In 2014, I was laid up for a week with the flu. I spent a lot of time on the couch, and ended up binge watching the decent-but-not-great Canadian TV series The Dresden Files. It only lasted a single season, but it entertained me for a couple of days. A few months later, I was looking for something to read, and found out that the TV show was a loose adaptation of a series of novels by Jim Butcher.
The first book of the series was on sale on Amazon for something like $1.99. In fact, the first several books were on sale. I shot through them, then ended up buying the rest at the “regular” price of $7.99 a piece. So, nice job Mr. Butcher. You deserve every penny.
What did I like about the books? Obviously, the writing is engaging. It’s an interesting story, well told. I think what I really liked though was that it was a pure adventure story. There was no pretension. It wasn’t exactly pulp, but it certainly had pulp elements. I was tired of reading heavier stuff. Plus, it was just cool.
Over time, it was able to evolve and do some of things with character and format that only long-form serial television has been able to do. Things that stick out in my mind are Harry managing to convert the mental image of Lasciel instead of her converting him (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean) and Karen drawing one of the Swords during the assault in Mexico. Shivers. Awesome stuff, and it’s stuff that you have to build up to over years and years.
I had some gripes with the series, but they went away the longer it ran. The first several books there were some elements and turns of phrase that I’d rather an editor had stomped on a bit more. But overall, the whole vibe was great.
It’s what got me thinking about the urban fantasy genre, and, if you’ve read the post on the origins of LFBD, it was around this time that I wondered if the genre would be a good fit for my ideas.
Unlike looking back on Roger Zelazny as an influence, where I see more and more elements of his work popping up in mine, I tried hard to differentiate LFBD from Butcher’s universe. Within urban fantasy, there are some natural problems that crop up, and there are really only a handful of ways to handle them. Because LFBD and Dresden were in the same sub-genre, and because my original ideas had some similarities baked in (a gun-toting hero with a dog) I wanted to make sure that the similarities ended there.
So, thanks to Jim Butcher for opening my eyes to the genre that ended up being a great landing site for my own work.Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)