Talk:Far Country

Archived forum thread[edit]

On 24 Sep, 2009, 02:21:07 am, User DOC_Angren posted the following in a thread called "Far Country" on the CBT forum (retrieved for reference from the forum archive):
(Begin quote)

I have to admit yep Peter does show LAM done right Wink and have to remember the big thing that came out about the sametime for BT was Explorer Corps and this was in theory 1st of a Series of Explorer Corps Novel, and Peter had a FASA deal for another book as well. After this book was released, that got pulled.

At the same time, it not a mainstream CBT but does show what can happen when U misjump.

I did know Peter back in the Day and visited his store in Bath, Maine

(End quote) Frabby 11:44, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

About aliens[edit]

User is correct when he argues that Jordan Weisman felt aliens were out of place in the BattleTech universe (thanks for citing the source, btw!). In his 1988 introduction to Shrapnel, Weisman wrote (on page 6): "What I wanted was a universe that had a taste of the alien, but did not contain aliens." However, I do not think this citation can be taken to mean that there positively are no aliens in the BT universe:

  • Technically, Weisman states here what he had in mind when designing the universe - which is not neccessarily the same thing as how the universe turned out. Also consider that aliens in fact do not play any significant role. Besides the Tetatae I can only think of the swamp people (who captured Ardan Sortek on Stein's Folly in The Sword and the Dagger) who pass for sentient aliens, and neither plays any significant role in the universe. There is also a plethora of comic-style alien pets and plants which are in fact quite ubiquitous throughout the novels and sourcebooks.
  • As for the question what constitutes Canon, novels are always considerd full canon. They flesh out the universe that Weisman only created in sketches, and the more detailed sources are usually held to trump more general information.
  • Similarly, it is held that among canonical sources, later publications trump earlier publications where they contradict them. This is certainly the case here for Far Country (which was published five years later).

There is nothing to suggest that the novel appearances of sentient aliens in two cases should be regarded as apocryphical, imho. I am therefore inclined to change the text back to read "canonical" in a few weeks time. Before I change it again, however, I would like to see a discussion here (to avoid an edit war). Frabby 04:08, 8 February 2009 (PST)

I feel that Weissman's comments were pretty clear. He wanted a humans-only universe. While it would have an alien feel, it would contain no aliens. Only non-sentient alien lifeforms would be allowed. The existence of a couple of alien species in novels violates this and should not be considered canon. As a side note, there examples from other science fiction franchises in which certain articles are not considered canon (Star Trek V, for example.) The same idea should be applied here. Enjoy the novels if you will, but do not regard them as part of the regular universe.
I disagree that anything published in a novel can supersede anything published in a sourcebook. How could something published later overrule what was published earlier? If that were the case, any author could rewrite canon as they so choose and nothing would be sacred. What's more, the novel was published by a third-party source and written by an outside author, whereas Shrapnel was published by FASA and penned by the creator himself. (The preceding unsigned comment was made by User on 21:31, 8 February 2009)
Later publications always overrule older publications (until the later publications are themselves undone.) Hence the term "retcon" - retroactive continuity change - that plagues many fictional universes (Star Wars, Star Trek, BattleTech, etc). However, BT authors do not randomly get to rewrite the setting - authors write on topics assigned to them by the Line Developer(s), who have the responsibility of determining how the setting evolves. BT's line developer has a group of fact checkers that keep an eye on old publications so that new drafts do not vary from the continuity set in old publications (in theory). Even the BattleCorps drafts get reviewed, flamed, and even shot down for continuity-related issues, while new sourcebook and rulebook writings get very thorough reviews. This prevents "any author" from randomly changing the setting to suit their whims. But when a deliberate change is made, it supercedes older publications. That's not always a bad thing - some older publications were just plain wrong or silly, and FASA most definitely did not use much in the way of fact checking (which was screamingly obvious when FanPro and Catalyst began working on the new House Handbooks and found all manner of contradictory events.) --Cray 16:42, 8 February 2009 (PST)
If the publishers can retcon as they see fit, then what's the point? Nothing is set and anything goes just because they decide to change their minds? It's fictional, so why not establish a concrete set of rules and the start and not deviate from them. It is too confusing for fans and developers alike to continually change things. The lack of sentient aliens is a cardinal rule in Battletech. It was always meant to be a humans-only universe. I understand correcting errata, but the basic premises must remain concrete.
There's a difference between "can" and "do." The whole point of the Line Developer/Fact Checker system that I explained at length is to make sure the core tenets of the setting stay intact and prevent accidental or deliberate, excessive changes to some core feature of the setting. Far Country was written in an era when such safeties were not in place and thus we're stuck with it - I'd point out, though, that Far Country was written when Weisman was still actively participating in the writing and reviewing of BattleTech. Keep that in mind when trying to say what he had in mind for the setting. --Cray 10:39, 9 February 2009 (PST)
To expand on what Weisman did, it's also worth pointing out that he tried to create a setting that involved latter day knights in giant robots in a future feudal society, where mechs were only being repaired with salvaging and shrinking stockpiles of supplies. What he put into practice in TRO:3025 and the House Sourcebooks of the 1986-1988 period was a setting where most planets in the Free Worlds, Lyran Commonwealth, and Federated Suns were run by representative democracies; those planets had huge, wealthy, literate populations with advanced technology; and 'mechs were being built by the hundreds (for armies far too small for the populations). Continuity issues that date to Weissman's period are still bedeviling writers to this day. Far Country is no different - aliens in an alien-free setting. --Cray 10:39, 9 February 2009 (PST)
I am not going to start an edit war; I have better things to do with my time. While I still maintain that I am correct, I would suggest, as a compromise, to call Far Country neither canonical nor apocryphal while still leaving in the comment left by a previous author that "many fans feel [the novel] should have no place in the fictional BattleTech universe." (The preceding unsigned comment was made by User on 21:31, 8 February 2009)
Far Country is a published BattleTech novel. Explain to me how that constitutes "doubtful authenticity". There is very little that is more authentic. While Far Country is probably the most disliked novels among the BT community, that does not mean it is not canon. It is simply a plot line that has mostly been allowed to die. Show me a source that directly contradicts Far Country's portrayal of alien beings. Just because you don't like it does not mean that isn't a part of BattleTech. --Scaletail 18:58, 8 February 2009 (PST)
What exactly are you quoting? I never used the term "doubtful authenticity." I already named my source. It was Jordan Weissman in Shrapnel. You don't get more authentic than that. The existence of sentient aliens is not in any way canonical. Like it or not, there are no sentient aliens in Battletech. (The preceding unsigned comment was made by User on 17:58, 9 February 2009)
Until Far Country is deemed non-canonical by a Line Developer (as happened with Battletechnology), it's canonical, particularly because it was published after Shrapnel. The writers and line developer really try to ignore Far Country, but it is canon at this time. --Cray 10:39, 9 February 2009 (PST)
I think it would be more correct to say that there were no sentient aliens in BattleTech... until they were written in. And they have been. The Sword and the Dagger (spear-toting alien swamp people capturing Ardan Sortek) was published even a year prior to Shrapnel. And Jordan Weisman's opinion is not the only one that matters, especially since the intellectual property has been sold on. Nowadays, the man who decides what is Canon and what is not is Herbert A. Beas II and he was quite clear on the fact that all novels that were published in English are full canon. See also Policy:Canon and especially Policy Talk:Canon for more information on this particular issue., I encourage you to register as a user. Also please do sign your comments with four tildes (~). I have taken the liberty to do some reformatting and cleanup to this page. Frabby 10:43, 9 February 2009 (PST)
The definition of "apocryphal" is "of doubtful authenticity". By calling a published novel "apocryphal", you are saying you doubt its authenticity. Read what the line developer said about canon here. Note that the first thing he mentions as canon is "All sourcebooks and novels produced for BattleTech by FASA and Roc in the United States [my emphasis]". You will note that he never lists "statements made by developers" or anything remotely close to it. Therefore, Far Country is canon, statements made by Jordan Weisman are not. --Scaletail 11:28, 9 February 2009 (PST)
The loss of the Vost Lance and the Telendine are actually mentioned in Explorer Corps (sourcebook), p. 24, where it is noted that the practice of commandeering civilian vessels was ended by the Draconis Combine after this incident. Frabby 07:42, 14 February 2009 (PST)


Did some rework of the article. The issues discussed here actually belong to Canon (my fault for not having finished that yet!) and Aliens, a new article that I shall write now. Hope we can all live with that. Frabby 02:09, 9 February 2009 (PST)