Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Side Jobs / Jim Butcher

Side jobs: stories from the Dresden files by Jim Butcher (Dresden files series). 418 p.

In addition to publishing a new novel in this series every year, Jim Butcher has been writing short stories that mostly appear in themed anthologies. This collection brings together all of the stories published to date, plus a new novella, "Aftermath," that follows this year's novel Changes. (Since Changes ended on an enormous cliffhanger, that's a big deal.) I had read some of the stories previously but not all of them, and of course I wanted to read the novella. "Aftermath" doesn't resolve the cliffhanger in any way, but managed to be satisfying nonetheless, and gives us the perspective of a long-running supporting character. That's something that you can see Butcher has gotten better at over the course of his writing career, as exemplified in these stories--learning to write from the perspective of a character who's not Harry Dresden. He's still not terribly good at differentiating character voice--all of the stories are in first person, and everyone's internal narration sounds pretty similar--but he's improved on character perspective. Still, these are short stories designed for enjoyment, and I had a good time with them, even the early ones.

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