Book Report: Halo: First Strike by Eric Nylund (2003)

Book coverI’m not above reading a book based on a videogame (see also The Dig). Heck, I’m not even above reading a novelization of a movie based on a video game (see also Street Fighter). So a science fiction novel set in the universe of a video game franchise? Why not?

The book doesn’t depend upon the knowledge of the video game series. It drops in some terminology that you’ll recognize if you’ve played the games, but it doesn’t rely on them. It’s fast-enough moving and original, unlike a film script, so between the pre-existing mythos upon which it draws and the fact that it doesn’t just run a series of scenes with depth make it a bit deeper of a book than a screenplay adaptation.

It fits into the game series, I discovered on Wikipedia, but I’m not sure I care how. They say that these detailed games are an art form in and of themselves, but I don’t think videogames can eclipse books/movies/stories, since in addition to requiring a media player (like movies and recorded music), it also requires enough patience and skill with a controller to get through the story. I have a theory that I’ve alluded to about the degrees of art, where primary art requires only the art work and the art lover (live theatre, live music, books, art works), the secondary requires the art work, a mechanism to recreate the art work, and the art lover (recorded music, movies, text on a screen). Video games requiring skill to advance the narrative represents a third degree, if possible, which diminishes their experience.

The author is a technical writer at Microsoft who apparently cranked the titles out in a matter of months. You know, I’d like to think I could do that, too, if I had full time paid work of it, but I could disappoint myself.

At any rate, I enjoyed the book so much that I looked for more by the author when I went to Hooked on Books last week, but I didn’t find any of the Halo books. I’ll keep an eye out in the future, though, because I’m running out of things to read.

Books mentioned in this review:

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3 thoughts on “Book Report: Halo: First Strike by Eric Nylund (2003)

  1. Something I didn’t mention in the review proper is how many of the characters die in the conflict. More than 50% die in various ways. So it’s gritty after that fashion.

    As to “We win,” you mean so far.

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