Friday, January 13, 2012

Book 1: Robotech Genesis - Prologue Through Chapter 2

by Nathan Stout (of

This is the first part of the first Robotech book: Genesis. The Robotech books were the first detailed glimpse into the Robotech universe for me and my friends. The book series took 6 episodes and detailed what happened on screen and created all the bits in between. Sometimes the writers would explain away errors in animation or character's dialogue and sometimes they would expand on what was shown or said.

I pickup my dog-eared, yellowing copy of the first book and look it over. I have had this book for many years and have read them at least 3 times. The front and back covers are cracked and there are large pieces missing where it ripped and the brittle cover came off in places. I refuse to get new ones... at least newer editions. These original editions have the old school art on the front. I always thought the art was crappy and cool at the same time. It gave a 'real' look to the characters and mecha but at the same time they looked badly drawn and sometimes they were scaled all wrong. The artist must have never actually seen the show. I have a Book Club edition of the Red Dwarf novels and it is obvious that the artist never saw the show (or even a picture from the show). Lister is a white guy, Rimmer looks like a farm hand, and The Cat is... literally a cat (in a suit). I love that cover. It's so quirky. That's one of the reasons I like the Robotech covers, they are quirky and they have art that appears nowhere else.

The author of the book series was Jack McKinney. This was a pseudonym for James Luceno and Brian Daley. In an interview from Protoculture addicts they would watch an episode, take notes and then expand on what they saw to bridge the scenes or give greater detail to what happens. In my opinion they did a great job and really grounding Robotech in a more realistic world with their writing. You may know Brian Daley from some Star wars books as well the novelization of TRON. You may know James Luceno from novelization of The Shadow and a few Star Wars books as well.

This first part which covers chapter 1 was written far in advance of the rest of this blog. I wanted to read the parts about Zor while I was still in the middle of reading the comics which dealt with him and his death.


This chapter re-enacts for a third time (but this was the 2nd time, at the time) the death of Zor and the launching of the SDF-1. I always found it strange that Dolza would react so threateningly to Zor (he says if he wasn't under orders to protect Zor he would kill him). I always got from the material that the Zentraedi were clones with the imperative to always follow their Tirolian creators submissively. I guess that means the Masters only but I just though it was strange.

The book suggests that the SDF-1 was Zor's creation whereas in The Legend of Zor comic the Master created the ship and sent Zor out in it (to get rid of him until they needed him). It makes more sense that it was a ship designed by Zor.

Zor is said to have somehow located Earth through his use of the power Flower of Life. In the Genesis: Legend of Zor comics he finds earth with a computer. This leads me to the Flower of Life. In the books and even to some extent in the show the Flower is shown to be not only a source of power but a mind stretching biological organism. It gives abilities to some (like Zor and Lang) and it effects others like a drug (Khyron and Rand). In the Legend of Zor comic it is shown to be simply a plant that can be converted into fuel with no illusion to it's other abilities. I assume that it has the ability to create power as well as alter one's mind in ways that give that person a sort of cosmic link to understanding. The Flower of Life.. super drug.

Chapters 1&2:

This and the next chapter deal with the landing and exploration of the SDF-1. The planet has quickly come together to explore and exploit the alien ship. Fokker and Edwards are there as well as Gloval (the future captain of the ship).

Not too much to say about these chapters. It was content originally created by Luceno and Dailey. I don't believe any of this (other than the general outline of an idea) was out there somewhere. I guess Harmony Gold went with the writing pair's idea on the events right after the crash of the ship.

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