There had been a time when Robotech authors, writers, and artists had the freedom to tell stories in the way they had wanted.
Before I get into that, I should mention some of the impact that the Robotech animated series had on viewers after it was launched. Regardless of its unlikely beginnings as a fusion of three animated series from
At this point, Robotech already had branched into other media—comics, roleplaying games, and novels—and now the Robotech writers, artists, and RPG developers in these areas answered the call to arms for continuing the saga. The roleplaying games from Palladium made ample use of the characters and mechanical designs developed for The Sentinels animation. On another front, the novels had just finished adapting the original series and proceeded to Sentinels. Novelist Jack McKinney was given the task of expanding on the rough outline for the proposed animation (an outline that Robotech producer Carl Macek said in an interview was subject to change, regardless of the novelization). Later a novel would be published that concluded the entire Robotech saga. In the medium of comics, Sentinels novels began adaptation into illustrated form. As a result of all these cross-medium developments, differences appeared in what was considered Robofact. Debates about similar continuity snafus for other sci-fi series, such as Star Trek and Star Wars, found their match in Robotech fandom.
However, in the case of Robotech, there was an almost unspoken attempt from the beginning for writers, artists, etc. of the different fields to heed each other’s contributions as they expanded on the original source. Here are some examples. The first novel started with events derived from an extra-sized comic that had provided the first new Robotech story since the animation. Another example of writer “cross-pollination” was when Bill Spangler wrote The Malcontent Uprisings comic series, a title inspired from a phrase first used in a Sentinels novel. Later, Jack McKinney would adapt a good deal of Bill’s work. And the comic adaptation of The Sentinels books became possibly the longest-running adaptation in history. In contrast, material introduced in the roleplaying games shared little in common with the comics and novel series and vice versa, but at the very least, certain aspects of the games influenced the other two.
That was then. And the “then” was back in the 20th century—the best time for Robotech authors, writers, and artists to tell stories to eager fans. Carl Macek, the man behind the mythos that had started with the animated series, knew how to let the Robotech novels’ co-authors and the comic writers and so forth do their thing. And Robotech was further blessed that the novels’ co-authors were Brian Daley and James Luceno, the two gentlemen behind the Jack McKinney pseudonym. Carl Macek was at the height of his powers; Jim and Brian hit it off with Carl on a creative and fundamental level, and from the beginning, Carl wanted the two authors to greatly expand on the TV series and make it more adult. To Carl’s praise and the fans’ adoration, the two did and then some. A rewarding, complete telling of the saga exists because of what Jim and Brian wrote. It was a wonderful time to be a Robotech fan.
This is now. And the “now” has different heads at Harmony Gold. They had been shunning the novels for a long time, only making the first 12 available for many years because of how the novel series has differed from what is the so-called “canon.” Then they brought back 8 more novels as eBooks in April 2014, but the electronic editions of those 8 and the first 12 now have changes throughout them that are against the authors’ intent—and good taste. The “now” explains the following paragraph:
Please note that this website rejects the changes made throughout the prose of the 20 eBooks, along with their HG-issued timelines and appendixes, and this site also rejects the HG-issued timelines and appendixes in the paperbacks that were printed after the 1990s. The post-1990s paperbacks and the more recent electronic editions are travesties to the work of the Jack McKinney co-authors; the aforementioned add-ons and the changes in the prose of the electronic editions were made against the authors' intent. In contrast, the editions listed elsewhere at this site are among the authors' true editions.
Until there’s a regime change or until HG heads wake the hell up, the current regime can’t be expected to present the past—and best—Robotech work in a fitting manner. Expect HG heads to keep screwing up by continually making petty actions that undermine the franchise. It’s up to longtime fans to make sure the lore is preserved. For my part, here’s my slice of preserved Robotech.
Below you can connect to a timeline derived from three forms—the animation, novels, and comic books—for telling licensed Robotech stories during the franchise’s best years. Made specifically to complement the continuity pages (to which the third link takes you), this timeline provides a comprehensive look at the epic and contains text originally from the Chronological Summary in the 18th novel (January 1990 paperback edition) and the timeline found in Issue 12 of The Malcontent Uprisings comic. Not least importantly, the listing features sources behind every event. For each entry, I’ve included any materials relevant in determining an event’s chronological placement or other info. Whatever impact a source has on an entry might range from the vital to the indirect. A writer is listed only when the date or other info for an event was obtained through discussion between him and me. Other sources listed are certain page numbers from books and comics. Page numbers are given whenever exactitude is needed in defining a lesser-known sequence of events. And for each entry that has the date or placement developed, at least in part, by me, the abbreviation RT (Robotech Timeline) follows. While I’m not a Robotech storyteller, my contributions to the timeline have been discussed with or approved by writers whose works are important to my listings whenever I’ve had the chance.
Aside from the attention paid to continuity, it is my hope that people reading this listing will appreciate the following truth if they haven’t already: No matter all that had been thrown in its path, Robotech has done more than stayed alive; it’s thrived. Robotech flourishes in the hearts and imaginations of fans and writers, artists, and various different contributors alike. Although much of the material that’s been put out in the last bunch of years doesn’t speak to me and many others, we have the knowledge that the powerful story of Robotech has already been told. And it waits to be retold whenever a voice actor appears at a show or sings at a concert, whenever longtime fans share their comics and pre-millennium paperback novels with new readers, and whenever somebody says to another person that he or she needs to check out this incredible animated series.
Now onto the timeline!