First, I want to thank the good people at Space City Con for making this happen. Space City Con is a smaller kind of con, but its intimacy works in its favor, especially when you get to meet your heroes and have fun playing RPGs and geeking out over different things. Space City Con comes back in January, and I'm very excited to return.
One of my favorite things about writing for AICN is facilitating things like this - Abstruse is a huge Jim Butcher fan. I mean, over-the-moon fandom. So when I told him that Butcher was coming to Space City Con, he went a little bit mental. But I was happy to be a part of this; any day you get to meet your personal heroes is always one to cherish. Thanks to Jim Butcher for helping this happen, and I can't wait to read the new Dresden Films' SKIN GAME later this year (if it makes it out in time - no pressure, Jim). There's no real "news" in this interview - just a couple of fans, geeking out with one of their favorite authors. Thanks for reading. Here's Abstruse:
Hello everyone, Abstruse here. There’s an old saying, “Never meet your heroes.” The idea behind it is that you will create an ideal version of the person in your head that no real, living human can live up to. I’m here to say that, after meeting Jim Butcher, that entire concept is complete bullshit. Mr. Butcher is incredibly nice and, as you can tell from the following conversation between him, myself, and Nordling (who was there mostly to make sure I didn’t turn into a drooling fanboy mess), just as charming, funny, nerdy, and snarky as you’d imagine the man behind THE DRESDEN FILES would be.
Abstruse: There hasn’t been an official announcement I’ve seen, but Amazon and Wikipedia are showing SKIN GAME with a December 3rd release date.
Jim Butcher: I don’t know where Amazon gets its information and Wikipedia is just a rumor mill.
Abstruse: So no official date yet?
Jim Butcher: No official date yet. It’s not written. It’s due September 1st. How soon it gets published depends on how quickly they ram it through the process. And the faster they ram it through, the more likely I am to go “eh” afterwards.
Abstruse: One thing I’ve noticed about Harry is that he’s always had problems playing “The Game” [As in the political game that many of his antagonists play – Abs] He’s gotten a little bit sharper about that, but I heard you on YouTube at MissCon where you read some of SKIN GAME. He still hasn’t really picked up on it. Is that going to be something he figures out the hard way eventually?
Jim Butcher: It’s not something he’s going to figure out the hard way as something he chooses to reject. He does get sharper, he does learn from his mistakes as he grows as a wizard. But still, I don’t think he’s ever going to qualify as “subtle” Wizard.
Abstruse: “Fuck subtle.”
Jim Butcher: Yeah, exactly. Screw that. He’d rather be sincere. But when it comes down to it, you’ve got to be able to pull that out of your hat against the kind of people that he’s dealing with. So that’s one of the things he’s learning. And SKIN GAME is going to be...in a lot of ways, it’s a con. Unfortunately, when you start engaging in that kind of behavior, whether it’s political, whether it’s military, whether it’s personal – the overflow of that is that you’ve got to start lying to people you’d rather not lie to. Because that’s the only way to make it work. And that’s eventually going to haunt him, but he’s got to start doing it at that point.
Nordling: Where do you feel you’re at with the character at this point? Do you feel like this is a new beginning for him, since after the Queen of Winter and everything?
Jim Butcher: For me personally, CHANGES – GHOST STORY – COLD DAYS is the big three-part special episode that comes in the middle of the season like they used to do in the old shows, like in the 70s and 80s. “This is the HUGE, EPIC episode!” and they’d occasionally pre-empt the whole evening to show it to you. That’s what those three books are to me. This will be getting back to what we’ve done before. Harry’s been kind of in isolation for a while, and the events that have happened to him have kind of changed him over time. We get to see a little bit more of that, we get to see a little bit more of him stopping that. And you get back to Chicago to the Scooby Gang and so on. Although he can’t spend as much time with them as I’m sure a lot of readers would have because the whole premise of SKIN GAME is he gets loaned out to the Evil League of Evil so they can pull a job. So that’s what he’s busy doing, he’s got to hang out with all these jerks and psychopaths.
Abstruse: It’s a heist movie, from what I understand.
Nordling: Very, very cool.
Jim Butcher: It’s a heist movie if Ocean would refuse to disclose any details disclose any details to most of his crew to protect the secrecy of what they were trying to do.
Abstruse: That kind of ties into another question. The original story outline as I understand it was 20 Casebooks, then an apocalyptic trilogy.
Jim Butcher: Twentyish.
Abstruse: Since, I think 12-13-14 were your midgame, was that pushed forward a little bit? So we’ll get 23, 24...
Jim Butcher: Stories aren’t math. The middle of the story doesn’t necessary come in the middle. The middle of the story is part of the story structure.
Abstruse: I’m kinda just wanting more.
Jim Butcher: I’ve already got ideas for at least one spin-off series that I really enjoy. And besides that, the first thing that happens when you get done reading your kid a bedtime story is your kid looks at you and says, “Read it again!” or “Read another!” And I don’t think people every really grow out of that. At the same time, stories end. They have to.
Nordling: The best stories end.
Jim Butcher: And if you keep going and going and going, eventually you stop caring. So you’ve got to write the story that has an ending to it. And that’s always been in mind of the DRESDEN FILES. That’s coming up, that’ll be the big trilogy. So far, I’m trying to focus on enjoying what’s happening right now. Because in a series this long, burnout can be a factor. If I just writing stuff, “I don’t really want to write this but this is what everybody’s into.” Pretty soon I’ll be the one who doesn’t want to go back there.
Nordling: What do you enjoy more when writing? Do you enjoy the world-building or sticking with characters or the plot?
Jim Butcher: My favorite stuff is probably the character stuff. I always enjoy world-building I always enjoy making things that are bigger. For me, I have trouble distinguishing world-building from character stuff. If you’re doing it right, your characters and your world are breathing thing. So I would have to say the character stuff, though. When I get good character moments that I feel can perfectly represent a character, something that’s just awesome. Or even if it’s not awesome, something that’s just fun.
Nordling: It’s one of the things I admire most about the Dresden Files is the world builds with the books. The first few books are great, intimate stories and then the world gets bigger and bigger and it’s really well-thought out. One of the things I’ve always wanted to know, are we going to see the return of the Nine, of Nicodemus and the rest of those.
Jim Butcher and Abstruse: That’s this book.
Jim Butcher: SKIN GAME is he gets loaned out to Nicodemus. And he’s got to go rob a vault with Nicodemus.
Nordling: He was my favorite villain of the whole series.
Jim Butcher: He’s a good bad guy. He’s one of the more thoughtful and considered villains. He’s a long-term villain; he likes to think the long-term.
Nordling: Because on the surface, you kind of want to do what he’s asking.
Abstruse: He seems like a nice guy!
Jim Butcher: He’s reasonable enough. The worst villains are reasonable enough.
Nordling: [Abstruse] was telling me that you got the film rights back to Dresden Files. You got any movement that way?
Jim Butcher: There’s always movement. I had several meetings at Comic-Con. I’ll get calls on a fairly regular basis. There’s nothing that’s gone far enough I can actually talk about it and there’s nothing that’s gone far enough I’m going to make any plans about it. One of the maxims in Hollywood is nothing’s real until the check clears.
Jim Butcher: So at this point, none of it’s real and we’ll see if eventually somebody writes a check, that’ll be the point we’ll talk about it. And if it clears, that’ll be the point we know something’s happening.
Abstruse: I know a couple of years ago, there was talk about an animated Codex Alera. Did that fall through or was it just a rumor?
Jim Butcher: It’s not just a rumor, it’s just that’s what I’d really like to see for Codex Alera. It would be done best as an animated thing rather than as a...If someone tried to do a movie out of that, it would be a huge special effects budget and...eh...animated would be cooler.
Abstruse: So we’ve got Dresden Files with the cover quote, “It’s Raymond Chandler meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. We’ve got Codex Alera, which is “Lost Roman Legion meets Pokemon”. What’s CINDER SPIRE? [Note: CINDER SPIRE is Jim Butcher’s newest series, a steampunk trilogy which doesn’t have a release date yet, but the first novel should be coming out sometime next year. –Abs]
Jim Butcher: CINDER SPIRES is Hornblower meets League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Abstruse: Because I have gone on record as saying...I’m not a big fan of steampunk. I like the style and everything, but every story I’ve read has put me off and I’ve actually said this quote verbatim: “The only way I would read a steampunk novel is if Neil Gaiman or Jim Butcher wrote it.”
Jim Butcher: Well now you’re stuck. I’m enjoying the hell out of that one. That’s been a lot of fun to write, it’s gotten a very strong response from my beta readers, the characters are a whole lot of fun. The world’s a good time. I get to write airship navy battles! I’m going back and reading CS Forester and other writers just so I can get into the same feel and flavor of it. It’s fun because I’m writing with a pirate captain and a princess all these other kind of stock characters that I’m putting in this world. That’s always the fun thing to do, when you take something that people are familiar with and you can present it in a way that’s new and strange or new and fun.
It came to my attention that I somehow let my kid and nephews and his crew of friends that I run games for, had never played D&D. I’d always run Warhammer. They’re almost out of college and they’ve never played D&D! I’ve failed as a parent! So I started to run a D&D game, except D&D isn’t D&D anymorebecause now they’re into the 4th Edition thing and it’s a cool game and all, but it’s not D&D. So I went out and grabged Pathfinder. I’m running them throught the Caves of Chaos, which is AWESOME when you have no idea what D&D is and you don’t know any of the D&D monsters and so on. Except I’m running the Caves of Chaos in zombie apocalypse, so the Keep on the Borderlands is like the last human outpost in the entire region that’s still function and they’re going to the Caves of Chaos to make contact with the green-skins and arrange some kind of alliance against the zombies –
Abstruse: That’s a nice twist.
Jim Butcher: Yeah! And the Caves of Chaos are a different place because some of them might be allies if you can talk fast enough, and some of them are still enemies. And it’s great because they’ve got no idea what any of the monsters are, so they’ll walk into the room. “Is the room clear?” and everyone walks in. “What’s that green stuff all over the ceiling?”
[At this point, Nordling laughs and I facepalm. –Abs]
Jim Butcher: We’re going to be rolling more characters, that’s alright. They need practice at that.
Abstruse: Have you looked at D&D Next, the playtest they’re doing?
Jim Butcher: I’ve played a little bit of it. I was in a playtest group for a while where we were actually playtesting the game. I’m glad to see that they took the feedback from so many people, because they’re really moving it back toward something close to 3rd Edition where you can still mix in some of the stuff from people who came in on 4th, but you don’t have to play with that.
Nordling: I’m still very old-school. I’m still 1st Edition Gary Gygax books.
Jim Butcher: The ones that aren’t organized, you just have to know where things are if you want to look them up. There’s no helpful of contents.
Abstruse: I’m actually doing TEMPLE OF ELEMENTAL EVIL in Next right now, trying to convert it over.
Jim Butcher: Yeah, good. Gary Gygax D&D where you had to say only three Rangers in a party because otherwise, everyone would play a Ranger.
Abstruse: If you could get the attributes. I’ve only gotten one Ranger ever. So you do still get time to play games?
Jim Butcher: No, you MAKE time to play games. I run campaigns, right now I’m running for my kid and a bunch of his nephews which is great because they’re old enough to actually play now, and I can actually play with them. “Oh, Jay’s Dad’s running games! Let’s go! Those are awesome!” But yeah, I did the playtest for D&D 4th Edition, I wrote a two-word review. “New Coke” and sent it in to them. I hoped that would get through, but it didn’t seem to.
Nordling: When it comes to creating stories and characters and worlds, roleplaying obviously plays a big part of that for you. How much is you writing the story from your own perspective and how much is it that you get from the roleplaying that you orchestrate?
Jim Butcher: I don’t even like to think myself as a writer as such. I think writers take it a little more seriously than I do in terms of actually using the language. I’m a storyteller. If I’m doing my job, I want the language to be invisible, something you don’t notice. Because you’re too busy going along with the story.
Abstruse: Parker was good at that. [Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser novels – Abs]
Jim Butcher: Yeah. That’s another thing. I want the language to be transparent. I don’t want people to have to stop and worry about that. Telling stories is the oldest virtual reality. That’s what I do, is tell stories. If I’m telling stories in a game, it’s no different. You’re still using the same stuff. You just have to consider how to translate your storytelling into the other world. In the Zombie Apocalypse, for example, you want your zombies to pop – You don’t want them to be a huge everywhere all-the-time threat. You want them to be kind of this grinding low-intensity threat that occasionally just pops up and is awful. It’s like, alright, every time a door gets open and somebody’s more than 20 feet away everybody else, there’s a d6 roll and on a 6, there’s a zombie there. That’s a Zombie Apocalypse world, that sort of thing happens. And that’s how you establish that sort of low-threat menace that you always want out there. You never get any rest from it or any surcease from it. I’m enjoying the hell out of that. Because I get to have zombies pop up at the damnedest times and nobody can say anything about it because you’re playing a zombie apocalypse game.
Nordling: It’s not being malicious; it’s just the way life is there.
Abstruse: How are you handling Turn Undead in this game? Is your Cleric and your Paladin...is everyone playing one or...?
Jim Butcher: The only person who played a Cleric is playing a Cleric of Cyric [Forgotten Realms God of Murder, Lies, Deception, Illusion, Strife, and Intrigue, which is why I started laughing my ass off at this point. – Abs]. He’s evil, and he refuses to heal anyone who is not converted to his deity. So he and the Barbarian are exploring the barn in the farm house in the opening section on the way to the Caves of Chaos and there’s a couple of wight spawn in there, not even full-fledge wight, just little ones. The Barbarian flips out and instead of running back out through, he runs straight ahead through after getting two of his three levels drained off and opens the next doors. And of course, the zombies that were out fifty yards away earlier are right there. They all start in on him.
And the Cleric is like, “Behold the Power of Cyric”, because he talks like Kennedy. “His name is Mal Morterman, The Cleric of Cyric. Behold the Power of Cyric, all worshippers of Cyric are now invisible to Undead! You too could be invisible to undead, barbarian, or you can embrace your inevitable demise!”
Nordling: That’s awesome.
Jim Butcher: These kids, they grew up around me so they might be a little bit mouthy. It’s so incredibly funny watching the stuff they get into.
Nordling: There’s very little joy that compares to the Dungeonmaster when you’ve got, you’re not even really running the story anymore, you’re just watching. You’re just kind of watching as things happen.
Jim Butcher: It’s so hilarious. So the gnome has to Rage to stay alive and then he drops out of Rage and drops unconscious at the end. And he’s been bitten. And they’re like, “What do we do?”
“We’re going to have to carry him along with us. We can’t just leave him here or he’ll be a Walker for sure. And he’s got WAY too many hit points!” We’re like, “Yeah, you’re right. What do we do?” “We’ll have to carry him.” “I don’t want to carry him! What if he wakes up turned?!” So they ransack the farmhouse for shirts and they tie a bunch of shirts into a bag and pull it over his head and gag him and stuff like that. They’re dragging him along with them.
They get to where they’re going to camp by this pool and they’re like, “We’re going to build this raft.” “Why are we building a raft?” “So we can put the gnome on it and get him out in the water. That way if he wakes up, we’ll know because he’ll splash into the water being a stupid zombie.” And they’re like “Yeah, good idea!”
So the gnome wakes up and the first thing he does is roll into the water, tied up and gagged. “I don’t want to go in after him! What if he turned?!” “What if he DIDN’T turn!”
Abstruse: Reminds me of the scene from SHAWN OF THE DEAD where they stop and roll down the window. “Well, he’s going to be dead either way!”
Jim Butcher: We kind of went way off the topic.
Nordling: No no no!
Abstruse: No, it’s very good.
Jim Butcher: The point is, when you’re gaming, you’re still storytelling. It’s just a question of you have different tools to tell the story with.
Abstruse: No, it actually covered one of my questions, which was how your gaming influenced your writing.
Jim Butcher: And that’s it. That’s how it works.
Nordling: It’s very similar when you’re just writing to write. Sometimes the story just gets away from you and you’re just writing because things happened. I can very much sense that in the DRESDEN FILES. I love that, you know, oh my god! He has totally painted this guy not into a corner, he’s like standing on a pinky toe.
Jim Butcher: In the corner balancing on a razor blade.
Abstruse: Just wait. Is it the end of Chapter 2? Or the end of Chapter 1?
Jim Butcher: No, that’s the end of Chapter 2. At the end of Chapter Two, Dresden’s got three days to live and has to team up with the bad guys and is completely screwed if he doesn’t and is probably screwed if he does. And off they go.
Nordling: It reminds me, do you like torturing your characters? Is it more fun to torture them a bit?
Jim Butcher: I don’t like torturing my characters, I like torturing my READERS. It happens to be that torturing the characters is the best way to do that.
Abstruse: You and Joss Whedon are going to put me in my grave.
Jim Butcher: That’s the idea. I want you to lose sleep and miss work and all kinds of thing.
Abstruse: I called in sick when...shit, what came after PROVEN GUILTY?
Jim Butcher: SMALL FAVOR.
Abstruse: When SMALL FAVOR came out, I stayed up until 4 AM reading it and I couldn’t go to work the next day. Woke up and read it again.
Nordling: I’m kind of like a glutton when it comes to reading your books. There’s no way to stop.
Abstruse: When CHANGES came out, it was like a cartoon. I went to the bookstore, doors open. I’m charging right in and I grab the first one on the display. I yank the book so hard that it’s like on one of those little wire stands and it starts spinning around in place like a cartoon.
Nordling: Got anything else?
Abstruse: Yeah. I know you’ve said before that, after DARKEST HOURS, you’re not going to do anymore licensed fiction because you’ve got stuff you want to do. Let’s say someone comes to you with your dream project, do whatever you want, you don’t have to stick to canon. STAR WARS, Middle Earth, what would it be and what would you do?
[It’s interesting to note that we were about 20 feet away from the table set up for the 501st, the group that dresses in Stormtrooper armor and appears at cons and charity events. They had finished setting up and JUST started to play the STAR WARS theme. No joke; that was our soundtrack for this part of the conversation. –Abs]
Jim Butcher: I would do an alternate history of STAR WARS. I would do STAR WARS and try to change one small detail early on and see how that changed everything else and go from there. Because I thought of a couple of different Star Warses. Star Warss.
Nordling: Star Warsii?
Jim Butcher: You know, kind of the Alternate Star Wars.
Abstruse: Like if that officer had fired on the escape pod.
Jim Butcher: Something like that. What if 3PO had gone that way? You know, “I’m not going that way!” It’d almost have to be a choice like that. That was actually something that TSR – not TSR, Wizards of the Coast had approached me of maybe doing a reboot of DRAGONLANCE.
Abstruse: You know Tracy’s here. Tracy Hickman.
Jim Butcher: Tracy and Margaret are the reason I ended up not doing that. I’d gone to them and said, “I think this is a fantastic idea! I’ve got a lot of a whole bunch of really good ideas of how this would work out.” I’d already started building all these characters and re-read the first book and was trying to figure out how to do that a little bit different. And I said, “Tracy and Margaret are okay with this, right?” And I got all these weasely answers from the far end and I’m like “No, screw you guys. If this is something that’s not kosher with Tracy and Margaret, it’s not going to happen.” And then 4th Edition crashed and they had more problems than that. And they were expecting 4th Edition to go insane and it HAD gone insane already, they just didn’t realize it. But yeah, I was going to have a good time with that. I was going to base Raistlin on House.
Nordling: [Cackling] Perfect!
Jim Butcher: And starting from there. Raistlin was going to be just going to be the most snarky, brilliant character.
Abstruse: I’m just connecting the dots, it’s perfect.
Jim Butcher: Yeah exactly. Tanis was going to be more kind of a thoughtful general action hero guy. But I was going to change things where Tasslehoff hadn’t stolen Flint’s knife at the beginning, or Flint caught Tasslehoff trying to steal his knife because Tass didn’t make make his pickpocket roll. So a goblin was going to have wounded Tanis and they were going to have taken an extra fifteen minutes to bandage Tanis up before they rolled into town and that would’ve changed the entire scope of the Dragonlance War. I wanted to start with that little incident and go from there.
Abstruse: And kind of retcon out the Fifth Age?
Jim Butcher: Yeah, more or less. They said reboot and do whatever you want, so I said okay. Although also, I should’ve known there was an issue when they asked me if it could be 4th Edition compatible. Can you book be 4th Edition compatible? And I’m like “......it’s a book!” It’s a story. The 4th Edition is just a way to tell the story.
Abstruse: I know RA Salvatore has been doing this sort of...bitching without actually bitching, about having to write Drizzt in 4th.
Jim Butcher: [shaking his head] 4th Edition-compatible storytelling.
Abstruse: Well, it’s got to use those specific maneuvers and powers, and keep track of the dailies and...I actually really like 4th Edition for what it is.
Jim Butcher: Right.
Abstruse: It’s something completely different.
Jim Butcher: I think it’s a good game. It’s a neat game. It’s just not D&D.
Abstruse: I think that might be about it...oh, I did have another question about DARKEST HOUR! Your take on Rhino is the first take I’ve ever seen that actually made that character a character instead of “Hulk Smash except I’m grey and have horns.” Do you know anything about the new movie that’s going to have Rhino in it? Are they going to pull from that, has anyone contacted you at all?
Jim Butcher: I doubt it. The problem with Hollywood and the way they do books is that no one in Hollywood likes to read. So when STAR WARS got sold, and there was this issue, “Are they going to take the books into account?” And if they knew kind of the character in Hollywood, they’d know: No, they’re not going to take the books into account at all because someone would have to read the books. And no one out there wants to do that. Any anyone out there at the decision-making level is too busy to read books and is way too important to read books. So they’re not going to involve themselves. Although, I think they’re slowly, kind of gradually learning, “Wait a minute, we need to be more aware of the base material that’s out there so we can do that instead of trying to constantly reference our own stuff from earlier movies.”
Abstruse: Or they can be smart like GAME OF THRONES, hire George RR Martin as a screenwriter for the show.
Jim Butcher: Well that’s also if your writer can write screenplays as well, and George has been doing that for a long time.
Abstruse: Because he also did BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
Nordling: The thing about STAR WARS for me is that, it kind of doesn’t belong to just one person anymore. Even though George Lucas is the guy, everybody has their angles of STAR WARS that they love. Like Joss Whedon loves Han Solo and from that we get SERENITY. There are other people who love Luke Skywalker and the whole Jedi thing and they’ve created their own, what they love about that universe. STAR WARS is so shared now.
Abstruse: Even the novels are kind of split up now. You like the fighter pilots, you have the X-Wing series. You want the sort of mysticism of the Force, you have Jedi Academy. And [Timothy] Zahn’s the only one that I thought really brought all those concepts together.
Jim Butcher: He did a good job.
Abstruse: The politics with the races with the war, with the overall naval style of war versus the dogfighting, and it had the mystical aspects of the Jedi and all that.
Nordling: As an artist, how does it make you feel when your art kind of escapes from you, you know, and it’s kind of shared out there and people take what they take from it?
Jim Butcher: “Good. Have a good time!” That’s the whole point of the books, for me. I’m just going to keep writing my books. When it gets to the point, I think the thing I really love the most about it is seeing the DRESDEN FILES roleplaying game out there and hearing people writing their own Dresden-type stories with all their friends and telling their own stories with their friends, which I think is awesome. And plus, okay, good, because I’m not going to be writing any faster. I’m going to write at the pace I have to write to get the book done well. So absolutely. If you guys want to be telling your own stories in the meantime, good. Do that!
Nordling: I imagine you have to shut it off at some point, like, “Leave me alone, let me write this thing. I promise I’ll do it the best I can do it.”
Jim Butcher: Oh, absolutely. At this point, when I’m at home, don’t call me, don’t email me. If you need to contact me, my assistant sees me once a week. And of course, the people you love the most are the ones who ignore that the most. So you get calls from your sister and so on.
Nordling: And you put it in the books. “Oh, you’re going to pressure me? I’m going to pressure him!”
Jim Butcher: [growly voice] Fine! Be that way! George RR Martin, “Every time someone asks me when the next book comes out, I kill a Stark!” We’re all just sort of assuming at this point that the White Walkers are going to sweep South and there’s going to be a zombie apocalypse and all the Starks are going to arise to take their vengeance on everyone that that needs vengeance. And that way, George Martin can kill MORE Starks! Over. And kill them again. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping for frozen zombie apocalypse.
Abstruse: Did you see the video of him at w00tstock from Comic-Con?
Jim Butcher: Not only did I see the video, I was there.
Nordling: I didn’t.
Abstruse: Oh, what it is, Paul & Storm have a song called “Write Like the Wind”. You know, “George RR Martin/Please write and write faster”. They start playing the song and George RR Martin comes out, takes the guitar, throws it on the ground, and SMASHES it.
Jim Butcher: And you could see the catharsis in Martin when it happened.
Abstruse: Then he picks it up and waves it at them, chases them around. Then Neil Gaiman comes out and chastises them.
Jim Butcher: What is George RR Martin not?
Jim Butcher and Abstruse: Our bitch...
Abstruse: I can’t hear you!
Jim Butcher: George RR Martin is not our bitch.
Abstruse: Sorry Neil Gaiman.
I would like to point out that, even though I write the AICN Tabletop column, Mr. Butcher did not know that before the interview. So all that D&D talk was completely Jim just being Jim. He even talked about his game that evening during his writing seminar. It was an amazing experience, and I cannot wait to get my hands on SKIN GAME.