This page will archive all the post I’ve dug up from Amazon review responses by Jim, as well as some other random websites Jim has participated on. Warning, it’s a huge text dump.
Jim responded to the following Changes review titled:
Giving this book two stars for one simple reason. And there will be SPOILERS…..
Unlike others who have a problem with this book, I don’t mind Dresden selling his soul (I think a five minute death is going to give him an out), I don’t mind him cajoling Susan to go all dark side, she chose after all, just like he did. Here’s where I have the problem and what reduces the book to a one star, for me, though I gave it two to be kind.
YEARS of long, drawn out, teeth grindingly boring sexual tension between Dresden and Murphy (and frankly I am really sick of writers and this plot tactic..if you can’t make characters in a relationship exciting, don’t introduce the possibility, drawing out sexual tension for ten years is just annoying)….anyhoo…so okay, YEARS of drawn out sexual tension and this happens:
Gee Harry why yes, let’s finally succumb to this simmering seething tension lurking just below the surface and yes even though I know the wicked fairy queen is liable to show up at any moment and claim your soul causing yet another chance of knocking-boots-bliss to slip through my fingers but rather than just finally hopping on and seeing what your blasting rod is really capable of, I’ll just go drive across town first and take a SHOWER?!!!! Hello what the frak, there’s a shower on the boat take one together!
Contrived and stupid.
You ever seen the shower on a small vessel like the Water Beetle? It isn’t the sort of place you bring company. Dresden practically has to do yoga just to fit inside.
Jim respond once to the following Changes review:
It’s not a surprise that Harry Dresden has been leaning towards The Dark Side. Jim Butcher has done a masterful job through book after book of setting this up. We’ve all been wondering what, exactly, would cause Harry to do The Bad Thing, who in Harry’s life would cause him to make that choice, but when it finally came to Harry making the choices and doing the deeds that cracked his moral compass and obliterated the line between right and wrong, Butcher absolutely punked out by giving Harry a scapegoat in which to do so – he did it for his kid. Aw, see now it makes it okay.
This entire book was one long rambling mess. Anyone and everyone that’s been in the series was in it, whether they should have been or not. Everything popped up, whether it made sense or not. Side tangents went nowhere. Open plots from past books remained gaping while brand new ones left me thinking, “Wait, what?” more than once. Harry can still call Lasciel’s coin to him whenever he wants? Really? Because….?
I at least now understand why Butcher so coldly and abruptly dismissed the character of Michael. Michael’s involvement with this book and with Harry’s actions would have proved a significant challenge to write. It’s the only reasoning I can come up with as to why he would only devote a total of about six lines to a major character’s near death and subsequent vanishing act. Michael’s better off not being a part of this mess.
I could have forgiven 90% of the book for the absolutely epic battle at the end if Butcher hadn’t then ruined that with the Murphy/Dresden scene at the end. Why is he still flogging that dead horse when both of the characters had moved on from this crap in earlier books?
As for who is responsible for what happened in the last seconds of the book? There’s a line forming to the left.
“We’ve all been wondering what, exactly, would cause Harry to do The Bad Thing, who in Harry’s life would cause him to make that choice, but when it finally came to Harry making the choices and doing the deeds that cracked his moral compass and obliterated the line between right and wrong, Butcher absolutely punked out by giving Harry a scapegoat in which to do so – he did it for his kid. Aw, see now it makes it okay. ”
Um, no, not at all. That does not make Harry’s choice “okay.” Not even a little.
In my opinion, it does make it kinda understandable, though. I know of few people, be they ever so moral, who would be content to watch their innocent child die for the sake of said morals when they could do something about it.
But please bear in mind: Harry’s not a paragon or a saint. He’s just as lost and clueless as all the rest of us.
Regular, decent people can do some really terrible things. They can be pushed to that point by all kinds of circumstances, but they can get there–particularly when the only choices they’re given are between what’s wrong and what’s unthinkable. They can follow leaders who march them all into darkness. They can be caught in the tides of history, politics, and ideology. Just people. Me. You. We can make bad choices. We can do all the wrong things for all the right reasons, and despite a few millennia of history, culture, philosophy and theology, people can still make those same mistakes.
Mab was the one who encapsulated it, in dialogue, when she spoke about love being the driving power behind all kinds of terrible acts. (It’s not love, really: it’s fear of losing someone you love. But that’s a whole other topic.)
When we make those bad choices, horrible consequences ensue. People suffer. Sometimes people die. I’m writing fiction, but those pressures and choices are very, very real. And they can fall on anyone out of nowhere.
“Open plots from past books remained gaping while brand new ones left me thinking, “Wait, what?” more than once. Harry can still call Lasciel’s coin to him whenever he wants? Really? Because….?”
Some plots are still open because, you know. The story isn’t done yet. And Harry knows it’s possible for the coin to be summoned because Lash told him it was doable. As far as him being able to summon the coin, well. He kinda lied to Mab. It’ll be clearer why he did, eventually.
“I at least now understand why Butcher so coldly and abruptly dismissed the character of Michael.”
Not at all. A lot of people have mentioned this to me, and none of them had read the story that resolved it. Writing the followup Michael needed couldn’t have happened at the end of Small Favor. It required a certain amount of time to go by, within the story world. The resolution of Michael’s injury was the core of the short story, “The Warrior.” It’s included in the upcoming collection of Dresden Files short pieces, called SIDE JOBS.
“I could have forgiven 90% of the book for the absolutely epic battle at the end if Butcher hadn’t then ruined that with the Murphy/Dresden scene at the end.”
Folks who have been in scary situations where their lives are endangered have a pretty wide spectrum of reactions. But one of the most common reactions is a need for the reaffirmation of being alive. One of the most common acts to embody that need is, well, sex. What was going on between Harry and Murphy wasn’t necessarily about their feelings for one another as much as it was about the physical and psychological trauma of the big epic battle you mentioned. That kind of event can temporarily tint the powerful (though not necessarily romantic) feelings a man and woman share for one another.
I mean, it might have been simple adrenaline. Also, some of the basis for that scene sprang from the events of the short story, “Love Hurts,” which will also be in SIDE JOBS.
All that said… Not everything about the events of Changes has been shown, yet, and there are a lot of elements in it which are deliberately misleading within the context of that story taken on its own.
Some things take time to build and reveal. To the best of my ability, in the Dresden Files, no one skates cleanly out of the consequences of their own choices.
You’ve stuck with me for a dozen novels, it would seem. Gimme a little credit. And have a little faith.
I’m sorry I didn’t see this before – I didn’t click the thing to notify me of replies. I’m sorry!
Thank you for replying, I had no idea you were around here to do so!
Michael, obviously, was a big deal to me through these books. I felt he was Harry’s line in the sand, so to speak, and a link to a side of things that Harry often overlooked because of his non-belief in God. He believed in Michael, but I never really felt he believed in God. He started to creep towards there in the later books but when Michael was so brutally hurt andf then disappeared so totally, it almost seemed like he was pushed out of the way, and replaced by Molly, who, in my opinion, a much lesser character. I can’t deal with the constant lusting from her for Harry – it skeeves me out and I’m glad it still skeeves him out too.
Maybe I shouldn’t have said Harry had moved on from Murphy but Murphy had made up her mind and moved forward. That would have been a better statement of facts. I dislike it in general, in movies, in television, in serial books, when a male and female are always thrown together at some point. I don’t get why Harry and Murphy can’t just be each others safe place to fall. Or to have that one awfully awkward date and go, “Oh, yeah, this so isn’t going to work!” that they could then use for the next ten books to torment one another with. My dad and I have voted – we want Harry to be with Lara Wraith even though that would sort be incest. Sort of – in a cross demon/human way…. but man, would that be funny.
I read the short story Mac in Strange Brew, which I loved – Dad and I love him too! We’re kind of at war between Mac and his pub and the bar in Simon Green’s Nightside series. I say Merlin doesn’t really make it cooler.
But we both want some answers!! We want to know why the cat thing has Mab’s voice, why Harry’s Godmother seems to have two personalities, and if The Gatekeeper is blood related to Harry. We both vote yes on that one. No hurry.
Thanks for your reply. I will go get the book now, I am anxious to read about Michael. I keep that quote about pain from the one book in my wallet and at least twice a month my dad and I text “Did you know T-Rex’s don’t corner well?” at random moments.
Jim replied to the following Changes review:
A typical Dresden story in many ways. I’ve always enjoyed the side stories as Harry navigates his way through all of the twists and turns getting to the major action of the story. This was a bit lacking in this book. It seemed as if Butcher was trying to just get through it and be done with it. Without giving away too much of the story, each thing that happened was sending signals that this was the end. The authors note at the end urging readers to go to the Codex Alera series was wasted on me, as I’ve already read all of Tavi’s adventures. I’m left wondering where Butcher goes from here. Maybe to retirement?
Dude! I’m THIRTY EIGHT. And my kid starts premed in the fall. No way I am retiring now.
Jim Butcher responded to this Side Jobs review titled:
My opinion and gut feeling after reading the book the day it came out was that Butcher cranked this out for the money. It was easy because most of the stories were already written. It appeared to me that Jim Butcher basically wrote one new short story and cobbled together existing material that has been around for some time in various anthologies, or material that simply never would have been used other than in this format.
Now in fairness to Jim,he did respond to one fan here by saying “I wanted to do it because there are a lot of fans who can’t afford to go purchase the expensive trade paperback anthologies for the sake of getting just one short story–especially Backup, considering the prices it was going for in the limited run collector edition. For them, gathering the stories together into a single (more affordable) volume made all kinds of sense.” SCORE ONE BIG RATIONAL POINT FOR JIM BUTCHER. Because I was one of the idiots that bought all these other anthologies to get one sliver story of Dresden that I had not seen before (call me a SUCKER). SO Jim actually did his fans a favor by collecting them into one purchase. THOUGH LATE. He could have saved me a lot of money by doing this much sooner.
I am a huge Dresden Files series fan. Good, Bad or otherwise, I’ll buy every book on Dresden that Butcher writes and pay full price for the right to read it. I will buy each and every book Butcher writes in the Dresden series, though not his Codex series which was boring and self indulgent on Butcher’s part. From his comments, it is clear that Butcher self indulgently wanted to write fantasy period piece – but he didn’t write characters or dialogue that were 1/10th as good as those found in Dresden. As for proof, I openly challenge Butcher to release sales figures for Dresden versus sales figures for Codex. There is a reason Codex is over and dead. But not Dresden. Unlike Codex, Dresden has legs and a huge following.
Dresden Files is where Butcher finds his best voice through the main character Harry Dresden. On this particular book, I would rate it a 6.5 out of 10, compared to the full length novels which I give an overall 8.5 to 9 for their ability to speak to the reader and for the terrific dialogue and moral quandaries Harry gets in. Butcher is a master at making scenes come alive. The short stories, however, don’t really have that satisfying arc of character or depth of imagination. If Jim wants short stories, he should have a short story contest featuring Dresden and publish the top 20 entrants on his website instead of doing his own shorts. Jim should focus on putting out 2 FULL length Dresden Files Novels a year!
I kinda hate to point out the obvious here, man, but… I’m a professional writer. I do it ALL for the money. Writing is how I pay for stuff like food and electricity and new socks.
The anthology wasn’t something I had hidden away with the rest of my Evil Capitalist Pig Author Plans somewhere. People asked me to write stories for anthologies, and based on who they were, and what the timing of the deadlines was, I agreed to contribute (or didn’t). After two or three years of that, I realized hey, I’ve got almost a full book worth of short stories. Once the exclusivity clauses of a couple of contracts were up, I talked to Anne about putting out a collection, and adding enough new material to it to make sure it was of comparable size to other books of the Dresden Files. That’s where “Aftermath” came from.
As for Alera versus the Dresden Files, you’re comparing apples and sprockets. Urban fantasy appeals to a very different audience than swords-and-horses fantasy, in the first place. In the second, they are projects of very different scope. Alera ended because I planned it for six books, I wrote six books, and that was the end of it. If it doesn’t end, it isn’t a story.
Had Alera been slated for a gimonstrous 20 or 25 books, it would have collected a steadily increasing audience as it went on, just as the Dresden Files has. Certainly, the sixth book of the Codex Alera sold something like ten times as many copies as the sixth book of the Dresden Files–but even that isn’t an even comparison, since there was a sizable crossover audience from Dresden to Alera.
Oh, you’re challenging me about sales figures? Whatever, man. First Lord’s Fury sold maybe three quarters as many copies as the Dresden Files release of that same year. I’d have to ask my wife to dig into her data mine to get the actual figures. Relative to the number of releases, Alera outsold Dresden considerably, and was gathering a larger audience with each novel.
Additionally, since I finished First Lord’s Fury, not a week has gone by that one or more fans hasn’t written, asking if I was going to continue Alera. It also had fans. A lot of them liked it better than the Dresden Files. If I wanted to keep Alera going, I would easily have been able to, and it very much would have been worth my time, financially. I didn’t want to keep it going. I got to the end. And that’s why it stopped. Because I wanted to move on to the next project, the next story. I am confident that had I gone to the publisher and said, “Hey, I want to do three more Alera books,” they would have been delighted.
As for the Alera series being “self-indulgent,” I am of the opinion that what I choose to do with my life is none of your damned business, sir.
I am not your writing bitch. I will write what I want to write, create what I want to create, and that’s how it /should/ be.
Not everything is going to be new Dresden Files material, and if you don’t like my other work, that’s okay. If it doesn’t make a whole bunch of money, that’s okay too. I intend to spend the rest of my life writing the stories I love. Odds are that none of them will see the same level of success as the Dresden Files. I’m fine with that.
You didn’t like the Alera books as well as Dresden. That’s a perfectly valid opinion. Maybe you think that if I hadn’t been writing Alera, I’d have been writing volumes of the Dresden Files at a more rapid pace. (I wouldn’t. God, one of those each year is exhausting enough.)
But just because you didn’t like the Alera books doesn’t mean that they are some kind of professional failing or the result of some personal failure of morality. And, frankly, if your yardstick for measuring a series’ value is how many copies it sells, then you and I have very different ideas about what makes a good book, or series of books.
Jim responded to this Side Jobs review named:
Normally, I’m a fan of Jim Butcher but there is little bang for the buck in this purchase–especially for consumers in the Kindle version which, for the first time, costs more than the hard cover. I’m personally boycotting future Butcher works until the publisher and author get prices under control.
14.01 (the hardback price) is still more than 12.99 (the Kindle price), isn’t it?
I’ve had endless discussions about Amazon being the sole proprietor of Kindle and the Kindle-format, and that therefore they do have just a little bit of say in determining the prices for which they sell their product.
The point being, boycotting /me/ for the prices /Amazon/ sets makes little sense, since I have NO INPUT ON THE SETTING OF PRICES FOR HARDCOVER, PAPERBACK, OR ELECTRONIC VERSIONS OF THE NOVELS–and if you believe Amazon doesn’t want to make as much profit as it can, and therefore sets prices as high as they think they can get away with, there’s really no discussion to be had here.
Jim responded to this review of Side Jobs titled:
I plan on purchasing this collection in softcover. It’s not a good hardcover deal for the hardcore fan, all you are getting are four new stories that haven’t appeared in other anthologies already and they total less than 80 pages combined. The story I really wanted some closure with, “Aftermath”, is set after Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12), but it’s from Murphy’s perspective and does not settle the cliffhanger. Therefore as someone who has followed the Dresden files closely and already has the other anthologies just for Dresden, the amount of original content inside the volume of Side Jobs is disappointing. If you haven’t shelled out a bunch of money to subterranean press for Backup, add another star.
A Restoration of Faith……..prequel, Jim’s First Dresden File, a college course project, rejected by publishing industry
Vignette………………….Set between 5/6, very short story (2000 words max), previously a convention promo written by Butcher in about six hours
Something Borrowed…………Set between 7/8, Appeared in My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
It’s My Birthday, Too………Set Between 9/10, Appeared in Many Bloody Returns
Heorot……………………Set Between 9/10, Appeared in My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
Day Off…………………..Set between 10/11, Appeared in Blood Lite: An Anthology of Humorous Horror Stories Presented by the Horror Writers Association (Paperback)
Backup……………………Set between 10/11, published by subterranean press as a novella, Backup
The Warrior……………….Set between 10/11, Appeared in Mean Streets
Last Call…………………Set between 10/11, Appears in Strange Brew
Love Hurts………………..Set between 10/11, Will also appear in “Songs of Love and Death”, another anthology coming in November 2010, here first though
Aftermath…………………Set between 12/13, the ‘new’ story of the collection, doesn’t settle the cliffhanger at the end of “Changes”
I did like the stories, but I already own most of them in other forms! I was hoping for more new stuff, not for the author to hit a high enough volume of published short stories to create his own ‘let’s reprint’ anthology. Therefore my reaction to this book was more mehish, ‘that’s it?’ instead of ‘woah, more new Dresden’.
You’re absolutely right. This really wasn’t a book that was meant for the hardcore fan who already owned copies of all the anthologies and so on.
I wanted to do it because there are a lot of fans who can’t afford to go purchase the expensive trade paperback anthologies for the sake of getting just one short story–especially Backup, considering the prices it was going for in the limited run collector edition. For them, gathering the stories together into a single (more affordable) volume made all kinds of sense.
Jim responded to the following comment on Changes:
When will the publishers learn. If you can buy the hardcover for 9.99 you should certainly be able to buy the e-book for the same price. Now I have a copy of it on my kindle, but they didn’t get a dime. I pay when I can, but pull crap like that and I’ll go around it.
Dude. Are you seriously copping to outright piracy on a completely public board? And one to which the author shows up, to boot?
Owned me into buying the hardcover (I actually already had it on order) However, the point I was trying to make is that I just can’t stand when publishers pull this crap. I can not even imagine how frustrating it must be as an author. BTW, this series is the first time I’ve ever burned through 11 books in less than 2 weeks. Amazing stuff.
Although I’ll repeat that this isn’t the case of the publisher playing shennanigans. It’s all about Amazon, the monopoly vendor to the Kindle. I mean, other ebook vendors have Changes available, right? So it’s not as if Penguin has been demanding an unfair price for its goods.
Amazon just refuses to pay what is an empirically demonstrated fair price. And Penguin declines to have its prices dictated to it by Amazon. This isn’t much more complicated than the economics cartoons that used to occasionally be on TV when I was a kid. If you don’t want to pay what’s on the price tag, you don’t get to leave the store with the candy bar, right? So Amazon doesn’t have a candy bar like all the other kids.
Ah I did not realize Amazon was trying to underpay, I thought the dispute was because of Amazon’s price structure on the consumers end. Well, they better get their heads out of their collective you know what’s then, because it only takes a few books to make people switch readers. Now, on to my 5 star review for this book!
Jim Posted this in the Changes comment titled “Susan” (Emphasis added)
“Killing her at that point wasn’t the hard decision at that point, it was just damn… damn… DAMN cold.”
“A far more proper way to look at this is Martin did this to both Harry and Susan.”
“On another note did you notice how at the very, very beginning he was calling her Murph. Then as soon as she said she had his back for his child he always called her Karrin from then on?”
God I love an observant reader.
“Here’s a small comment. I don’t know if someone else made this observation and I just missed it, but, did anyone else note that the costume that Lea gave Susan was sacrificial robe to Harry’s conquistador? ”
GOD I LOVE AN OBSERVANT READER!
Jim posted this in response to the following comments in the Changes section titled:
Here is the problem,
first technology is changing and we need to move with it. In this case we are getting a product that is costing less to produce now (a actuall book requires alot to put out and to make and distribute) a ebook only has to be edited and a file created and wow, copy paste basically. the price on these should be significantly lower. and yet they are jacking up the price now so it is almost the same as buying a regular book. and we gain some things like convienence but we lose things as well like sharing a book with friends and family. and now the publishers are fighting over this and screwing the readers and writers. and the other thing is you can only read some of these Ebooks on certain devices.
My opinion is that the price for ebooks should be lower than regular books, we should have the same rights and options that we had with paper books, and there should be only one format so you can read it on any reader.
I will not purchase this book now until the kindle edition is put out and at a reasonable price for what it is. I will borrow it from my brother this week and we will be lending it out to a number of family members who want to read this as well and dont want to be stuck in the middle of this. SO if any publishers get ahold of this, know that because of your actions, you will be losing a minimum of 10 sales. great job on marketing and caring for your customers.
I agree we should be able to swap but there should also be a large price difference since they are not putting out money of their own to make , ship, and distribute a actuall product.
I agree that stealing the book is wrong and yes we should pay for it, especially to Jim Butcher for the amazing books. On the other side of the argument, the publishers should not be ripping us off either. they are increasing their profits on this and there is no reason for it except GREED.
Well. No, Christopher. You’re dead wrong.
I’ve made other posts here and on my web site that detail the reasons why I think so, so I won’t belabor them again. I’ll just point out that publishing is not a high-profit-margin business. They do pretty well to stay in the black at all.
As for the notion that an author could go directly to a store for a sale, even an author with an established audience, I can only find it a little naive.
Amazon is not nearly the major player that they think they are, in the book business. They have a ton of hype. Actual numbers from them are considerably different.
In my particular case, Amazon doesn’t show up as a huge player on my paycheck. Barnes and Noble sells four times as many copies as Amazon. Freaking /Wal-Mart/ sells TWENTY times as many copies. And that doesn’t take into account all the sales from independent stores, which do a TON of business.
So, to sell direct from Amazon, I’d have to make, more or less, twenty five times as much on a per-book basis to try to run a deal through Amazon alone and still pull the same paycheck. Which would mean that the book would have to cost about $35, and that’s irrespective of Amazon’s need to make a profit, too. Which I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t be willing to do, even if I was so crass as to try to run my prices up that high. My own sweet SISTERS wouldn’t pay thirty five bucks for one of my books. Heck, *I* wouldn’t pay that much for one. Why should I ask it of you, the reader?
Granted, the ebook market is growing and changing things–but it’s going to be a gradual transition from old models to newer ones, and Amazon’s stunt-tactics to try to hurry the process probably aren’t helping things much.
Just bear in mind that Amazon is not any more on you, the reader’s side than any other big company. They want lower ebook prices enough to try to strongarm them out of publishers–and to be the only one selling them that cheap, so that everyone runs and buys a Kindle. Which runs their own monopolized, proprietary format and very little else. So they can make money.
Kindles are fantastic, don’t get me wrong. I loved mine to death. Twice. But they are a monopolized market. Kindle readers (of which I am one) are hostages to Amazon’s generosity, since no one else can provide books for them.
The Nook, while dumpier and way less functional than the Kindle, at least reads multiple ebook formats, which means that you can shop from competing vendors. AND THAT IS WHAT WILL LOWER EBOOK PRICES.
Loading everything onto the SS Monopoly isn’t gonna help the paper-to-ebook transition.
Jim said this in the Changes comments section
“What the end of Empty Night will bring… only Butcher knows.”
No he doesn’t.
I never planned out Dresden’s love life. I wanted it to be something that grew up free range style. No clue what’s gonna happen there, yet. Just following my instincts.
Jim responded to this review of Turn Coat titled
Look, I can’t complain – I am an avid reader of Butcher’s stuff – all great, all page turning fantasy – very good stuff. I almost hate to say this, but, has anyone else noticed (i) that pretty much everything about the Dresden series seems to be awfully similar to Glen Cook’s old and still on-going series on Garrett, P.I.? The coincidences between the two series are more than a bit odd; and (ii) is it just me, or does anyone else get the smell that the author might have a slight problem with folks of the Jewish faith? Just my odd thoughts.
By all means, EJ. I would also like to hear an elaboration of your reasoning for my apparent prejudice, especially since you’re effectively publishing the accusation by dropping it in a public forum like this. By giving a more detailed argument, you would avoid the appearance of making a malicious and spineless insinuation based upon… well, nothing, as far as I can tell. Educate me, please, so that I’m no longer an unwitting agent of my own buried hatred.
With regards to Glen’s series, all I can do is shrug. We’re both writing fantasy novels based upon a skeleton of hard-boiled private eye investigators. One could draw any number of common threads between the two–as well as with the works of Chandler, Hammet, Parker, and too many others to list.
Jim didn’t respond any more but EJ Hamm “dameind” responded to Jim, and had more responses to other people’s comments that I will leave there.
Jim responded twice to a topic in the comments section of Turn Coat. The first response seems to be a response to the original post (I looked through and couldn’t find anything else it could be a response to) which was:
I was very pleased when the Lasciel storyline was resolved in White Night. However, there are a distressing number of unresolved plotlines, (some minor, some major). I know that the series is intended to run for many more books, but I thought it might be amusing to list them.
(1) Black Council: Who are they? Who is the traitor?
(2) Susan? Will she ever be cured? Harry has moved on, but has she?
(3) The swords: who will get them and why?
(4) What’s the last favor to Mab?
(5) The war with the Vamps.
(6) Why will the island in Lake Michigan be important to Harry’s future?
(7) Who is Cowl?
( The missing Denarian hand w/coin.
BTW, I am pleased that some plot lines have been resolved. It’s nice to see an author that allows a character to change and grow.
Actually, what I said was: “Her story isn’t over.”
“Wondering if this will ever show up as a dangling thread: The backstory on McAnally. Since his pub is a place where no harm can come of others, what in his past led to this being able to happen?”
Well, the pub’s been declared neutral territory, at any rate. That’s a long way from having a place where no one CAN get hurt. It’s just a place where no one is SUPPOSED to get hurt. There’s no bippity boppity boo enforcing it. It’s just an agreed-upon neutral venue, and pretty much every major city has at least one, so that the possibility for non-violent conflict resolution is always there.
As the watering hole for the local supernatural community, Mac’s place was already a familiar location. When the war broke out, with a member of the White Council in residence in the area (specifically, the dummy who managed to START the war), it was a logical choice.
And besides. He makes REALLY good beer.
Jim posted these replies in the comments of the Ghost Story page:
I like all of JB’s books too, but I have a Kindle so that I could get books cheaper and save shelf space, so I’ll have to pass on Ghost Story until the price is more reasonable. Good luck Mr. Butcher, I hope you can get away from Penguin’s clutches!
Honestly, I’m not planning on escaping anyone’s clutches. I’m not even sure penguins /have/ clutches. (Ba dump bump.)
People tend to complain loudest about evil, greedy faceless corporations, but when it comes to the publishing industry, in particular, I think there’s less justification for that than most. Publishing is /not/ a high-profit-margin enterprise. Like with any business, there are overhead costs that eat into profits, but they’re particularly pernicious in publishing.
“But Ebooks have no such things!” someone says. “No printing cost, no shipping cost, no nothing!”
True. But it’s going to take time for the large publishers to realize that within an actual, practical business model, and then to act upon it.
(They may also be influenced by the fact that for every e-copy of a book that is sold, several HUNDRED are downloaded for free via various download sites and file sharing networks. Be honest now: would you want to place all of your chips on an industry with that kind of product shrinkage? It is not something to enter lightly.)
The business thinking of the publishing industry is very, very cautious. There are Darwinian pressures that make it that way. You can’t print too few books, or you throw off schedules and run up printing costs when you go back to the printer for more. You can’t print too many, or the government will tax you on the books you have in stock which have not actually sold. You never know how many books will actually sell, and if you’re wrong, either way, what is already a narrow profit margin becomes even more anemic, assuming it doesn’t just turn bright red. Make one mistake too many, and your company dies.
In an environment where that kind of pressure is on the decision-makers, new enterprises are not seen as exciting opportunities–they’re viewed as potential minefields. And that’s what is happening here.
Penguin, as one of the largest publishers in the industry, is making cautious business decisions. Their choices may or may not be wise ones, depending on if you’re a customer who wants more reasonable pricing, or if you’re a Penguin employee and you want to have a job tomorrow. They are certainly not always friendly to readers on a tight budget (and God knows that’s almost everyone these days).
But the good news is that this is a transitory problem. Do exactly what you’re doing. If you think they’re pricing the product too high–don’t buy it. If enough people agree with you, eventually they’ll be forced to lower the price (or go down in flames, which I suspect they would like to avoid).
Ebooks have been around for a while, but it’s only been in the past couple of years, with the production of the Kindle, Nook, and IPad, that it’s really taken off. (For those who wonder, I gots me an IPad and I put all my new purchases on it, and keep hunting for old books that really ought to be there. Yes, even I think the products are too expensive, regardless of the publisher.)
Publishing has entered a brave new world. Or rather, they’re beginning to understand that the rest of us entered a brave new world sometime in the early 90s. It’s going to take time for them to sort out where they want to be standing and verify that there are no landmines under their feet. Publishing moves at a pace that is glacial, by the standards of the entertainment industry, and positively /geological/ by the standards of internet culture.
Patience. Ebooks are still a fledgling industry. Penguin will get its act together with regards to Ebook pricing eventually. That isn’t a theory–it’s a fact. They don’t have a choice. If they don’t stay competitive, more agile publishers (Heh, there’s an image, “agile” glaciers.) will absolutely devour the market share and leave Penguin eating dust.
Cautious publishers are still testing the waters, but they’ll hop in eventually. The question isn’t if the prices will come down. It’s simply a matter of when.
“Escape from Penguin’s clutches.”
Now I have a mental image of Harry Dresden scurrying away across the ice from a cluster of giant eggs nestled at the feet of a demon-powered mutant penguin as a huge yellow beak pecks down in search of baby’s next meal.
Oh, oh! Or slogging through deep snow while HUNDREDS of possessed penguins with glowing red eyes waddled after him on top of the snow, so that even though they looked utterly ridiculous, they were actually moving faster than Harry…
“I sure hope content creators and distributors will get with the program soon and realize most folks will pay a fair price if given half a chance, especially if they’re given a great product in a well thought out and easy to complete transaction.”
My own personal investigation into this matter suggests that this above statement is not consistent with reality. I literally receive notices every single day about available free downloads of books I put months if not years of work into, and that’s from a simple Google alerts search. Over a three month period, I tracked over 22,000 total pirate downloads of my work, using the stats available from the various file-sharing sites which include a counter stating the number of times the files had been downloaded. Actual sales of e-copies during that same period? Just over 2,500. That’s sales information taken from the sales reports I get from the publisher.
Frankly, I don’t find it difficult to understand why publishers are reluctant to move more fully into the electronic age of publishing. One of the more popular torrents that one can download includes more than a thousand novels published since 2000 or so, including all of my work as well as the work of virtually every successful SF and Fantasy author you could think of.
Apparently, a great many people feel that they are entitled to read e-books without paying. When some of those books are projects you’ve poured your heart and soul and work into, I guess it gives you a different perspective on the dynamics and development of the e-publishing industry.
It won’t change the end game, but it probably is a major factor in the publishers’ reluctance to catch up with the times.
Jim responded to another topic in the Ghost Story comments section:
I am very unhappy with the note this text is taking. I understand that Butcher is diversifying the way in which he tell stories and this could be an excellent tale, but I just don’t like the premise. Even if harry does come back does he loose all the power he held previously i.e. innate power, soul fire, demon reach, and winter knight? This frustrates me as a reader. I thought that Changes was the best book in the series next to Summer Knight. I feel like this next book is just going to be a let down.
I don’t like that it will be taking a note from the Buffy universe ie lets see how many times we can kill of the hero for shock value. Be Butcher don’t be Joss W.
Dear Dr. Rutledge,
Jim made this response about an amazingly bogus summary about Cold Days in the Ghost Story comments section
“The German Amazon had a brief synopsis for the book following Ghost Story.”
That’s really interesting. I haven’t given /anyone/ a summary for book 14, not even my wife, much less my editor. I haven’t even outlined it yet, in anything but the broadest terms (a sentence, and an incomplete sentence at that, written in a notebook more than ten years ago).
So the German Amazon is 100 percent LYING to you, if they say they know anything about the upcoming story.
Jim made the following response to a topic in the Ghost Story comments section. I will copy the Original Post and the post immediately before Jim’s because I’m not positive what he is referring to.
Anyone else wondering why Harry’s wearing his duster on the cover, if it was destroyed at the end of Changes?
Anybody else notice that the duster “died” when Susan did? Interesting, inasmuch as she gave it to him.
I love it when readers notice the little things.
Jim responded to the following topic on the Ghost Story comments section
Are my eyes deceiving me? Has the release date for Ghost Story changed from April 5th to July 26, 2011? I sure hope not as I have been patiently waiting since Changes for this book to come out! What’s the deal??? Who’s heads need to roll???
Primarily mine, though… now that I think of it, that might make the book even more late.
Jim responded to the following review of Grave Peril:
About halfway into this book, having read the first two, I began to grow concerned regarding the heavy Christian themes. The further I read, the worse it got, until I finally I had to put the book down.
After a bit of research into the following books, I found that this wasn’t a theme that was likely to change.
Until I got sick of it, this was the best book in the series. It’s too bad the religious pinnings ruined it.
Interesting that you have such a problem with Christian plot elements, and consider them “troubling.” Rather intolerant, don’t you think?
He doesn’t get preachy
It’s not a big deal. A lot of people have been brought up to consider any religion vile and Christianity the vilest. To a degree, they’re right–there’s been a whole hell of a lot of abuse dished out by the various strains of Christianity.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that if you’re writing about good and evil in what is more or less our world, you just can’t do it without considering the implications of various faiths. I’ve attempted to write about the faiths that have appeared so far with respect. But if you’re of the opinion that /any/ religious material is “troubling” then this isn’t the series for you.
That’s cool. We have a free country and everything.
Jim Butcher responded to this review of Welcome to the Jungle:
I love Jim Butcher, and bought this immediately. When it arrived I was disappointed. Not that the story is not good, but I greatly dislike the comic-book format. (Some don’t like calling it such, but that is what it is.) Nowhere on the purchase page could I find a warning that it was a comic book. Very disappointed in the sale. Have to admit story was good, just too short and misrepresented.
It was stated at in the product description, here:
When the supernatural world spins out of control, when the police can’t handle what goes bump in the night, when monsters come screaming out of nightmares and into the mean streets, there’s just one man to call: Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard in the Chicago phone book. A police consultant and private investigator, Dresden has to walk the dangerous line between the world of night and the light of day.
Now Harry Dresden is investigating a brutal mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo that has left a security guard dead and many questions unanswered. As an investigator of the supernatural, he senses that there’s more to this case than a simple animal attack, and as Dresden searches for clues to figure out who is really behind the crime, he finds himself next on the victim list, and being hunted by creatures that won’t leave much more than a stain if they catch him.
WRITTEN EXCLUSIVELY FOR COMICS BY JIM BUTCHER (emphasis added) The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle is a brand-new story that’s sure to enchant readers with a blend of gripping mystery and fantastic adventure.
Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)
#4 in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Mystery
#26 in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Fantasy
#35 in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Children’s Comics
And in the PW review, here:
Author Butcher is the creator of the Dresden Files series of novels (the basis for the short-lived Sci-Fi channel series), and this fun GRAPHIC NOVEL (emphasis added) is the prequel to his first Dresden book, Storm Front.
Jim responded to the following Welcome to the Jungle review
Well I’m sure its a fine Graphic novel (comic book) but when i ordered this months ago there was no editorial review and no mention of it being a graphic novel. A couple of days a ago i get notice that the book has been shipped. Imagine the look of horror on my face when the book arrived as a graphic novel instead of “a new adventure of dresden”.
Yes im sure i could have done some reasearch between the time i ordered and the time the book came out but really, should i have to do research to find out that what im ordering is not a novel but a “Graphic Novel”. Now back to waiting impatiently for the next dresden book in APRIL.
Actually, the folks who are disappointed about the book not being the next novel are not entirely without a point. Amazon did indeed initially describe WttJ as “Book 10 of the Dresden Files” (despite the fact that book 10 of the Dresden Files, Small Favor, had already been published a couple of months earlier). B&N did the same thing. (But at least they got the progression right, and called it “Book 11.”) Editors at Ace contacted both vendors as soon as they’d been alerted to the situation, which was mid-summer, if I remember correctly.
I don’t know how long it took to correct the web sites in question–but neither Ace/Roc or myself had any way to address the problem, other than to nudge folks in email. We did try to be pretty clear about what all the upcoming releases were at my own website, www.jim-butcher.com, and the information was readily available at that location, but we live in an imperfect world.
My apologies to those who feel that they were burned in the unintentional bait-and-switch. Nobody came out happy in this one. By all means, if you feel cheated, you should return the graphic novel to Amazon. I’ve had to return products to them on occasion, and they’ve always been reasonable.
Jim responded to some of the comments regarding all the people complaining about Welcome to the Jungle being a comic and not the next novel. The comments are available at the link.
I would never, ever say a lot of the things you guys have in this thread, regarding the negative reactions to WttJ.
I’d be a liar if I said that I didn’t /really/ enjoy reading it. Kinda made my day, in fact. Thank you, guys.
Jim wrote this response to the reviews of Backup complaining that the novella was so short.
M, thank you very much for your support–but K does arguably have a point, at least on WttJ. The Amazon entry was a little fuzzy for several months, and B&N.com was actually advertising it as book 11 of the novels.
On Backup, maybe he doesn’t have so much ground. That one was described as “a 12,000 word novelette” from the first time it appeared. If you’ve typed college papers, you know that you get about 200 to 250 words per sheet of paper, which would indicate that this was a 40-60 page manuscript, depending on margins and fonts. I mean, no one was pulling a smokescreen here.
Frankly, I’m startled anyone thought a “long” short story was worth the cover price. I figured this would be a limited mover to a very small audience.
Announcements describing both WttJ and Backup have repeatedly been made on my web site, including fan discussions, previews, and interviews. I’ve talked about them at signings and conventions and in interviews for the better part of a year. It was readily available for cost of the time it would have taken to type www.jim-butcher.com, and click on two links. But even so, it’s unreasonable to expect that information to get to everyone. It’s an imperfect world.
Okay, to clarify some points in response to fan responses:
1) I have not stopped writing the Dresden Files. Well, except for right now, when I’m writing this instead.
2) I didn’t hold a gun to anyone’s head to make them buy these books. I created them, they got put up for sale, and folks bought them. I operated under the assumption that reasonable consumer caution would be applied to purchasing these pieces, especially when buying from an online vendor. If they WOULD let me hold a gun to people’s heads to make them buy the books, I’d still be a total unknown because guns are really heavy.
3) I am not entering a midlife crisis. For that to happen, I’d have to stop being an adolescent. If you’re gonna accuse me of mental imbalance, at least describe it correctly. (This means you, Vladimir in Atlanta.)
4) I did these projects for a hideously self-serving and childish reason: they sounded like fun. And I thought other people might think so too.
5) I had a sinister sub-motivation: I support my family by writing stories. It’s sort of what I do.
6) I never lied about what these two pieces were. I never tried to hide it from anyone. To the contrary, I did everything I could to get the word out (since, you know, that makes sense) and I’m sorry that it didn’t get to the folks who were so disappointed.
7) If you are so upset about the books being different than what you expected, take a cue from K and send them back. Amazon will refund your money. The next novel will come out next April, just as it has for the past five or six years You’ve lost nothing. End of problem.
Vladimir in Atlanta, sir–clearly you are very angry. Your “review” (which was essentially a string of malicious remarks about me personally) hurt, as did those of some of the other more spitefully adroit “reviewers.”
I’m a real person over here, guys. Just like you.
Tear the writing to SHREDS if you feel like it–that’s totally fair. But maybe dial down the personal venom, guys. I didn’t wrong you. Vladimir, though it chills me to the dessicated black tar that serves as my capitalist blood to type it, please feel free to return the books, get your money back and check the rest of the series out from your local public library in the future. For that matter, the books are readily available on any number of file sharing networks, if you are looking for some payback and convinced that all I want is your fifty cents.
(I confess, I have some suggestions for what you might DO with that fifty cents, which vary depending on the denomination of the coinage involved. But mostly, what I want is to give people something that makes them happy, and make sure my own family is taken care of.)
9) Dear Lord God, guys, can we leave the election out of SOME conversation SOMEWHERE?
Folks, I’m sorry that for some of you this didn’t work out the way you thought it would, and I can understand why you’re angry–hell, I was a little disappointed myself that there were what, like FOUR illustrations in Backup? And none of them were even big old action scenes! I get where you’re coming from.
But please bear in mind that I don’t have any control of Amazon’s online catalog pages, or of B&Ns. I don’t feel that you are justified in spewing rage at me–but this is, after all, the internet, where you can mangle people’s feelings and walk away because you never have to see them hurting, which makes it okay.
Anyone who still feels outraged should feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org, a reader-contact address that gets forwarded directly to my email box. Please write your subject line in GIANT FLAMING CAPLOCKS so that I will know that you are serious.
Jim posted these responses in the comments section of Princep’s Fury
I can’t wait for this book!!!!
This Codex Alera series is fun, adventurous, and even has romance. It is dark enough to be captivating.
Thanks Jim for this series and The Dresden Files!
“Do you have any Authors you would suggest your fans look into?”
Probably more than will leap to mind while I type this on my lunch break, but lemme see:
Glen Cook’s Black Company novels are some of the starkest, most atmospheric fantasy novels I’ve read, very strong soldier-based fantasy (written by an actual soldier). He’s big on writing the clever underdog against the overwhelming enemy. Think “Lord of the Rings” if it had been modeled on VietNam instead of WWII. Elizabeth’s Moon’s trilogy, “The Deed of Paksennarion” is probably one of the better military-fantasy novels and /the/ best paladin novel I’ve read. Also give Naomi Novik’s series a shot, starting with “Her Majesty’s Dragon.” Fantastic alternate-history Napoleonic-era Europe, where dragons serve as the air forces of the various nations.
Moving out of the more traditional fantasy, give EE Knight’s “Vampire Earth” series a shot. I know, I know, the premise of “space vampire post-apocalypse frontiersman’s war” sounds goofy as hell, but Knight builds a brilliant world. I get his books the minute I see them out.
Patrick Rothfuss. I can’t stand this guy. His FIRST NOVEL, “The Name of the Wind” is superb. His writing style veers from this gorgeously lyrical, almost poetic narrative to hardboiled lean-and-mean language with incredible effect between one paragraph and the next. He’s got a genuine talent.
John Scalzi is similarly disgusting. “Old Man’s War” is probably my favorite of his books. Several have said that it’s a good retelling of Heinlein’s seminal “Starship Troopers,” but I couldn’t disagree more. It’s like calling an F-22 Raptor a good reiteration of the Wright Brothers’ first bird. But you make the call. I think Scalzi is writing /the/ best science fiction in the English-speaking world right now.
I also recommend Robert B. Parker’s books–any of them, but especially the Spenser novels.
And *anything* by Lois McMaster Bujold. Good lord, I want to have the woman’s babies, professionally speaking.
There are plenty other skilled authors who time and distraction have omitted from this, and I apologize to them. I’ll make it up to them at some point.
Jim responded to a topic in the customer comments section of Captain’s Fury titled:
While reading book two it occurred to me that the series was a bit like Harry Potter. Then in Book Three when Tavi’s friends tell him “Haven’t you learned by now we’re going with you?” I felt the similarity like a slap in the face. And then in Book 4 with the constant tolerance for other races and the boy who didn’t know his own importance, and the king who’s always absent (a la Dumbledore). Seems to me there are lots of similarities!
And being that the Harry Potter books were build on Joesph’s Campbells 7 Levels of the Hero Myth, it is quite a common aspect of books with Heroes.
Tavi questioning himself is the self realization stage.
I think that might be oversimplifying things. Campbell’s work, at its core, set out to explore the traits of stories that were universal among humanity, and to examine what things they all had in common and why. By its very nature, Campbell’s work can be used to describe practically any story in existence, whether that story be written by JRRT (who was a contemporary of Campbell, right?) or JK Rowling, or that mercenary hack, Jim Butcher.
Any tale that features a single central protagonist can probably be blamed on Campbell, if the blamer is creative enough. But as a matter of pure practicality, very few writers I know go out and read Campbell and say “I’ll do it like this.” He’s dull and dry as hell, and you can’t swing a cat without hitting a reference to either Freud or Jung in his work. Most writers I know aren’t reaching for tools with which to understand and describe the universal unconscious or the ultimate nature of the human condition. Most of them operate somewhere closer to: “Oh, wouldn’t it be COOL if I got to do THIS! Zombie T-Rex! There’s gotta be some way to get one of THOSE into my story!”
I’d lose my frickin’ mind if I tried to write a story by holding up a Campbellian ruler to it. And I really, /really/ hope that JKR didn’t torture herself needlessly by doing that with the Harry Potter books. But I’ve never met her, so I have no idea.
A quote from my son, which I think applies to this article:
“Dad, if YOU could do it, how hard could it POSSIBLY be?”
Freaking wiseass kid.
Jim wrote a comment to Priscellie’s youtube posting of a GS Molly monologue.
I almost feel bad for doing that to Molly!
… almost. >
Jim wrote a comment to A fan made Dresden Files Music Video
DAMN but I love this video. I watch it when I need to get motivated to write. 😀 Whoever put this together, do not doubt that you are awesome. 🙂
I got to see Jim yesterday during his visit to Sweden.
As he was quickly signing books, I figured I wouldn’t be able to get a long answer out of him, so I shot for a yes no question – “Does Satan rule hell like Hades rules his place?” was what I tried to ask, but as soon as I said “Does Satan rule hell-” he frowned and said no. But then he heard the rest of my question and elaborated. I think I remember his answer verbatim: “Hades is like the CEO of his own small company, sort of. Satan is more like an officer of a sprawling multinational conglomerate – the hierarchy of hell operates exactly like a corporation, obviously” By ‘an officer’, I assume he meant CEO, what with being a fallen archangel and all, but the word he used was officer.
Q: Difference between the Fallen and other creatures from Hell?
A: Fallen are like corporate – they’ve got the backing of an organization.