In digging through my BattleTech archives I came across this gem – when we were told that ‘Mechs and vehicles were to be Unseen. The day the music died for us as authors was June 5, 1995 when we got a cryptic letter explaining to us that we were not supposed to use these BattleMechs (and oddly enough the Galleon light tank) as images or in scenes that might appear on the cover of books.
You have to bear in mind, back then, we had no idea what the artwork was going to be for books until it just showed up one day on a cover flat. So using these ‘Mechs for key characters simply became a no-no for us. That didn’t mean we couldn’t use these ‘Mechs, but not where they might end up on the cover.
Personally I thought that was more of FASA’s problem than it was our problem. I remember calling Donna just to clarify. She wouldn’t tell me much other than it was the result of a lawsuit and the letter pretty much told me everything.
I was bummed, and a little pissed off. Yes, we wrote about characters to tell our stories – but the BattleMechs were characters in the universe too. Jamie Wolf piloted an Archer. It was as iconic as the USS Enterprise was to Star Trek. Having these classic images simply denied to us for main characters just felt like restrictions we didn’t need or desire. Freaking censorship…
Believe me, I would have preferred the Archer Christifori pilot a Warhammer – but that was denied. I knew he would have to be on the cover.
You can see that they also gave us an alternate list of ‘Mechs we could use, most of which I have ignored over the years. A Flea – seriously? You can see my notes (scribbled) on the Archer. Really, an Apollo? No way, Bombardier was the way to go. I felt it was best to just follow my gut rather than their recommendations. Treat this as, “Blaine does not follow orders well.”
I thought you fans out there might like to see this little tid bit. While it offers nothing new or universe changing, it is interesting.