Michael A. Stackpole

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Michael A. Stackpole

Michael A. Stackpole (born 1957) is, among other things, a science fiction author best known for his Star Wars and BattleTech books.


Michael A. Stackpole was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, but raised in Vermont. He has a BA in History from the University of Vermont.

From 1977 on, he worked as a designer of role-playing games for various gaming companies, and wrote dozens of magazine articles for the industry. During this time, in response to the accusations of Patricia Pulling and a few others who felt that the "occult" elements of Dungeons & Dragons were driving people to Satanism, murder and suicide, perhaps even as part of a vast Satanic ritual abuse conspiracy, Stackpole did a research study on all American legal cases where injury or death had been attributed to gaming, and found that not only were the links to gaming very weak, but that even if all of the reports had been valid, they showed that gamers were violent or suicidal far less often than the general public (see External links below).

In the 1980s, Stackpole began designing computer games for Coleco and then Interplay Productions. The best known was Bard's Tale III. He also designed and wrote for role-playing games such as Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes and Wasteland. In the case of Wasteland, he is featured not only in the credits, but also in a photo on the inside cover of the box art, where 6 of the game's scenario designers and 1 tester donned costumes to represent ingame characters. [1]

In 1986, Stackpole wrote his first novel, the fantasy story of Talion: Revenant. However, the manuscript would not be published until 1997 by Bantam Books. His editors believed that a 175,000 word book was too long for an unknown author. The story remained unpublished for the next eleven years and then only minor changes were effected by Stackpole's editor, Anne Lesley Groell. Stackpole clarifies these issues himself in the afterword of the published version of Talion.

In 1987, he began writing novels set in the BattleTech universe for FASA, and became one of the most popular authors in that genre. Some of his BattleTech books were used as the source for a televised animated series.

Based on that popularity, he was selected to write several novels in the Star Wars universe for Bantam Books.

In addition, he has written several highly praised novels and short stories based in settings of his own creation. His most recent complete series is called the DragonCrown War Cycle. Like many of his works, these books break many fantasy conventions: among other things, the stories feature the advent of firearms in a fantasy setting.

Stackpole contributed one of the four stories in Roger Zelazny's shared world anthology called Forever After. Baen Books published Forever After in 1995. He was also a contributor in the 1998 anthology Lord of the Fantastic commemorating Zelazny.

The first of his next series (The Age of Discovery trilogy) came out in March of 2005, and is set in yet another all-new fantasy world, with an unconventional approach to magic and mastery in any given field. The second in this new trilogy was released February 28, 2006.

In the forward to his book Outbound Flight, Timothy Zahn thanks Stackpole and issues a challenge at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.

He has been contracted to produce several original novellas or a full original novel (in ebook format) based in the 3025 era of BattleTech as backer rewards for the Kickstarter campaign for the new Battletech PC game by Harebrained Schemes. The exact item to be produced depends on the outcome of the Kickstarter, and several funding levels for the campaign include either cameo or featured appearances by backer created characters in this work.

The Secrets[edit]


Michael Stackpole also writes and publishes an online newsletter entitled The Secrets. The Secrets newsletter offers tips, tricks, and tidbits about writing (focusing on, but not limited it, science fiction and fantasy). It is aimed towards the serious writer, and includes information about getting books published, but casual writers can certainly benefit as well. Topics discussed in the newsletter range from how to beat writer's block to how to build a world, and even how to manage writing as a career.

The Secrets newsletter requires a subscription. Issues are released every two weeks. Several sample issues are available on Stackpole's website.


The Secrets newsletter has an "audio companion" in The Secrets podcast. The first ten podcasts were based on material from the first ten issues of The Secrets newsletter. After the first series ended, the content of the podcast diverged from the newsletter. The podcasts average twenty-five minutes long and are voiced and produced by Stackpole.

The podcasts are free and require no subscription, but older episodes have been retired and are no longer available on the main archive.


Age of Discovery[edit]

Published by Bantam Books

  • 2005 A Secret Atlas
  • 2006 Cartomancy
  • 2007 The New World

DragonCrown War[edit]

Published by Bantam Books

  • 2000 The Dark Glory War
  • 2001 Fortress Draconis
  • 2002 When Dragons Rage
  • 2003 The Grand Crusade



Blood of Kerensky[edit]

Other BattleTech[edit]

MechWarrior: Dark Age[edit]

Star Wars[edit]

  • 1996 X-Wing: Rogue Squadron (Bantam Books)
  • 1996 X-Wing: Wedge's Gamble (Bantam Books)
  • 1996 X-Wing: The Krytos Trap (Bantam Books)
  • 1997 X-Wing: The Bacta War (Bantam Books)
  • 1998 I, Jedi (Bantam Books)
  • 1999 X-Wing: Isard's Revenge (Bantam Books)
  • 2000 The New Jedi Order - Dark Tide I: Onslaught (Del Rey Books)
  • 2000 New Jedi Order - Dark Tide II: Ruin (Del Rey Books)

Dark Conspiracy[edit]

Published by GDW

  • 1991 A Gathering Evil
  • 1991 Evil Ascending
  • 1992 Evil Triumphant


  • 1994 Once a Hero (Bantam Books)
  • 1994 Dementia (Roc/Target)
  • 1997 Talion: Revenant (Bantam Books)
  • 1997 A Hero Born (HarperPrism)
  • 1998 An Enemy Reborn (HarperPrism)
  • 1998 Wolf and Raven (Roc/FASA)
  • 1998 Eyes of Silver (Bantam Books)

Other Publications[edit]

  • 1989 Game Hysteria and the Truth
  • 1990 The Pulling Report
  • 1994 GAMA News, Model Retailer, March, 98-99

External links[edit]

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