Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
In the last chapter of Robotech Colonel Wolff attempted to restore his family only to learn that bad decisions of his past and the previously unknown time dilation of travelling through folded space has ruined any hope of a reconciliation with his wife and son. What he doesn’t yet know is that he is part of a power struggle between the government and the military to become the leading authority before the arrival of the Invid. Meanwhile the Shimada family is dipping their own toes into the struggle by using the former 15th ATAC and the Starchildren to eliminate what they see is opposition to peaceful coexistence with the Invid, a plan doomed to failure.
I didn’t expect a whole lot of mecha fights in this book and I’m not sure how you’d do it. There are no surviving pockets of Masters’ forces loyal to the goals of the Elders, which were unsuccessful anyway. You couldn’t do their version of a “malcontent uprising” because they don’t have the same baggage as the Zentraedi…in fact you could make they case that they’re part of the Zentraedi’s baggage. According to the show the Invid’s attack was so swift and deadly that there was no initial opposition and it was only the first attempt at retaking Earth from the Invid that served as the first real battle in the war. As someone not usually into political intrigue I’m somehow still enjoying this book. Maybe it’s the characters I already know, but there are plenty of stories that make that unlikely. The presentation is better than the Op Center book I reviewed before. Whatever the case it’s time to see what happens to our heroes next…and which group is responsible for it.
The blurb for this chapter talks about how Wolff and Carpenter would have a falling out later on during the third war, so maybe there was some kind of combat after all before the first attempt at reclaiming the planet? I’m not sure what direction McKinney went with the novels on this. The chapter itself opens with their first meeting on Earth before the debriefing. It’s a nice reunion of fellow REF combatants though Carpenter was never part of the Sentinels and didn’t actually fight alongside Wolff. It doesn’t really bog down with exposition of events we were aware of or don’t contribute to the story but something they would bring up prior to the briefing.
When the briefing starts we see that the UEG, or at least the senator in attendance, is just as naïve as Shimada, thinking they can make peace with the Invid before they try to conquer the place. That might have worked for the Masters, and it might even have worked for the Zentraedi had the original Zor not set the SDF-1‘s auto defenses to blow up any Zentraedi ship in sensor range. Wolff confirms that it won’t fly with the Invid, though Dana has to convince Fredricks, Nova, and Senator Nitwit (not his actual last name but it should be) to listen to the guys who actually fought the Invid.
Wolff’s plan is interesting. Basically, let the Invid have the big Flower Of Life area with what amounts to volunteer slaves and then work on guerilla tactics to eventually push them off-planet. In theory it isn’t a bad plan and he hasn’t been there for an actual Invid invasion. He has talked to members of the Sentinels that were there when they did and of course Tirol itself was invaded just before the Robotech Expeditionary Force arrived. On the other hand I can also see why the senator thinks nobody’s really going to agree to this plan. Maybe Wolff didn’t stress the volunteer part enough but at the same time he’s basically saying to let the Invid conquer Earth to people who haven’t seen what the Invid have done to other conquered worlds. It makes sense that it’s a hard sell.
Then we get the potential hitch in what’s left of Wolff’s other plan when they want to see about giving the ship the ability to fold again. I’m not sure why Wolff wouldn’t trust these guys who want to go back to tell Tirol what’s going on, but he’s hoping Louie is the wrong guy for the job and won’t see the engines already can fold. What he doesn’t know is that Shimada wants to get rid of the ship for his even dumber plan of how to play nice with the Invid or that Dana wants to use the ship to get the Tirolians home. It should be interesting to see how these various factions end up uniting against other factions even though we know how it all turns out…badly. I also find it interesting given how Wolff turns out later when Scott is basically committing that very plan while Wolff puts out his fake waves for protoculture.
Next chapter of Robotech it looks like we’ll finally meet the Starchildren. What role will this cult play in all of this nonsense and are they overdoing the various factions as the UEG and GMP vie for control, Shimada vies for themselves, Wolff vies for basically nobody, and Dana vies for the refugees of the Masters flagship. Be sure to read Chapter Eleven, the next chapter in the odyssey of Robotech.
Yes, I can see why the next time segments were written this way. It’s fun to right.