 29), but I don't know my age relative to yours. Which coincidentally puts his "improving" phase of books around when he hit his 30s. He's not that old - he'll only be 43 in a few days.

22. It's not that I am not attracted to women or don't enjoy hearing/reading/seeing them, but there are better places to do that than a fantasy novel, and honestly I'd rather not dilute my supernatural suspense story with somebody else's sexual fantasies.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
"It was brown and slightly crumbly, a few tantalising fragments scattered across the pristine white of the plate. The gentle craggy ripples on the surface intrigued me, called me to reach out and feel its rough yet sensual touch under my fingertips, to draw it to my mouth. Dark drops of chocolate gazed at me knowingly like the eyes of a sultry temptress, knowing what I wanted, and that this was where to find it. My breathing quickened, my tongue nevously licked my lips. I wanted it, yet I hated it too. Damn diet...."

I... I need to go cook some cookies now. Seriously, I'm doing it.


Huh. Somehow I'd gotten the impression you were older than me.

Lord Snow wrote:
honestly I'd rather not dilute my supernatural suspense story with somebody else's sexual fantasies.

I can get behind this. There are certainly times that I'm feeling "okay yes Jim, she's hot, can we move the plot on now?"


magnuskn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Couldn't agree more. Sure, Butcher's writing is not the greatest example that humanity has to offer
I actually disagree, at least as far as urban fantasy authors go, he is the best. And he manages to make his next book (almost) always to be better than his last one, a feat I have yet to see any other author manage, even the vaunted George R.R. Martin. And he writes very fast and comes across as a very congenial and funny person in his seminars and interviews. Also, he is a Pathfinder fan.

I would agree, but then I tend to think Urban Fantasy tends to set a low bar...

It really doesn't take much to beat out Laura K. Hamilton.


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Constantine wrote:
I think the early Laurell K Hamilton stuff (before she started writing romance novels/furry porn)was better than Dresden. Dresden has now had a longer run for me, since I stopped reading the Hamilton stuff, and I love the characters. I don't think his books are constantly getting better though. He's had a couple of books that I didn't enjoy all that much (White Knight springs to mind). I had kind of said goodbye to Dresden until I heard some spoilers from Changes, and HAD to read that book, and now I'm back aboard the Dresden line...

I read Hamilton, too, until she began to write Pw/oP. I still like Butchers work way better. The mythology is more interesting and it has way less melodramatic vampires. Also, the protagonist is a guy, which seems to be a rarity among Urban Fantasy novels. I also enjoy the first person perspective a lot.

BTW, if anybody is going to go off on Butcher for having femme fatales in his book, how about the bishonen guys in most urban fantasy novels who fall all over themselves for the female protagonist and who are described in muscle-rippling detail by said female protagonists, too?


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Lord Snow wrote:
22. It's not that I am not attracted to women or don't enjoy hearing/reading/seeing them, but there are better places to do that than a fantasy novel, and honestly I'd rather not dilute my supernatural suspense story with somebody else's sexual fantasies.

Geeze. Seems that I again am forgetting that I often am older than the average in some fandoms. I'm 39. Anyway, I also find detailed sex scenes distracting from the plot in most novels I read. However, I didn't think that Butcher is really spending all that much time on this aspect. Compared to everything else in his novels, it is miniscule, unless he is making a plot point with, like with Maeve in book four.

MMCJawa wrote:

I would agree, but then I tend to think Urban Fantasy tends to set a low bar...

It really doesn't take much to beat out Laura K. Hamilton.

Alright, I think he also is the best current author if you take the fantasy and science-fiction genre into account. I won't go farther, since I don't read much outside of those genres, but as far as they go, he is the best, IMO.


If I had to list out my favorite sci-fi/fantasy/etc. authors in a list, I'd personally put him second to Brandon Sanderson, but that's not a bad position to be second to. Lois Bujold would be third.


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I really enjoyed the Codex Alera series, and recommend it.


I greatly enjoy the Dresdin Series (not so much with Codex), and I have gone to hear him speak a few times. He's a really nice guy who is very quick and witty.

One of the things I wanted to ask him about was the chauvinism in his books. At first I thought it was just part of Harry's personality but after a few Q&A's I think it's more of a Jim Butcher thing than just a Harry Dresdin thing. Or maybe it's just part of the pulp film noir style he is going for. The fans would have booed me right off the Q&A had I brought it up for discussion but I wish I could go back and ask him about it because it's so prevalent throughout the series.

But again I do enjoy his Dresdin books. Good pulpy fun with warts and all. I lament that the TV series never did it justice.

-MD


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Well, what you call chauvinism, I call the behaviour of a gentleman, i.e. holding open doors, worrying unduly when a woman is in danger. It's a character trait which Harry has and which he acknowledges. He (the character) tones it down quite a lot in later books, especially since the ladies in the books prove to be just as kick-ass as himself.

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