Discussion Board

Topic: Halo: Cryptum is Great!

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 02/27/2011

I was sick several ways this winter, and reluctant to read anything that mattered to me. Now that I'm rebooting, I need to compliment you on your great "ACE double"--Hull Zero Three and Halo: Cryptum!

The Halo book is freshest in my thoughts, so I'll start there and backtrack to H03 in a day or two.

Warning--Potential Spoilers!

I read Halo: Cryptum with what I feared might be a handicap, as I haven't played the Xbox game and am unfamiliar with its universe. Be It Noted: This in no way diminishes the book's appeal, and the book DID make me want to play the game...so, good vibrations all around.

The humans in the book are well-rendered (I'd like to hang out with Riser), and despite their devolution seem to have retained (or regained, coutesy of the Librarian) their inherent nobility and mental agility. The story soon launches into space opera of the very best sort. A shape-changing PLANET? I love this. The trick must be done with fields...it doesn't actually have hinges! I sense a remote kinship between Bornstellar and Clarke's Alvin of Lorraine. But Alvin would give his eye teeth to be in Bornstellar's armor.

The prose is spare yet evocative. You appear to be evolving in the way excellent artists commonly do, first demonstrating mastery of craft, then honing instinct to do with quick strokes what was once accomplished with lengthier exposition. I don't say that anything you've written is overly wordy! Far from it--you always leave the reader eager for more. It's just part of the creative arc. You've explored breathtaking landscapes, now (on occasion) you're targeting more specific beasts, and know where and how to make the kill.

Random notes:

I find the idea of particle reconcilliation (the Ishanaxade Drive?) continually fascinating, with its suggestion that a kind of esthetic goes on even at the subatomic level.

The Prisoner of Charum Hakkor: The sentient cryptid (!) is a true Lovecraftian horror, and has a righteous beef. I look forward to its deeds and/or depradations in the next book.

Still digesting many great asides. Examples:

"There are points in life when everything changes, and changes in a big way. You can't predict them and you can't avoid them. They are like knots creeping forward on your string of time." Thought-provoking.

"It is not a kindness to diminish competition, predation--even war. But...pointless death and misery...can retard growth and reduce the flow of Living Time." Raymond Massey couldn't have said it better (a reflection on the Healthcare debate?).

"This [Builders] faction saw both an opportunity to create ultimate weapons against such a threat, and a way to maximize and make permanent their political power at the same time. The Mantle be dammed--survival and our way of life was at stake!" Our last decade in a nutshell (Faber as Cheney?).

"How pitiful objective reality was, all by itself. The combined threads--even the chaos of uncombined threads--were far richer, far more evocative and informative...no matter how sophisticated one became, the total richness was something no individual could ever capture or truly know." Beautiful.

"Held by the wisdom of Harbou, hardened by the strength of Lang." Hah! And baptised in The Wells of Korda, no doubt!

Meanwhile, far downstar on a minor ball of rock, my story "The Helms Bakery Writer" is in stores (those who are unable to contain their enthusiasm may go to www.rsbd.net). The editor called me on the phone, wanting another story for the spring issue. That's good, right?

All the best,


P.S. Been reading a lot to Ray, at his bedside. He's back from a brief hospital stay (which did him a lot of good actually), but not yet returned to his Den of Treasures.

Re: Halo: Cryptum is Great!

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/03/2011

Many thanks, Bill. Congrats on the story! And give my love to Ray. Here's the trivia question for a master trivia guy: why did I tip my hat in this instance to Harbou and Lang...? Not a random tip at all.

Re: Halo: Cryptum is Great!

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 04/03/2011

Master of Trivia? Not me! But just off the top of my head...the ideological schism between Lang and his wife bears resemblence to the one between the Didact and his own willful mate?

I'll have to chew on this.

My second sale actually grew out of some babbling I did right here (Re: What do we mean by Random). The FCC shuts down analog transmission, and dead tv personalities (who've been hiding in the noise) are forced back into the world. It was a chance to put people like Sagan, Regan, Beaumont and Ball into a bar together. Good fun.

Re: Halo: Cryptum is Great!

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/09/2011

Interesting take on the issue, and not too far off base! But go take a look at a silent movie called THE INDIAN TOMB. Ask Ray about when he first saw it...

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