[Where I Read] The Robotech Novels!

ANT Pogo

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You know, since we're talking about Minmei, I was flipping through my aforementioned copy of Robotech Art 1 (bought when it was released in 1986...I was eleven at the time, and the $16.95 cover price was a huge chunk of my allowance at the time!). And you know what? Haruhiko Mikimoto's character design for Minmei (Minmay) really is cute. Seriously cute. His big color pieces of her in my "Haruhiko Mikimoto Illustrations" artbook just emphasize that.

His big color art pieces of Noriko Takaya from Gainax's Gunbuster (also in that book) reveal that she's basically Minmay with a different haircut, which weirds me out.

Something I'd forgotten in Robotech Art 1 is the cast listing in the back of the book, along with the original Japanese names for the characters in each series. Naturally, it gives only the non-Guild pseudonyms for everyone ("Reba West" instead of Rebecca Forstadt, "Jimmy Flinders" instead of Cam Clarke, etc.). It also, oddly, lists Wendee Lee (credited as "Wendee Swan") as voicing Bridge Bunny Kim (the black-haired mulleted one), not Vanessa (the short-brown-haired bespectacled one), which is incorrect.

It also lists Greg Snegoff (Khyron and Scott Bernard) and Steve Kramer (Angelo Dante) as staff scriptwriters, under their real names (their voice work is otherwise also pseudonymous in the book, as "Greg Snow" and "Drew Thomas", respectively). It also lists one Ardwight Chamberlain as another staff scriptwriter, who is perhaps better known among sci-fi fans as the voice of one Kosh Naranek, Vorlon ambassador to Babylon 5.

EDIT: And in other mindblowing Robotech voice-actor news, discovered as I was double-checking Wikipedia regarding the above, it seems that Greg Snegoff's mother is Alexandra Kenworthy, the voice actress for Azonia and the Regess. Which, given the relationship between Khyron and Azonia, and Scott Bernard and the Regess, is...is, well, kinda fucked up, man!
 
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Davies

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EDIT: And in other mindblowing Robotech voice-actor news, discovered as I was double-checking Wikipedia regarding the above, it seems that Greg Snegoff's mother is Alexandra Kenworthy, the voice actress for Azonia and the Regess. Which, given the relationship between Khyron and Azonia, and Scott Bernard and the Regess, is...is, well, kinda fucked up, man!
You need to put the part about Khyron and Azonia on [url="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IncestuousCasting]Incestuous Casting[/url], man. That just ... wow.
 

dkellis

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I agree with you about wanting to read the fictional essays and books that get quoted. The chapter epigraphs are easily the best part of the novel series, really fleshing out and humanizing the world and its characters. It makes the whole thing seem a lot deeper and more complex than "kiddie dubbed cartoon" would otherwise imply.
I really liked the chapter epigraphs (hey, learned a new word), although sometimes I wonder when the characters had the time to write some of these books/essays. I think Dr. Emil Lang had a couple (sounding very personable, and certainly not very Mad Scientist), and was quoted in a few more. Considering his whereabouts for most of the stuff he's talking about (the one I'm thinking of is in the Sentinels series), it's kind of mind-boggling.

I read most of the Macross-era books, all three Southern Cross-era books, and bits and pieces of the Mospeada-era and Sentinels-era stuff. (I also read my copy of End of the Circle to destruction.) I find myself wishing I could buy the entire series in omnibus form or something, so I can catch up with what I missed out on; now that I'm older, I can probably appreciate the politicking in the Sentinels books more.
 

mindstalk

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Ardwright Chamberlain, wow.

I think I found the mock wedding sweet as a kid. She thinks she's going to die, she wants this, he does it for her, even if it's corny. Still is sweet. It may have creepy overtones with 15-year old girl, though I thought they were the same age, but at the same time... 15 year old girl, romantic and scared.
 

ANT Pogo

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Chapter 19

Heroism? Perseverance? When it comes to the story of Macross City and its citizens, we're talking about a whole lot of new superlatives for those concepts.

Mayor Tommy Luan, The High Office
Did everyone write a book in the Robotech universe?

Minmei is busy cleaning tables in the White Dragon, musing to herself that even though the tables and chairs are extruded materials from the Robotech factories on board ship, they sure look just like the wooden tables and chairs from the original, now long-gone restaurant.

She worked happily, humming, not realizing that the tune was the "Wedding March."
RUN, RICK!!!

Uncle Max and Aunt Lena return with the day's rations, Uncle Max grumbling that they wasted the entire morning standing in line for the small book-sized ration package. Even though the SDF-1 carried substantial supplies, a lot was salvaged from Macross City, and giant hydroponics and "aeroponic" gardens are being set up, there's still 70,000 extra mouths to feed aboard ship, and a long way 'till home, so Captain Gloval is taking no chances. Why am I reminded of Battlestar Galactica here?

After asking a completely oblivious question about how things went on the ration front (your uncle just bitched about it!), Minmei hastens to declare that she's feeling just fine. Lena, at least, has the good graces to prompt her about Rick, who has been staying in a spare room in the rebuilt restaurant since he really has noplace else to go. Minmei's response indicates he's been spending most of the time since his and Minmei's rescue moping in bed. She sounds remarkably unconcerned. She follows up by asking if Uncle Max will reopen the restaurant.

"What d'you mean reopen the restaurant?" Uncle Max exploded, though she could hear the sudden hope in his voice.

Minmei gestured around at the stacked chairs and boxed flatware and bundles of table linen. The White Dragon, which originally stood at the virtual center of Macross City, had served as a kind of field test for the engineers seeking to help the Macross City survivors rebuild their lives, an experiment to see if a piece of the city could be reproduced down to the last detail. There were working dishwashers and ovens and sinks and rest rooms, freezers and refrigerators, lighting and a sound system.

The only thing that was different was that there were no garbage pails or dumpsters. A system of oubliettes was being built into the new Macross City because everything - everything would have to be recycled and reused. It made perfect sense to Minmei, who'd known thirst and hunger and other privations well in the past two weeks; anyone who couldn't see that was just being stupid.

"We have everything we need," she pointed out. "It'll be fun!"
I like this bit for the little world detail that explains why the restaurant was rebuilt in working order in the first place, though like with a number of other world details, I'm not sure Daley and Luceno needed to explain it. I also appreciate the attempt to make Minmei a bit less selfish, especially after the whole Rick-brushoff thing.

Uncle Max still seems doubtful, even after Minmei reminds him that he kept his restaurant open all during the rationing of the Global Civil War. Aunt Lena tries to tell Minmei that the whole being-on-a-spaceship thing makes this time different, but Minmei's having none of it.

"But the main problem right now isn't shortages, right?" Minmei reminded her. "It's distribution and control. We've got thousands of people spending half the day on line! How's anybody gonna get anything done? That's the ultimate in stupidity!"
What is she, some kind of logistical savant?

"And people can pay us with their ration cards; the army pays at least part of the overhead; there's room for a little markup, I would think; the tips are pure profit, whether they're in military script or in goods or service IOUs; and we'll get that new bookkeeping computer they're setting up to keep track of cost/profit margin!"
:eek:

Jesus Christ, she is. She doesn't need to become an entertainer; the girl's the next Bill Gates!

Needless to say, she's got her Aunt and Uncle convinced, and they eagerly agree. Minmei rushes off to go change clothes (?!). In the next scene, Minmei is wearing her qipao (the book calls it a "mandarin dress"), and the whole Lynn family (I'm assuming that's their surname...Max and Lena's son is called Lynn Kyle, after all. Though now that I think about it, he and his little bro Jason have a sizable age gap. But I digress) are busy positioning a colorful silk-covered stand outside the restaurant, announcing that they're open. Minmei almost bumps into the mayor and his wife, who are astonished that the White Dragon is reopening.

Tommy Luan's eyebrows shot up. "Have you all gone completely crazy? Has it ever occurred to you that we're at the edge of the universe in the belly of a spaceship?"

"Why, no, we never thought of that," she said tartly.
I love snarky-Minmei so much.

Minmei's sunny smile and infectious enthusiasm soon wins the doubters over, and the Mayor eagerly agrees that this is just the sort of thing the traumatized citizens of the city need to get back to their normal lives. They're saved from being subjected to Minmei's PowerPoint presentation of her five-year franchise expansion plan for the restaurant by a military jeep screeching up, carrying three very astounded Veritech pilots asking if the restaurant is really open. Minmei beams that yes, they are, and leads the three pilots inside, seats them, and brings them glasses of ice water.

Wait...how much time has passed here since the previous scene? Minmei's qipao indicates that it takes place right after she had her MBA moment, but the fact that she brought these customers inside indicates that the restaurant is ready to take orders and serve food. The ration packet sure didn't contain enough food for that, and if this scene really does come right after the last one, when did they have enough time to get the ration board to agree to this and supply them with what foodstuffs they needed? The novel never says.

Anyway, the three pilots immediately reveal that they're probably members of Roy's squad;

The biggest of the three, the one who'd been sitting in the back of the carrier, said in a sly tone, "I heard it was just you and whatshisname, that kid, alone for two weeks. What'd you do all that time?"

She blinked. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, I think you know," the big guy said.

"C'mon, it's obvious," the third one said.

"You make me sick!" she fumed, turning her back on them.
Yes, three adult male pilots are grilling a fifteen year old girl about her sexual activities.



Just sayin'.

Anyway, Minmei shuts them down, basically telling them to shut the hell up, nothing happened, and that Rick's just a friend. Just at that moment, Rick, halfway down the stairs, overhears that, and turns around to go right back up to his room, where presumably he cranks up the My Chemical Romance and starts cutting.

In the engineering section of the SDF-1, Gloval is asking Lang about the possibility of ever firing the main gun again. Seems that the power routing went right through the fold engines, and with the fold engines gone, the main gun is no longer connected to its energy source. Strangely, the novel points out that power ducting is in short supply and can't be made by the onboard factories. Yes, that's right, the ship's own on-board manufacturing capabilities can be used to recreate a Chinese restaurant down to the last detail, but can't be used to make parts for the ship! Someone needs to be airlocked for that.

Anyway, Lang suggests that since the SDF-1, as a Robotech ship, is just as modular as the Veritechs are, that they try reconfiguring it. This would allow the main gun to connect directly with the engines, though it would have the nasty side effect of also smashing hell out of the newly-rebuilt city inside the ship's hold. Gloval is unwilling to put the civilians through yet more torment, but angsts that events may very well leave him no choice.

Chapter 20

The Rick Hunter who crashed in that hold would never have listened to Roy Fokker. The one who came out...

Well, it's just funny how things happen sometimes, isn't it?

The Collected Journals of Admiral Rick Hunter
At the White Dragon, things are jumpin', while Minmei hates on cow juice. No, really:

"Can I have two more orders of egg foo yong and a milk shake, please?" the air crewman yelled over the din in the White Dragon.

"Milk shake?" Minmei shivered at the thought, but she put the order in anyway.
The hell? What does she have against milk? No time to explain, however, as the restaurant is packed, and Uncle Max is cooking like a demon and has never been happier.

Rick emos his way into the room from upstairs, then immediately walks right out the front door, completely ignoring Minmei's cheerful greeting. He makes his way to the hangar bay, where the wreckage of Mockingbird had been taken after he and Minmei were rescued. He mopes as stares at it, pondering the emo symbolism of having the aircraft that represented his life's dream to fly laying smashed and flattened. Roy shows up, to break him out of it, mostly by acting like an awesome dick to him in that unique way only Roy can.

"Hey, Rick!" It was Roy, stepping into the little circle of light. "Now, show me this junk pile."

Rick came to his feet, fists balled. "Listen, buddy, this is the racer I won eight international championships in. You call it junk? I oughta knock your block off, Roy!"

Roy kneeled to take a better look at Mockingbird's remains. "Actually, it's very nice junk. But - them's the breaks, kiddo."

Rick seemed about to explode.

"Hey, I've got an idea." Roy grinned. "Let's take a walk, okay?"

Rick looked startled. "I've never seen you so depressed in my life," Roy went on. "What you need is exercise!" He came over to put an arm around his friend's shoulders. "Try it! You'll like it!"
He takes Rick to the officer's club, where a huge window overlooks the Daedalus, now attached to the SDF-1. The "island", the carrier's bridge superstructure, has been removed, but otherwise the carrier looks to be fully operational. All the catapults are in operation, and the deck crew, while spacesuited, is active, hooking Veritechs to catapults.

As Rick watched, a bow cat officer pointed to his "shooter," the man who actually gave the order to launch. The cat officer signalled the Veritech pilot with a wave of a flashlight, pointing toward the bow, dropping to one knee to avoid being accidentally hit by a wing.

The fighter was accelerated off the flatdeck's hurricane bow at almost 200 knots - not because airspeed was necessary in the airlessness of space but to get the Veritech launched and clear of the ship in a hurry, as it would have to be in combat, so as not to be a sitting duck for alien pilots.

The Veritech banked and soared away. Rick had to remind himself that it was flying in total vacuum; Robotech control systems made the operation of a fighter very much a matter of thought, and the Veritech pilots were used to thinking in terms of atmospheric flying. And so the Veritechs flew that way; it was wasteful of power, but power was something Robotech ships, with their reactor drives, had in great supply.
Rick practically drools, and Roy takes advantage of the opportunity to urge Rick to join the space force, so he can get to fly those things too. Rick doesn't want to be a soldier, and Roy makes the mistake of asking him if he wants to mope around the SDF-1 like a lovesick idiot forever. I say mistake, because this immediately changes the topic of the conversation to Minmei. Rick emos about her feelings for him, but Roy tells him not to worry, that Minmei cares for him. It was her idea for Roy to give Rick a little chat, in fact. Though he does urge Rick to be careful, since girls like her are flighty, and some handsome guy in uniform might snap her up.

FIFTEEN!

On the Zentradi flagship, Exedore is bringing shocking news to Breetai - the enemy they're fighting are Micronians! Exedore tells Breetai that an ancient command from the early days of the Zentradi basically tells the race of giants to leave Micronians the hell alone if they know what's good for them. Breetai, of course, hates being told what to do, but agrees to leave the planet alone, and just go after the SDF-1. He orders the fleet to fold.

On the SDF-1, Rick is just about to knock on the door to Minmei's bedroom, when she manifests behind him to ask what he wants. He tries to fumble a never mind, but Minmei knows what's up, and invites him into her room.

It was a bright little room, painted in shades of blue and yellow, easy on the eyes and not overfurnished. Bed, lamps, bookshelf, and a handmade throw rug; a few flowers very beautifully arranged - thoughtfully arranged - in a small antique vase. There were stuffed toys, too, and a favorite purse. It was a room of seeming clashes that somehow gave the impression of oneness - like its occupant.
Rick stares out the window in the room, the same window his battloid smashed face-first into, trying to figure out what he wants to say and how to say it. He's distracted when he spies a letter on her dresser.

"That's what I went back for," she said, watching him. "That and my diary - when you rescued me." She shivered, remembering the concussions of the pod's titanic feet crashing down, nearer and nearer, behind her.

It had plainly been reread over and over. "A love letter, hmm?" The thought made him so depressed that he ignored the warmth in what she'd just said.
Okay, at this point, I want Minmei to punch Rick. The letter, though, isn't a love letter at all. It's an acceptance letter, saying that Minmei passed the auditions for the Miss Macross contest. Rick is actually proud of her and says so, but while Minmei appreciates the praise, she's also saddened by it. She's sure that the contest is not going to happen now, and even if it did, who'd care about her being a star among a population that's just the size of a small city. Record sales are pretty much guaranteed to suck with a market like that. Rick tries to tell her that she can audition for other stuff back on Earth, but she's less than sanguine about their chances of returning.

The chapter ends on a cheerful note.

"Rick? Do you ever dream?"

He was surprised, answering hesitantly. "I used to have a dream. Now it's a pile of junk in a hangar bay up on the flight deck levels."

"Mockingbird."

"Yeah." And I won't let my father down! I'm not going to be part of this war or any war! So - I guess I might as well get used to being a passenger.

"I'm never gonna have another dream again, Minmei. They hurt too much when they die."

She hung her head. "Oh, Rick."

He wondered if it had occurred to her that he wasn't just talking about Mockingbird, wondered if she ever remembered that one kiss...
Jesus. These people would depress Morrisey.
 
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mindstalk

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Was snarky Minmei in either Macross or Robotech?

"Someone needs to be airlocked for that." Probably the Robotech Masters, for creating an intellectually crippled slave race then letting them design things. Though even by those standards it seems pretty weird.

I like the authors trying to justify Veritechs swooping and banking in space. See, those mental links are useful, angry fans!

Seems like Minmei's a pretty bright and precocious 15 year old in her way, or she's being written more like an 18 year old. If that helps.

milk shuddering: Most humans, especially Asian humans, don't have the freaky adult lactose digestion mutation that most whites take for granted. I assume Minmei's being written as a "lactose intolerant" Asian.

With relatives named Max, Lena, and Kyle. o_O
 

ANT Pogo

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Was snarky Minmei in either Macross or Robotech?
Well, in the Robotech cartoon, she did have a few snarky lines. It just seems a more pronounced character trait in the novels.

I like the authors trying to justify Veritechs swooping and banking in space. See, those mental links are useful, angry fans!
I actually prefer the way the DYRL movie handled things, with the Super-Pack fighters being present pretty much from the start. And very visible vernier thruster flames on the wingtips.

Seems like Minmei's a pretty bright and precocious 15 year old in her way, or she's being written more like an 18 year old. If that helps.
It does. Until things like adult male soldiers asking her about her sex life messes me up all over again, at least!

milk shuddering: Most humans, especially Asian humans, don't have the freaky adult lactose digestion mutation that most whites take for granted. I assume Minmei's being written as a "lactose intolerant" Asian.

With relatives named Max, Lena, and Kyle. o_O
And Jason.

I did think about that, but Minmei is Japanese of Chinese descent (her parents live in Yokohama's Chinatown, and her family's apparently been there for a while). Japan, while not as milk-loving as the US, does have adults and especially children drinking milk. It's not common, but it's not unusual either.

But even granting the milk thing, milkshakes are fairly popular in Japan.
 
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SorcererNinja

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"Someone needs to be airlocked for that." Probably the Robotech Masters, for creating an intellectually crippled slave race then letting them design things. Though even by those standards it seems pretty weird.
Actually, I think Zor is supposed to be the guy who designed the SDF-1, making that even stupider since he's supposed to be a genius.
 

ANT Pogo

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Yeah, I'm not saying she ought to be guzzling the stuff down herself with the fervor usually reserved for Misato and beer.

Just saying that she should be pretty used to the fact that people drink milkshakes, even in Japan.
 
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