David Schleinkofer's cover to the first Jack McKinney ROBOTECH novel, “Genesis.

In 1987, the Robotech animated series was adapted into novel form by authors James Luceno and the late Brian Daley and published by Del Rey Books. Having previously collaborated on the animated series Galaxy Rangers, the pair's Robotech novels were released under the unified pseudonym of Jack McKinney. Using fictitious epigraphs in the style of Dune, McKinney's novels escaped the limitations inherent in the dubbed cartoon and fleshed out its chronology in greater detail; most significantly, by adapting the storyline of the aborted sequel project, The Sentinels. The entire series lasted for twenty-one books, the first fifteen of which were later collected into five three-book omnibus compilations in the early 1990s.

The original twelve novels were written to a tight twelve-month deadline, so that the books could be released one per month. Under this deadline, Daley and Luceno divided the Robotech timeline into twelve segments and worked on different segments simultaneously (i.e. Daley wrote Book 1 while Luceno wrote Book 2), then traded completed manuscripts for revision and style adjustments. As part of the research project, they watched the TV series many times, and consulted heavily with Carl Macek.

List of Novels


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Main Article: Genesis
Abandoned alien battle fortress!

It saved humanity from itself, but there was a price: hot on its trail came the most merciless enemy of all! The Global Civil War was about to make Humankind extinct, when the stupendous Super Dimensional Fortress dispatched to Earth by a dying alien genius changed all that forever, and altered the history of the universe. Humanity's only hope lay in a corps of untried, resolute young men and women: the Robotech Defense Force. They were entrusted with powers they didn't fully understand. Then the most feared conquerors in the universe attacked, determined to destroy them for no reason they could comprehend.

The war began as: A universe hung in the balance!


Battle Cry

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Main Article: Battle Cry
Even miracles have their downside...

Some called it miraculous when the Super Dimensional Fortress crash-landed on Earth: the alien spacecraft's arrival had put a sudden end to almost a decade of global war. Yet Henry J. Gloval, captain of the SDF-1, was a practical man. When it came to asking himself how he had ended up in command of an alien space fortress carrying more than 50,000 civilians in its belly, he refused to let the question more then twice a day.

And yet there was the planet Saturn filling the viewport of the SDF-1 bridge, and there he was in the command chair. But now the Zentraedi had come to claim the ship....



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Main Article: Homecoming
They didn't escape the killing ground

For over a year, the humans aboard the Super Dimensional Fortress fought and eluded a millions-strong armada of alien warships. Now the SDF-1 would have to slug her way through the massed enemy fleet to return to blue-white Terra. Damaged, every crew member and inhabitant exhausted, the ship still had one great battle left in her. But villains come in human form as well as alien-and the evil of power-hungry men might be the most lethal threat of them all.

In their greatest challenge yet, the crew of the SDF-1 face Zentraedi warriors and human betrayal, while the Cosmic scales tip and swing, writing an astonishing new chapter in the Robotech Saga! They just brought the war back to Earth!



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Main Article: Battlehymn
A higher loyalty

For three long months the Super Dimensional Fortress remained at its landing site in the Pacific, like an infant in a wading pool. And indeed her captain often felt as though he had been treated like a child. For two years, Captain Gloval and his crew had been chased through the solar system by a race of giant alien warriors, only to be made to feel like unwanted relatives when they returned to planet Earth. But Gloval was not a man who took things lying down. In a direct violation of Council dictates, he ordered the SDF-1 airborne.

The fate of the Earth was at stake....


Force of Arms

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Main Article: Force of Arms

The alien armada had hunted the mighty Super Dimensional Fortress across the trackless void of space, repeatedly sending colossal fighting mecha against the desperate human soldiers and refugees. But the giant invaders, who tried for so long to capture the SDF-1 intact, now wish only to destroy it-along with the human race and its homeworld, and those aliens who defected to the Terran side. Supreme Commander Dolza mobilizes every Zentraedi warrior, massing millions of warships around the helpless Earth for the climactic battle of the Robotech War.

For now the aliens, like humanity, must win, or be obliterated!



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Main Article: Doomsday
The Robotech Defenders thought the war was behind them!

A war without victors, that had brought two races to the brink of extinction. A war without spoils, save for the devastated Earth itself...

A new-age ark, the Super Dimensional Fortress had returned to its ravaged homeworld, and those who had lived through Armageddon began the painstaking process of reconstruction. But they had the Zentraedi to help them, former enemies who shard a common goal-survival!

But all was not well in this bravest of worlds....Unaccustomed to a life without warfare, many of the alien giants were reverting to their old ways. Now one had appeared who vowed to lead them back to their former glory - Khyron! - an alien culture's hero reborn to pick up where Dolza had left off!

But a greater threat awaited them!


The Zentraedi Rebellion

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Main Article: The Zentraedi Rebellion
Earth was no place for losers!

Not everyone was eager to share the planet Earth with the Zentraedi survivors of the First Robotech War. And nowhere was this more evident then in the Southlands, into whose forested hear so many alien warships had plunged in the final moments of the Rain of Death.

There was little prospect of a lasting peace. The tensions in the Southlands had given rise to two opposing forces: the Army of the Southern Cross, commanded by the xenophobic Anatole Leonard; and a loosely organized brigade of Zentraedi insurgents, driven by the Imperative to continue the fight - until one race or the other was eradicated. Caught between the rivals was the Robotech Defense Force. Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, Max and Miriya Sterling, Breetai, and others would all have their parts to play in the period that came to be called...

The Malcontent Uprisings!


The Devil's Hand

Ships that pass in the night...

It was 2020. Six years had passed since the destruction of the Super Dimensional Fortresses 1 and 2, that final tragedy of the First Robotech War. But Earth was on the mend now, and from the wreckage of those ships the Robotech Defense Force had succeeded in fashioning a new battle fortress - the SDF-1. Its mission: to cross the galaxy and make peace with Tirol's Robotech Masters. It sounded straightforward enough; but unknown to Admirals Rick and Lisa Hunter and their crew of thousands, the Robotech Masters were already on their way to Earth!

Nevertheless Tirol would have a greeting in store for the Expeditionary Mission: an incendiary salute from the warlord whose hordes had conquered half the galactic Quadrant - the Invid Regent! Threatened by a swift and violent end, and sud denly torn by internal struggles for power, the RDF would find itself thrust into...

A savage war for survival!


Dark Powers

Desperate alliance!

The Robotech Expeditionary Force had been stranded on the far side of the galaxy as the result of damage to their Super Dimensional Fortress during the battle with the Invid hordes. Their chances for survival were slim.

Suddenly, a starship unlike anything that had ever flown before appeared - manned by an incredible assortment of beings who meant to challenge the might of the Invid Regent himself!

REF volunteers sign aboard, with their mighty war mecha in tow, for a campaign that would either mean the total destruction of the freedom fighters or liberty for the planets of - The Sentinels!


Death Dance

Marooned on a doomed world!

Four months passed without a word from the Sentinels, and the members of the Expeditionary Mission to Tirol were beginning to fear the worst. This, even as they entered into truce negotiations with the being who might been responsible for the destruction of the Sentinel's starship - the Invid Regent himself.

Meanwhile, the survivors of the Farrago remained hopelessly stranded on Praxis, a planet in cataclysm, hastened to endtime by the dark designs of the Invid Regis. But deep within that world's transformed core were answers to the Sentinels' prayers; if they could only reach them before Praxis tore itself apart. For Rick and Lisa Hunter, Cabell, and the others, the moment had arrived for desperate actions...

And time was running out!


World Killers

Go to guns!

The bearlike Karbarrans and the swashbuckling amazons from Praxis, the feral natives of Garuda and the Human Robotech heroes - these oddly-met champions banded together with other races, from other planets, to form the Sentinels.

Yet what fighting force could hope to dislodge the Invid hordes from Haydon IV, ethereal world of superscience and hidden emotional conflict; or Spheris, crystalline globe of living minerals and murderous resonances. The Sentinels launch their attack nevertheless; they've come too far to surrender to tyranny. But the treachery of a megalomaniac Human general and a mutating Invid P.O.W. make the war seem hopeless.

The Sentinels battle on, though, because for them it's... Victory or death!



A world apart...

Optera! Birthplace of the Flowers of Life and their agents of retribution, the Invid... nexus for an unfolding of events that had left the galaxy reshaped and redefined... and now the focal point of the Sentinels' long campaign to liberate the Quadrant from the Regent's tyranny. Edwards is on his way to Optera, in flight from Tirol with his prisoner Lynn-Minmei and a handful of Invid Inorganics under his control. So too are Breetai's Zentraedi - closing on the very world the Imperative babe them defol iated generations ago - and the renegade forces of Tesla, mutated beyond recognition by the fruits of the Flower.

The Sentinels themselves are not too far behind. However, they have Peryton to deal with first - a godforsaken planet cursed by fate and time itself. But what awaits Rick, Lisa, and the Human Sentinels there is a mere primer for what is to come: the relaxation that they have journeyed across the galaxy...

To wage war against each other!


The Masters' Gambit

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Main Article: The Masters' Gambit
Buried treasure from a distant planet!

The Robotech Masters had come to Earth to reclaim the precious Protoculture Matrix - the enigmatic substance that powered an entire civilization. But poised on the edge of Earthspace, the Masters discovered their mission would not be easy. For Earth's Robotech defenders had vanquished the Masters' clone army, and the Super Dimensional Fortress that concealed the Matrix lay inaccessible beneath the ruins of Macross City. And thought the SDF-1's mother computer had survived the holocaust, it was now housed at the Humans' Protoculture research lab at Tokyo - where it had embarked on a second career as EVE, the telegenic guiding voice of the postwar generation.

EVE was the Masters' only possible access to the buried Matrix. But two things stood in their way: an ally of the Humans who seemed to be the renegade Robotech scientist Zor, and a group of young, cynical hackers out to subvert Tokyo's most powerful computers - especially EVE, the most tempting target of them all...

Southern Cross

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Main Article: Southern Cross
A new alien menace has come to ravage Earth -

Some twenty years before, the Robotech Masters sent their giant warrior-slaves, the Zentraedi, to plunder Earth of its Protoculture secrets. But heroic men and women repulsed the invasion in a war that almost destroyed the planet. Now, at last, the Robotech Masters appear to finish the conquest the Zentraedi began. A battle-ravaged Earth must defend itself once more. The is the moment when young Dana Sterling, half-human, half-Zentraedi commander of an elite Hovertank unit, steps squarely into the spotlight of interstellar history.

Once more, the huge war mecha clash and awesome powers are brought to bear as... The Second Robotech War begins!


Metal Fire

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Main Article: Metal Fire
A new alien menace has come to ravage Earth -

Some twenty years before, the Robotech Masters sent their giant warrior-slaves, the Zentraedi, to plunder Earth of its Protoculture secrets. But heroic men and women repulsed the invasion in a war that almost destroyed the planet. Now, at last, the Robotech Masters appear to finish the conquest the Zentraedi began. A battle-ravaged Earth must defend itself once more. The is the moment when young Dana Sterling, half-human, half-Zentraedi commander of an elite Hovertank unit, steps squarely into the spotlight of interstellar history.

Once more, the huge war mecha clash and awesome powers are brought to bear as... The Second Robotech War begins!


The Final Nightmare

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Main Article: The Final Nightmare
The war for Earth had become even more desperate: the Robotech Masters' Protoculture Matrix was degenerating, transforming into the Flower of Life, which was sure to draw the savage, merciless Invid across the galaxy. But the Army of the Southern Cross vowed to wage war for Earth to the bitter end. And Dana Sterling, half-alien commander of an elite Hovertank unit, waged a desperate war of her own to uncover the meaning of her strange visions and the secret of the alien heritage...


Before the Invid Storm

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Main Article: Before the Invid Storm
Ship of dreams!

The second Robotech War ended without victors. The Masters had been defeated, but the Army of the Southern Cross had suffered devastating losses, with Earth's cities reduced to rubble. Then a heavily armed warship arrived from Tirol and instantly became the object of intense rivalries. To the survivors of the United Earth Government, it was a spear they could hurl into the Invid Sensor Nebula. To the decimated Southern Cross forces, it was the weapon they needed to use against the impending Invid invasion. For the Starchildren it represented escape from their planetary prison, and the Shimada Family wanted in neutralized before it sabotaged their hopes for a peaceful solution.

But no one knew just how dangerous the ship could be. No one, that is, except for its commander, Colonel Jonathan Wolf of the ragtag freedom fighters known as the Sentinels, and Dana Sterling, heroine of the war with the Masters. And Dana had her own agenda.

Set between The Final Nightmare and Invid Invasion, Before the Invid Storm reveals the struggle for control of the dreadnought from Tirol.


Invid Invasion

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Main Article: Invid Invasion
A desperate counterinvasion...

The Invid Regis had succeeded where the Zentraedi and their Robotech Masters had failed. She had driven her warrior horde across the far reaches of the space to lay claim to the galaxy' s last supply of the Flower of Life and its all-precious offspring, Protoculture. Earth was conquered, occupied; and it was up the space-weary veterans of the Expeditionary Force to retake the planet - a world most of them had never seen. Only no one had foreseen the disastrous defeat that would greet the first wave, or the miserable welcome in store for its few and sorry heroes.

But Lieutenant Scott Bernard had survived both, and it was now his mission, as well as his personal pledge, to reach and destroy the Invid hive dubbed Reflex Point. He would soon have a ragtag band of freedom fighters at his side, but before them were thousands of miles of travel through hostile territory on...

The long road ahead!



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Main Article: Metamorphosis
Unlikely heroes

The Shapings of the Protoculture had never thrown together a less conventional band of champions: A downed pilot who is a stranger on his own homeworld. A former biker hellion who hides her compassion inside a leather-tough exterior. A young Forager obsessed with the vanished heritage of Humanity's lore. 'With them ride a soulful, hulking deserter... a lethal Robotech warrior whose art is all gentleness... an irrepressible adolescent convinced that the world owes her a Great Romance... and a cloned enemy Stimulagent who can't quite recall who she is. And somewhere ahead lies the Reflex Point, nerve center and stronghold of the Invid conquerors.

This motley group is Earth's last hope... and it doesn't look like a force to be reckoned with. But don't count them out just yet


Symphony of Light

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Main Article: Symphony of Light
The decisive battle

It had been a long hard road for Scott Bernard and his ragtag band of Robotech irregulars; but the Invid stronghold know as Reflex Point was finally close at hand, and preparations were under way for a full-scale assault. But the Invid Regis was not about to surrender so easily the world she had come halfway across the galaxy to claim - especially now that her experiments in racial transmutation were nearing their conclusion. And no one, Human or Invid, thought to ask whether Protoculture might have something to say in these matters. But indeed it did; and the final encounter of the Robotech Wars would be more mystifying than anyone had imagined.

And Earth was the prize!


The End of the Circle

A warp in the space-time continuum...

The SDF-3 has remanifested from spacefold, but no one aboard has the faintest idea where they are. The ship appears to be grounded in some glowing fog, ensnared by light itself. Lang and Rem dub the phenomenon "newspace"- but are at a loss to explain what it really is and who, or what, is keeping them there. For Lang, it seems like old times: The ship's Protoculture drives have disappeared. But other events are transpiring, unbeknownst to the stranded crew of the SDF-3. In Earthspace, the Ark Angel has been spared the fate suffered by the REF mainfleet after the Invid transubstantiation. Vince and Jean Grant decide that the only logical course of action is to try and locate the SDF-3...

On Haydon IV, something has awakened the Awareness - and a mysterious change comes over the Haydonites. Exedore and the four Sterlings suddenly find themselves imprisoned beneath the surface - as the planet leaves orbit, destination unknown...

All of the pieces of this strange cosmic puzzle are about to come together... and the ultimate conflict is imminent. The question is: Will the universe survive?



The major divergences from the Robotech television series include:

  • Additional properties were attributed to Protoculture. More than a component of a power source and a hallucinogenic foodstuff for genetic engineering, it was later discovered to also be a mystical force akin to the Force in Star Wars, that, through its "Shapings," manipulated the destiny of the universe, and provided the basis for a link between mind and mecha the use of Robotechnology (a product of technology powered by protoculture matrix energy) enables.
  • Stating that Robotech's mecha were partially controlled by the pilot's mental imaging via a "thinking cap" (a la Firefox or the later Macross spin-off Macross Plus), in addition to the joysticks and pedals seen in the show.
  • Using a chronology that slightly contradicted the cartoon itself, chiefly by placing the Second Robotech War seventeen years after the first, instead of fifteen. The above-mentioned 21st century reboot of the timeline created further disparities; McKinney had Scott Bernard entering the Third Robotech War in 2034 and the conflict ending in 2035, by the new timeline has him enter in 2042, and the war end in 2044. Further, the novels have the SDF-3 launching in 2020, where the revised timeline follows through with the original intent of the unproduced cartoon by placing it in 2022.
  • The divergences could be explained partly by a lack of translated source material from the original shows—meaning that the writers could only go by what was seen on the screen and the materials they had been given—and partly by a desire to tie the series together even more completely than the television show, sometimes by including material that never ended up being animated. In particular, the "Shapings of the Protoculture" enabled this unification, serving as the deus ex machina to Robotech's Greek tragedy. It should also be noted that at least some of the elements for which the novels have been criticized were directly suggested by Carl Macek during Daley and Luceno's consultations with him.

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