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Author Topic: where have all the novels gone?  (Read 5757 times)

tsmpaul

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where have all the novels gone?
« on: 25 September 2012, 23:12:43 »
Earlier in the year, I got the Blood of Kerensky Omnibus, Decision at Thunder Rift, Highlander Gambit, Warrior Trilogy, Wolves on the Border, all as ebooks. There's even an Ebook link page on the Battletech.com home site. But every link leads to 'page missing', 'page does not exist', even the ones that link to battlecorps, and on amazon only the short stories and novella stuff are there - none of the old series of novels are listed when I'm searching for them. Have they decided to cancel all of the old novels being made into ebooks? I'm really hoping to collect some more.

roosterboy

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #1 on: 25 September 2012, 23:18:40 »
Here's the answer, from the big dog himself...

No, Catalyst has not lost the right to publish BattleTeh or Shadowrun fiction(print or epub). Our licensor has requested that we temporarily take down the files while they investigate an issue regarding works of fiction contracted by previous companies. We fully expect to return these classic works to the online venues soon, and are also working to bring out new collections and brand new short fiction as well. Stay tuned.

If you see anyone on other forums discussing this, feel free to post this response.

Thanks!


Randall

Whatever the issue is that necessitated the removal of the ebooks, it's still ongoing.

tsmpaul

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #2 on: 25 September 2012, 23:59:15 »
Thanks for the head's-up! I'll have to keep my eye out for when things return.

rulisp

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #3 on: 07 March 2014, 13:54:45 »
Has there been any update on this issue recently?

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #4 on: 07 March 2014, 16:07:33 »
When Catalyst has news on this front, you can be certain they'll make sure we know ASAP. So many people have good memories of the novel line and want to see it return.

Stormlion1

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #5 on: 07 March 2014, 23:32:23 »
Getting novels back in print is a dream of mine. Having them as a epub also helps get new people to know the background for the universe!
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #6 on: 08 March 2014, 02:55:19 »
roosterboy, I think I remember there being an announcement along these lines recently, can you link to it for us?

Lorcan Nagle

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #7 on: 08 March 2014, 04:30:53 »
There's new Shadowrun novels coming, IIRC, but nothing for BattleTech yet.
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SteveRestless

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #8 on: 08 March 2014, 05:17:41 »
Personally, I think focusing on the novel format is a mistake. Its clear there's some sort of trouble there, even if we don't know what it is.

My solution would be to overhaul battlecorps to be friendlier and not require you to purchase the whole back-catalog at full price. Too many of the stories in there are tangental sidestories that don't advance the core plot, and while I MIGHT enjoy them, I would have to buy sight-unseen, and I simply don't have the budget for it. (I'd also revamp the user/pass retrieval system because I cannot for the life of me recall what my precice username was, nor the password, nor what email I had associated with it. none of my guesses have worked). I'd change the Battlecorps back-catalog one of two ways. Either make it netflix-like where so long as you're subscribed, you can read everything (an idea which does have some rough edges, yes), OR make your subscripton length radiate out both forward and back for as long as you're subscribed. Sub for a month? You get everything from the date you signed up back 30 days as well as ahead 30 days. This would discourage people from just buying in, archive binging, and popping out. Perhaps incentivize it further by offering some manner of exclusive to the subscribers.

Hardly the only solution to the issue, but we need core fiction. Short stories inserted into sourcebooks and experimental sourcebook formats just don't bring the universe to life for me the way the novels did. When characters and factions fall in the span of a summary paragraph, it takes on a very cold and detatched sort of feel. The death of Clan Nova Cat felt almost completely different than the fall of Clan Smoke Jaguar.  and it needs to be Core fiction too. Look, for example, at the initial dark age fiction. Isolated incidents involving isolated individuals. When was the last time we heard what became of Raul Ortega, or Mason Dunne? (Heck, for a long time, I'd started to wonder if Caleb's friend wasn't imaginary, just very stealthy.) It wasn't until later in the novels, when we had a core cast stand out from the crowd, and I had characters to root for, that I started to care about the DA material. Its not that I mind less epic stories, I just think that a dinner that's all mashed potatoes, and no steak, is a pretty boring meal.

Its kinda heartbreaking that we're on the verge of having an IlClan, but the epic battles, the taking of terra, it won't even happen on screen. We'll just get an essay on it in sourcebook form.
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Frabby

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #9 on: 08 March 2014, 06:18:37 »
Novels are one of the two pillars on which BT stands, the boardgame(s) being the other. The BT universe and the BT game(s) are two different things that can each stand on their own, but together they are much stronger.

I believe many fans of old have gravitated away from playing BattleTech a couple of years ago - getting jobs, starting families, moving away from their childhood friends with whom they used to play. They have fond memories and want to come back, but most probably don't have the time or opportunity to actually play the boardgame anymore.
For this kind of people, the gameplay pillar has eroded away but they stay with BT for the fiction. I know I fall into this category (by and large), even though I actually got to play the game a bit again in recent years. It definitely was the fiction that brought me back, not the new boardgame stuff.

And then there's MechWarrior Online. MWO reaches a lot of people and does remind many such grognards of their glorious BT days. At the same time it does bring them together with completely new blood. Just look at the number of people logged into their forum at any given time.
These people do have their BT game and may not be looking for the BT boardgame much; but they're starving for fiction. And if you read over the relevant threads on the MWO forum, there's nothing to pick up these potential customers - people are directing them to Sarna for information and to Ebay for buying novels.

My personal and uninformed outsider opinion is that CGL should finally tie up the gameplay pillar of BT, actually create a definitive version of the BT rules, and focus their attention to the fiction pillar instead. (Rant on jumping the shark with ever new TROs and rules cut.)
At this point, I believe CGL stands to reach more customers, make more money, improve BT instead of just bloating it, and generally cater to my personal tastes more with fiction. The era reports and sourcebooks published in recent years have polished BT so much it's unbelievable. Only print novels and to a lesser degree story fiction are lacking behind.

Now I don't think that BattleCorps - either as a website nor as a service - is nearly as bad as some vocal detractors make it out to be. But there certainly is room for improvement. My uninformed outsider take on the situation is that CGL should move their resources away from the boardgame aspect and put that same mapower and effort into whippng the fiction pillar into shape. Solve the print novel problem, give BattleCorps a facelift, perhaps tweak the service a bit.
BattleCorps is both an online magazine and a BT fan club. It was BattleTechnology and MechForce rolled into one. In its early days, it was just glorious. But extra content has ebbed away. Bring it back! Make the BattleCorps subscribers feel they should invest in a BC subscription instead of purchasing novels from Ebay.

@SteveRestless:
It's curious how you would call for core fiction, and discard side stories. Myself, I got bored with the core fiction at some point because they paint such a broad picture. I'm interested in the small details, and the stories I like best are typically niche events that don't affect the greater picture. I want to know who's fighting and why, I care about the MechWarriors and not about the Generals. But YMMV, of course.  :)
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The Hawk

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #10 on: 08 March 2014, 10:17:47 »
You know, it strikes me that the last great wash of novels we had was the MechWarrior novels in connection with the click game.  I bought and read them all.  I wonder how profitable an enterprise that was; they did put out 31 of them in six years or so, which compares very favorably to the overall rate at which FASA and Roc published novels.  One has to think they wouldn't have done so if the novel line was operating at a loss.

That makes me wonder if perhaps there isn't some room for a co-branding enterprise with MWO, which as Frabby notes is the most visible going concern in the BattleTech universe these days.  Material written by BattleTech folks with a good grasp of the universe, but shilled by the MWO people to MWO players.  Set them in the 3049-3052 time frame so the players can easily recognize the 'Mechs, factions, etc.

Of course, that makes some assumptions about the warmth of relations between CGL and PGI.  I also imagine that the economics of novel publishing have continued to evolve since the Dark Age novel series stopped, and it may be these stories would have to be e-books or the like, but that seems like a surmountable issue.

RMDC

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #11 on: 08 March 2014, 10:23:36 »
Rather than novels, I'd prefer picking up serial short stories by multiple authors, either PDF or ePub (and if they're PDF, I'd pay a little premium for first-run artwork as well). Individual purchases would be better than subscription, at least from my perspective - I don't know how that shakes out in terms of compensation for the authors. I'd opt in to whichever model better paid the writers.

I really enjoy the short-fiction format of Battlecorps. My favorite story out of the Battlecorps sampler was Phaedra Weldon's "En Passant". While the Sandovals aren't fringe characters, they're also not the heroes on whom novels are centered. Side stories are good stuff. Most of the time the main plot sums up to "oh, goody, another war", and it's up to the side stories to make it seem present and important.

I'd still read every novel published, and honestly I'd prefer stories a little meatier and longer than what's currently available for preview on Battlecorps. The difference is that a short story tells a tale of a setting and/or an event, whereas novels are more about people. A lot of BT is tied up in setting and events. Short format is more suited to most of the stories that BT has to tell.

Nerroth

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #12 on: 08 March 2014, 13:00:02 »
If it were possible at this point, I think it would be handy if some of the serialised BattleCorps fiction works like Redemption Rift or Fall From Grace could be consolidated into a single e-publication and offered up in the same manner as A Bonfire of Worlds.
« Last Edit: 08 March 2014, 13:03:45 by Nerroth »

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #13 on: 08 March 2014, 14:04:51 »
The fact there are no novels tying in with MWO is a gaping hole in the b-tech universe. While I don't play MWO, my room mate does, and he tells me that most of his guild came straight to MWO and has not even HEARD of the battletech board game.  So... not only do we need novels. but we really, really, need to do a better tie-in between MWO and the board game.
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Lorcan Nagle

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #14 on: 08 March 2014, 14:11:04 »
If it were possible at this point, I think it would be handy if some of the serialised BattleCorps fiction works like Redemption Rift or Fall From Grace could be consolidated into a single e-publication and offered up in the same manner as A Bonfire of Worlds.


A number of Battlecorps serials have been released in just such a format, most recently the Chaos Irregulars saga.
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roosterboy

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #15 on: 08 March 2014, 14:17:29 »
roosterboy, I think I remember there being an announcement along these lines recently, can you link to it for us?

Sure you aren't thinking of The Nellus Academy Incident serial being released as a compiled ebook?

Frabby

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #16 on: 08 March 2014, 14:27:43 »
The fact there are no novels tying in with MWO is a gaping hole in the b-tech universe. While I don't play MWO, my room mate does, and he tells me that most of his guild came straight to MWO and has not even HEARD of the battletech board game.  So... not only do we need novels. but we really, really, need to do a better tie-in between MWO and the board game.
Well, the stories are actually already there. They're even packaged into the Onslaught Anthology ebook. Only, there's no cross-promotion going on that I can see. To me this looks like something CGL and PGI need to hammer out. I mean, MWO is even promoted through the main BattleTech website and so is BattleCorps... but I think it should be waaay more in-your-face.
Actually, why not put a big honking BattleCorps ad into the MWO login-screen?
"Helllooo, we're BATTLECORPS and we have all that great fiction you're looking for where big stompy robots slug it out just like you love to do it! Come here and read about the MechWarrior heroes and legends."
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SCC

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #17 on: 08 March 2014, 15:16:52 »
Sure you aren't thinking of The Nellus Academy Incident serial being released as a compiled ebook?
No, I remember someone, possibly Herb, explaining why we haven't had novels recently. I can probably provide a synopsis of what was said from memory, but given how much of a hot button topic this is I'd rather avoid that if possible

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #18 on: 08 March 2014, 15:27:51 »
I plan to purchase the Chaos Irregulars books.  I do want more, frankly a physical book is preferable. 
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #19 on: 08 March 2014, 15:30:29 »
Have you got the Battlecorps anthologies?  There's some very good stories in there.
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #20 on: 08 March 2014, 15:42:49 »
Have you got the Battlecorps anthologies?  There's some very good stories in there.
I have all four, I want full novels. I think it helps us really get into the game.
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Frabby

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #21 on: 08 March 2014, 16:17:39 »
No, I remember someone, possibly Herb, explaining why we haven't had novels recently. I can probably provide a synopsis of what was said from memory, but given how much of a hot button topic this is I'd rather avoid that if possible
I for one would be very interested to hear it, and if it was said in a public environment (forum, chat, GenCon workshop) then I don't see why you couldn't provide a summary.
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #22 on: 08 March 2014, 16:54:23 »
There's new Shadowrun novels coming, IIRC, but nothing for BattleTech yet.

Haven't those Shadowrun novels been "coming soon" for the last five years?
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #23 on: 08 March 2014, 20:11:59 »
I for one would be very interested to hear it, and if it was said in a public environment (forum, chat, GenCon workshop) then I don't see why you couldn't provide a summary.

OK, since it doesn't look like roosterboy is going to link it, at least without more prompting

I'm pretty sure I remember reading here on the forums that the problem with the novels had to do with the digital distribution rights, basically the original contracts that the authors signed didn't cover them and there was some sort of problems getting them updated.

That or I had a really weird dream

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #24 on: 08 March 2014, 20:16:49 »
OK, since it doesn't look like roosterboy is going to link it, at least without more prompting

I'm pretty sure I remember reading here on the forums that the problem with the novels had to do with the digital distribution rights, basically the original contracts that the authors signed didn't cover them and there was some sort of problems getting them updated.

That or I had a really weird dream

That sounds both plausible and familiar, so unless we're having the same dreams (which given the sort of dreams I have is not a good sign) or you've hit the nail on the head.
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #25 on: 08 March 2014, 20:17:24 »
A lot of BT is tied up in setting and events. Short format is more suited to most of the stories that BT has to tell.

I agree with this sentiment up to a point, but I also tend to agree with SteveRestless that short stories don't lend themselves to core universe stories.  I can't imagine, say, Bred for War being conveyed through short stories.

Also, while I greatly enjoy BattleCorps,  not everyone interested in BT is a subscriber or is likely to become one, at least in part because you can't guarantee the type or significance of stories you're going to get.  I think most people who have developed a reasonable level of interest can be assumed to have read or at least be familiar with the events of the Warrior Trilogy or the Blood of Kerensky,  but the same can't be said for any given BC story, which may not have come out during a reader's subscription.  That makes them less than ideal for major, Sphere-altering stories -- but of course, those events are still going on.

Bizarrely, the more significant an in-universe event is, the less detail it's likely to get as things currently stand.

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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #26 on: 08 March 2014, 21:16:54 »
OK, since it doesn't look like roosterboy is going to link it, at least without more prompting

I'm not your trained monkey. If you want a link to something, you can always find it and link it yourself.

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« Reply #27 on: 08 March 2014, 21:18:50 »
Unfortunately I love the fiction and universe detail and the rules are meh.   While the Jihad books and the way it was presented year over year were entertaining it did not replace the novel and it's still missing.  At this point though without a Coleman, Stackpole, Charrette, Bills, Milan or Pardoe 200 page hitting us with the main plot line and advancement its all just noise.  Don't get me wrong I like the Wars of the Republic book.  But I want more than just brief news blips.  It reminds me of the 80's Wendy's commercial.  Where's the Beef?
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #28 on: 08 March 2014, 21:20:49 »
I'm not your trained monkey. If you want a link to something, you can always find it and link it yourself.

I thought I was the only trained monkey on this forum.  And clearly not a very well trained one at that.
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Re: where have all the novels gone?
« Reply #29 on: 08 March 2014, 21:25:53 »
One of the draws originally for the game was the books and the game. You got the books and at the end where pics of the mechs featured and on he last page was a advertisement for the box set. For some reason paperbacks aren't seen as money makers anymore because we have writers, ones who I think are itching to write novels in the Battletech Universe to fill in the gaps. Epub has a limited appeal to most. There not on bookshelves, there on a website that you have to look to find. A paperback is a physical object someone can pick up off a shelf and look at and buy. Epub might be cheaper, but DTF will get sales. And I can even give an example of it working. Black Library. I don't play GW games anymore, but I still read the Horus Heresy novels and look at what other books they put out. There getting sales off of me, and I want to give CGL money for novels too.
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