I’d be really curious how many people who read this post are already familiar with BattleTech.
For those who aren’t, here’s a very brief summary: BattleTech was originally designed as a board game in the 1980s, but then grew into a somewhat enormous universe. There have been over 100 novels written about the universe, video games, card games, and even an animated TV show. The world revolves primarily around combat between huge, 30-100 ton war machines.
I came to the world through the novels. In middle school I was looking for something new, and the images of giant machines fighting on the covers of trade paperbacks were enough to make me ask for one every time I visited a bookstore.
As a younger reader, I loved the books. They are filled with action, and were my sci-fi equivalent of candy. I remember a vacation when I packed one duffel bag full of clothes and another full of Battletech books. My parents actually got after me because we were driving through beautiful national parks and I had my face buried deep in my books.
However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve occasionally gone back and reread a handful of the books. Every time I do, I discover something I was too young to realize before. Most recently, I’ve realized that the novels, in particular, have created a universe almost unparalleled outside of comic books. The universe spans hundreds of worlds, hundreds of years, and a cast of characters both loved and hated. There have been universe-altering events, much like the crossover events of Marvel comics.
The scope of what the universe accomplished, especially considering the fact that the books were written in the 90s, before shared universes were common, is terribly impressive. Even decades after the creation of Battletech, there are new games coming out (and yes, I play Mechwarrior Online and the brand new Battletech game. I love them both.), and there are fans who remain committed to the universe.
I think that what I love about this universe is that there are so many ways to fall in love. If you like tactical board games, there’s an entry point. If you love thoughtful, first person shooters, there’s an entry point. And if you simply enjoy stories where 100 ton machines duke it out with overpowered weapons, there’s a place for you, too.