Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine

Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 8:09pm CDT

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Suvudu has posted an interview with Alex Irvine, author of Transformers: Exiles which was released yesterday. The interview can be read here, however it has been posted below for your convenience.

The epic battles between Optimus Prime and Megatron have long thrilled Transformers fans. But these two giants weren’t always great leaders and bitter foes. This new novel continues the electrifying saga that started with Transformers: Exodus, unveiling the origins of the conflict—the explosive events that unfolded before Optimus and Megatron arrived Earthside, forever altering the destiny of their kind.


Suvudu wrote:Shawn Speakman: Hi Alex! You’ve written two tie-in novels for Transformers — EXODUS and EXILES. How did you get the chance to work on one of the most recognized franchises on the planet?

Alex Irvine: Well, that was thanks to Tricia Pasternak. I’d worked with her on an Iron Man novel and (memory fails) a couple of other things. When the Transformers project rolled around she asked me if I was interested…and of course I was. Then I had a bunch of conversations with Michael Kelly and the rest of the cool cats at Hasbro, and off we went.

SS: Where do these books fit in with the chronology of the movies and how much liberty were you given since they were prequels?

AI: I had a lot of liberty within the broader parameters of Hasbro continuity. In Exodus, my mandate was essentially to tell the history of the civil war and tie it to the portions of the story presented in the War for Cybertron video game. Transmedia! But within that framework, I could do anything. I wanted Optimus to believe what Megatron was preaching initially, so that when Megatron betrays his own principles it’s a real shock to Optimus, and leaves a scar that never quite heals. Exiles continues that story and also tees up some things that you might see in the coming season (or seasons?) of Transformers: Prime.

(By the way, speaking of Megatron: for those Suvududes of either sex who do not follow the NFL, the Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is nicknamed Megatron.)

SS: What kinds of things will Transformers fans learn if they read EXILES?

AI: They will learn about lost Cybertronian colonies—including Velocitron and Junkion; some of the history of the Thirteen; and how Optimus deals with betrayal when he has to confront the fact that one of the Autobots is a spy for Megatron. Also there are cool fights. They might see a kind of bot that is very rarely seen, and they will certainly learn something interesting about the origin of Junkion. And did I mention the…? Oh. I can’t mention those.

SS: Got a favorite Transformer? And I have to know, do you own him in toy form?

AI: Starscream! And yes, although my son Ian took him apart a while back and we never did find all the pieces. So he has transformed into something else.

SS: An age-old question: Can Optimus and Megatron ever settle their differences and become friends again?

AI: I envision the two of them on the porch of the Home for Aged Star-Faring Cybertronians in Iacon, sipping Maccadam’s and…by which I mean no. I think that Megatron would never let it happen. He’s too resentful about Optimus becoming the standard-bearer for the movement Megatron created, and he’s also never going to get over Optimus being named Prime.

SS: You are always busy with something. What are you currently working on and when will we be able to see it?

I’m putting the finishing touches on my Star Wars novel right now. It’s due to come out at the end of next year. I would tell you the title, but I’m still fiddling with different ideas. I wrote the novelization of the Tintin movie that’s coming out this Christmas; the book is out November 1. That was a great excuse to dig back into Tintin comics. I’m trying to teach the baby to say “Blistering barnacles!”

Also I am working on a couple of different game development projects, one of which will go live in January. And I’ve got three novels on the boil. I’m hoping to finish one of them by spring, but I don’t know which one.

SS: Thanks Alex!

AI: Thanks Suvudu!

Credit(s): Suvudu.com


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Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1296944)
Posted by SlyTF1 on October 5th, 2011 @ 9:20pm CDT
So, this book is about the Primes!? Hellz yeah! Les' go! Les' go! I'm going to try to get it this week!
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1296947)
Posted by SirSoundwaveIV on October 5th, 2011 @ 9:23pm CDT
Got it ordered, coming next week.
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1296957)
Posted by Sabrblade on October 5th, 2011 @ 10:36pm CDT
Darn it, I wanna read it but have no time to! :BOOM:
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1297059)
Posted by Tigertrack on October 6th, 2011 @ 9:55am CDT
Still have to buy it, and I must say, it sounds interesting, and it was unfortunate that I already looked at the spoilers. Just couldn't help myself... :-x
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1297071)
Posted by gothsaurus on October 6th, 2011 @ 10:45am CDT
I actually really enjoyed the first book... with only very minor complaints. :APPLAUSE: (Usually reading this sort of thing, you encounter so many that's-not-cannon! events or traits, you can't enjoy them... especially with so many different timelines... movie, classic, animated, prime, armada....) Anyway, will definitely be picking this up.

The only other TF novel I really got a kick out of was the Legends book of short stories. Very fun stuff... especially the one with the obscure dinobot Paddles. I seriously recommend picking that one up. Paddles rules. :grin:
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1297074)
Posted by Tigertrack on October 6th, 2011 @ 11:08am CDT
gothsaurus wrote:I actually really enjoyed the first book... with only very minor complaints. :APPLAUSE: (Usually reading this sort of thing, you encounter so many that's-not-cannon! events or traits, you can't enjoy them... especially with so many different timelines... movie, classic, animated, prime, armada....) Anyway, will definitely be picking this up.

The only other TF novel I really got a kick out of was the Legends book of short stories. Very fun stuff... especially the one with the obscure dinobot Paddles. I seriously recommend picking that one up. Paddles rules. :grin:


IT is a fun book to read too.
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1297154)
Posted by WiEGoP on October 6th, 2011 @ 2:27pm CDT
I've been digging my way through this, with mixed results.

I personally thought that the Exodus novel was pretty sloppily executed. The prose was really rough, he kept restating characters thoughts and conclusions, and there was no real sense of place or time, and a really jumpy sense of character.

Exiles so far has a much tighter plot, without the fanfictiony buildup of bromance falling into Alpha Trion talking to himself in emo fashion morphing into a ending that felt like the cutscenes of a video game tied together with string.

So far, it lacks the heart and punch of the first book though. Irvine really doesn't give anything in the realm of a truely felt emotional arc. Characters restate their own conclusions to themselves without much real emotion or feeling. And characters act out of character all the time. Jazz is especially bad about this, he seems to be whatever the plot needs him to be at that given moment. And I seriously think he's trying to drive Bumblebee to suicide with heartless teasing.

Concepts jump up at really weird times though. As if Irvine forgot to put them in earlier, then included them, but couldn't be bothered to go back and edit what he'd already written. It wasn't until way past halfway through that we're told learn that the Velocitronians arrived on Velocitron on the Ogygia. And for a while the ship is mentioned every two paragraphs, and then is seemingly forgotten again. As someone who isn't very familiar with the Unicron trilogy, THAT would be something to mention in the beginning.

And if I have to hear about how the Velocitroinans like to go fast, or how much Optimus admires the Junkions for their industriousness I'm gonna throw the fraggin' book through a fraggin' Space Bridge.

Overall, like Exodus, it reads like a first draft written as quickly as possible that no one bothered to go back and edit for better plotting, characterization, or arcs.

I especially love how after the complete Furmanistic mancentration camp of Exodus, we get Override and Solus Primewith no explanation at all.

That being said, the mythos that it seems to be setting up is interesting. If you're a continuity completist whore like I am it's defs worth a look.
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1297824)
Posted by Stormer on October 8th, 2011 @ 10:11am CDT
Started reading Exiles last night, and so far, I'm not dazzled, but not disappointed either. I remember reading Exodus and thinking that it wasn't very well thought out, so I'm hoping this one is an improvement. So, I guess I'd better get back to reading so I can form an actual opinion...
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1297937)
Posted by CelticDragon on October 8th, 2011 @ 4:33pm CDT
I finished Exiles this morning and while I enjoyed it, I admit to being slightly disappointed. There were several times when I thought something epic was going to occur, only for the situation to end rather anticlimactically or veer off in some other direction. I felt like some of the introductions were done just to add those characters' names to the count rather than because they planned a real part in the plot.

I agree with the WiEGoP that some characters seem to be whatever the plot needs them to be at the moment without bothering to stick to personalities.

It's been long enough since I read Exodus that I can't really remember any key points (which might say something right there) so can't really compare the 2. Exiles wasn't a bad read and I'll stick with the series (I assume there's another one coming) but I felt like it could have been taken more seriously.
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1298510)
Posted by gothsaurus on October 10th, 2011 @ 8:55am CDT
I think my gripe so far... it seems like a mix of too many universes. War for Cybertron, Movie continuity, and G1. Mixing all of them just feels odd. (Bulkhead on the Ark for example.)
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1298534)
Posted by Sabrblade on October 10th, 2011 @ 10:03am CDT
gothsaurus wrote:I think my gripe so far... it seems like a mix of too many universes. War for Cybertron, Movie continuity, and G1. Mixing all of them just feels odd. (Bulkhead on the Ark for example.)
It's not a mixing of universes. It's a mixing of elements from these universes. ;)
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1298537)
Posted by gothsaurus on October 10th, 2011 @ 10:12am CDT
Sabrblade wrote:It's a mixing of elements from these universes. ;)


Ha ha. You got me on semantics. True there...

I can't help thinking of the old Reeses peanut butter cup commercial....

(in Ironhide voice) "Aw, Prime. Ya got movie-verse in my G1-verse!"

And you know that's gonna stain. #-o :sad:
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1298605)
Posted by WiEGoP on October 10th, 2011 @ 12:45pm CDT
I don't mind the mixing the verses as long as it's done well. I think it's important to pull elements from as many previous incarnations as possible to make your continuity casserole taste fresh and interesting, even if it is just recycled bits of earlier series. It was nice to see Velocitron and Override, if only Irvine had made them interesting at all. Still I hope some of those concepts find their way into the mainstream G1/BeastWars/Furman pot that aligned seems to be dipping into for all its plot points.

I finished the book a few days ago and the last half is much better than the first, and overall it is much better plotted than Exodus. The Junkion portion is much better, and I found myself kinda liking Irvine's take on the Junkions and Wreck-Gar, when he managed to stick with his speech idioms for them. I liked the Alpha Trion bits in this book okay, despite the the 'vertiginous decent' style of meta-angst that Alpha Trion kept whining about. The Solus Prime stuff is nice, but then again I'm a sucker for them actually EXPLAINING why there are so few fembots. (Can has toy of her naow? With Hammurz?)And it's really funny to have two of the least known fembots get significant parts with nary a sight of Arcee, Elita, or a Blackarachnia.

Nexuspops up to do almost absolutely nothing except give Prime a sword that he uses for two minutes before losing, Prime goes to see Vectorwho tells him absolutely nothing for nearly three pages of dialogue. No less than three super-weapons are found, used, and then junked. And pointless space pirates were pointless!

And what kinda name is AmalgamousPrime? He sounds like something they do to a government issued food product.
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1302669)
Posted by Bleak5170 on October 19th, 2011 @ 11:41am CDT
Reading it now and all I have to say do far is, "What happened to Ironhide?" He was there on the ship with the rest of the Autobots at the end of Exodus and he's completely gone in Exiles. He was mistakenly mentioned on page 26, (was actually Ratchet, not Ironhide), but that's all I've seen so far.

Did Hasbro tell Alex that since he's dead in the movies now, disregard him in the books, (even though they are different continuities)?
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1302673)
Posted by Tigertrack on October 19th, 2011 @ 11:50am CDT
Bleak5170 wrote:Reading it now and all I have to say do far is, "What happened to Ironhide?" He was there on the ship with the rest of the Autobots at the end of Exodus and he's completely gone in Exiles. He was mistakenly mentioned on page 26, (was actually Ratchet, not Ironhide), but that's all I've seen so far.

Did Hasbro tell Alex that since he's dead in the movies now, disregard him in the books, (even though they are different continuities)?


No, he's in there more. It's just kind of odd how the grouping works, and as was said before, some characters are just there to fill a needed role, but not necessarily representative of what we previously thought they were.

I do like that they have written Prowl as more than a logical whiner, his detective personality is a welcome change. I'm about 50 pages from done. It's okay. But I feel like I am watching/reading Armada and Cybertron, not this story that is supposed to be set... wait when is it?

I guess I should just wait for the Sabrblade cliffnotes before trying to actually understand how it all fits with the previous continuities.
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1302689)
Posted by Sabrblade on October 19th, 2011 @ 12:24pm CDT
tigertracks 24 wrote:But I feel like I am watching/reading Armada and Cybertron, not this story that is supposed to be set... wait when is it?
Post-Exodus, TF: Prime's ancient past.

tigertracks 24 wrote:I guess I should just wait for the Sabrblade cliffnotes before trying to actually understand how it all fits with the previous continuities.
Oh, oh, man, I dunno if I could do that again with this book. I mean, I just finished reading it a few days ago and...

This book is just so darn confusing! As soon as I finished reading it, I thought, " |:| ...That's it? That's how it ends? ...What did I just read?" :???:

I mean, I could barely make heads or tails of the whole Junkion story. The entire book's second half was barely comprehensible! I got a basic idea of what was going on, but there were too many things crammed in that, together, just made no sense whatsoever! :HEADHURTS:

Like, take the pirates, for example. These "Star Seekers". WHO WERE THEY?!!! WHAT POINT DID THEY HAVE IN THE STORY?!! What did they ADD to it?! WHY were they necessary?! I'm sure the next book will explain their cause... but would it have killed Alex Irvine to tell us about this in THIS book?!

Argh! And the spelling errors! Come on! "Autobtots," "spinnning", these are grade school mistakes! :BANG_HEAD:

The Velocitron part of the story was okay, but... dull. My biggest complaint was the uneven length of each chapter. Chapter 1, six pages. Chapter 2, four pages. Chapter 3, seven pages. Chapter 4, THIRTY-THREE PAGES!!! And it continued throughout the book. A few short chapters with a ginormous chapter popping up out of nowhere! Again and AGAIN! :BOOM:

I'd have to read this book again to get it, but frankly, I really don't want to right now! I could barely stand it! Too much nonsense went into this book coupled with some very tedious exposition and really vapid action. I know this is a premature rating, but I'm calling this book a "C-". [-(
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1302701)
Posted by Tigertrack on October 19th, 2011 @ 12:41pm CDT
I think your rating may be a bit generous.
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1302720)
Posted by Bleak5170 on October 19th, 2011 @ 1:48pm CDT
tigertracks 24 wrote:
Bleak5170 wrote:Reading it now and all I have to say do far is, "What happened to Ironhide?" He was there on the ship with the rest of the Autobots at the end of Exodus and he's completely gone in Exiles. He was mistakenly mentioned on page 26, (was actually Ratchet, not Ironhide), but that's all I've seen so far.

Did Hasbro tell Alex that since he's dead in the movies now, disregard him in the books, (even though they are different continuities)?


No, he's in there more. It's just kind of odd how the grouping works, and as was said before, some characters are just there to fill a needed role, but not necessarily representative of what we previously thought they were.



Ah gotcha. Thanks for clearing that up. It seems to me like these books are kind of along the same lines as the video games, (War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron), and use most of the characters seen in the movies, (O.P., Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet), and other recent TF media such as Animated, (Bulkhead, Prowl).
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1302724)
Posted by Tigertrack on October 19th, 2011 @ 2:09pm CDT
Bleak5170 wrote:
tigertracks 24 wrote:
Bleak5170 wrote:Reading it now and all I have to say do far is, "What happened to Ironhide?" He was there on the ship with the rest of the Autobots at the end of Exodus and he's completely gone in Exiles. He was mistakenly mentioned on page 26, (was actually Ratchet, not Ironhide), but that's all I've seen so far.

Did Hasbro tell Alex that since he's dead in the movies now, disregard him in the books, (even though they are different continuities)?


No, he's in there more. It's just kind of odd how the grouping works, and as was said before, some characters are just there to fill a needed role, but not necessarily representative of what we previously thought they were.



Ah gotcha. Thanks for clearing that up. It seems to me like these books are kind of along the same lines as the video games, (War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron), and use most of the characters seen in the movies, (O.P., Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet), and other recent TF media such as Animated, (Bulkhead, Prowl).


It is true they are throwing all different kinds of characters together who were not previously together. Like we have minicons, and minicon weapons, Velocitron, Ransack and Overdrive, Axer, Wreckgar, Slipstream, and others who are now getting smooshed together with G1 characters who are not G1 characters anymore.

It's all very confusing. Even Sabrblade, who knows everything, is confused. As I hear it, all these incarnations together in EXODUS and then EXILES are supposed to be headed towards TF Prime being the future, so Bulkhead, Ratchet, the non-speaking Bbee, and Prime all make sense. We don't yet know how others will gel with them, like Arcee, and why they become such a small group in PRIME (forgive me I have only seen an episode here or there of Prime, and have not seen the beginning yet).
Re: Interview with Transformers: Exiles Author Alex Irvine (1302728)
Posted by Sabrblade on October 19th, 2011 @ 2:21pm CDT
tigertracks 24 wrote:It's all very confusing. Even Sabrblade, who knows everything, is confused. As I hear it, all these incarnations together in EXODUS and then EXILES are supposed to be headed towards TF Prime being the future, so Bulkhead, Ratchet, the non-speaking Bbee, and Prime all make sense. We don't yet know how others will gel with them, like Arcee, and why they become such a small group in PRIME (forgive me I have only seen an episode here or there of Prime, and have not seen the beginning yet).
Oh, I get the continuity and character. That I understand.

What I don't understand was the organization and consistency of Exiles's story. Did the planet Junkion get blown up or just get damaged? Was the Nemesis above, below, or in the middle of the pit? Who fought who in the final battle? Why do the Star Seekers want revenge on the Cybertronians? Was the Ark floating out in space, near Junkion, or set on Junkion's surface during the final battle? What happened to Makeshift? Who was part of which team units of the Autobots? Exactly how damaged was the Ark (its frailty varied at different parts of the story, sometimes it was near-destoryed, others it was functional enough fly on its own power). Why were there a bunch of floating wrecks near Solus Prime's forge/tomb?

I'm sure some of these questions will get answered next book, but again, why not answer them in THIS BOOK?!!

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