Saturday, June 24, 2017

BRIAN DALEY...TAKING STAR WARS TO NEW (RADIO) HEIGHTS

A promise kept...

Something I had mentioned in my latest (and last) podcast intro that  I promised to post...I would be remiss as a Jack McKinney fan if I didn't.

Among  Brian Daley's great accomplishments outside of Robotech was writing the scripts for the Audio Dramatizations of Star War's Original Trilogy that aired on National Public Radio (U.S.) in 1981, 1983 and 1996.

The productions featured original cast members, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels all reprising their roles. Anthony appeared in all three adaptations.

"C3PO and Master Luke" in an audio galaxy far, far away.

With George Lucas selling the radio rights to the public radio affiliate at his alma mater, the University of Southern California for $1 and the addition of English director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), it was Brian's task to take an already phenomenal space opera and bring it to life in the audio drama realm. As Madden put it, "We were making movies with the lights turned out...You know, movies to watch with your eyes closed."

The result was a 29 episode journey reliving the adventures of a long time ago...

In addition, scenes that never made it to the screen were adapted by Brian in the production;


  • - Han's docking bay meeting with Jabba the Hutt. (BEFORE the release of the Special Edition movies)
  • - Leia's interrogation by Darth Vader.
  • - Luke's construction of his green light saber.


Brian took it a step further with his own scenes to the narrative including a backstory of Princess Leia's acquisition of the Death Star plans. So there was Rogue One....before Rogue One, albeit a told differently. 

Besides original actors, several notable celebrities lent their talents;

Ed Asner - Jabba the Hutt
Perry King - Han Solo
John Lithgow - Yoda

The debut of A New Hope took place in 1981 and Empire Strikes Back in 1983.

While Brian did get the green light for the script of Return of the Jedi in 1983 shortly after the movie premiered. Due to federal funding though, it would not be completed until 1996. Now Brian was in Nepal with Jim Luceno when he first got the news about this. The celebration that took place after finding out is quite the story and you can listen to in our interview with Jim at this link.

Brian was ill with cancer during production of ROTJ and passed away before work completed. And although, Brian did not get to hear it, the cast recorded a touching get well message, all done in Star Wars characters. A special tribute to a special man. You can hear it below;



The radio dramatizations are a more than a worthy part of the Star Wars Universe. The complete trilogy available on Amazon.com at this link

A book was also published with the script for Return of the Jedi audio drama and an inside look on the production of it. Also available on Amazon at this link.

There is a Special Edition set which comes with extras including the tribute to Brian. There were only 7500 of these made.You will have to look around for it, Ebay being a possibility, I was lucky enough to secure one that now sits proudly on my Robotech Novels bookcase. 

In this day and age where the visual seems to dominate over the story, audio productions let your mind decide what images to form and with that sort\ of control, makes the actual story much more enjoyable.

Power of the mind baby....power of the mind.

- John  

For more information;

Official Website for Brian Daley
That Time NPR Turned 'Star Wars' Into A Radio Drama — And It Actually Worked, (NPR, Dec. 18, 2015)
Wookipedia Article; Star Wars Audio Dramas

Sunday, June 11, 2017

YEAH...THE THINKING CAPS ARE REAL!


Excerpt;

"Scott, his body sheathed in lime-green armor, was strapping himself into one of the Veritechs now. Fifteen years had seen only minor changes in armor and craft. Lang's Robotech design team had maintained the "thinking caps" and sensor-studded mitts and boots that were so characteristic of the first-generation VT pilots. Armor itself had become somewhat bulky due to the fact that these third-generation warriors were involved in ground-assault missions as often as they were in space strikes; but there was none of the gladiatorial styling favored by Lang's counterparts in the Army of the Southern Cross."


RN, Invid Invasion

Debates have been had up and down about the concept of the "thinking caps" in the Robotech Novels. The technology of merging the mechanical with the mental when regards to the mecha handled by Earth's military forces. 

Much has been said to squash the idea that they would work in the "real world" or simply saying; "THINKING CAPS AREN'T MENTIONED ON THE SHOW!"


And it has seemed over the years that the fans of the Novels have this "burden" to defend or make some sort of case for the thinking caps.

And for that matter, a lot of the concepts the guys came up with for the Robotech Novels Universe. (RNU)

I guess the only thing I can say when it comes to "making a case" for the Robotech Novels for the arguments made against them made......aka "The Nitpicking"

I'll take Jim Luceno's words;




"...doesn't require a counterpoint from me. The books, after all, are the counterpoint."

Sometimes what is FORGOTTEN is that the Novels are an ADAPTATION of the Robotech: The Animated Series which itself is an ADAPTATION of three separate, unrelated, Japanese animated series.

An exact transcript of the series into novel form would have been a DISASTER.

Carl Macek had the business.....and common sense to tell Brian and Jim...."Here's the Robotech ball...RUN WITH IT!"

And twenty-one books later.

The Novels will always stand on their own. I've got 30 years of proof behind that. 

I will always recommend that the series be watched as it is "lightning in a bottle" with what Carl did. And it did lead to Jack McKinney

But has it ever occurred to "opponents" of the Novels that perhaps the animated series really isn't needed to enjoy the RNU?

The answer to that question though...is another story for another day...

But I will say this;


- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

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IMAGE: Robotech: TAS, The Invid Invasion

Thursday, June 1, 2017

IT'S ABOUT THE JOURNEY...

I thought a lot about what I would write for this....

And then I said....nothing else needs to be said except...

LET'S ENJOY THE SHOW BABY!!!!




EPISODE #5 "END OF THE CIRCLE"

.. one more time ! (PLAY/DOWNLOAD BELOW)

After a little Robotech and Robotech Novels 101 from yours truly...

There's no better way to arrive at the End Of The Circle for this podcast than with one of the guys that made the magic of the Robotech Novels happen.

Robotech: The McKinney Project Podcast presents -

NY Times Best Selling Star Wars Novelist...one half of Robotech's Jack McKinney....James Luceno!


Celebrating 30 years of the Roboetch Novels!

Some of what you'll hear;

- Getting the Robotech Novels Gig

- Carl Macek and James Dean?

- The Robotech Novels Process

- Adding the "McKinney Concepts"

- World Building in Robotech

- Jim Luceno's Star Wars Journey (all because of Robotech)

- Were Darth Vader, Tarkin and Palpatine REALLY bad guys?

- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel and the movie reshoots

- Will Jim return to a Galaxy far far away?

- Remembering a good friend....Brian Daley

- Jack McKinney...Nepal....Sherpas...and Star Wars???

- Will Digital replace the good old fashion book?

- Which one is easier to write...Robotech or Star Wars?

- Bringing Robotech's secondary characters to the fore in the Novels

- The character of Anatole Leonard.

- Thinking Caps aren't real a.ka. "The Nitpicking"

- The Harmony Gold "rewrites" of the Robotech Novels

- Will Jack McKinney return to Robotech?

- Trivial Pursuit - Jim Luceno Edition

- This fan's most important Robotech Novels question answered!

- A Final Toast

And to all who have been on this podcast journey with me.....To hopeful endings and new beginnings!

- J.T. ... OUT BABY!

Much love and kick ass!

- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

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Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, May 19, 2017

SOMEWHERE A QUEEN WAS WEEPING...

The first lines of the New Generation Saga of the Robotech Novels returns to the beginning. 

It had been a long road of heartbreak...then hatred...what would the road hold now?

The long road of the Invid Mother, the Regis...



"...her children scattered; her regent a prisoner of the blood lust, at war with nature and enslaved to vengeance. But dare we presume to read her thoughts even now, to walk a path not taken-one denied to us by gates and towers our senses cannot perceive and perhaps never will?"

RN, Invid Invasion

And after all the pain she and her children endured, a world has called out to her and it offers the key to the Invid salvation...



"Still, it must have seemed like the answer to a prayer: A planet newly rich in the flower that was life itself, a profusion of such incredible nutrient wealth that her Sensor Nebulae had found it clear across the galaxy. A blue and white world as distant from her Optera as she was from the peaceful form her consciousness once inhabited."

RN, Invid Invasion

Zor wronged the Invid in the worst way possible. A sin committed in the name of science. A seduction to extract a secret from the Regis. 

A betrayal that led to a mate's devolution. 

Yet, a betrayal in the name of love.



"And yet Optera was lost to her, to half her children. Left in the care of one who had betrayed his kind, who had become what he fought so desperately to destroy. As she herself had...

All but trapped now in the guise that he had worn, the one who lured the secrets of the Flower from her. And whose giant warriors had returned to possess the planet and dispossess its inhabitants. But oh, how she had loved him! Enough to summon from her very depths the ability to emulate him. And later to summon a hatred keen enough to birth a warring nature, an army of soldiers to rival his-to rival Zor's own!"

RN, Invid Invasion

And in the end...



"But he, too, was lost to her, killed by the very soldiers her hatred had fashioned."

RN, Invid Invasion

But the Regis could no longer afford the past to be in front of her. The destiny of her and her children awaited. She may have lost Optera, but the Earth would now be the fertile ground in which to plant her seed for the rebirth of the Invid.



"And woe to the life form that inhabited that world! For nothing would prevent her from finding a home for her children, a home for the completion of their grand evolutionary design!"

RN, Invid Invasion

There are many themes in the Robotech Novels story. In part, it  is a tragic tale of love, betrayal and vengeance.

Yet, it does makes room for redemption.

But A LOT happens before that!

- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

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IMAGES: Robotech: TAS , Episode 84, Dark Finale
NASA - Stock footage
Genesis, The Legend of Zor
Robotech: The Graphic Novel
Robotech: TAS, Episode 61, The Invid Invasion

Sunday, May 14, 2017

THIS IS **NOT** SKULL SQUADRON!

While the Novels don't go into the full history of the 15th Squadron of the Alpha Tactical Armored Corp...we do know that it's a well balanced unit...of the halo and horns type!...Mostly due to its commanding officer...



And the 15th had the reputation of being one of the best, if not the best. Under their daredevil leader, First Lieutenant Sean Phillips, they had become not only one of the most decorated but also one of the most courtmartial-prone outfits around-a real black-sheep squad.

RN, Southern Cross

Sean's introduction as the 15th's leader is brief...as he will spend the rest of the Southern Cross saga, as he puts it....a "deuce private" (RN, Metal Fire) . How he gets there just really shows that military discipline is painted on a completely different canvas in the Robotech Novels Universe;

Two privates were killing time with a chess game. "D'you hear the latest skinny?" the smaller one asked casually. "Our CO's gonna be in stockade for a while."

His big, beefy opponent shrugged, still studying his bishop's dilemma. "Too bad Sean's such a ladies' man-too bad for him."


"He shouldn't've made a pass at a superior officer," the first said.


A third, who had been kibbitzing, contributed, "Sean just didn't have his mind right, or he would've known better. Ya just don't go grabbing a colonel's daughter like that."


No, indeed; especially when the daughter was herself a captain. But scuttlebutt had it that the grabbing had gone rather well and that initial reaction was favorable, until the ATAC Officer of the Day wandered in and found army furniture being put to highly unauthorized use, as it were, by army personnel who were supposedly on duty. It was just about then that the colonel's daughter started yelling for help.


It was a brief court-martial, and word was that Lieutenant Sean Phillips grinned all through it. A constant stream of letters and CARE packages, sent by other female admirers, was brightening up his guardhouse stay.


RN, Southern Cross

Whether it as a lieutenant, deuce private, or constant playboy. Sean Phillips is one of the many secondary characters in the RN Saga that Brian and Jim worked with. While no longer the leader of the 15th, he's given a strong story presence without sacrificing the main characters.

And as we go on in the Southern Cross Saga, Sean will find himself desiring a another position within the Army of The Southern Cross...his last amorous conquest.



But that's another story for another day...

COMING UP.....OUR FIRST LOOK  INTO THE NEW GENERATION SAGA!

- John


IMAGES- ROBOTECH: TAS, Episode 38, False Start

Saturday, May 13, 2017

WHAT'S UP DOC?

I HAD TO ASK...



Thank you to everyone who has listened to the podcast. Spread the word! It was a great time with all the topics we covered!

One of my favorite moments was getting the answer to a question I've had since 1989. I ALWAYS kept forgetting to ask Jim for the story behind one of my WTF? moments in the Novels.....Breetai's fate in The Sentinels.

I guess a 30th Anniversary was the best time to put any of my doubts to rest!

The full interview is at;

http://www.robotechnovels.com/2017/05/its-about-journey.html

We're starting things back up tomorrow with some more Masters/Southern Cross Saga for the weekend....and next Monday....our first look into the New Generation Saga....a la Robotech Novels style!

Thank you again to all for supporting what we're doing....and let's keep going!

- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

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IMAGE: David Schleinkofer (Cover Art for The Sentinels Novel: Rubicon)