Michael A. Stackpole: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael A. Stackpole

Michael A. Stackpole at Dragon Con 2007
Born November 27, 1957 (1957-11-27) (age 52)
Wausau, Wisconsin, United States
Occupation writer, game designer
Nationality United States
Period 1977-
Genres role-playing games, fantasy, science fiction

Michael A. Stackpole (born November 27, 1957[1]) is a science fiction and fantasy author best known for his Star Wars and Battletech books. He was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, but raised in Vermont. He has a BA in history from the University of Vermont.


Game design career

From 1977 on, he worked as a designer of role-playing games for various gaming companies, and wrote dozens of magazine articles with limited distribution within the industry. During this time, in response to the accusations of Patricia Pulling (among 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. He 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. His work at Interplay included Bard's Tale III, Wasteland, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Star Trek: Judgment Rites. He also created the role-playing game Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, which provided the game mechanics for Wasteland.

Stackpole loaned his image to Decipher for the image of Corran Horn used in their Star Wars Customizable Card Game expansion "Reflections 2". Timothy Zahn did likewise for the character Talon Karrde.

Stackpole teamed up with Decipher again, helping them write the background story to their WARS TCG, including e-books and other writing tie-ins for the expanded universe.

Writing career

In 1986 Stackpole wrote his first novel, the fantasy story 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 However, the manuscript would not be published until 1997 by Bantam Books.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 and that the story wasn't particularly engaging. The story remained unpublished for the next 11 years until reworked by Stackpole's editor, Anne Lesley Groell. Stackpole clarifies these issues himself in the afterword of the published version of Talion.

Considered by some to be a talented writer, Stackpole has found his greatest success in serialed works that continue the characters and plot lines developed by other authors. In 1987 he began writing novels set in the BattleTech universe for FASA Corporation, 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. He was then selected to write several novels in the Star Wars universe for Bantam Books. He also wrote several comics based in the Star Wars universe for Dark Horse Comics. Initially these covered the period just before his X-Wing novels. Later he also covered the marriage of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade in Union and collaborated with Timothy Zahn on Mara Jade's early career.

In addition, he has written several novels and short stories with original settings. One of his recent series is the DragonCrown War Cycle. These books attempt to break fantasy conventions, including the introduction of firearms in a fantasy setting which is not universally considered a positive advancement.

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 Age of Discovery trilogy is his latest complete series, with A New World released mid-2007. The trilogy is set in a fantasy world, with an attempt at an unconventional approach to magic and mastery.

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

The Secrets


Michael Stackpole also writes and publishes an online newsletter titled The Secrets, which offers tips, tricks, and tidbits about writing (focusing on, but not limited to, science fiction and fantasy). It is aimed towards the serious fan fiction writer and some casual writers, and includes information about getting books published..

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, and issues are released every two weeks.


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.

Stackpole is also one of the main hosts on The Dragon Page Cover to Cover, a book review and interview show dealing mainly with fantasy and sci fi publications, together with Michael R. Mennenga.


Stackpole has been the executive director of the Phoenix Skeptics since 1988 and is listed as the contact for the group in the magazine Skeptical Inquirer.


DragonCrown War

Published by Bantam Books.

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

Age of Discovery

Published by Bantam Books.


Originally Published by FASA Corporation. Later published by Penguin Group/ROCuntil 2007. Catalyst Game Labs in June 2008 announced Mr. Stackpole would be publishing new Core Line - Battletech novel in 2009.

Blood of Kerensky Trilogy
BattleTech Core Novels
Mechwarrior: Dark Age
  • 2002 Ghost War (ROC/WizKids)
  • 2007 Masters of War (ROC/WizKids)

Star Wars

Dark Conspiracy

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

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


  1. ^ Stackpole, Michael. "Michael Stackpole's Myspace Page". Myspace. http://www.myspace.com/talionrevenant. Retrieved 5 December 2008. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Michael A. Stackpole (born 1957) is a science fiction author best known for his Star Wars and Battletech books. He was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, but raised in Vermont. He has a BA in history from the University of Vermont.


  • This, obviously, is a fallacious argument. That same negative evidence can used to "prove" that molemen from beneath the surface of the earth have perpetrated these murders. The fact that the molemen have left no evidence behind proves how good they are at remaining hidden. That no sewer or road building projects have ever cut across their tunnels proves that politicians and engineers and other professionals are in league with the molemen. Just as obviously, anyone who denies the molemen exist is either in league with them, or is a fool who cannot see the end coming.
  • In reality, a person questioning the existence of the Satanic conspiracy is merely pointing out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. In that case, one can understand why the emperor's tailors get upset and suggest the person doing the pointing is a tool of the devil. Then the question comes down to one of whether the crowd will believe the evidence they have before them, or if they will buy into the tailors' fantasies.
  • J. D. Salinger has suggested that authors should be known for their work, not themselves, and in this I concur. It’s not that I want to be a hermit, but I do want to maintain some privacy for myself and my sanity.
  • Most of the writers I know come from a variety of backgrounds: history, journalism, engineering, physics. The common element here is not what you study, but the fact that you learn how to study, to do research, and to synthesize new ideas out of old. The soul of science fiction, and perhaps even all fiction, is to look at a situation and ask, “what would happen if….” Change some variables and see how that makes people react to the situation. So, getting yourself a good grounding in any field of study will supply you with a great background wealth of material to use to build your stories. Then you really just need to start writing and keep writing. Writing is a skills-based endeavor and there is no easy way to become successful at it. Writers write.

External links

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