The Dresden Files is a series of fantasy/mystery novels written by Jim Butcher. Each novel in the series is told from the point of view of fictional wizard Harry Dresden as he retells investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago. Butcher's original proposed title for the first novel was "Semiautomagic", which sums up the series' balance of fantasy and hard-boiled detective fiction.
In the world of The Dresden Files magic is real, along with vampires, demons, spirits, faeries, werewolves, and more. The general public that Harry Dresden works to protect is generally ignorant of magic or the large array of dark forces which regularly conspire against them. This makes it tough for Harry to get by as a working wizard and private eye. Fortunately, the Chicago PD's Special Investigation unit led by Sgt. (formerly Lt.) Karrin Murphy regularly employs Dresden to help solve cases of a supernatural nature.
Jim Butcher decided to become a professional author at the age of 19. Subsequently he wrote three novels within the fantasy genre and one which he has classified as paranormal - books which the author has described as being "terrible". In 1996 he enrolled in a writing class where he was encouraged to write a novel similar to the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, rather than the more traditional High fantasy that had been his focus in the past, as Butcher had previously stated that he enjoyed the Anita Blake series. Despite initial resistance, he wrote the first book that semester, closely following the instructions of his teacher, author Deborah Chester.
The result was Semiautomagic, later to be retitled as Storm Front. His writing teacher declared it to be publishable, and Butcher started hunting around to do just that.
Butcher failed to secure a publisher for between two and three years. During this period he completed the second novel, Fool Moon, and had made significant progress on the third, Grave Peril. Deciding to focus on agents and editors who have already published similar novels, Butcher targeted Ricia Mainhardt, the agent representing Laurell Hamilton, and submitted a copy of his manuscript. It wasn't accepted. Finally, Jim Butcher met Laurell Hamilton at a convention, and was invited to lunch along with her agent (Mainhardt) and a second agent, Jennifer Jackson. Ricia Mainhardt agreed to represent him, and six months later The Dresden Files had been sold to ROC, an imprint of Penguin Books.
The first hardcover volume of Storm Front was released in 2000, while the next two novels in the series, Fool Moon and Grave Peril, were released shortly thereafter, in January and September 2001. Subsequent novels in the series have been published annually since then, with the most recent novel Small Favor published April 1, 2008. Omnibus editions have been released by the Science Fiction Book Club, with each of the four volumes reprinting two or three of the novels in the sequence.
Orbit Books purchased the series for UK publication, and released the first novel, Storm Front in September, 2005 - five years after the initial US release. They then proceeded to publish two books per month. In November, 2007, Orbit Books announced that they had purchased the rights to the as-yet-unnamed 12th and 13th Dresden novels.
All the books are published through ROC, an imprint of Penguin Books. The Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) is reissuing the series in hardcover omnibus editions. So far, all of the audio books of The Dresden Files have been read by actor James Marsters. The first four are produced by Buzzy Multimedia Publishing. The fifth audio book Small Favor is produced by Penguin Audio.
In October 2007, Jim Butcher revealed on his website that Dabel Brothers would be producing a Dresden Files comic book series, similar to the Anita Blake graphic novel series:
Working together with Dabel Brothers Productions, the Dresden Files are going to be translated into a graphic novel format. The current plan is to lay out the Dresden Files storyline at the rate of one of the novels every twelve to sixteen monthly issues, with occasional side-trips and independent stories thrown in. (Ever wonder what happened in Branson the month before Storm Front? How about what somebody saw in the lake in Minnesota between Storm Front and Fool Moon? Maybe I’ll get to tell those stories now! How cool is that?)
I will be assisting with the writing of the comics, and am also involved in the design and approval of the characters, art, tone, and so on. This is an actual hand-in-hand project in which I have full creative input and influence, and I’m friggin’ giddy about it. I mean, come on! Comic books!
The first issue is set to come out April 16, 2008. It is the first issue of a four-issue mini-series called Welcome to the Jungle, which is a prequel to Storm Front. Storm Front was announced as the next adaptation, by the same creative team.
Backup: A Story of the Dresden Files is a novelette set in the Dresdenverse, but narrated by Thomas Raith, Harry's half-brother. In the novelette, Harry is in danger and is unaware of it, and Thomas runs interference for Harry, trying to protect Harry without him realizing it.
The novelette is due to be published on October 31, 2008 by Subterranean Press.
The Dresden Files was adapted to television in 2007 by the Sci-Fi Channel, and was cancelled after one season.
As of January 2008, the project went into an early alpha phase of testing. However, a firm release date has yet to be established.