As I sit here afternoon after the Kickstarter closed, writing the novella for the boxed set, I can’t help but be proud about the future prospects of BattleTech. I’m sure my friends over at CGL are suffering from a collective Kickstarter hangover at this point. Me, I’m just putting words down on a great little story and enjoying my inner geek immensely.
I have had fans asking me questions about the Kickstarter, including one from Russia. For the record, I had nothing to do with the Kickstarter formally. I don’t work for Catalyst – I’m a mercenary (he he he) that is paid for my words. I cannot answer your queries. No, I don’t know when the story will be out for non-Kickstarter people (hey, you had your chance!) No, I don’t know when it will be hard copy either. My ignorance is a blessed defense at times.
Before the KS launched I tossed my name in the ring to do some writing for it because, well, it’s BattleTech; duh… I was taken up on my offer with a call to get the first fiction done a few days before Gen Con. Alright, game on! That morphed into Randall saying, “Hey, make it a two-part story, with the second part to go into the boxed set.” Sure…why not?
What most people don’t ever fully understand is that we authors are fans of BattleTech too. Loren, Randall, and myself have been contributing to the universe for decades. We are friends as well. There are stories to tell here, but as Loren said at Gen Con, “not until the statute of limitations has lapsed.” Let’s just leave it at, we are friends and friends support each other. I knew they were going to need to have some fiction, so I raised my hand.
A handful of fans have “nagged” over the years that CGL wasn’t giving love to the Ghost Bears in terms of fiction. I wrote about them in Roar of Honor, but that had been a while ago. Contrary to what most people think, I DO listen to the fan community. So I thought, in the spirit of the Kickstarter, “Let’s give the fans what they want.” So a Ghost Bear centric story was born. Seyla!
Secretly, I have wanted to write about the Draconis Combine for decades. Did I exploit this opportunity to do something I have secretly wanted to do for ages? Hell yes! You read the part where I called myself a mercenary didn’t you? I only hope I got it right. You Combine fans, I am sure, will let me know.
Frankly, the hardest part so far was getting the names of backers for the story from Loren. I know, I was pretty low in terms of priorities. I finally squeezed him for a few and “improvised” on the others.
At Gen Con I got to meet with Adam Cunningham, who was in my story. I told him about where his character would be going and he loved it. Frankly, I was happy to meet one of the Kickstarter contributors who I would be crafting into the fiction. I would really like to connect with those involved with this next piece, and let them know in advance where they ended up. Maybe I can convince CGL to host a video-chat session for the handful of us…who knows?
Yesterday, the last day of the Kickstarter, in Warrenton, Virginia, in our local game store, I saw someone reading Jennifer’s Iron Dawn novel with a big pile of BattleTech stuff in front of him. I introduced myself and the guy said that the Kickstarter was getting him back into BattleTech all over again. He had convinced the store manager to buy in at Merchant Caste level too. I don’t think he believed I was one of the writers…but that was okay. He told me that BattleTech had been a big influence in his life and that it was very cool to see it coming back so strong. It made me proud to be a part of the universe. I never tire of hearing the story of how BattleTech impacted people’s lives.
My only concern with the Kickstarter was that it was going to consume BattleTech to the point where some of the really cool stuff we have planned would not be deployed. I received assurances that is not going to be the case, which was a relief. While all of you are looking to the Clan Invasion era, my gaze is forward to the future as well.
Bear (pun intended) in mind I could have mooched most of the stuff that comes with the Kickstarter…for “research” purposes. Instead I got caught up in it all and bought in just like one of the fans…three hours before the end. Besides, it was the best way to see the final product of Rules of Engagement. You guys got to see it long before I did. It’s always that way with the authors, we are at the back end of seeing final product.
The new fiction for the boxed set (working title, The Burdens of Honor) is, well, awesome – but my perspective is pretty narrow and self-absorbed. Like many of you, I’m waiting to see the stuff starting to come in March. I have some paint schemes picked out – Smoke Jaguars and Jade Falcons…go figure.
A lot of the success of this Kickstarter is going to hinge on artists and authors – which have been the heart and soul of BattleTech since the beginning. These guys are more than up to the task. My hand remains up, ready to do my part. It’s bound to be a bumpy and totally enjoyable ride – one that has rekindled the spirit of BattleTech for the fan community.
Is it March yet?