by Cortana

How to read the Halo books…

ATTENTION: There is an updated version of this article. Please click HERE.

…put on a self-knitted wool sweater, pour yourself a steaming cup of chamomile tea, find your favorite spot on the couch…nah, of course, I’m not talking about that kind of how to. When I bought my first Halo books 3 years ago, I wasn’t really sure which book to start first. I had no idea if there was a chronological order or not. All I knew was, that Fall of Reach was the most popular.

Since then I have made some research on how to read them best.

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To date, we have 13 Halo novels. Halo: The Broken Circle written by John Shirley is the newest addition released in November 2014. In this book, we learn more about the time before the Covenant was created. A time were Elites and Prophets were at war over different interpretations on how to use or not use old Forerunner relics.

This topic puts the book at the beginning of the chronological order, right after the Forerunner Saga and before Halo: Contact Harvest.

But first we will start with a list of the books in order of their release date:

  • 2001: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund
  • 2003 (Apr): The Flood by William C.Dietz
  • 2003 (Dec): First Strike by Eric Nylund
  • 2006: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund
  • 2007: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten
  • 2008: The Cole Protocol by Tobias Buckell
  • 2009: Evolutions (Collection of short stories from Traviss, Nylund, Buckell or Frank O’Connor)
  • 2011(Jan): Cryptum by Greg Bear (Book 1 Forerunner Saga)
  • 2011(Oct): Glasslands by Karen Traviss (Book 1 Kilo Five Trilogy)
  • 2012 (Jan): Primordium by Greg Bear (Book 2 Forerunner Saga)
  • 2012 (Oct): Thursday War by Karen Traviss (Book 2 Kilo Five Trilogy)
  • 2013: Silentium by Greg Bear (Book 3 Forerunner Saga)
  • 2014 (Jan): Mortal Didacta by Karen Traviss (Book 3 Kilo Five Trilogy)
  • 2014 (Nov): The Broken Circle by John Shirley

The first 3 were published by Del Rey, the other ones are all published at Tor Books. The latest one The Broken Circle came out at Gallery Books. If you are a die-hard Halo fan who read all the books when they came out, you’re definitely a very cool person. If you are like me, a die-hard fan as well, but slowly exploring and discovering the Halo universe, you should consider reading or re-reading the novels in the following order:

  1. Cryptum
  2. Primordium
  3. Silentium
  4. The Broken Circle
  5. Contact Harvest
  6. Fall of Reach
  7. Cole Protocol
  8. The Flood
  9. First Strike
  10. Ghosts of Onyx
  11. Glasslands
  12. Thursday War
  13. Mortal Didacta
  14. Evolutions (You can read these short stories at any point really. I choose to read them last.)

That is at least the order I’m going to read it in. Right now I’m at Fall of Reach. Gotta read it again since it’s been too long. And of course, I haven’t read The Broken Circle yet. I still need to purchase that book.

I began with The Forerunner Saga two years ago I think. I was very confused at first. The Saga is very different from the other books and it takes some effort to really get into the story. For me, not being a native speaker and reading it in English was very hard. All the specific terms and what not had my head spinning. But all in all, I enjoyed the books. Gives you a detailed look into the mysterious Forerunners, who of course had their grand appearance in the game Halo 4. So if you want to know more about the Didact and his wife, the Librarian and the story of the Forerunners, you should definitely read the Saga.

I also really enjoyed Contact Harvest, which tells you the story of Sgt. Avery Johnson and the first human encounter with the Covenant on planet Harvest. It gives you insight on the Covenant, on how the different races live together in High Charity. You learn more about the Prophets (How Truth plotted to become the leader), about the Grunts and Jackals and the Brutes. I loved this book!

So you have books like The Flood by William C. Dietz, that follows the story of an actual Halo game. In this case, Halo Combat Evolved. And you have others, most of them, who give you background info on events of one of the games or just general background info on the Halo universe. You learn so much more about the rich and fantastic story of Halo and lets you understand the games even more. You should definitely replay the games if you read all the books. Or! Or! You could be a real crazy nerdy ass nerd and follow this particular chronological order I found here: halodiehards.net

That, of course, includes all the games at the right point. So you would read a few books, some not even completely, play a game in-between and then go back to the books.

I would looooove to talk to one person who has done it that way. I really would. If you are one of them, please leave a comment.

Important: Support your local bookstore. If they don’t have your book in stock they can order it for you. With the following links you can quickly find a local bookstore in the US and UK:

USA

UK

And now pick up a Halo book and start reading!

The many times Halo has fucked me over. Story time

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Since the beginning of my Halo love I always wanted to write about the many, many times my favorite game has fucked me over. I cannot count how many times I didn’t get an achievement after working my ass off. Playing a level with my bf on legendary for example and after 1 hour of excruciating pain and efforts you finish. You finish and then you wait…and wait…and wait. You start getting nervous, the beloved „pling“ sound is not coming…does that mean I didn’t get my fucking achievement??? Yes it does. You’ve been fucked. And to get things straight: My bf and I don’t do speed runs. We play like we’re supposed to play. Kill every enemy no matter how long it takes us. So we usually need some time for one level. And the disappointment when you complete it and don’t get the reward is just so painful!

It all started on CE. We played the whole campaign on legendary several times now because we had so many moments where it said we hadn’t played some of it. Some times one level was missing, the other time several were missing. They just went from played to „nu nu nu, you hold on fella, you haven’t played that level. Play it again!“

Same goes for skulls. We got all the skulls. Next time we sign in we’re missing 3. Argh!!! I mean don’t get me wrong. I love Halo. I could probably play CE a hundred times without getting bored. But it gets quite annoying when you experience such crap over and over.

Last two times that happened were on MCC. We played, yet again, CE on legendary. Somehow I wouldn’t get the damn achievement for Two Betrayals. So we played it again. Guess what? Did I get it? Nope…And Two Betrayals is one huge level. It seems to never end. Epic, yeah, but loooong.

The other time was on ODST. We realized we never finished it on legendary and were like: „Dude, why?“ So we started and played this awesome game which doesn’t get as much credit as it should get. I just love the atmosphere of it. Most of the times it’s nearly too dark to play but somehow that puts a weird pressure on you which is exciting. And the music!!! Oh good god. Love it! Well as it happened we finished and I was waiting for my epic loot drop, the sought after „pling“ sound, the confirmation that you are one badass. Never came…

Halo wants me to come back. It won’t let me go.

Well, I won’t abandon you.

Wake me when you need me.

Girls Love Halo – Interview with Lily

My dear friend Lily is a die hard Halo fan. Together with her I run the OurLove4Halo Instagram account.

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1. When did you start playing Halo?

The very first time I played any Halo game was my Freshmen year in high school with my best friend, Alan. He had brought over the game and us and 2 other friends played multiplayer. I don’t remember much or which one it was. It was around 2008. I didn’t officially get hooked until my boyfriend introduced me to Halo: Reach. I have been a die hard fan ever since the moment I heard the opening music. Love at first sight.

2. If you could choose to be one character of the Halo universe, who would you be?

The Librarian. She is A Biographical Informer. She gets to study life and Index all species in the galaxy.  Can you imagine all the things she found…?  Amazing!

3. Do you have a favorite Halo quote?

„Reclaimer, when I indexed mankind for re population, I hid seeds from the Didact. Seeds which would lead to an eventuality. Your physical evolution. Your combat skin. Even your ancilla, Cortana. You are the culmination of a thousand lifetimes of planning.“  The Librarian to John-117

4. What do you love most about Halo?

The Story. No matter how many times I play it, I feel like I’m playing it for the first time every time. You get attached to all the characters whether they be UNSC personnel you have to protect throughout the game to the relationship between Chief and Cortana. It makes you laugh… but it will also make you cry. That is what makes the game great.

5. What do you hate most about Halo?

What I hate the most about it really isn’t about the game… but rather the ‚conflict‘ of „You’re either a Halo fan or a COD fan“. When I tell people I play Halo they have to put me and or the game down in some way. It bothers me so much. If you don’t like the game, don’t put it down in a rude way. It will just make me mad. Everyone doesn’t like the same games…

OR

„Tea Bagging“. I absolutely hate when I get Tea Bagged while I play the game… I can accept a defeat. The other team was on their game and mine wasn’t. You don’t have to tea bag me to show me how much you are winning. I don’t care if I know you are not. Please just… don’t.

6. How would you rate your skills in Halo? (1-10)

Oh man, 8 months ago I’d say I was at least a 8… 8.5 at the most… I used to tear up the online multiplayer so much that I used to get some wicked hate mail. Some were a little disrespectful but at least I know I was doing something right. I’ve been called a cheater, modder and everything else under the sun. I even had a „guy“ threaten to „Tell his dad to ban my account and my Xbox forever“ because I was modding. Apparently his dad worked for Microsoft or something. I got so good, me and my friend „KMKZ“ formed our own little ‚Clan‘. KMKZ, Ram and myself were unstoppable in a Big Team battle and SWAT. Though now that I have a full time job I no longer play online multiplayer. I mainly get on to take screenshots for an Instagram page I help run. So I think as of this moment… I’m a 4. 6 if I get to play SWAT.

7. What is your favorite Halo game?

Halo: Reach hands down. That is where it all started for me. There is the music of course and the multiplayer is amazing. (I was one of the ones who pretty much perfected armor lock…got lots of hate mail for that as well). I spent many hours on Firefight. Think I did all I could do on Firefight even before I officially beat the campaign. I was such a noob at Halo I needed all the practice I could get and Firefight was the best place to do so. The Campaign is probably one of the saddest games I’ve played (Besides the end of Halo 4). Kat’s death still is the worst one for me… I still tear up when I have to watch that cut scene.

8. What do you prefer? Campaign or multiplayer?

Good question… Im not sure how to answer. I feel like I should say Campaign…though I normally play the campaign no more than twice all the way through and then I play nothing but multiplayer. So I guess I prefer online multiplayer. Nothing beats a great SWAT game.

9. Which games besides Halo do you play?

I am always behind on games. I never get them as soon as they come out… but I’m currently playing Borderlands 2. My boyfriend and I have finished it but we are going through the DLC. Others I play are Oblivion/Skyrim, Left for Dead(s), Destiny, Pokemon, Zelda, Sims and Age of Empires.

10. If you had to endure one level of any Halo game in real life, which one would it be and why?

Final Escape from Halo CE. I would be like one of those cool guys in the movie trying to run from the bad guys. Instead of people shooting at me with guns, a ship is exploding and collapsing on me. Though I would be all over the place if I were driving. That Puma is really difficult to drive in the first Halo Games.

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Lilys favorites

Thank you Lily!

My Halo 5: Guardians gameplay at Halofest 2014

The Halo 5: Guardians Beta is around the corner and I’m proud to get you guys in the mood for it with a little gameplay I recorded in L.A. We had the chance to play the brand new game type Breakout and some classic Slayer on the maps Truth and Empire.

It was around 10 pm after a long day at the MCC Invitational tournament when we hooked up our Elgatos and started to play. At first I was very confused and I didn’t really perform well. There are just so many new things to learn and try out. I won’t go into detail with all the abilities seeing that most of you have already heard all this. I’ll just tell you what I found most interesting.

As you can see in my gameplay I favor the clamber ability. I like to be agile and outsmart my enemy. That leads to me being killed a lot. Hahaha. Mainly because I’m not patient enough. The clamber ability is really great since it allows you to get to certain places fast and gives you the advantage when for example being on higher ground than the enemy. And if you train hard enough, you’ll be able to perform the Ground Pound attack after clambering to a higher point. I failed miserably trying to do so. Let me tell you, it’s not easy. You have to hit the crouch button in mid air and find your target. Its pretty massive once you get it right. I was always the victim of such victorious glory, but hey I will figure it out once the Beta is playable.

One thing I liked is that the gameplay is narrated by your teammates. Not constantly but lets say you earned an assist, there’s this voice saying „Thanks“ and that kind of stuff. You’ll also be notified when the power weapons are about to spawn. The weapons are the biggest issue for me I have to say. I can’t say that I liked the new DMR or BR. The scope felt weird and out of place. I know a lot of people said it just looks like CoD weapons because of the Iron Sights, but I say it just looks like every other shooter weapon nowadays. I am usually a big fan of the DMR and BR and I use them a lot in Halo 4. The scope they have is totally alright with me. The SMG is back. I never really liked it, so I don’t care. But all in all I know for sure that I will get used to the new feel of the DMR and BR. As you can see in my gameplay I always go for the mid range weapons since I just know how to play them best. My biggest issue would be close quarters I guess. I get so nervous when someone is close to me. Haha, I spray and pray with the SMG in most scenes of the gameplay.

And yeah don’t hate on me for my poor performance. It was late, I was nervous, fuck it I was freaking out and the enemy team was just so much better.

I hope you enjoy it!

Fluke of the Narwal – A Mystery

I just recently finished playing H2A campaign in co-op with my boyfriend. Dear god that was fun! I think it has been over 6 years since I last played that game. I couldn’t even remember parts of certain levels. But that was kinda cool cause it felt like playing a new game.The cut scenes, remastered by Blur Studios, are just breathtaking. Look at the Gravemind! Woah! I was constantly delighted. And the sound of the weapons: Dang…the Sniper Rifle and I love the sound of the Brute Shot.

But now on to my main topic. On the level Outskirts I saw a poster which excited me very much:

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If you remember the story behind the name of my blog you’ll see why this is so exciting. If you haven’t read it yet and have no clue what I’m talking about, go to About and check it out.

We don’t know when the band Fist of the Unicorn was founded, but we do know or must assume that SPC Van Kalletta and PVC Dimitrov were killed during the events that took place on Installation 04. That was around September 19th, 2552. The events in Halo 2 take place in the same year, shortly after the events of the book First Strike (section 1, chapter 5-11, September 22th, 2552).
My guess is Fist of the Unicorn were quite famous and were not only known on the Pillar of Autumn before it got destroyed. It appears that some unknown guys on earth founded a cover band of the Fist of the Unicorn. It’s name? Fluke of the Narwal. As you can see on the poster the gig is sold out, either meaning they had a pretty big fan base or were playing in a small venue…I think it’s the first.

So we have two bands with completely weird names. One about the fist of a magical, fictional animal, the other about the fluke of a badass, very real animal. What do they both have in common? The horn, that says: „There’s no shitting me pal. If you piss me off, I will impale you.“

What strikes me as odd is the following:

  • The correct spelling is Narwhal, not Narwal. Why the misspelling? In german Narwal would be correct by the way.
  • During my research for this article I found an entry on the bungie forums that concerns Narwhals. It seems pretty random and the author is anonymous/deleted. It was posted in 2008. 3 years before Halo CE: Anniversary (Fist of the Unicorn) came out and 6 years before Halo 2: Anniversary (Fluke of the Narwal) came out.

Here is the Link.

So did someone at 343 read this some day and thought „Oh man, we could name the cover band like that.“ But why would anyone from 343 browse the bungie forum? I mean it would make sense if you were, let’s say a former Bungie employee. If you, let’s say, had maybe had the job of content manager at Bungie back in the days. If you, let’s say, had the name of Frank O’Connor.

It makes even more sense, since Maxi, a friend of mine who was with me in L.A. at Halofest, asked Frank O’Connor about Fluke of the Narwal during an Interview. He was all professional and talked about this and that but never answered the question. So my guess is: Frank O’Connor is behind the running gag of the Unicorn and created or gave the idea to Fluke of the Narwal. I might be terribly wrong but unless Frank doesn’t state otherwise I’ll believe it.

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artwork by jezkemp  (www.jezkemp.co.uk)

 

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