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From All Surrounding Parallel Realities 



There are more than a couple ways to read the novels. First, there’s author Jack McKinney’s recommended reading order from Robotech 20:

Robotech 1-6                                                                                                                            
Robotech 19                                                                                                                             
Sentinels 1-5                                                                                                                            
Robotech 20                                                                                                                             
Robotech 7-9                                                                                                    
Robotech 21                                                                                                                                   
Robotech 10-12                                                                                                             
Robotech 18.                                                                                                                 

It’s a good reading order; it’s chronological for the most part. However, I’ve never been known to leave well enough alone. If you think my Video/Comics lists are prime examples of obsessive compulsiveness, then check out my chronologically focused Novels lists! It’s funny to look at my work again after over a 10-year absence. Heck, I had even created my own bookmark system for the following lists. For the record, I don’t recommend reading the novels in the next two ways, unless you’re totally obsessed with all things Robochronological—like me.

So here it is: the final word on Robotechnuity (for the novels, at least, because I said so, heh).

Like its Video/Comics counterpart, the plainly titled Robotechnuity is as exact a chronological listing as you’ll get. And as you should know, The More Readable Version makes enjoying the series easier. Although events weren’t chronologically ordered as strictly on that list, it won’t ruin any surprises. Believe me, if you want to read the series in an orderly manner with less trouble, then The More Readable Version is the one.

The order provided by the author in Robotech 20 gives an even more simplified arrangement. But that order reveals certain outcomes too early because it divides the work by the book, not by the page and paragraph as I have when necessary. I’ve structured my lists to provide a more accurate representation of the chronology, pausing the reading of one book in order to continue the overall story in another book as dictated by chronological order. As a result, the giving away of surprises and turns of events has been eliminated as much as possible.  

The bookmark system that I’d developed comes in handy for when you need to stop partway through a novel to pick up another. It’s rather simple, and you’ll need two bookmarks each time you get to one of those entries on the list. One of the bookmarks works normally: It holds your page until you get back. The other bookmark, which I call the scrapmark, marks the destination you want to arrive for one of those special entries and should be placed at the desired page. The scrapmark must look distinct from the regular bookmark, either by design, labeling, or both, because you sure don’t want to confuse the two. You’ll need to write the page number and paragraph of the destination (making sure to include info like “1st full paragraph” or “line 2,” etc.) onto the scrapmark. When you’ve read up to the destination, either cross off the info on the scrapmark or throw it away and use another one for the next special entry.

Please pay particular attention to entries featuring Robotech 20, 7-9, and 21 in relation to Sentinels 5. They comprise the most crucial order of events in terms of keeping surprises in check.

I’ve talked about Jack McKinney’s reading order, and I’ve talked about my chronologically focused reading orders. But they aren’t the only ways to read the novels. There’s one more. Many years back, my friend Greg wanted to read the novels off of me to see how the story ended since production on the Robotech II: The Sentinels animated series went kaput; he knew about the details of the ill-fated project as described in Carl Macek’s Robotech Art 3 book that I lent him. Since he already watched the original Robotech animated series and since Greg wasn’t obsessed with chronological order as I (in other words, he’s a normal reader), I knew that the reading orders I had developed for myself weren’t going to be ideal for him. Another consideration was that I wanted him to read the first 12 novels which adapted the original animated series, too, rather than simply reading just The Sentinels novels and the 18th book finale; there were only 18 books at the time Greg asked me about the novel series. Since the first 12 have numerous details that aren’t in the animation—some of those details foreshadowing events in The Sentinels—I had Greg read the first 12 before reading The Sentinels and Novel 18. That reading order worked; as he was reading The Sentinels, he thanked me for having him read the series this way. By following that order for the first 18 novels, a reader who already has seen the animated series will cover familiar events first, then find out about other answers to the story next.

Using that experience, I give you yet another reading order for the novels:

Robotech 1-6                                                                                                                             
Robotech 19                                                                                                                              
Robotech 20                                                                                                                              
Robotech 7-9                                                                                                     
Robotech 21                                                                                                                                    
Robotech 10-12                                                                                                              
Sentinels 1-5                                                                                                              
Robotech 18.

As with other reading orders, all 21 novels are included. But like the author’s reading order, this one doesn’t keep all of the surprises in check, too. In fact, there are many more spoilers by reading Novel 20 before The Sentinels. However, this reading order saves the most anticipated parts for last. If you’ve already read the entire novel series, then this order could be a refreshing way to reread the books.    

Getting the Novels

Since the late ’80s, the novels have been reprinted a number of times. When shopping for the paperbacks, you can look up the usual suspects:,, conventions, and bookstores. Novels 1 to 12, adapting the TV episodes, have been collected into omnibuses that have been reprinted in paperback more than once, and since early 2011, are now available as eBooks. Then in April 2014, eight more of the remaining nine novels became eBooks, too. Unfortunately, the eBooks have changes made throughout them against the authors’ intent. So the electronic editions suck because Harmony Gold screwed the pooch yet again.

The paperback omnibus reprints that came out after the 1990s are substantially less screwed up. But I recall picking up one of the so-subtitled “three action-packed novels in one volume” paperbacks and being stunned by certain pages—so-called appendixes not written by the two authors who comprised Jack McKinney—that were added to these editions. The pages stated that errors for some of the dates, names, and other things couldn’t be corrected due to technical reasons. When I saw that and saw how the books were being promoted as “official tie-ins” to the Robotech games, I detected something that stunk, and to borrow a phrase from The Sentinels, it wasn’t “in the ventilation system.” By large, fans of the novels don’t care if dates are different from the roleplaying games or if names are spelled differently from other sources, among other things that are the authors’ intent. As long as major dates (notable years established in the animated series) such as the landing of the SDF-1 on Earth and the arrival of the Zentraedi are the same throughout the different mediums, which they are, then no one—except some people outside the novels’ fans—cares.

Another travesty within editions published after the 1990s—paperback or eBook—is the HG-issued timeline that misrepresents the actual timeline of the novels in blatant ways, including different dates and inclusion of events from a pathetic, non-Macek-helmed animated video. But that’s dwarfed against the numerous changes that Harmony Gold has made throughout the prose of the 20 eBooks (not counting obvious spelling and grammatical corrections, of course). All of these changes are a travesty to the work of the Jack McKinney co-authors! Harmony Gold has altered dates, dialogue, concepts, and other things against the authors’ intent!

So, to heck with any post-1990s editions, which don’t respect the work. They tried to repackage the books into something they aren’t and changed no one’s mind. But despite others’ efforts—inadvertent or otherwise—to paint the novels as somehow more flawed than other sources (Hey, I got an idea! Let’s slap an apology on The Macross Saga dvds, stating that the current regime still couldn’t draw an actual SDF-2 next to the grounded SDF-1 after all this time!), I’ve discovered that a lot of new readers enjoyed the books no matter what—because they know quality storytelling when they see it.  

One of the three-novels-in-one books on my continuity lists features Sentinels 1-3. Of course, it isn’t a post-1990s edition; my edition is one of the original 3-in-1 books. Sentinels wasn’t reprinted as a paperback with the other 3-in-1’s after the 90s.

The printing info for the editions of all the novels on my lists is as follows: 

Robotech 1-3 (three-in-one edition) – May 1994                                                               
Robotech 4-6 (three-in-one edition) – October 1994                                                             
Robotech 7-9 (three-in-one edition) – April 1995                                                              
Robotech 10 – February 1990                                                                                                     
Robotech 11 – November 1987                                                                                       
Robotech 12 – December 1987                                                                                        
Sentinels 1-3 (aka Robotech 13-15; three-in-one edition) – August 1995                             
Sentinels 4 (aka Robotech 16) – July 1988                                                                                   
Sentinels 5 (aka Robotech 17) – August 1988                                                                   
Robotech 18 – January 1990                                                                                                            
Robotech 19 – May 1994                                                                                                
Robotech 20 – April 1995                                                                                                           
Robotech 21 – April 1996.

The above info is important to keep in mind as you go through my continuity lists because page numbers, paragraphs, and lines are cited from those editions. Other editions may have different page numbers and so forth.

Enough preamble. Time for the Robotechnuity lists!

Mecha 8

Robotechnuity for the Novel Series
Robotechnuity – The More Readable Version
Robotech Continuity Main Page

Introduction to the Video/Comics Continuity 
Video/Comics Continuity 
Video/Comics Continuity – The More Readable Version 
Explaining the Logic Behind the Order 
Robotech Timeline for the Animation, Novels, and Comics


Robotech is a trademark of Harmony Gold U.S.A., Inc. By no means is this text intended to infringe upon the owner's rights.

Page content first online 1996. Revised 2010 to 2014, 2017.

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