Science Fiction Friday: Crossovers From Video Games And More

Richard C.

Crossovers between books, comics, video games, movies, board games, and more – it’s an increasingly common theme in our beloved genre. When I used to glimpse HALO books I’d always think “no thanks” rather quickly, but perhaps too quickly! Something IS worth trying when it carries the influence of giants like Larry Niven and the Ring World series.

So how about this SF with feet in different formats? Three things I’m considering:

  1. Even with tremendously fun and popular video games, the books will boost fun.
  2. Alternative formats are great leverage when motivating reluctant readers (of any age).
  3. Call them crossovers, call them transmedia, call them anything you like, but dynamic SF told and developed in various mediums is a cool idea!

HALO: THE FALL OF REACHHALO Fall of Reach
More than a first-person shooter video game, Halo offers a top notch reading universe with big SF ideas and bigger SF action. Find out how John-117 gets his name and how he transforms into the figure pictured to the right. Battle with a powerful alien alliance is on the horizon, as is humanity’s first encounter with the halo-shaped ringworld that gives the franchise its title.

Author Eric Nylund has firm SF credentials and this book takes you right up to the first video game, Halo: Combat Evolved. Maybe preview Ridley Scott‘s upcoming Halo movie, or try a graphic novel read-alike called Cyclops by the French writer Matz. Fun as well would be Halo: The Essential Visual Guide!

Mass effect RevelationMASS EFFECT: REVELATION
Author Drew Karpyshyn took me completely by surprise. Here it’s the mid 23rd century and humans have catapulted themselves into space by reverse engineering sophisticated alien artifacts found buried on Mars. But do accelerations in technology come with parallel advances in a society’s maturity? Lieutenant David Anderson and company navigate this dissonance when sudden contact with strange aliens trips a war that may have stunning ramifications for all carbon-based life in the galaxy.

This first in series serves as prequel to the video game, but not before launching an SF trilogy well worth trying. It also expands the Mass Effect universe that’s getting a movie of its own.

world of warcraftWORLD OF WARCRAFT: WAR CRIMES
Hard to blame anybody for thinking World of Warcraft is nothing more than a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). OH, BUT IT IS! The books, board gamestrategy guidesgraphic novels, soon-to-be movie, video games, and more, all create a blended story/experience for both the ardent SF veteran and for those just curious where the chutes of our genre may be growing.

In one of the latest books, Garrosh Hellscream is an Orc warchief with a viciousness that can hardly be uttered. He’s finally brought to trial, but what justice is proper or even possible for crimes so heinous? What does the treatment of any prisoner say and about a society? If author Christie Golden is a new name, note her dozen-plus Star Trek and Star Wars novels.

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