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Like most successful urban fantasy authors, Jim Butcher has written a number of short stories and novellas over the years. And at long last, they're collected in "Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files" -- all the short stories and novellas that Butcher has penned about his wisecracking wizard, plus some new material.

The stories include "A Restoration of Faith," a prequel story in which Harry tries to rescue a little girl (named Faith -- get it?); "Vignette," which is basically a conversation between Harry and Bob the Skull; "Something Borrowed," in which Billy and Georgia's true-love wedding is turned upside-down by a malevolent fairy; and "It's My Birthday Too," in which Harry follows his brother Thomas to a rather unusual gathering, and immediately runs into vampiric trouble.

"Heorot": a young woman is abducted right before her honeymoon, and Harry has to join forces with Miss Gard to find her. "Day Off": Harry's attempts to relax are thwarted by Slytherin wannabes, supernatural fleas and other problems. "Last Call": Beer starts inexplicably causing riots, and Harry suspects a supernatural cause. "Love Hurts": people are dying after falling madly, passionately in love/lust. And "The Warrior," in which Harry confronts some of the religiously-based problems in his life -- including a certain archangel.

Additionally, there's Butcher's brilliant novella from Thomas Raith's point of view, "Backup," which was previously published by Subterranean Press. Basically Thomas is called on to do some heroic behind-the-scenes stuff against an old enemy, hopefully without his little brother knowing about it.

And then... there's the new, previously unpublished story. "Aftermath" is from Murphy's perspective just after the end of "Changes," as she grapples with the loss of Harry Dresden and the messy Chicago disasters left behind.

I've honestly been waiting years for Jim Butcher to put together a collection of his short stories, some of which were put straight on his website and never included in a book. These stories are like the icing on the cake -- if you've read and enjoyed Butcher's full-length novels, then these mini-adventures will really entertain you.

And most of them have the well-rounded Dresden formula: grotesque supernatural baddies, snappy writing ("The Dim Lord tried for his dramatic dialogue again"), slam-bang magic, and lots of fun genre-savvy jokes (Thomas has "some awfully nerdy hobbies"). But Butcher also inserts some darker stories into the mix -- "Aftermath" is bittersweet and a little painful, and "Backup" has some darker parts when Thomas wrestles with his inner demon.

Butcher also contributes a new foreword to each story, which explains a little about why he wrote it ("Vignette" was something he knocked out for promotion) and for what. F'rinstance, Charlaine Harris is so nice that "I can't even bring myself to be jealous. She's that nice."

Collecting all of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novellas and short stories (including those not formally published), "Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files" is a must-have for anyone who adores the Chicago wizard.
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on 20 December 2010
The collection of short stories in this book, focusing on Dresden-except for two-are excellent examples of just how madcap and dangerous, as well as how funny, in an almost demented way, Dresden's world and life are. An early case, before he became a Private Detective officially, sees him working with a former Partner who's teaching him the ropes. Unfortunately, in this case its involved him in the search for an eleven year old girl who's run away from home-and who is about to find out that there really are things which go bump in the night. Thankfully, Dresden is there to bump right back-and a pre-SI Murphy jumps in to help while still a uniformed cop. That's the start. Then Dresden has to deal with the chaos which ensues when he tries to take a day off, an attempt by the Fay to kill the leaders of the Alpha's-his Werewolf friends and allies-someone tampering with Mac's beer-Dresden's favourite-the attack on a live action RPG by a Black Court Vampire and her minions, where Harry has to join up with Thomas Raith-a Vampire playing a Vampire-to save the gamers... He keeps busy, so we keep reading and very much enjoying.

A special treat is the story focusing on Thomas Raith, who has to stop Harry from causing catastrophe, maybe even the end of the world, without even being aware of it-all while making sure Harry never knows it's him doing it. It's always interesting to see Dresden through someone else's eyes and, despite their connection, Thomas Raith is still a White Court Vampire?

Another is a story centering on Karrin Murphy, hours after "Changes", where Murphy has turned up at Harry's new "home"-a boat-dressed and made up for a Date with Harry, only to discover blood everywhere and Harry missing. SI get involved and pull every string they can to find out if Dresden's alive or dead, but Murphy-Suspended and almost certain to loose her job as of "Changes"-is unable to stay and help. However, when she gets a panicked call from an Alpha stating that his Wife-who's Pregnant-has gone missing, along with two other Alpha's and, worse, he's sure they were taken by force... And Dresden told him to call Karrin's number if ever he needed help and couldn't reach Dresden himself.

Murphy's obviously been hanging around with Dresden for too long, because she ignores her current predicament, gets out her motorbike and guns and investigates, uncovering a trail which leads to first of all John Marcone, then someone new in town. Only she discovers that, without Dresden, she just might not be enough to put a stop to what's going on-even with the help of the remaining Alpha's. Anyone who likes Murphy NEEDS to read this story to find out just how Murphy's life is likely to turn out after "Changes"...
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To date, all the reviews on this page have been written by already established fans; allow me to offer a different perspective...
I was in a high-street bookshop idly leafing through the same old sameo, as you do. I lifted a Jim Butcher novel, read the words "wizard", "Harry" and put it back pronto. A certain wizard by that name and the accompanying bandwagon just aren't my cup of Earl Grey. Ten minutes later, some unaccountable force drew me back to the shelf; this time I picked up "Side Jobs". So. A collection of short stories, tales written to slot in with the existing chronicle - what better way to assess a new author and gain a feel for the breadth and depth of his oeuvre?
Half way through the collection I was hooked; I`ve picked up four more volumes and just need "Storm Front" and "Fool Moon", then I`m good to go.
Magic - it can get a guy skint.
I see there is some consternation over the appearance of this volume given that some of the material has appeared elsewhere or at a premium price and I`m sorry to hear that; if it's a cynical marketing device the mojo worked on me - I probably wouldn`t have bothered about Butcher otherwise and I`d have missed out, so I can only recommend this volume - it has been a good introduction to Dresden`s world for me.
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If you're a fan of Harry Dresden then chances are you'll enjoy Side Jobs, a compendium of the various Dresden short-stories and novellas Jim Butcher has penned over the years, along with a new piece that bookends Changes (Dresden Files). If you're unfamiliar with Dresden's world or have only read a few of the novels then probably best not to tackle this collection until you've finished Changes as most of the stories are set late on in the series' time-line.

There's nothing here that will rock your world, uber-Dresden-fan or not, but the stories are generally pretty entertaining and offer a different spin on Chicago's favourite fictional wizard. Depending who your favourite supporting character is some stories will appeal more than others. Personally my favourite was 'Heorot' if only because focusing on the very minor character of Ms Gard seemed such an off the wall choice but worked so well. I hope we get to see more of her in future Dresden novels.

Now roll on Ghost Story: A Dresden Files Novel
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VINE VOICEon 28 October 2010
OK let me say first off that I am not a huge anthology fan and the main reason for that is that most of the stories contained in the anthologies aren't worth squat and do nothing to advance the plot of the overall book series concerned. The Dresden Files short stories are different in that respect, they are usually a lot longer than most of their anthology companions, usually 20-40+ pages (some even qualify for novella status) and they do give you additional information that does make it worthwhile reading them. I also don't care to pay twice for the same material, and if I've already shelled out cold hard cash for all those separate anthologies, then I do not really want to buy another anthology that contains something that I've already bought. Charlaine Harris has recently done the same thing and it just says "milking it for all it's worth" to me (by the way her short stories are pointless for the most part)

The problem I have with this anthology is that all of the stories except one have already appeared in other anthologies or free on the author's site, so if you are a big Dresden fan like me then you've probably already hunted them down from those other publications and read them, so the point of buying this book is 1. because you are a fan and you want to have all your Dresden shorts in one place or 2. you want to read Aftermath to find out what happens after the cliffhanger ending of Changes.

Lemme clear something up for you and maybe save you some money - Dresden's fate is still unknown and reading Aftermath will not clear that up for you. Aftermath is narrated by Murphy and it's a Murphy/werewolf adventure. She mentions Dresden a few times but that's as far as it goes. You're still going to have to wait until March 2011 to find out what happens (what, you think they're gonna tell you in a short story collection when they can build up the suspense and Ghost Story pre-sales until March? Nuh uh.)

The stories themselves are good, and I highly recommend reading them if you are a Dresden fan. Most of them take place between the books, especially the latter books, and some are narrated by Harry and some by other characters. I am a little bummed to find Backup in this collection after I shelled out for the limited edition from Subterranean Press a few years ago. That 72 page special cost more than this entire anthology and now it's in here too! But hey, I couldn't wait so I paid the price.

The audio book edition narrated, as always, by James Marsters will be released on November 11th.

I love Dresden but I can only give this book 3/5 due to the recycled content (only one new story for me) and because although Aftermath was a good tale, it didn't give me any clues about Dresden's fate like I was hoping it would, even just a little bit.

Here's a list of what's included:

"Restoration of Faith" - was free on author's site
"Vignette" - was free on author's site
"Something Borrowed" -- from My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
"It's My Birthday Too" -- from Many Bloody Returns
"Heorot" -- from My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
"Day Off" -- from Blood Lite
Backup -- novelette from Thomas' POV, originally published by Subterranean Press
The Warrior -- novelette from Mean Streets
"Last Call" -- from Strange Brew
"Love Hurts" -- from Songs of Love and Death
Aftermath -- post-Changes novelette from Murphy's POV, EXCLUSIVE to this anthology!
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on 15 May 2015
I liked the short stories in this book. They defiantly got better the more you progressed through. My favourite had to be 'Its my birthday too'. This story centers on Harry trying to give his brother a birthday present, and in all normal Harry style, it goes quickly FUBAR.
I found the first story lack the easy style of the books so far in the series but then it was the first attempt so fair enough.
I would say that the stories don't actually enhance the series for me but that doesn't make them any less enjoyable.
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on 24 October 2011
If you havent read the rest of the Dresden files series you wont have a clue as to whats happening in this book of short stories- they are scattered at various points between the main books. If you have though they answer all sorts of questions about events in between- and also handily fill time in until next one is published! (NOW PLEASE mr Butcher!)
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on 28 June 2011
Unusually, referring to a "collection" of short stories, I found this to be completely in keeping with the style to which, when referring to the Dresden books, I had become accustomed. The whole, presented as stories, came with the same attention to detail as one will find in the full length novels. I delighted in the content and I am sure that for those who enjoy this authors work, a similar level of pleasure will be the reward.
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on 14 November 2014
These are short stories, set in different years in Dresden's past, and which were published in various fantasy magazines. The last story is different in that it is a new story and carries on from just after the end of Changes, but told by Murphy. A new perspective is a welcome addition to the series.
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on 24 April 2011
As I don't tend to buy anthologies, all but one of these stories were new to me and I enjoyed them all. The stories were varied enough to keep me interested and Harry's character is like an old friend. The final story, "Aftermath", was extremely engaging seeing as it was set directly after the events of the last book "Changes". It didn't contain any spoilers, which was equally a positive thing and frustrating (I can't wait for Ghost Story to come out!. It was told from the previously unseen point of view of Karrin Murphy and I found it refreshing and appreciated the extra insight of a beloved character. All in all a fun collection!

(This is the first review I've written, hope it's ok!)
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