Sunday, October 22, 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)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SCOTT BERNARD'S STARTING POINT...

In rereading the Novels Story one thing that has had me wondering on many occasions and sometimes for a long while; are the locations on Earth where the story takes place. Some places are named directly. With others we get a general area. But, there will be times where inevitably it comes down to guess work/speculation.

The series itself is great for visuals as shown on this page but shed little to no light on places of action. 

Most of the time I do some online searches regarding the subject and will find "nuggets and tidbits" about a place mentioned and I'll just have to go from there. There is some real good stuff out there by fans, the Palladium RPG books, fan fiction. Really some kick ass thought put into it. As we move along, I will be sure to provide links. 

The info is useful and gives me a few thoughts. In many cases, the overall narrative of those sources deviate from the Novels arc.I am the "pick and choose" type of guy with these sources and what fits for the Novel narrative, I'll fit it in. 

One subject that definitely comes up in the New Generation story is the location of Scott Bernard's landing on Earth and his initial meet up with Rand. 

We have this Epigraph;

Dolza's annihilation bolts had devastated the South American coastal cities and turned much of the vast interior forest into wasteland. Ironically enough, however, repopulation of the area was largely the result of the hundreds of Zentraedi warships that crashed there after the firing of the Grand Cannon. Indeed, even after Khyron's efforts to stage a full-scale rebellion had failed, the region was still largely under Zentraedi domination (the T'sentrati Control Zone, as it was known to the indigenous peoples), up until the Malcontent uprisings of 2013-15 and the subsequent events headed up by Captain Maxmillian Sterling of the Robotech Defense Force. But contrary to popular belief, Brazilas did not become the lawless frontier Scott Bernard traversed until much later, specifically, the two-year period between the fall of Chairman Moran's Council and the Invid invasion. In fact the region had seen extensive changes during the Second Robotech War and surely would have risen to the fore had it not been for the disastrous end to that fifteen-year epoch.

"Southlands,"  History of the Third Robotech War, Vol. XXII

RN - INVID INVASION

Now this Epigraph is three chapters into the book shortly after Scott's first Earth-bound run in with the Invid. "Brazilas" is not in reference to the country of Brazil but rather a territory. The Robotech Wars eliminated the concept of sovereign nations so to speak. 

Things in South America would probably have been like the following map;

MAP CREDIT: http://www.karridian.net/robotech_sc_southamerica.html
REAL NICE WEBSITE!
Based on the map and the Epigraph, I'm going to put Scott's landing at the most southern tip of the "Brazilas" territory. (MY CIRCLED STAR) There's a reason for it based on what's to come in the story...

At least now we have a starting point. 

I won't lie to you,  stuff like this makes my head spin. But through this journey into the Novels we (I'm always open to constructive input!) can find pieces that will fit into this big jigsaw puzzle.

But let's not get into dates and years...yet!

A Robotech Novels Universe is hard work, but fun!

- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NOT SEEN ON ROBOTECH TV: ROLF EMERSON



When Carl gave the mission for Brian and Jim to take the Robotech story to the realm of science fiction literature, I'd like to think that there were moments where they ran into secondary characters and said..."We gotta expand on him/her! Maybe not the whole backstory, but enough to make them an essential piece to the Robotech narrative.

Case in point;

"Major General Emerson, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Terrestrial Defense"...Army of the Southern Cross.

In the RNU...this was the result of BLACKMAIL!

Excerpt;

Leonard tilted his big head to regard Emerson. "And on your end?"

"I want my own rank reinstated."

"Only if you agree to serve the Army of the Southern Cross."

Emerson nodded, as if having anticipated the counterdemand. "But in return I'll expect to be granted absolute authority over Space Station Liberty."

"Granted, Major General Emerson."

That particular story though.....is for another day.

But there's more to his backstory;

..." this was Rolf Emerson, hero of a dozen pivotal battles in the Global Civil War, the Robotech War, and the Disorders that followed them."

One of those "There has to be more to this!"

With so much else covered in the Novels that's important to the RNU,  Jim Luceno does give us this and regardless of its brevity, DOES bridge things;

"Hell, back in Australia, before the Visitor, I fought against the Neasians when they tried to march into Melbourne. Then, five years later, I fought with them when the Exclusionists had a go at the place...

...I was fifteen when Macross Island became the center of the world. Me and a couple of friends sailed there all the way from New Zealand, just to get a look at the ship, but the supercarrier Kenosha had the place blockaded. Like nearly every other sixteen-year-old, I enlisted in the RDF in the hope of getting posted to Macross, but that never happened. Instead, I was stationed right in Sydney and assigned to cleaning up the mess the Exclusionists had left behind."

It's not everything...but it's miles better than "just something".

Nicely done guys.

- John

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EXCERPTS: RN - Southern Cross, The Masters Gambit, Zentraedi Rebellion

IMAGE: Robotech : TAS, False Start

P.S.

I hate having to refer to the "franchise".....been there, done that., and it's become irrelevant. But these Novels as originally written by Brian Daley and Jim Luceno....NOT the "Shadow rewrites"...have, with all their ambitious concepts and contradictions, stood the test of time and will always be a superior story to anything that the Tommy "Yuniverse" has EVER produced for Robotech. 

robotechnovels@gmail.com 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A CERTAIN QUASI-CANINE CREATURE NATIVE TO OPTERA...

One huge thing I give credit to they guys is the way they"connect the dots" in the Robotech story. Taking what in the series is a minor or insignificant moment and make an integral part of the Robotech Novels Universe.

Did it always work? Hmmmm......no. (i.e. Zand and Edwards)

But it really worked with the concept of "Polly";




"There was a sudden whimper and the hollow bounce of an empty can nearby. She was on her feet, reflexively ready for a fight. But there was no enemy there. It was, instead, a quite special acquaintance.

"Polly!" 

She stopped to gather the little creature up, a thing that looked like a mophead, its tongue hanging out. It might have passed for a terrestrial dog until one took a closer look. It had small knob-ended horns, eyes that were hidden beneath its sheepdoglike forelock-but that were definitely not the eyes of an Earth lifeform-and feet resembling soft muffins. 

From a brief scene with with Polly on screen; In the RNU we learn how Dana Sterling becomes associated t the to the main conflict in Robotech by way of her late Zentraedi "godfathers";

It's a pollinator, Bron had told her gently the first time she was introduced to it. That's how she had given the thing its name, even though she had no idea whether Polly was male or female.

She never found out just. how the ex-spies had come across the affectionate little beast; they had promised to tell her in the "someday" that had never come.

Jack continues on Polly's powers;

"But she had learned that Polly was a magical creature indeed.

"For instance, Polly came and went as it pleased, no matter if you locked it in or tied it up. You would look around, and Polly would just be gone, maybe for a little while or maybe for a long time. It reminded her a little of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and later, another old-time book title she came across, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

The pollinator was her first adult-style secret, since her godfathers told her she must never mention it to anybody, and she had kept that secret all her life. Apparently, Polly was part of some miraculous thing, but she never found out what. Polly had managed to find her for brief visits four or five times since the death of Konda, Bron, and Rico."

"Polly" and others like it  would have several appearances/references throughout the rest of the RNU, including the Sentinels and End of the Circle. (and what an end for Polly!)

Although this did not come up in my conversations with Jim, I'm going to say that the concept of the Pollinators was not a McKinney original as they do show up in Carl Macek's  canceled animated series, Robotech II: The Sentinels.

Despite that, Brian and Jim made the most of Polly...including one of the biggest plot twists in the RNU...if not the biggest;


"The organisms on the plant's planet of origin did not seem to be exploiting the plant's
potential, and so Haydon transplanted the entire species to Optera leaving none behind. 

Why are Terrestrials so surprised there was no fossil evidence or other indication of the Flower's origin left behind on Earth or the Pollinators' either? Hasn't it penetrated yet that
we are talking about Haydon?

Cabell, Zor and the Great Transition

Now THAT's a backstory worthy of McKinney! The possibilities...all that could be discovered! 

Ok...I'm dizzy now.

- John

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EXCERPTS:
Robotech Novels: Southern Cross, End of The Circle

IMAGES:
Comico Comics
Robotech: TAS, False Start


JOIN US ON FACEBOOK!

Hi all!

While I still will do posts here on the blog; the majority of the material originates from our Facebook Page.




The Novels Excerpt videos I produce can also be viewed better as well.

Look forward to seeing you! We have some real nice things coming up!

- John

BEYOND VERITECHS...

"Jack" gives us a look at the other arsenal of the Robotech Defense Force....





...and how the Zentraedi armada deals with them.


Not pretty folks...

IMAGES: Robotech: TAS, Booby Trap
Comico Comics

BEHIND EVERY GREAT CAPTAIN OF AN SDF-1...

....is his bridge crew.

And they will be with Captain Gloval until the very end...



IMAGE: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/macross_wendyryder/
Main Page: https://www.instagram.com/zcoolness/

Monday, August 14, 2017

WHEN A MAN BECOMES THE MECHA....

Or a futuristic backpacker...with one helluva backpack!

Out of all the Mecha in Robotech when I was a kid...I wanted a cyclone!


Actually....I still want one! LOL!

- John

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A STRANGER AT HOME...


JUST SHUT UP!
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With the defeat of Mars Group and the death of the woman he loves...Scott Bernard faces an even greater mountain to climb.

Experiencing Earth for the first time...

And my challenge as a reader..... his incessant whining.

Excerpts;

Tirol, once the homeworld of the Robotech Masters, then an Invid colony when the Masters had uprooted the remnants of their dying race and journeyed to Earth in search of Protoculture, was a reconfigured planet, much of its surface given over to humankind's needs, its small seas and weather patterns tamed. Not like this Earth, Scott thought, with its solitary yellow sun and distant silver satellite. He yearned for Tirol. It had been his home as much as the SDF-3 had been; he missed the binary stars of Fantoma's system, the protective presence of the motherworld itself. How remote one felt from the heavens on this displaced world.

Scott recalled Admiral Hunter's rousing send-off speech, his talk of the "cool green hills of home"-his home, Earth. Scott laughed bitterly to himself, the planet's native splendor lost on him...

...lifting his head, he found that Earth had another surprise in store for him. The sky was dumping droplets of water on him-it was raining! Scott got up and walked to a clearing in the woods. He had heard about this phenomenon from old-timers but hadn't expected to encounter it. Scott could see that rain might not be a bad thing under certain conditions, but right now it was only adding to his discomfort. Besides, there was something else in the air that had come in with the rain: periods of a short-lived, rolling, explosive roar.

Clouds backlit by flashes of electrical charge were moving swiftly, obscuring the Moon and plunging the world into an impenetrable dark. Soon the angry bolts responsible for that stroboscopic light were overhead, launched like fiery spears toward the land itself, earsplitting claps of thunder in their wake.

Scott found himself overwhelmed by a novel form of terror, so unlike the fear he was accustomed to that he stood screaming into the face of it, his feet seemingly rooted to the ground. This had nothing to do with enemy laser fire or plasma annihilation discs; it had nothing to do with combat or close calls. This was a larger terror, a deeper one, springing from an archaic part of himself he had never met face to face.

Unnerved, he ran for the safety of the Veritech cockpit as lightning struck and ignited one of the trees, toppling it with a second bolt that split the forest giant along its length. He lowered the canopy and hunkered down in the VT seat, hugging himself for warmth and security. Eyes tightly shut, ears filled with crackling noise, he shouted to himself: What am I doing on this horrible planet?"

RN- Invid Invasion

A lot of questions which will never get answered come up...

Why the hell did he sign up for this?

Was REF command (Admiral Rick Hunter and co.) that arrogant in thinking the Regis and her horde would be a cakewalk?

It's these types of questions though, that get you really engaged in the story.

Oh...and this will not be the only time in the New Generation where Bernard is insufferable...to Earth's inhabitants....fellow soldiers....his friends....EVEN Emil!

"Dr. Lang considered him an army brat and tried on more than one occasion to instill him with some sense of objectivity, but Scott was a lost cause." RN - Symphony of Light

I have said this before...I don't like this character....and this is going back to The Animated Series. And the dislike grew ten fold with the Novels.

All I can say is ...

That's !@#$%^& incredible writing on "Jack's" part!

IMAGES:
Eternity Comics
Comico Comics
Robotech: TAS, Invid Invasion

- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"THE SARGE"

ANGELO "ANGIE" DANTE
Sergeant Angelo Dante, engrossed in a conversation of his own, snorted, "Aw, all she is is a snotty, know-it-all teenager!"

RN- Southern Cross

I LIKE ANGIE! He is one of the refreshing characters in all the Novels. He can be a wise ass but more than a trusted brother in arms. He's willing to give his misgivings a reconsideration (this happens). 

He's tough and can kick ass, but he's a big old softy. (i.e "Letters home and Mom's fruitcake" Epigraphs)

He's duty bound, but will break the rules if it means being loyal to his fellow troops and doing the right thing. He does it for his buddies AND CO...and they do it for him.

He's real. Angelo is one of those characters that reminds you of someone you know or knew and always in a positive light. I am glad the guys gave him a good chunk of time in the Robotech Novels.

And he's front and center in EOTC!

But I am getting ahead of myself.

And let me point out a the distinction with Angelo from the animated series (TAS) from this excerpt;

"Why, Angelo, you say the sweetest things," a lively female voice said mockingly. Everyone looked around, startled, to see Dana posed glamorously in the doorway. The brevet pips were gone from her torso harness; she had been promoted from temporary XO-a kind of on-the-job training-to the CO slot, now that Sean was going to be spending some time playing rock-hockey over at the stockade. 

Bowie stood up from the piano with a smile on his face. "Congratulations, Lieutenant Sterling," he said with genuine delight, much as he disliked the military.

Nobody bothered to call attention; the 15th was a casual kind of place under Sean. But there were a few appreciative whistles and murmurs for Dana's pose, and Evans, the supply sergeant, raised a coffee mug to her from his place on a stool at the (currently dry) bar. "A toast! To the cutest second lieutenant in the ATACs!" he said, pronouncing it AY-tacks.

Other voices seconded the sentiment. Dana strolled over toward Angelo Dante with a seductive, swivel-hipped gait. "What's the matter, Angie? Don't think I'm tough enough?" She gave him a languorous smile and kept it there as she gave him a swift kick in the shin.

Angelo was utterly shocked, but he barely let out a grunt; he was a tall, muscular man, well known for his strength and ability to withstand punishment. Dana let the guffaws and catcalls go on for a few seconds as the 15th razzed Angelo for being taken off guard. Angelo rubbed his shin and snarled at her retreating back, but inside he was suddenly reevaluating his opinion of "Miss Cadet," as he had been calling her."

RN - Southern Cross

How it looks in TAS;
UH...NO!
He rubs his shin in both versions but on the show, Angie comes off as buffoonish. And it doesn't work for me.

THANK YOU JACK!

IMAGES: Robotech, TAS, False Start

- John
robotechnovels@gmail.com

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

MUSIC THAT MAKES THE SCENE!


Below, I did a a little experimentation with different music (royalty free) for the same Robotech Novels excerpt. Give them a listen and you decide what works. Leave a comment or drop me a line.

While Ulpio Mincci's Theme is incomparable and will always signify the Robotech spirit, I do think the Novels deserve their own soundtrack. 

And I have a a lot of music I can work with...

But we're just starting the journey!

Give them a listen and you decide what works. Leave a comment or drop me a line. I plan to do more excerpt videos as we continue!




(Made with:  Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Windows Movie Maker)

IMAGE: Comico Comics

John

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