The very first author spotlight goes to Jim Butcher. I picked Jim Butcher because I just received one of his books in the mail today, nothing complicated. I have yet to read any of Jim’s work but I will in the future. I already have 9 of his Dresden books, including a hardcover of a second printing of Storm Front, and I have 3 Codex Alera books. I hope to eventually have both series in hardback. He is also one of the best panelists when it comes to fantasy book events. Search on youtube for some awesome Jim Butcher talks.
The Dresden Files
As I mentioned, Jim Butcher is the author of the incredibly popular Dresden Files series, Codex Alera series, and the up-coming steampunk series The Cinder Spires. Jim was born in Independence, Missouri in 1971 and still lives in Independence today. Jim loved speculative fiction as a kid and set out to be a writer in the genre. He struggled as a writer at first, just like everyone does, and had to write and rewrite all of his early novels. The idea for Harry Dresden came during a writing class in college. It is about a professional wizard named Harry Dresden that lives in modern-day Chicago and uses his magic and skills to help him with cases. This is considered urban fantasy and Jim Butcher is considered one of the best in the business.
After being rejected many times he started to put himself out there and meet the right people. He met Laurell K Hamilton, author of the successful Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books, and her agent Ricia Mainhardt. Due to the similarities between Dresden and Anita Blake, it made sense. Roc, the fantasy imprint of Penguin Books, picked up The Dresden Files and together they have now released 15 books in the series in the last 14 years.
What makes the Dresden Files a lot different than other fantasy books is that Harry Dresden is limited in his scope. Although he is a wizard, he is not an all powerful wizard, he has limitations. He has to use his wit and smarts to out think his situation, not his power. This was very refreshing to book readers as they were used to main characters becoming overly powerful super good guys that battle the all powerful evil bad guy in a apocalyptic show-down.
The Codex Alera
The Codex Alera came from a discussion from a member on the Del Rey Online Writer’s Workshop that believed ideas in fantasy fiction were more important than characters and actual writing ability. The challenger said that Jim couldn’t write a good story based off a lame idea and Jim said, lets make it two lame ideas. The challenger choose the Lost Roman Legion and Pokemon. The Codex Alera was the result and 6 published books of what some consider his best work.
The Codex Alera focuses on elemental spirits that inhabit all aspects of the world. They can be controlled by users that use them for power and magic. Tavi is the main character and unlike everyone else cannot use the elemental spirits.
The first Codex Alera book, Furies of Calderon, was released in 2004, and it was Jim’s first hardcover release of a book. All his Dresden Files books were paperback or bookclub editions up until this point. This was the start of Jim Butcher being able to focus purely on writing completely as his books started to become popular.
The Cinder Spires
The Cinder Spires is an upcoming series from Jim Butcher that is steampunk inspired. It is about a world where there are large spires that extend into the sky many miles that house different societies. The story focuses on a conflict between two different spires. Yep, there are airships. The first book is tentatively titled “The Aeronaut’s Windlass.”
The Dresden Files – Title – ISBN Hardback- Release Date Hardback*
1. Storm Front – 0-4514-6197-5 November 6, 2007
2. Fool Moon – 0-4514-6202-5 July 1, 2008
3. Grave Peril – 0-4514-6234-3 November 4, 2008
4. Summer Knight – 0-4514-6275-0 July 7, 2009
5. Death Masks – 0-4514-6294-7 November 3, 2009
6. Blood Rites – 0-4514-6335-8 July 5, 2010
7. Dead Beat – 0-4514-6027-8 May 3, 2005
8. Proven Guilty – 0-4514-6085-5 May 2, 2006
9. White Knight – 0-4514-6140-1 April 3, 2007
10. Small Favor – 0-4514-6189-4 May 1, 2008
11. Turn Coat – 0-4514-6256-4 April 7, 2009
12. Changes – 0-4514-6317-x April 6, 2010
13 Ghost Story – 0-4514-6379-x April 26, 2011
14. Cold Days – 0-4514-6440-0 November 27, 2012
15. Skin Game – 0-4514-6439-7 May 27, 2014
*Release dates of hardback editions were later at the beginning because it was initially only released in paperback. Also the first printing of books #1-5 in hardback are considered collectible books. A first edition, first printing of Storm Front can easily go for $200+. They just started to have a second print run of Storm Front. When buying a Dresden File book as a collectible make sure it is a first printing.
The Codex Alrea Title – ISBN Hardback- Release Date Hardback
1. Furies of Calderon – 0-4410-1199-3 October 5, 2004
2. Academ’s Fury – 0-4410-1283-3 July 5, 2005
3. Cursor’s Fury – 0-4410-1434-8 December 5, 2006
4. Captain’s Fury – 0-4410-1527-1 December 4, 2007
5. Princeps’ Fury – 0-4410-1638-3 December 2, 2008
6. First Lord’s Fury – 0-4410-1760-x November 24, 2009