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Rob B
August 16th, 2004, 12:31 PM
Jim Butcher's Web site: http://www.jim-butcher.com
SFSite Inteview with Jim Butcher (http://www.sfsite.com/08b/jb182.htm)

FicusFan: After just reading your comments in the Kelley Armstrong (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8492) topic in Horror, would you consider Butcher's work yet another Anita Blake wanna be?

I ask because Mr. Butcher cites Laurell Hamilton's novels as inspiration. Or do the Dresden books really stand on their own?

FicusFan
August 16th, 2004, 08:16 PM
Jim Butcher's Web site: http://www.jim-butcher.com
SFSite Inteview with Jim Butcher (http://www.sfsite.com/08b/jb182.htm)

FicusFan: After just reading your comments in the Kelley Armstrong (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8492) topic in Horror, would you consider Butcher's work yet another Anita Blake wanna be?

I ask because Mr. Butcher cites Laurell Hamilton's novels as inspiration. Or do the Dresden books really stand on their own?

I must first state up front that I don't like Butcher, and think very little of him as a human being. He was/is one of those people who use the annonymity of the net to make personal attacks and flames when he is in a discussion and can't seem to win on merit. He used that propensity to bully weaker people than I on the LKH list.

That said I do like his series. It was certainly influenced by LKH that is no secret. He talked about it on the list. He met her at cons, talked to her, and she gave him encouragement. Don't know if she helped with contacts or not.

In terms of the similarity between the series I actually think that the inspiration, the use of the supernatural in the everyday, and the involvement with the local police is about all Harry Dresden and Anita Blake have in common. Harry is subject to the White Council and Anita would say she is not subject to the Vampire Council, and if push came to shove she could probably make it stick. Anita is much more coldblooded and violent than Harry will ever dream of being.

I think he (JB) has added more light humor than LKH has- hers is very snide, and though I still have the last 3 Dresden books to read, Harry hasn't become stuffed with super powers. He also seemed to be exploring more of the fantasy world in his series, whereas LKH fell in love with the weres and has never really moved on.

I think JB has managed to be inspired by LKH, but has used it to create something of his own, which is not just a clone or a wanna be.

Rob B
August 17th, 2004, 12:29 PM
I must first state up front that I don't like Butcher, and think very little of him as a human being. He was/is one of those people who use the annonymity of the net to make personal attacks and flames when he is in a discussion and can't seem to win on merit. He used that propensity to bully weaker people than I on the LKH list.
Y'know it is not always easy to separate the "art/creation in-and-of-itslef" from the "artist/creator-as-a-person," I know I *can't* always do this.


That said I do like his series. It was certainly influenced by LKH that is no secret. He talked about it on the list. He met her at cons, talked to her, and she gave him encouragement. Don't know if she helped with contacts or not.

In terms of the similarity between the series I actually think that the inspiration, the use of the supernatural in the everyday, and the involvement with the local police is about all Harry Dresden and Anita Blake have in common. Harry is subject to the White Council and Anita would say she is not subject to the Vampire Council, and if push came to shove she could probably make it stick. Anita is much more coldblooded and violent than Harry will ever dream of being.

I think he (JB) has added more light humor than LKH has- hers is very snide, and though I still have the last 3 Dresden books to read, Harry hasn't become stuffed with super powers. He also seemed to be exploring more of the fantasy world in his series, whereas LKH fell in love with the weres and has never really moved on.

I think JB has managed to be inspired by LKH, but has used it to create something of his own, which is not just a clone or a wanna be.
That's good to know, and makes me more inclined to read them. I enjoyed the first 1 or 2 Anita Blake novels, but after that, they became somewhat predictable and frustrating with the product placements (i.e. how Anita always ties up her Nike running shoes)

FicusFan
August 17th, 2004, 11:41 PM
Y'know it is not always easy to separate the "art/creation in-and-of-itslef" from the "artist/creator-as-a-person," I know I *can't* always do this.


That's good to know, and makes me more inclined to read them. I enjoyed the first 1 or 2 Anita Blake novels, but after that, they became somewhat predictable and frustrating with the product placements (i.e. how Anita always ties up her Nike running shoes)

Excessive clothing descriptions, along with the length of male hair is one of the recurring complaints about LKH's writing BP (Before Porn). Now I would be thrilled to only have to contend with a hair or clothing description. I long for plot. :eek:

She doesn't really do product promos, she mentions Nike, and her Browning and Firestar (guns), but that is probably about it.

Incarnadine
March 23rd, 2005, 12:23 PM
Chalk me up as a Jim Butcher fan. I feel his Dresden files series is even better that LKH's Anita Blake series and I like them both. Every Dresden book has a mystery which is more than can be said for Blake's consistency. Michael the holy knight character is just great and Murphy has evolved in later books to become a more likeable than Anita Blake clone. You can tell Butcher is a newer author as the writing quality continually improves as the series progresses. Those who enjoy Laurell Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, E.E.Knight, Kelley Armstrong, or Mary Janice Davidson should really give Butcher a read.

FicusFan
March 23rd, 2005, 09:15 PM
Its funny you should say his writing skills have improved, because now that I have read all of them I would say the opposite.

The last 2 books showed some troubling developments in both story telling and the further development of the character of Harry.

The early plots were a bit thin, but ok. JB was bulking them up, but may have gone too far. The plots in the last two books have made Harry out to be some kind of superhero. He has 2-3 different threads with people trying to kill/capture/arrest him and then 1-2 threads where those he cares about are in danger, and then a single thread where he needs to personally save the world.

It is like he is on a shuttle from one crisis to another, and after a while it is just silly because you know he is going to win, he is the main character. So it is like the Terminator or some other big physical fight, again and again, just for the WOW factor. I find reading about that 2-4 times a book boring. It also is not realistic and there is no real time for the character to assimilate what has happened, to reflect, or to do other more normal things - which is part of the charm of a magic-in-the-real-world series. It starts to read like the joke about taking a tour for a vacation: If this is Tuesday it must be Belgium - meaning it all blurs together and you can't tell where you are without a program.

The other problem is that Harry used to be a nice guy, he didn't always win and sometimes he ended up with egg on his face. In the the last two books Harry has become arrogant, and a smart-aleck. He has been taunting people and acting like he is a big deal. His attitude is smug, and cocky.

I don't hate him (yet), but he is no longer the charming bumbler who needed help, when the series started. I don't mind characters who change, but I don't like those who start kicking people when they have lost, just because they can get away with it.

I also was not thrilled by the woman who got to gunfight in her underwear. Harry excused his sexism and patronizing attitude towards women as being old-fashioned and chivalrous, now he seems to be just smarmy.

I like some of the developments in the last two books, and will read the next one, but it is on my watch list.

I think oddly enough that JB is emulating LKH in trying to pack all kinds of action into his book, but for me it works for Anita but not for Harry.

Incarnadine
March 24th, 2005, 01:26 AM
I have to disagree with you, FicusFan. Harry Dresden's character has evolved quite a bit in the last two novels which has added needed complexity to prevent him from becoming stale and predictable.

Of course he can't die being the main character so his evolution is the next best thing and he certainly takes a lot of beatings in the process. We learned a lot more about wizard council and vampire court politics in the last two novels and the romantic connection between Harry and Murphy has ramped up a notch.

Having multiple plot threads is a good thing in my opinion and hard to pull off in such a fast paced series. Although I admit I read the books in one sitting (I often read 1-2 novels per day) so maybe it would be confusing if I read it over several days.

His new Foo puppy promises to add another interesting ally in later books and I'd bet his cockiness is just a sign of his corrupted soul which will play a part in things to come. Reading the first 3 chapters of the next book "Dead Beat" here (http://www.jim-butcher.com/books/dresden/7/) shows that he will be in more danger of being kicked off (and hunted down by) the white council for use of evil necromantic magic. He's already killed with magic which is forbidden so his white wizard status is already threatened and remember he has one of the 3 holy swords as well but will never be able to use it until his soul becomes pure.

I'll grant you that Murphy having to strip down to her skivvies to save the children was a bit gratuitous but that is still a far cry from being an ardeur ho, heh.

FicusFan
March 24th, 2005, 08:05 AM
I have to disagree with you, FicusFan. Harry Dresden's character has evolved quite a bit in the last two novels which has added needed complexity to prevent him from becoming stale and predictable.

Of course he can't die being the main character so his evolution is the next best thing and he certainly takes a lot of beatings in the process. We learned a lot more about wizard council and vampire court politics in the last two novels and the romantic connection between Harry and Murphy has ramped up a notch.

Having multiple plot threads is a good thing in my opinion and hard to pull off in such a fast paced series. Although I admit I read the books in one sitting (I often read 1-2 novels per day) so maybe it would be confusing if I read it over several days.

His new Foo puppy promises to add another interesting ally in later books and I'd bet his cockiness is just a sign of his corrupted soul which will play a part in things to come. Reading the first 3 chapters of the next book "Dead Beat" here (http://www.jim-butcher.com/books/dresden/7/) shows that he will be in more danger of being kicked off (and hunted down by) the white council for use of evil necromantic magic. He's already killed with magic which is forbidden so his white wizard status is already threatened and remember he has one of the 3 holy swords as well but will never be able to use it until his soul becomes pure.

I'll grant you that Murphy having to strip down to her skivvies to save the children was a bit gratuitous but that is still a far cry from being an ardeur ho, heh.

The Foo gives you away. Which of course explains your glowing review.

I agree that we have found out more about Harry and his world which I like, but frankly he has become a jerk, and once that happens there is less reason to spend time with him. The reason why, corrupted soul, or evil magic, doesn't make him more palatable. Anita is still popular, even though a lot of people are pissed at her, because people like her supporting cast, Harry's is not in the same league. If Harry turns people off they will simply bag the series.

I don't mind multiple threads, they are not difficult to keep track of. They are simply carbon copies of each other with only the names changed. Because they are the same they are boring and a waste of space in the book. By all means add more detail and complexity, and more story but try to make it something more than Harry 'risks his life to save X' - one to two times per book is more than enough. Those type of threads are exciting, but too much of a good thing burns out the excitement.

Whether it is the same as the ardeur - just with violence instead of sex, depends on whether it becomes a habitual crutch that takes the place of story and prevents development - or if it is used to spice and add excitement to a well told tale. :D

Incarnadine
March 24th, 2005, 10:17 AM
Whoa FicusFan, sorry for liking the Dresden Files over the Anita Blake series! I did say that I enjoy them both didn't I?

I noticed in another thread that you did not like Obsidian Butterfly as much as the other books of Hamilton's Blake series. Well I happen to think that Obsidian Butterfly is the best novel of the Blake series. When it comes to the ardeur, you feel it adds spice and excitement and I feel it has replaced the more enjoyable spirit of the first nine novels in the Blake series and threatens to change the genre to softcore romance.
Our tastes and opinions are simply divergent, don't take it so seriously.

I admit the Dresden Files is the most enjoyable series I have read in the new weird genre, but its still just light fun for me and does not rate higher in my opinion than many more conventional fantasy series I read.

intensityxx
March 24th, 2005, 10:34 AM
Foo? Qu'est-ce que c'est? :confused: