Meet Dave Butler, Steam Punk/Science Fiction/Fantasy Author Extraordinaire

Dave Butler

Dave Butler, Utah-based author of City of Saints, as well as Rock Band Fights Evil, and Crechling.

Dave Butler, the author of steam punk novel City of the Saints, is one of the most interesting authors I’ve had the opportunity to meet in the recent past.

And, probably, the less than recent past, as well.

I first ran into Dave Butler when he sat on a panel about J.R.R.  Tolkien at Salt Lake Comic Con 2013. He was making an impassioned argument about Christian symbolism in The Lord of the Rings. In a world where religious opinions are frowned upon (the route to a Hugo or Nebula award is, apparently, best walked by the “diversity candidate”),  Butler had no compunctions about putting his cards on the table and going to the mattresses to defend them.

It was refreshing, not because it was religious, but because Butler was willing to argue his opinion regardless of the response.

The next time I saw him, he was kicking off a panel at Life, the Universe and Everything in Provo, Utah with a demand that instead of addressing the prosaic topic given the panelists that they take sides of some topic–I don’t remember which–and argue it out. It brought chuckles from the audience and sidelong glances from his panelists and was one of the most entertaining panels I attended that day.

It was somewhat reminiscent of a line I once read in David McCullough’s John Adams, where he said that Adams’ favorite form of conversation was an argument.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good argument.

What makes Butler’s arguments–and opinions, writing, and personality–so interesting is that they are so full and developed, not to mention subtly referencing books, ideas, and meanings that are hidden below the surface. It’s clear that Butler is among the smartest guys in the room, but he’s not interested in rubbing it in your face, Jon Stewart style. Rather, it’s a lust after the intellectual and the interesting, the curious and the original.

Which is why, for example, I was in no way surprised when Dave expressed on Facebook, almost in passing, some disappointment with himself that he couldn’t read in ancient Sumerian. A joke, perhaps, but from a guy who just finished reading Leviticus in Hebrew…maybe not.

And yet, Butler seems stubbornly resistant to taking himself too seriously. In spite of a professional background that includes a law degree, securities law, and crowdfunded securities offerings–wake back up, dear readers, Butler’s creative work is all over the place and is anything but boring.

City-of-the-SaintsIn addition to City of the Saints (check out my review here), which is a steam punk fantasy set in pre-Civil War Utah, or Deseret, as it was known then–Butler’s other fiction includes Rock Band Fights Evil (damned rock band fights evil to escape damnation), a contribution to the Space Eldritch collection called “Arise Thou Niarlat from Thy Rest” (space Cthulu), and Crecheling, book one of The Buza System (dark science fiction in a dystopian future).

And if that wasn’t enough, Butler’s got his fingers in all sorts of other pies, as well. He’s one of five science fiction writers that make up the Space Balrogs, a “troupe of authors who present fun and funny interactive convention events,” according to their Facebook page. On another occasion, he and horror writer Craig Nybo walked through a Zombie Enfranchisement mock trial. Find both below. It’s entertaining stuff.

If you’ve never picked up one of Butler’s books, check him out and pick up one of his books. I especially enjoyed City of the Saints, but Butler is a talented writer, so you’re sure to find something that you like from him. Pick up something from Dave Butler on Amazon.

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About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.

  • Excellent spotlight. The engaging writing and interesting details really made me want to check out more about Dave Butler in general and CITY OF SAINTS in particular.

    • Jessica, thanks. Dave’s a very dynamic guy, and writer, and it was hard to pick what to add and what not to add to the profile. He’s got his hands in all sorts of projects, and not a single one of them is boring.

      If you do pick up City of Saints, I hope you enjoy it. It certainly took me by surprise.