Robotech: Doomsday is written by Jack Mckinney. What you might not realize is that name on the cover is what James Luceno and Brian Daley went by when they co-wrote the novel. Separately, each of them made their mark on Star Wars, but together, they formed the literary universe of Robotech.
Now I’ve never watched Robotech, and up until now, my only exposure has been comments made by the likes of Dave Filoni and Bryan Young on various podcasts. Nevertheless, I saw the book and had to get it, even it it was the sixth book in a series I knew nothing about. The good news is the first part of the book goes a long way in immersing the reader in this wild, imaginative sci-fi setting populated by mystical civilizations, robots and a thing called Protoculture.
In the book, Protoculture is revealed to be a marvelous substance that allows space travel at great speeds. When introduced to technology, it improves it, to the point that an entire race of sentient constructs called the Zentraedi is created. When exposed to lifeforms, it alters them, often enabling extraordinary abilities. Yet Protoculture has become a rare substance. Furthermore, its use has led to wars between humans and machines.
The majority of Doomsday takes place on Earth. After a traumatic war between the Zentraedi and humans, both sides come to terms and try to find the secrets of Protoculture hidden in Zor’s super dimension fortress. Yet warring Zentraedi remain which leads to new battles. Heroes emerge, villains fall, and the influence of Japanese anime creeps in.
On one hand, it’s a fascinating story. I really enjoyed the lore elements, the history of Zor and his discovery and use of Protoculture. On the other hand, the characters do feel like anime characters, which gives the story a soap opera quality. One of the main characters is Rick who has two women interested in him. He has a hard time choosing between them and a love triangle is waged throughout the book. When not fighting in a mech or warship, he’s jumping between women and making bad choices. He’s pretty much clueless when it comes to relationships. I have to admit it leads to some infuriating moments where you’re yelling at the characters in the book to stop being so stupid as they are very naive when it comes to love.
So there’s some give and take to the story. The soap opera characters are in the middle of a titanic clashing of empires and mystical technological powers. Now I wouldn’t recommend jumping straight into the sixth book in the series like I did. However, if you’re a fan of Brian Daley and James Luceno, you might want to check out the Robotech books and see what the series is all about. It’s a pretty far out read. I give Doomsday a three and half out of five metal bikinis.