Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He now lives in Ohio.
He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies. He is a Clarion graduate, Writers of The Future winner, and Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer Finalist. His work has appeared in the Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies. His novel Ragamuffin was nominated for the Nebula and Prometheus awards.
You can visit his website at www.TobiasBuckell.com.
I've spent a couple of weeks reading the Halo Encyclopedia in drips and drabs. I've read chapters in a sitting and only a few pages in another. In the end the book lives up to it's title in a lot of ways that were intended and in ways it might not have been. It's intended as a book for the holiday season but it's also a reference work for one of the most successful video game studio's master creation.
For the hard core, mildly obsessive lovers of all things Halo there's new material here to spur discussions while walking paper routes with friends or arguing in dorm halls. Be warned that it draws heavily from the fiction and backstory already published in the licensed novels of the Halo universe. (The author of the encyclopedia is also the author of one the novels.) There are new nuggets here and there so Halo scholars will have new things to ponder. With detail dripping off of every page it can be mildly overwhelming to those just dipping their toe in the water but pictures go a long way to breaking up the text.
For the more casual Halo fan the book offers deeper glimpses into what goes on behind the scenes without completely tearing down the curtain. Humor goes is applied in the right spots to break the sometimes serious tone of the plight of humanity as it faces extinction before the Covenant. (There's a wickedly funny exploration of Grunt strategy that's someone what Sun Tzu like.) It's easy to explore as much as you want without feeling overwhelmed and that's a good median for casual enthusiasts.
This is a lot of book for it's current price on Amazon. Expect people who receive this on Christmas to curl up on the couch at some point and not want to be disturbed for a while.Read more ›
While the content of this book is fine, what especially shines is the incredible, paradigm-shifting foreword. The author manages to encapsulate, in a few hundred words, the most profound, resonant and ultimately chilling snapshot of the human condition in literary history. As a piece of writing, it spans the semantic gulf between prose and poetry and ultimately confounds our understanding of both. It takes words and uses them as daubs of color with which to paint a Sistine Chapel - a work of art that literally forces us to look up, beyond the restrictive gravity of our own humanity, and gaze directly into the divine, with only motes of sparkling brilliance to obscure the view.
I gasped the first time I read this foreword and in that seemingly endless pause for breath, I realized that oxygen was a pitiful replacement for the atmosphere of wonder within those all-too brief paragraphs. These heights, they dizzy us.
Read this, or choke on the wan, thin air of lower literature.
This is a nearly complete listing of everything found in the Halo Universe - of that I was very happily surprised. There are a few timelines that are completely astounding with the level of detail they go in, as well as the linearity that they follow in the often-confusing details and stories littered throughout the creatively crafted Universe. This is a great, interesting read for any Sci-Fi junkie and any level Halo fan.
Don't go too far into that though - I am [admittedly] a giant Halo nerd who has the fan website, on forums, and constantly debates with friends regarding minute details and dark corners of the franchise. This book, however, does not go into the level of detail I was hoping for in a lot of categories. It has pretty visuals, some new concept art, but it just sometimes slaps a few text blocks of commonly-known facts about something without creative insight. Some of the entries (the engineers for one) almost word for word copied and pasted from the Halo Beastarium that came with Halo 3, and if you feel like you know a lot about the Halo Universe, this feeling will become quite common the more pages you turn.
On a side note: this book is somewhat difficult to read in a plane - it is almost too wide to fully open up. But that's a great thing when reading in my living room.
I have to give this 5 stars simply because of the craft and history involved and because of what another reviewer stated - all the years of work put in here would be a shame to see anything less. It IS nearly complete of facts *near*the time of Halo 3: ODST coming out, but offers relatively little NEW information beyond that. Don't hope for Reach spoilers.
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I found the Halo encyclopedia to be a letdown overall. The artwork is excellent and well reproduced, and included some stuff I had not seen before. Where the book falls down is the supporting text. It is very shallow. If you have already played all the games and read the Halo novels, you will find little to nothing in here that you don't know already. While the number of subjects covered in the encyclopedia is impressive, that coverage is very shallow and insubstantial. So who is this book for? If you're a hardcore Halo fan, this book has nothing new to offer. And if you're not, why would you even consider buying a Halo encyopedia anyway? Get it if you like the universe and want some nice artwork. But don't expect a book of stunning revelations, deep insights, or much else besides the artwork.
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