March 5, 2003

The Halo Author that Wasn't

When Halo was first announced, this reporter heard a number of mentally challenged people accuse Bungie of ripping-off the ringworld concept from Larry Niven. While these claims are foolish, I always wondered what Mr. Niven's feelings on the subject were.

Thanks to a post on /., this reporter has found the transcript of an IRC chat with Larry Niven where he briefly talks about this very issue.

But wait, it gets better - Del Rey approached him about writing a Halo novel.

Here is a heavily edited version of the chat log that appears on Larry Niven's site. This chat occurred on the #Knownspace channel on April 7, 2002. Mr. Niven's handle is 'fithp' and appears in red.

<fithp> New things have been happening. For some time now I've been getting email about "Halo".
<Redflame> From people concerned about whether it is Ringworld?
<fithp> Halo is a game on Xbox, with dynamite visuals. The structure that is the game's site looks like a poor man's Ringworld.
<fithp> So I get emails suggesting I sue, and I keep saying I can't patent nor copyright a ring.
<fithp> Now I've gotten a suggestion from Del Rey Books: shall I write a novelization of Halo?
<Redflame> LOL!
<Nesssus> lol
<fithp> I waffled. I can't jump into a fully programmed universe, I said, and write anything good. It works better if I've been living in that universe.
<Redflame> fithp, you've played Halo?
<fithp> I'm about to play Halo. They sent me an Xbox and Halo, and some other games too.
<fithp> Steve Saffel's suggestion.
[Steve Saffel is an editor at Del Ray. -pd]
<fithp> This might work for them. I did sequels to the 1001 Nights and the Berserkers, and rewrote the Green Lantern universe, because I was already living there in my head.
<fithp> They who sent me the stuff are Microsoft.

Unfortunately, that's all Mr. Niven had to say on either of the subjects.

A Halo novel written by Larry Niven would have been a coup for Microsoft and Bungie, but as Mr. Niven pointed out, he writes best when he lives in a universe. Fans like myself want him to do his best work.

However, there is still hope - but not for Halo fans. I'm making it my mission to get him hooked on the Marathon series. A Marathon book would rock!

Posted by poenadare at March 5, 2003 7:07 AM

"I'm about to play Halo. They sent me an Xbox and Halo, and some other games too."

Now I know what I want to do when I grow up.

Posted by: Red Loser on March 5, 2003 1:47 PM

You're gonna get him hooked on Marathon?!? Don't let him near the Story Page! We'll never hear from him again!

Posted by: mnemesis on March 5, 2003 3:42 PM

Well. I'm at staples see and Halo is on sale for 20$ canadian. I see the ring on the cover, then its on the passenger car seat for the trip home. I'm new to PC games, but old to sci-fi values. A marketing homerun for big M.

Posted by: craig mitton on November 1, 2004 7:26 PM
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