The Dresden Files
Cold Days cover
|Cover artist||Lee MacLeod, Christian McGrath|
Dabel Brothers (comics and graphic novels 2007–2009)
Dynamite Entertainment (comics and graphic novels 2009–present)
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Serial (comics and graphic novels)
Audiobook (CD & MP3)
The books are written as a first person narrative from the perspective of the main character, private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago. Butcher's original proposed title for the first novel was Semiautomagic, which sums up the series' balance of fantasy and hard-boiled detective fiction.
As of 2014, Butcher has written 15 novels set in the "Dresden Files" universe, plus a number of short stories (some of which are collected in the anthology Side Jobs). The series has also been released in audiobook format, with all but one audiobook read by James Marsters. Other works set in the same fictional universe include graphic novels (two new stories, plus adaptations of the first two novels), and The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game. In 2007, a television series based on the novels aired for one season on the American Sci-Fi Channel.
In the world of The Dresden Files, magic is real, along with vampires, demons, spirits, faeries, werewolves, outsiders and other monsters. Although the supernatural is still widely discredited, it is practiced by some members of society. Additionally, large portions of the globe (such as much of Central and South America) are mentioned as being largely under the control of supernatural factions. The White Council is an organization of human wizards, noted to wield significant economic power in the world, along with their supernatural power. Each species in the series (humans, faeries, vampires, etc.) has its own political and societal rules and organizations. The human wizards depend on the White Council, while faeries may belong to either of two Faerie Courts, or none at all. Vampires may belong to any of three vampire courts.
Harry Dresden works as the world's only "consulting wizard," accepting supernatural cases from both human and non-human clients, as well as the Chicago PD's Special Investigation unit. As the series progresses, Dresden takes on an increasingly important role in the supernatural world at large as he works to protect the general public, making it difficult for him to get by as a working wizard and private investigator. He finds himself facing off against an increasing variety of creatures (including other wizards), while facing the realization that his various cases may all be tied together by the work of a mysterious group working behind the scenes with agents within the White Council and various Courts. Dresden calls this group "The Black Council." This has led to Dresden and others forming a "Gray Council" to oppose this shadowy movement, whose purposes are still unclear.
Jim Butcher decided to become a professional author at the age of nineteen. Subsequently he wrote three novels within the fantasy genre and one which he has classified as paranormal—books which the author has described as being "terrible". In 1996 he enrolled in a writing class where he was encouraged to write a novel similar to the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, rather than the more traditional high fantasy that had been his focus in the past, as Butcher had previously stated that he enjoyed the Anita Blake series. Despite initial resistance, he wrote the first book that semester, closely following the instructions of his teacher, author Deborah Chester.
When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.
— Jim Butcher in "A Conversation With Jim Butcher", 2004
The result was Semiautomagic, later to be retitled as Storm Front. His writing teacher declared it to be publishable, and Butcher started hunting around to do just that. Butcher failed to secure a publisher for two to three years. During this period he completed the second novel, Fool Moon, and had made significant progress on the third, Grave Peril. Deciding to focus on agents and editors who had already published similar novels, Butcher targeted Ricia Mainhardt, the agent representing Laurell Hamilton, and submitted a copy of his manuscript. It was not accepted. Finally, Butcher met Hamilton at a convention, and was invited to lunch along with Mainhardt and a second agent, Jennifer Jackson. Mainhardt agreed to represent him, and six months later The Dresden Files was sold to ROC, an imprint of Penguin Books.
The first volume, Storm Front, was released in 2000 in paperback; the next two novels in the series, Fool Moon and Grave Peril, were released shortly thereafter, in January and September 2001, also in paperback. Subsequent novels in the series have been published annually since then, with the most recent novel, Skin Game, published in May 2014. Omnibus editions have been released by the Science Fiction Book Club, with each of the four volumes reprinting two or three of the novels in the sequence.
The series' first six novels were originally only published as paperbacks, but in 2007 ROC changed its strategy and began to publish hardcover reprints of books one to six. Volume six, Blood Rites, was released in July 2007. From book seven onward, each new book was directly published as hardcover and paperback both.
Orbit Books purchased the series for UK publication, and released the first novel, Storm Front in September 2005—five years after the initial US release. They then proceeded to publish two books per month. In November 2007, Orbit Books announced that they had purchased the rights to Changes, the twelfth novel, as well as the thirteenth Dresden novel, Ghost Story.
All 15 volumes of The Dresden Files, along with the companion short story anthology Side Jobs, have been released as audio books. All except Ghost Story have been narrated by James Marsters. Per a release on Jim Butcher's website on June 27, 2011, he reported that, "due to scheduling conflicts", James Marsters would be unable to voice Ghost Story; instead, the narration was performed by John Glover. James Marsters returned to read the Cold Days audio book. The cover art for the series was created by Chris McGrath.
|No.||Title||Release Date||Book ISBN||Audio CD ISBN||Contents|
|1–3||Wizard for Hire||2005 March||0-7394-5193-6||—||Storm Front, Fool Moon & Grave Peril|
|4 & 5||Wizard by Trade||2006 March||0-7394-6581-3||—||Summer Knight & Death Masks|
|6 & 7||Wizard at Large||2006 October||0-7394-7658-0||—||Blood Rites & Dead Beat|
|8 & 9||Wizard Under Fire||2007 May||0-7394-8344-7||—||Proven Guilty & White Night|
|-||Side Jobs||2010 October 26||0-4514-6365-X||0-1424-2826-4||Eleven short stories|
The first four audiobook versions are produced by Buzzy Multimedia Publishing, while the fifth Death Masks and following were all produced by Penguin Audio. Proven Guilty and White Night were released in April 2009 alongside Turn Coat. Death Masks was released November 2009, and Blood Rites and Dead Beat were released April 2010. The latest in the series is "Skin Game". and was released on May 27, 2014.
Butcher is currently planning for approximately twenty books in the "case files" of the series, to be capped by a further "big apocalyptic trilogy". At the Tyson's Corner Book Signing on August 1, 2011, Butcher hinted that the titles of the apocalyptic trilogy would be "Stars and Stones", "Hell's Bells", and "Empty Night", referring to curse words used by Harry and the White Court vampires, respectively.
The Dresden Files was adapted to television in 2007 by the Sci-Fi Channel, and was canceled after one season.
In October 2007, Jim Butcher announced on his website that Dabel Brothers would be producing a Dresden Files graphic novel series:
Working together with Dabel Brothers Productions, the Dresden Files are going to be translated into a graphic novel format. The current plan is to lay out the Dresden Files storyline at the rate of one of the novels every twelve to sixteen monthly issues, with occasional side-trips and independent stories thrown in. (Ever wonder what happened in Branson the month before Storm Front? How about what somebody saw in the lake in Minnesota between Storm Front and Fool Moon? Maybe I’ll get to tell those stories now! How cool is that?)
I will be assisting with the writing of the comics, and am also involved in the design and approval of the characters, art, tone, and so on. This is an actual hand-in-hand project in which I have full creative input and influence, and I’m friggin’ giddy about it. I mean, come on! Comic books!
The four-issue mini-series called Welcome to the Jungle, ran as a prequel to Storm Front from early to mid-2008. A compilation of that run was released as a hardcover graphic novel in October 2008. Storm Front was announced as the next adaptation, by the same creative team. The first issue was released in November 2008. Welcome to the Jungle was nominated for the first Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.
Midway through the production of Storm Front, the title changed hands from Dabel Brothers to Dynamite Entertainment, causing a long gap between issues #5 and #6. Artist Ardian Syaf left the project to work for DC, and Brett Booth was brought in to finish the graphic novel. Issue #6 was slated for May 2010.
|1||Welcome to the Jungle (prequel to Storm Front)||October 2008||Illustrated by Ardian Syaf. Published by the Dabel Brothers. Includes 12 pages of concept art.|
|2||Storm Front, Volume 1: The Gathering Storm||June 2009||Illustrated by Ardian Syaf. Published by the Dabel Brothers. Includes Restoration of Faith an eight-page comic from the Showcase 2009 Free Comic Book Day, originally published as a short story on Jim-Butcher.com.|
|3||Storm Front, Volume 2: Maelstrom||February 2011||Illustrated by Ardian Syaf and Brett Booth. Published by Dynamite Entertainment. Includes preview of "Fool Moon" and concept art.|
|4||Fool Moon, Volume 1||November 2011||Illustrated by Chase Conley. Published by Dynamite Entertainment.|
|5||Fool Moon, Volume 2||April 2012||Illustrated by Chase Conley. Published by Dynamite Entertainment.|
|6||Ghoul, Goblin (set between Fool Moon and Grave Peril)||March 2013||Illustrated by Joseph Cooper. Published by Dynamite Entertainment.|
|7||War Cry||June 2014 (ongoing)||Illustrated by Carlos Gomez. Published by Dynamite Entertainment.|
In January 2008, the project went into an early alpha phase of testing, and was in various beta testing phases throughout 2009. Pre-orders were opened up on April 4, 2010, and include immediate access to the pre-print PDF, dubbed the "Early Bird" version. Evil Hat released the game June 23–27, 2010, to coincide with Origins 2010. The RPG currently consists of two books, Volume One: Your Story, the core rule book, and Volume Two: Our World, a text describing the game universe. The game, which uses a modified version of the FATE system, emphasizes narrative structure over simulation of magical physics. It allows players to play a wide variety of characters, ranging from an ordinary human such as Karrin Murphy or Gentleman Johnny Marcone to magic users like Harry Dresden or Molly Carpenter to powerful supernatural creatures along the lines of Thomas Raith, all in the same game, with all the players able to make a contribution. On release it won awards at the Origins Awards, the Golden Geek Awards, and the ENnies. A third book, the Paranet Papers, is still in production.
- "The Wizard interview with Jim Butcher". Wizards Harry.com. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "The Dresden Files on the Sci-Fi channel page". Scifi.com. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
- Butcher, Jim (2004). "How'd Jim Get Published?". Jim-Butcher.com. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Whiteside, Lee (2007). "A Conversation With Jim Butcher" (PDF). ConNotations 17 (2). Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- McCune, Alisa (2004). "A Conversation With Jim Butcher". The SF Site. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Pagan, Bella (November 7, 2004). "More, more, more Dresden Files!". Orbit Books. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- Jim Butcher's website on June 27, 2011
- "Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files: Jim Butcher, James Marsters: 9781611761603: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
- "Proven Guilty Audio Book, Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden, audio books on cd". Buzzymultimedia.com. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
- "Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
- Butcher, Jim (October 2, 2007). "Dresden Files Comic Books To Be Produced by Dabel Brothers". jim-butcher.com. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- "Dabel Brothers Publishing announces 'Jim Butcher's Storm Front' creative team", Comic Book Resources, July 2, 2008
- Dynamite acquires Dabel Brothers titles, Heidi McDonald's The Beat, December 3, 2009
- Dynamite Entertainment MAY 2010 Solicitations, Newsarama, February 24, 2010
- "Dresden Files RPG - News and Press". Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "The Game's the Thing Podcast".
- "Dresden Files RPG - Evil Hat Interview and Playtest Update". Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "Dresden Files RPG - The Preorder Is Go!". Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- "Dresden Files RPG - The Problem With Being A Small Company". Retrieved 2009-06-29.
- "RPG Geek profile of The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game". Retrieved 2013-12-24.