Jan 31, 2013

Games as Lit 08 - Halo: The Cole Protocol, Contact Harvest, The Ghosts of Onyx Reviews

Games as Lit explores the Haloverse as we discuss Halo: The Cole Protocol, Contact Harvest, and The Ghosts of Onyx.

Hosts: Travis Knight, Zach Neyhard

Runtime: Approximately 1 hour, 10 minutes

Listen here, or subscribe on iTunes for GaL on the go!

Music taken from Halo 2 OST and used without permission.

Today comes as somewhat bitter-sweet. Our second Halo-centered podcast is live and includes more than an hour of some brutally honest analysis. However, this is also the last episode of this bunch--trying to do four at a time was a serious challenge, since it required me to read eight books in the course of about two months, on top of all my other stuff. Thankfully I was able to skim the Halo novels, but I'm not sure that I'll be able to do four at a time again, especially since co-ordination got pretty hairy there at the end.

However, HOWEVER, we'll be back in mid to late March with three new episodes, just for you. I've been talking to a variety of publishers about obtaining game spin-off novels to help make the show easier, and I think I'll be doing some textual reviews of the books that prelude our podcast analysis. This means, of course, that you'll have some of my brain pickings ahead of time, but also that you'll know the "Reading List" coming up, which I'll be publishing as an official thing sometime in February.

Ok. That's it. I'm going to wrap up now, and drop a little hint at what the "bridge" episode (the one that comes between chunks) will be. Sound off in the comments if you have 'em, accuse me of treason if you must, and most certainly, if you're interested in co-hosting, email me at travis@theweavingknight - I NEED MORE CO-HOSTS!!!!

Coming Next Month:
(Ignore the episode number; the correct slot is nine but I'm not near my image editor)


  1. Do you guys realise, Contact Harvest is considered by Halo fans as one of the best Halo novels ?

  2. My headcanon fix for the Jenkins problem in Contact Harvest is that the Jenkins from Contact and the Jenkins from Halo 1 are two different people. The halo 1 Jenkins is in fact Wallace Jenkins Jnr. Jenkins Snr, was married and had the child a few years after the events of Harvest. He was mostly absent from Jnr's life as he was off being a total badass in the UNSC Marine Crops where he tried extremely hard to become like Johnson (as he mentions wanting to do in the end of Contact Harvest.) Eventually he reaches the rank of Staff Sergeant and is stationed to Reach, where he meets up with his son and Johnson as they're boarding the Pillar of Autumn and he makes Johnson promise to look after his son. Jenkins Snr is later sent to defend Aszod Dockyard and finally dies fighting alongside Noble 6 as he watches The Autumn take off, believing he has helped save his son's life.

  3. Hi Hemlax, and thanks for the comment. I can certainly understand how a straightforward reading would leave a reader content with a basic action novel--but our aim and intent with this show is to analyze and critique the books as we would any other specimen of Science-fiction literature, without granting it credit for being just a 'Halo novel.'

    Therefore, we must examine and critique the book not on emotive feelings or the ad hominem mindset, but on narratalogical and literary merits... of which, I believe Zach clearly establishes, there are few.

    And Dec, I don't recall if it made it into the final cut, but Zach and I debated that pretty intensely and came out in the negative; it's too much of a faux pas... another example of how the book is under-cooked. :D

  4. Hey, great discussions, I'm really enjoying them. I just found out Games as Lit by the Dust and Echoes podcast(Tom or Woaf mentioned the Halo books' discussions).
    It might have been my poor streaming through the podcast iOS app(because for some reason it wouldn't download), but it seems like the audio editing had several pop ins and outs and changes from loud to quiet on the voice recordings.. I really hope you can put a bit more time to it, fix that, and hopefully make the different interjections and such more seamless. Obviously it's still pretty early on, so I wish ya'll the best with this interesting and engaging podcast!

    Also, I'm a bit confused about the rest of the Halo books episodes..? At first you said it's three part, then this episode you constantly said that you were planning on four different episodes and were going to get into the more recent novels. Then at the end you said something like -thanks for listening to part four, etc..? And now it seems like the next episode is on The Walking Dead. I'm totally fine with you taking whatever breaks you need to be able to set up the rest of the other two presumably Halo novel episodes; I'm just hoping that you will get to them eventually.

    You also didn't talk about the AI's much at all in Contact Harvest, I thought they were pretty interesting as well as the Grunt and Engineer..

  5. Hi Yayap (I like the reference ;) ). Glad you're enjoying the podcast so far--I haven't heard of the dust and echoes podcast. Which episode did we wind our way on?

    Anyhow, I appreciate the technical feedback. We use basic $7 microphones for this gig, though we're considering upgrading to some better equipment, and the editing is getting better all the time as I learn more about how to do it. For example, I discovered yesterday that my computer, for some reason, had locked all audio inputs to 60% true volume, and was able to disable that feature for the "Raising Turnarounda Castle" reading that I did yesterday. It's available on the sight now--and MUCH cleaner. Also, I need to do a better job at shepherding my co-hosts into actually talking into the mic.... but next time, I'll show them your comment so they'll get the point.

    To answer your second point, the scheduling, I can explain what happened: originally I'd planned to do a three-parter, but that was before I'd read fully the Bear or Traviss offerings. After reading the Traviss novels, we decided we had to wait for her to finish her trilogy, and for Bear to finish his, so we're going to hold off on more Halo-themed episodes until we can read those books. Rest assured, we've got a LOT to say about both Bear and Traviss.

    In the meantime, look forward to some Gears of War, Alan Wake, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect and much more. In fact, if you're interested, I'm always looking for new co-hosts!

  6. Yeah I really enjoyed the character of the Grunt Yayap and I wanted to start anew with XboxLive and such, so I picked him and the number 7(that number is important to me and Bungie ;) ).

    Thanks for the quick reply -I honestly wasn't expecting that -nice job ;)
    Good to know ya'll are aware of the audio and working on it -like anything new it takes time to work the kinks out(Yeti mics are pretty good). And alright; yeah that makes sense with the Bear and Traviss Halo books. I have read almost every Halo book -finishing up Thursday War and then hopefully I will be able to finish Primordium before Silentium(sp?) comes out. I need to re-read the books again though because I don't remember enough about each of them to have good input unfortunately..

    Yep, I am certainly looking forward to what you come up with with the other books as well. Just a thought, it might be interesting to see how a show with three(you and two other co-hosts) people/perspectives would turn out.. Not sure, maybe three people would be too much.
    I would certainly be interested about co-hosting or such, but at the moment I have only read the Halo novels -though I am wanting to read the other games' books as well soon; and I don't have much good input with the literature and quality of writing sense.. But this has piqued my interest.

  7. Hey, with an operation this small, I don't have much to do but engage with my audience. Which I'm really glad bothers to write me at all. I'll check out the Yeti mics for sure. Grasping around in the dark for cost-effective but quality-sensitive equipment is a frustrating drudge, and I think that we're getting to a point where, if I want to continue, at least a minor upgrade is going to be necessary. For reference, Silentium comes out mid-March (from what Tor has told me), so you should have time, provided you give it a serious chunk of time. At least those books read quick. For reference, have you been tried reading the Ringworld books, by Larry Niven? I think you'd really appreciate the synchronicity between the two series.

    We actually tried the three-way conversation for the Walking Dead episode (up today, if you want to check it out). I think it worked pretty well, too, but the problem with doing that for every episode is that it means trying to find three people who've read the books and played the games. I can barely manage two. But for the bridge episodes, I think it would be a good idea for sure to have three people on. It seems to be a good number; when two of us brainfart the third can swoop in to the rescue.

    I would recommend giving the first Mass Effect novel, and the Gears of War books (if you're a fan of those series) a chance. They're good places to start.

  8. Yeah I have heard about the idea with the Ringworld books before, and then you reinforced it with what you said in your first Halo novel 'cast. I think I will look them up. I really enjoy and appreciate most sci-fi and mid-evil/fantasy settings and games, so I'm familiar with the Bioshock, Mass Effect, and Gears games, I loved Fable 1 and 2(though the third one was really disappointing). Borderlands and Infinity Blade(both I have played) seem like a fun read, and I really like the Elder Scrolls games and lore.

    Yeah that's the problem with getting more people on podcast discussions like these, you have to find people who have experienced both and who have something constructive to say about them. And no, I haven't read or watched or played anything Walking dead.. But I'm looking forward to your discussions about it.