Monday, July 10, 2006

MechWarrior Dark Age Q&A

This post is aimed for my MechWarrior readers. The rest of you can read or skip as you wish. Even MechWarrior readers should be warned that it contains some minor but important spoilers for Trial by Chaos (though I'm not sure how much sense they'll make out of context anyway, if you haven't read the book). If you intend to read it, you probably will want to do so first, then check back.

Now, on with the program.

I love fan mail (the polite and sane kind, anyway!), and try to reply when I can. A few days back, a comment here asked some questions that may have some wider interest, so I'm answering them in the form of a blog post.

I really loved Trial By Chaos, and I will be watching (hopefully reading :) ) the direction the Ghost Bears are headed for, but one thing has me chomping at the bit to find out more about... The Final Codex.. I know i am not the only MW junkie jonesing for it, any chance we will see it soon?

Thank you,
John Ingram

Thanks for your kind words, John. I'm very glad you enjoyed the book.

I can understand your curiosity about The Final Codex. I'm curious too!

Fact is, I was intentionally vague about The Final Codex, in part because I didn't want to reveal too much about it if it wasn't necessary to the plot, and in part because I wasn't sure when I proposed it how Wiz Kids was going to respond to the idea. In fact, my proposal for the book is careful to point out that we could end the book with the Codex being an obvious fraud, or leave it ambiguous.

To my surprise, they were very open to the idea, and I think you can take it as official canon that The Final Codex exists, or at least, it existed, and that the version the Ghost Bears see will have at least some of that text. But it's likely that they won't see all of it, and that some of what they see will be modified, and that there will be some creative additions made to support the agenda of the Freeminders and the U-Khan.

Of course, the question you're asking is, will the fans ever get to see the contents of The Final Codex?

I think the answer is a definite, "maybe."

The only copy we know for sure that still exists is with the Freeminders, but it suggests that the Ghost Bear Loremasters may have an copy somewhere. It seems probable that at one time all the clans had a copy. Now, it also seems likely that the Crusader clans might have had reason to "lose" their copies at some point, but perhaps some copies still exist among the Warden Clans, or even the Unnamed. These could well surface at some point. So maybe some more of the text will be revealed over time.

The problem being, the odds are slim that I will get to be the one to do it.

You see, one of the frustrations of writing the Dark Age books is that MechWarrior Dark Age is the ADD kid of book lines. Because the books chase along after the ongoing game releases, tournaments, and campaigns, I keep getting bounced from faction to faction, and books and characters that I'd love to follow up on get left behind.

For example, when I was writing "Fortress of Lies," I was setting up Duke Sandoval for his downfall, which did happen, in a book written by my pal Loren Coleman. I don't mind that, since Erik is really Loren's character anyway. But as I was writing the book, the story I really wanted to write was about Aaron in exile. I want to tell the story of what happens to him after he's had his butt kicked and almost everything he considers important stripped of him. From my point of view, he was already a fascinating character, but in exile, he just gets cranked up to 11.

But instead, I got to write about the Ghost Bears. Not that this wasn't, once again, a nifty book to write, but again, we've got a really interesting bunch of characters, and a situation that didn't resolve with the end of that story. I'd love to revisit them. But alas, I'm off to some other factions for the next book (I'm plotting to find a way to bring Aaron back, but I have no idea if that's going to happen).

So, if I get back to my little splinter of the Ghost Bears, it will be a while. Maybe some other writer will get to do it first, which would be disappointing for me, but par for the course.

None of this should be taken as a criticism of Wiz Kids or the wonderful people I work with there. It's just business, and I fully understand why they do things the way they do.

So, what can you do about the situation? Well, I have some suggestions that might at least help.

First of all, write Wiz Kids and Roc (the publishers) and let them know that you liked the book, and that you'd like a follow-up (and hopefully, that you'd like me to write it, but that's your choice).

Second, you can support the book. If it's successful beyond the norm for a MechWarrior book, then they'll have more incentive to publish a follow-up. Encourage your friends to buy it. Talk it up on the various MechWarrior, Battletech, and other forums where you hang out. Post positive reviews on Amazon and other on-line bookstores. Plug it on your blog, MySpace, or web page.

Now, I'll admit this is a steep hill to climb, but if you're like me, you like a desperate battle against overwhelming odds. So wipe that blood off your chin, slam the throttle against the stops, and tell them, "bring it!"

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