Monday, 5 May 2014

The Dresden Files

I'm on a re-read of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, ahead of the release of Skin Game at the end of the month. It's not the first time I have re-read them, I tend to take a run at the last couple of books at least before the next comes out, but it's the most concentrated burst of re-reading I have done. Over the course of the series his writing becomes much more fluid and engaging, but even in the first couple of chapters we are introduced to characters and ideas that are vital throughout the series. I don't know if he had an overarching plan when he started, but Butcher weaves the threads beautifully. It really stands out how much control he has over his plotting. I like that.

I also like the sense Butcher conveys that Dresden has a life outside the books. You feel that time is passing in between episodes, that things happen that we have no knowledge of. Dresden is not the only character who develops. Even little things like Murphy's haircut changing, or the Alphas aging and leaving college - they all make a three dimensional world.

In fantasy/sci-fi, you hear a lot about world building. World-building isn't just understanding the geography of a fictional world, it's creating a believable physical, mystical and emotional landscape in your world. I think some contemporary or urban fantasy writers skimp on that a little bit, with a "heck, it's New York, everyone knows New York" attitude, but Dresden shows how well it can be done even in a familiar real-world environment.

I've been thinking about maybe attending my first con, and Jim Butcher is going to be over here for Easter Con next year, so that may be a good first visit!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, abuse is not.