Musings on favorite writers!

by Richard

I was at the library the other day when I saw that there was a NEW anthology out, edited by one of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher.  Mr. Butcher has regaled millions with his Pokemon/lost Roman Legion mashup Princeps Fury (a 5-book series), and of course his most famous series, The Dresden Files. While we are anxiously awaiting a new full-length novel of Harry Dresden's mystic adventures, Mr. Butcher has kept doling out short stories of Harry and his supporting cast in various anthologies. In this case, it is a story about the new Winter Lady, Molly Carpenter...who just happens to be Harry's former apprentice and daughter of the Holy Knight, Michael Carpenter.  So there is a lot of magic potential in that young lady.  Oh, and since Harry is also the Winter Knight (relax, the back story on how these “appointments” to the Fae Winter Court came about is way too complex to address here), she is now technically HIS boss!

Why am I waxing so enthusiastic about a simple short story about a rather secondary character? Simple. The act of immersing oneself in the fantasy world of an accomplished author is akin to exploring another world.  And when that author is good at his (or her) job, the experience is ….. remarkable. And in Butcher's case, he is VERY good at creating his fantasy world and the characters that thrive in it.  I have followed Dresden in his many forms, from his first appearance in Storm Front as a relatively inexperienced Wizard who is constantly under duress from friend and foe alike, usually outnumbered or outmanned, always the underdog just trying to do the right thing. Now, over a dozen novels later, he is a force to be reckoned with, able to wield (at various times, because some of the powers have faded or been subjugated) soulfire, hellfire, concussive wind blasts, and assorted other feats of magic that have made him a very powerful wizard indeed. He has also-SPOILER ALERT- gone from being under Wardens' watch and a threat of executionto being a Warden, the new Fae Winter Knight, a personal friend of an Archangel, a bitter enemy of Judas (although Jim never actually calls him that), a father of a human child and a father of a ….. well, I am not sure just what his child of knowledge actually is, but “she” is a spirit In form. The development of Dresden and his cast of supporting characters over the years has been every bit as enthralling as Potterheads will claim the Harry Potterverse is.

The art and goal of any author is to bring you - willingly and rapturously - into THEIR world and show you how it works.  This is what made me so happy when I started reading Molly's story, “Cold Case”. I just slipped right back into Harry's world, and it felt like I had never left.

While I have been droning on pretty excessively about Dresden - hey, he is worth it, best damn Wizard this side of Dumbledore - my point applies to any author that YOU may love and read obsessively, like J.K. Rowling and her Potterverse, Tolkien and his Rings masterpiece, Mary Janice Davidson and her Betsy the Vampire Queen (shameless plug for her books, which I find very entertaining), and of course, Terry Pratchett and his anything.  A well done book transports us completely into another time and place and allows us to live out a fantasy that lets us escape our routine life for a while.

So, after you finish reading this musing, find that favorite book by your favorite author, and visit with them again. You may find it just as inviting the third or fourth time as you did the first time you read it!  And if you feel frisky, share with us YOUR favorite book series and author. Really, we would like to know!  Partly because I am just that nosy, but also to learn about other good/great/fantastic authors that you love!