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Contact Harvest (Halo) Paperback – October 30, 2007

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Contact Harvest (Halo) + Ghosts of Onyx (Halo) + Halo: The Cole Protocol
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Product Details

  • Series: Halo (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765315696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765315694
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The battle for humanity continues in this latest addition to the bestselling franchise based on the mega-popular video games. Narration is split between Holter Graham and Jen Taylor, who each try their very best to make the material as urgent and important as possible. However, as good as Graham is, pushing the line between corny and downright brilliant in his delivery, Taylor jumps far over the believability line, overemphasizing every word as if the audience is incapable of understanding what she's trying to say. Her cheesy dialects and over-the-top accents detract from the tension and suspense that Graham offers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Joseph Staten started working with game developer Bungie Studios in 1998, and has since served as a writer and designer for Oni, as well as writer and cinematics director for Halo and Halo 2. He also works with Peter Jackson's game development studio, Wingnut Interactive, writing and designing in the Halo universe. Staten attended college at Northwestern University and earned a master’s in military history and political science at the University of Chicago.

More About the Author

Joseph Staten started with Bungie Studios in 1998, and has since served as a writer and designer for ONI (2001) as well as writer and cinematics director for HALO (2001) and HALO 2 (2004). Currently writing HALO 3, Joseph is also working with Peter Jackson's newly formed game development studio, Wingnut Interactive, writing and designing an as-of-yet unannounced game set in the Halo universe.

Customer Reviews

The book was written very well.
Samuel Clemens
The book also took a little bit getting into, however, once the paced picked up, it was solid through and through.
Joshua T. Cohen
The book was an awesome read, through and through, and is definitely the best paced book of the series.
shai baruch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on November 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Exactly why are the Covenant so pissed off at humans, anyway? They were very successful at pulling other species into the fold. Why not attempt this with humans?

Contact Harvest, by Joseph Staten, tells you why.

A UNSC Marine Staff Sergeant named Avery Johnson, physically and mentally weary after battling insurrectionists, gets the cake walk position of training new recruits for a militia on the planet Harvest, a major food production world.

Guess where First Contact occurs?

This story goes deep into the founding Covenant politics, and describes in great detail the accident of First Contact and the subsequent beginnings of a war of extermination. The Forerunners and their technology are still a mystery, but the Covenant leaders don't like what they learn. In the meantime, Staff Sergeant Johnson takes his raw recruits, and with the help of the planetary AI, battles Covenant technology and attempts to save the colonists on Harvest.

Can David slay Goliath?

The Cole Protocol occurs sometime after this book, but you can "see" it coming. You get a much better insight into the psychology and culture of some of the Covenant species. Now I'm curious what it would be like to reread the other Halo books with this story as background.

And if you are not a Halo fan? I think this is still an interesting, stand-alone sci-fi tale.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By C. Davis on December 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having enjoyed the previous books in the series, I picked this up first chance I could. The premise is good. The first battle between the Covenant and humanity and the introduction of Halo fan favorite Sergeant Johnson, what's not to like?

Unfortunately the execution of this premise falls considerably short. There was way too much exposition in my opinion. At times it felt more like a primer than a novel. A whole lot of set-up without enough pay-off that left me rather cold and struggling to keep interest.

The actual invasion of Harvest felt rather underwhelming partly because it takes a good two thirds of the book to get there (again too much exposition) in part due to the emphasis on Covenant internal politics. Furthermore the book Johnson lacks quite a bit of the humor of his video game counterpart. No outrageous inspirational speeches here, instead we get a whole lot of angst. The difference is a bit off-putting and the book fails to develop Johnson where such a change of character is possible.

If I had to pick one part of the book I could have done without, it would have been the sex-scene. I'm not a prude, but it was so out of the blue, out of place, involving two characters I had not a whiff of romantic or sensual development that it was jarring. I guess the author thought he "needed" that scene somewhere in the book. Which ironically sums up this book in a nutshell.

Hopefully they'll bring back Eric Nuyland for the next installments.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jose Arroyo on November 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is good and it clearly shows the potential of Mr. Staten's writing. The first thing you will notice is the excellent amount of description that really helps you imagine planet Harvest and its inhabitants. And as a prequel of the already-released prequel "The Fall of Reach," it works and helps explain details of the Forerunners, and the Prophet's knowledge and convictions.

While "The Chief" does not make an appearance in the book as he is probably still wearing diapers, Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson steps in as the protagonist of the story. He is the hero in the making and here we learn how he earns his place in this wonderful universe.

This book really emphasizes the theme of friendship and not only in the human perspective. And a major difference between this and the previous books is a slight sense of humor. There are a few parts where it had me laughing out loud - something I never experienced with the previous novels.

Compared to the previous books I believe Eric Nylund still has the edge in terms of story telling. For example, the epic quality of the previous books is sadly missing here. There are no major battles ala 300 Spartan III's charging a battlefield seen on "Ghost of Onyx" or as Master Chief single handedly taking over a Covenant Cruiser on "1st Strike." It does have plenty of action but not on a huge scale.

As Joseph Staten's first effort this is a great start, and I'm sure given some more novels he will only get better. To all those of you wanting a good read I definitely recommend "Halo: Contact Harvest," but do take in mind that it does have its own unique flavor.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Fire on November 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...is that you can get all the technical details you want. There is a satisfactory plot, but in several places, the book reads like the rumored "Halo Bible", which represents every scrap of information ever conceived by Bungie Studios (now, LLC.) regarding the Halo universe.

Wondered why the Covenant want to exterminate humanity? How exactly a Slipspace drive works? How the Covenant Engineers think? What an AI does while it's wasting it's time with slow human speech? It's all explained here.

A clever incorporation of humor helps an otherwise dire plot blossom into a balanced tale. There are no Spartans in this story, and this enables Mr. Staten to flesh out the lesser mortals inhabiting the planet Harvest. They are strong-willed people, aided by some fantastically depicted AIs.

In fact, none of the other books have depicted AIs in such great detail. In Eric Nylund's books, for instance, the general perception is that AIs think far faster than humans. Very little else is communicated to the reader, other than a bunch of nonsensical tasks. In Contact Harvest, however, Mr. Staten presents two AIs communicating with each other, and suddenly, time is dilated as each AIs processes are described in vivid detail.

Again, the benefit of having a game designer pen a novel is that they are aware of the emotions that course through the gamer's veins as their game unveils itself. Now, they can take all these characters, situations and emotions, and extrapolate back through time to produce a prequel novel like Contact Harvest.

I'd give this book a 4.5/5, with the 0.5 knocked off for the overly descriptive passages that could turn non-fanatics off. In fact, the depth of this book puts all the others in the series to shame.

Overall, it's a great start for Mr. Staten. Between himself and Eric Nylund, we have some of the best canon stretching across two worlds - the interactive, as well as the literary - seen anywhere.
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