fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book reviews Jim Butcher The Dresden Files Side JobsSide Jobs by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs is a collection of short stories from The Dresden Files. Some of the stories have been previously published in other collections, and some are being published for the first time. The timeline for the stories range from before Storm Front to after Changes, so aspects from every possible point in time in Harry Dresden’s life are represented.

There isn’t much of a central theme to Side Jobs, besides Harry himself. This collection is exclusively for Dresden fans — it makes no sense for anyone who hasn’t read all 13 novels to even take a peek at Side Jobs. Since it’s for fans, one of the most enjoyable parts of this collection is the opening comments by Butcher prior to each story. He provides some personal insight into the making of the story and The Dresden Files as a whole.

Side Jobs opens with the first story ever written about Harry Dresden which Mr. Butcher wrote as a writing assignment for a class at a local university. He has this to say about “A Restoration of Faith”:

It was perhaps the third or fourth short story I’d ever written, if you include projects in grade school…. Read this story for what it is — an anxious beginner’s first effort, meant to be simple, straightforward fun.

He’s a little hard on himself since the story was actually quite good. It was cool to see the Dresden characters in their infancy, only hinting at the fully developed versions in the books today. Side Jobs progresses chronologically in the Dresden Universe. Along the way you get treated to some real gems, like the very hard to find Subterranean Press novella Backup. There are many fans that have never read this, and will now finally get the chance.

The Dresden Files Series Kindle EditionBackup isn’t the only novella included. Aftermath is the final story, and it takes on the perspective of Sgt. Karen Murphy just hours after the events of Changes. There isn’t much progression in the overall Dresden story, but it is a nice teaser to get you through until Ghost Story is released next spring.

Dresden fans will be delighted with this collection of stories. The quality of the writing varies depending on the time and circumstances in which they were written. Most of the stories are meant to be as Butcher said: “simple, straightforward fun,” and mostly it’s the novellas that take a more serious tone.

I listened to Side Jobs on MP3 audio from Penguin Audio (downloadable now). James Marsters returns as the voice of Harry Dresden and he’s fantastic, as always. The day they switch to a different voice actor will be the last time I listen to Dresden on audio — for me, Marsters has become essential to the Dresden audio experience.

Side Jobs — (2010) Publisher: The first short story collection in the #1 New York Times bestselling series-including a brand-new Harry Dresden novella! Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher — a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the new April 2010 hardcover, Changes. This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago’s only professional wizard


  • Justin Blazier

    JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.

    View all posts