Poll Question 226 – If Valve released a novel based on the HL universe, would you buy it?

27th May 2011

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

As you probably know, I ran a fan fiction competition last year and it was pretty successful, at least I thought so. Anyway, a little investigation (my name is Phillip Marlowe!) finds that actually there is an awful lot of Half-Life fan fiction about.

This got me thinking whether Valve should release some official stuff and if they did would you actually buy it. I don’t mean download it, but actually pay money for paper!

I am not sure I would. Not because I don’t like reading this kind of stuff, but for the same reason I don’t buy anything from the Valve store – it’s a game series, yes a great game series, but that’s all. I don’t want clothes, or mugs or any other paraphernalia – including books.

What about you?

The Poll


  1. I’d love to say “No, because cross-media spin-offs are always rubbish”, but I’d be kidding myself. I would lap it up the day of release without reading any reviews.

  2. Derbler

    Books are different than T-Shirts or plush Vortigaunts to me, because I like the Half-Life series for its storyline. A book is simply a barebones version of a storyline, so it’d be just a concentrated form of what I like. Also one of the reasons I like the Left 4 Dead comic and Portal comic so much.

  3. George Campbell

    I agree with Derbler. A book is different from mugs and clothes merchandise; it has content. I would love to read it, just like I love to read the storyline on combine overwiki. It may be just the HL series story, however im sure they would add in-depth details; it would be tasty 😀

    Otherwise it would be a new story in the half life universe, which would be equally tasty to consume :P. Anyway, all I know is that Valves writers are epic at stories so I would buy a book they made on the Half Life universe because it is on something I enjoy greatly by some proven awesome writers. 😀

    Its like a HL movie which I would love to watch (although it wont be as good as the game obviously), but in book form, which is fine for me.

    Good question phil!

  4. David Geraghty

    I think I’d prefer a collection of Short Stories based within the Half-Life universe, fleshing out what we already know and providing more insight into the events. That would probably be an instant buy for me.

    1. voldomort42

      I’d have to agree and would like add that its kind of like the Big Finish audio stories. There’s the standalone doctor who stories, but then there’s the spinoffs like “I, Davros” “Dalek Empire” and “Unit” which provide more background and delve deeper.

      In the sprit of the question, I probably wouldn’t buy a paper book. I’d love stories relating to the HL universe, but it’s more likely I’d purchase it in an electronic format.

  5. Frohman Zelinsky

    They would probably not deliver them here so it it would come as a E-Book I might consider it.

  6. Syd

    If it was written by Mark Laidlaw, I bet it’d be pretty good since he was already an experienced sci-fi writer before writing for the HL series. I agree that stories set within the universe but not focusing on the main storyline would probably be better, but I’d definitely check it out either way.

  7. >_> I’d love to plug my own fanfic, though it’s a mashup of HL/Portal and Fear.

    Myself, yes, I would love to see it if it was done right, and done well. Yes, I would love to write it *myself*. 😉


  8. I voted no. Because if I’m gonna read, I have a lot of stuff to read before reading Half Life stories.

    Also who reads books anyway, right? High five!

  9. GoodGuyA

    So long as it was written by Laidlaw. He’s the only one who really knows the Half-Life universe, obviously. I am all for side stories so long as they don’t follow the Freeman formula. I’m currently working on writing a fan comic.

  10. Kyouryuu

    Probably no. Unlike many, I don’t think Half-Life’s story is really all that unique or extraordinary. It’s the way it’s told that makes it compelling.

    1. Kasperg

      Couldn’t agree more. Half-life’s innovation was in the storytelling method, not the actual story.

    2. Poison_Berrie

      How many stories are truly unique.
      It’s about whether the characters and what they go through is compelling, emotional and how they change.

      I voted maybe, but realized that this would be an official Valve project. With that quality reassured I’d go for a yes.

  11. I would definitely read a Half-life based novel if it was produced by Valve but I’m not sure if I would actually go and buy it. For me it depends on the cost vs content but I trust that Valve would keep the quality up to their usual standard. I probably would have bought Raising the Bar if I was able to at the time because that is full of interesting things about their development. However, all their other knick-knacks seem pretty useless to me. Though, if they sold a working life-size Portal Turret, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab one.

    On a side note, I think it would be interesting to see the back stories of the various characters you meet on your journey through the Half-Life series. Answering questions like: Who is Father Grigori and how did he get to where he was when we saw him? and What was Barney and Co doing while Gordon was in stasis? would help fill in the universe and help us understand the motivations of the characters we see in-game.

    As much as I would like to see these questions answered in a spin-off game/expansion pack, I don’t think it would feel quite right playing as those characters. To tell their stories, I think novelisation would be the way to go.

  12. danielrubio1234

    I might not like the idea very much, but I am certain that I would buy it.

  13. Josh

    If Valve released SuperChocolateBear’s (from fanfiction.net) fanfics as a novel I’d buy it (if it was somehow available easily in Australia). The Black Mesa Incident (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3147068/1/The_Black_Mesa_Incident), his (I assume it’s a he) retelling of HL1, is longer than Harry Potter. And it’s mostly good.

  14. Duke

    Not for me really, I already got a heap of books I’m trying to get round to reading sometime, I REALLY wish though that someone would make a decent full length feature film of the original Half-Life, big budget special effects and everything….I know it can be done, they made Avatar…imagine HL in 3d…awesome…

  15. Depends on if it’s good or not. Also depends if it’s the type of book in that you have to play all the HL2 games before it would make any sense.

    The only reason the last thing would bother me is that I’d like to get my Grandma to read it for I generally think she’d like the story of HL2 but seeing as it’s in a format she isn’t used to she wouldn’t have much fun/enjoy the story.

    So a maybe from me.

  16. Hec

    Hell no!, I mean I love things like “Raising the Bar”, but maybe I bought that book, in a book store, otherwise i’d rather preffer to get a free PDF, in case that valve deveop a story or something, i’d like that to be for free, like a kind of portal2 comic style, but don’t even try to sell storys just because they came from Valve, that’s nuts for me.

    Also if they came out with an story i’d like to see an official mod to play it for real!, then maybe i’d buy the MOD and not the words of that story.

  17. Zilly

    I said no for one main fact, which is a few days after release this book/paper would be up on the internet for a download able version to read on your computer, all it takes is one person to buy it and most of the world have it, End.

    1. Poison_Berrie

      That could be said about any book/game/film/tv-show.
      If people took that stance we’d never see another game or book again.

      Piracy like that exists and the only thing you can do about is actually buy something if you want it.

  18. HiroProtagonist

    Do you think HL as a series has a good story? Personally I don’t think they do, what they do have is good story telling. In all honesty I cant tell you what happened in HL1.

  19. Reaktor

    Hi Phillip!

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