Chronique:Canon Fodder - Books, Browsers, and Big Team

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On the fiction front, we’ve got lots going on these days, starting with the recent (US) release of Halo Mythos: A Guide to the Story of Halo. We’ve been incredibly excited to hear all the reactions from fans to the new book, and can’t wait to see what discussion begin to pop up as more and more folks start to get their hands on it across the globe.

But Mythos isn’t all we’ve got going on – next week on September 20, the newest Halo short story anthology, Halo: Fractures, hits store shelves and digital reader drives. The new anthology collects tales from all over the Halo canon, including some that focus on both fan-favorite settings and characters. To get you ready for the upcoming release, we thought it would be fun to set the table for where each story takes place, as well as get a few thoughts from the authors that were involved.

Lessons Learned - Matt Forbeck[modifier]

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This story begins on March 29, 2554, more than one year after the end of the Covenant War (Halo 3)—a thirty-year struggle for humanity’s survival waged across its embattled colonies— and the subsequent activation of the SPARTAN-IV program, which would eventually undergird the United Nations Space Command’s fledgling Spartan branch (Halo: Initiation).

“I’m thrilled to return to the Halo universe for a fun-sized tale. My story in Halo: Fractures illuminates a particularly action-packed scene from Halo: New Blood from an all-new angle, and then it brings us back to a familiar location and opens the door for all sorts of stories to take place there in the future.” - Matt Forbeck

What Remains - Morgan Lockhart[modifier]

This story takes place immediately following the mysterious and tragic events that transpired in Halo 5: Guardians on the glassed colony of Meridian—a world that had fallen after a series of unrelenting Covenant attacks that stretched from 2548 to 2551 (Halo 2: Anniversary era), shortly before the end of the war.

“I have always been interested in the “little people” who are caught up in big events and whose stories are not usually told. Evelyn was a character I created on Meridian to show some of those effects in game – you can find her in audio logs, as well as some level VO – and I wanted to tell more of her story.” - Morgan Lockhart

Breaking Strain - James Swallow[modifier]

This story takes place in 2553, during the harrowing final days and aftermath of the Covenant War (Halo 3 era).

"I've been following the odyssey of the Master Chief since the very first Halo, which hooked me in with its epic scope and rich game world. I'm thrilled that I finally get to tell a story in a universe that has given me so much fun as a gamer - it was great to revisit the end of the Covenant War in my tale Breaking Strain, a human drama about the fears that can divide us and the hopes that can unite us." - James Swallow

Promises to Keep - Christie Golden[modifier]

This story takes place at the close of recorded Forerunner history, during the events that followed the destruction of the Forerunner capital world by the rogue artificial intelligence Mendicant Bias (Halo: Cryptum) and the subsequent activation of the Halo Array to end the centuries-long war with the extragalactic parasite known as the Flood (Halo: Silentium).

"The Halo universe is so rich and complex. I found the Forerunners captivating, and really enjoyed writing them. I loved being able to focus in on some characters that people already knew, and answering the question, 'so what happened after that?'" - Christie Golden

Shadow of Intent - Joseph Staten[modifier]

This story takes place in 2553 following the Great Schism, a sudden and violent civil war within the Covenant alliance (Halo 2: Anniversary), and in the wake of the thirty-year-long Covenant campaign against mankind (Halo 3).

“I have a list of Halo stories I never got a chance to tell. And at the top of this list has long been: Whatever happened to the Shipmaster aka the Half Jaw aka Rtas ‘Vadum? Homer’s Odyssey is one of my favorite tales, and I always imagined that Rtas’s fate after Halo 3 might be a little like Odysseus's after the Trojan War. Which is to say: What if our war-weary Half Jaw hero only got a brief glimpse of Sanghelios before he was carried away by the winds of some new crisis? How would Rtas 'Vadum find a new way home?
“After I combined this idea with another that’s been kicking around my head for years—What if there was a San’Shyuum powerful enough to best a Spartan in single combat?—my Odysseus had his antagonist. And things just kept rolling from there. I hope Shadow of Intent gives Halo fans deeper insight into familiar characters and places while also raising new and exciting possibilities for future stories. After all, for Rtas ‘Vadum, it’s still a long way home.” - Joseph Staten

The Ballad of Hamish Beamish - Frank O’Connor[modifier]

Could a rhyme be read, or sonnet sung, that could accurately encapsulate the legacy of humanity’s most hygienic hero? I suppose we’ll find out…

“Honestly in the anthology, I was just excited to contrast stories about the giddy heights of artificial intelligence, with the slimy nadir of natural intelligence [in Saint’s Testimony]. I’m also more closely aligned in real-life with Hamish than I am with Iona. And with Fractures, that’s further compounded by my now regular embarrassment of being contrasted myself, with a slew of far superior authors and creators.” - Frank O’Connor

Fun fact: The Ballad of Hamish Beamish features art from ridiculously talented concept artist – and huge Halo fan – Garrett Post.

Defender of the Storm - John Jackson Miller[modifier]

This story takes place near the end of the Forerunners’ three-hundred-year war with the Flood, a little more than 100,000 years BCE (Halo: Cryptum, Halo: Silentium).

“My story was a fun one to write, because it gave me the chance to depict a regular soldier — in this case, a Forerunner — in a situation where he was forced to exceed his own expectations, to go beyond what he thought were his limitations. That idea of the individual transforming into a hero seems central to the ‘Halo’ universe, and so I think the spirit of the story is right in line with the franchise." - John Jackson Miller

A Necessary Truth - Troy Denning[modifier]

This story takes place three months after the United Nations Space Command’s extraction of the 717th research battalion by the elite Spartan Blue Team from the volatile and besieged colony of Gao (Halo: Last Light).

"Halo is space opera with an edge, the kind of gritty universe where moral dilemma is as important as physical peril. I love working in that kind of milieu. It gives me the freedom to do things like putting Veta Lopis — an ace detective with her own concept of justice — in command of a Ferret Team of fourteen-year-old Spartans. When you get a chance to do something like that, you never know quite what's going to happen in the story. But you do know it’ll be fun to write." - Troy Denning

Into the Fire - Kelly Gay[modifier]

This story takes place four years after the end of the Covenant’s brutal and costly rampage across human-occupied space (Halo 3 era) and Kilo-Five’s brief mission on Venezia, culminating in the destruction of the highly-sought-after Covenant battle cruiser Pious Inquisitor (Halo: Mortal Dictata).

“Into the Fire is inspired by one of my all-time favorite characters and enduring mysteries in the Halo universe. As a fan and writer having the opportunity to expand on this character’s back story and family tree, while working within the vast scope that is Halo, has been an awesome experience. Hope you guys enjoy the ride as much as I have!” - Kelly Gay

Saint’s Testimony - Frank O’Connor[modifier]

This story takes place on January 17, 2558, five years after Operation: BLOWBACK involving the specialized military artificial intelligence Iona (Halo: Bloodline), and six months after the pyrrhic destruction of Cortana in order to stop a significant and immediate threat against Earth (Halo 4).

Rossbach’s World - Brian Reed[modifier]

This story takes place in October 2558, during the resurrection of ominous and powerful Forerunner Guardian constructs across several populated worlds (Halo 5: Guardians).

“As the first official piece of post-Halo 5 story, I wanted to focus on some of our secondary characters in the Halo Universe to see how Cortana's actions were affecting them. What happens when absolutely everything you knew about the world this morning has changed by the time you go to bed? How the hell does someone cope with that? Also, Osman and BB are two of my favorite extended lore characters, so I thought it would be great to spend some time with them to find out if anyone but Roland refused Cortana’s siren call and why.
“By the way, I’ve been asked what happens after the last sentence, which does initially feel like a bit of a cliffhanger. But answering that question would spoil all the fun of discussing the events amongst yourselves.” - Brian Reed

Oasis - Tobias Buckell[modifier]

This story takes place in July 2558, five years after the Covenant War came to a sudden conclusion (Halo 3 era) and a year after the shocking and deadly attack on Earth by the Forerunner commander known as the Didact (Halo 4).

“I’m a big fan of all things Halo, so it’s really exciting to get back into this universe. I’m always interested in the areas that are hinted at. In this case, I wanted to look at the impact war has on the civilians caught up in its maelstrom, and Oasis is a story about the prices paid and the way in which war continues to follow some, no matter how far away from it they’ve tried to run.”

Tobias Buckell

Anarosa - Kevin Grace[modifier]

This story takes place in March 2556, three years after the end of the Covenant War (Halo 3 era) and one year after FAR STORM, a joint military operation between humans and their former Sangheili enemies in order to secure the remote and mysterious Forerunner installation known as the Ark (Halo: Hunters in the Dark).

“Anarosa is a story I’m really excited to tell, an excitement that can only be overshadowed by times I get to spend with Grim, who is undoubtedly one of the most talented – and handsome – individuals I’ve ever met or worked with.”*

Kevin Grace

*Kevin was unavailable to provide us with his thoughts on his story in Fractures, but we’re almost positive that this would have been exactly what he’d say.

More to come...[modifier]

But wait – that’s not all! We’re also excited to announce two more upcoming stories coming to the Halo universe…

Halo: Smoke and Shadow by Kelly Gay
Halo: Envoy by Tobias Buckell

These stories actually directly connect to Kelly and Tobias’ respective tales in Halo: Fractures, so if their stories get you excited after you read them in the anthology, be aware that even more is on the way! Stay tuned for more details coming soon…

And that will do it for yours truly this week.

Until next time… Live well, play Halo, and don’t forget to read the coda.