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Are Halo novels suitable for a 10-year-old????

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Are Halo novels suitable for a 10-year-old????

Old 10-18-07, 07:32 PM
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Are Halo novels suitable for a 10-year-old????

My 10-year-old son's two great loves these days are books and video games. He just finished the Artemis Fowl book series and is looking for something new to read.

He tells me that there are a series of novelizations based on the Halo video games, written by an established sci-fi author, and that he would like to tackle them. My question is: are they suitable content-wise for a 10-year-old? In other words, is the content safe for a 10-year-old and are they written in a language that a ten-year-old will understand?

I know all kids are different, but to give you some understanding about my son, he finished the first Halo game before he was 5. He finished Halo 2 over the weekend of its release. Due to the lack of an XBOX360 in the house, he has not tackled #3. Reading-wise, however, he is on the level of the Fowl books and the like. In other words, Ulysses is not on his must read list.

Is he ready for these books, or should he mature a few more years, age-wise and comprehension-wise, before dusting off the jackets??

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Old 10-20-07, 12:06 AM
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If he's not ready for Ulysses, have him start with The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Reading trash literature like the Halo novelizations as a child leads to reading trash as an adult.

Encourage him to raise his standards before its too late.
Old 10-20-07, 01:13 AM
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. . . and toss out the violent video games as well. They're only going to lead to warmongering and aggression.

If you need any more unsolicited parenting advice Donald and I will be here.

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Old 10-20-07, 03:34 AM
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TheAllPurposeNothing asked for reading advice for his/her son, and I gave it. Encouraging a parent not to let his or her child become a philistine is perfectly reasonable and, in fact, necessary. He/she is free to take or leave it, and if you don't like it, too bad.

Last edited by Donald Brown; 10-20-07 at 04:43 AM.
Old 10-20-07, 08:52 AM
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Donald Brown, I doubt when you were reading The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man you thought to yourself, "I like this book, but you know who would really get a kick out of it, a 10-year-old boy." You picked this book not for its particular suitablity as a gateway to adult literature but as a riff on the OP's comment on Ulysses. It makes no real difference to me that you decided to take the piss out of the OP, but don't then protest otherwise.

OP, if you were looking for a good book that would serve to transition a 10-year-old boy from juvenile literature to adult lit, you could try "the Hobbit" (that's one I read in grade school), or the "Harry Potter" books (I haven't read them, but I know kids love them), however, I understand that gateway literature wasn't what you were asking for.
Old 10-20-07, 09:08 AM
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The books are pretty violent from what I can remember - it's been a while since I've read one. However, so are the games.

While the "Halo" novels would not be considered classic literature, they did certainly exceed what I'd expected out of novels that serve as extensions of a video game universe. I certainly love the "Halo" series, and I really did like the novels I've read. I think there's one or two that I haven't, and I've been meaning to get them myself.

Whether they're okay for a ten-year-old is up to the parent. You may want to see if your local Barnes and Noble or Borders has one and then thumb through it and see what you think.
Old 10-21-07, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdmovie1
The books are pretty violent from what I can remember - it's been a while since I've read one. However, so are the games.

While the "Halo" novels would not be considered classic literature, they did certainly exceed what I'd expected out of novels that serve as extensions of a video game universe. I certainly love the "Halo" series, and I really did like the novels I've read. I think there's one or two that I haven't, and I've been meaning to get them myself.

Whether they're okay for a ten-year-old is up to the parent. You may want to see if your local Barnes and Noble or Borders has one and then thumb through it and see what you think.
I'll probably end up doing that. I typically don't have a problem with the violence as long as its not overly graphic. If you mean violent in terms of action as compared to description then he should be fine. But if it goes all grand guignol, then he/I may have a problem with that.

I was actually more concerned about things like strong language, sexual situations, etc. Violence I expect in a book based on a violent game. Wasn't sure how much liberty the author had taken otherwise.
Old 10-21-07, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Donald Brown
If he's not ready for Ulysses, have him start with The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Reading trash literature like the Halo novelizations as a child leads to reading trash as an adult.

Encourage him to raise his standards before its too late.
While I assume you say this with tongue planted in cheek, you just never know on these boards. My question is: Have you read the Halo books? In other words, are you qualified to label them as "trash" or is that an assumption you are making?

At this point, I'm just happy that my son wants to read at all. Give him Joyce at this age and he'll probably never read again.
Old 10-21-07, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TheAllPurposeNothing
My question is: Have you read the Halo books? In other words, are you qualified to label them as "trash" or is that an assumption you are making?
While I know this question wasn't directed to me, I'm going to go ahead and but in again by saying this: you don't need to shoot yourself in the head to know that lead is bad for your health. Or, more plainly, I'd put this question to you, can you name one novelization of a video game, hell I'm feeling generous here, I'll toss in television show and movie as well, that deserves to be cannonized as great literature, or even some lesser standard of particularly good (whatever that might mean) literature?


Originally Posted by TheAllPurposeNothing
I typically don't have a problem with the violence as long as its not overly graphic. . . . I was actually more concerned about things like strong language, sexual situations, etc.
I'm not trying to knock you in particular, but I'll just note how stereotypically American that viewpoint is. It's okay to show children violence without any real consequences, the bloodless death of Imperial Stormtroopers for example, but they should be shielded from sex and strong language. Net result (big leap here, but I believe it and will argue for it), the appearance of a second-rate pop singer's nipple on national television is a bigger concern to a large segment of Americans than civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan which remain almost completely abstract, in part because major corporate American media sources won't televise or print the carnage for fear of upsetting middle American sensibilities; thus, the violence against civilians remains largely abstract and unreal.

Last edited by Yakuza Bengoshi; 10-21-07 at 08:35 AM.
Old 10-21-07, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Yakuza Bengoshi
While I know this question wasn't directed to me, I'm going to go ahead and but in again by saying this: you don't need to shoot yourself in the head to know that lead is bad for your health. Or, more plainly, I'd put this question to you, can you name one novelization of a video game, hell I'm feeling generous here, I'll toss in television show and movie as well, that deserves to be cannonized as great literature, or even some lesser standard of particularly good (whatever that might mean) literature?
Well, I would say Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide was a very good book based on a radio play and tv show. I believe Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere was a TV mini-series first, and I liked that quite a bit as well. And though I haven't read them, I know a number of sci-fi fans who claim a number of Star Trek and Star Wars novelizations were actually pretty good. Maybe its something akin to the genre. In this case, the Halo books have been authored by a supposedly "established" sci-fi author. In that sense, I would expect something better than a Harlequin romance novel.

It guess it comes down to expectations. I love books by Cain, Chandler and Leonard, but I would be hard-pressed to call them great literature. Maximum Bob may not be Oliver Twist, but it is written in an entertaining fashion, has well established characters, and Leonard has a sharp ear for dialogue. I may not be a better person for having read it, but I found it a much better way to spend my time than watching Frasier reruns.

So if my son wants to read what could possibly be a mediocre book, it is still better than wasting it in front of another video game or another episode of Drake and Josh. A year ago, he told me he hated reading. Now, he prefers to read as a way to pass the time. I don't see anything wrong with that.


I'm not trying to knock you in particular, but I'll just note how stereotypically American that viewpoint is. It's okay to show children violence without any real consequences, the bloodless death of Imperial Stormtroopers for example, but they should be shielded from sex and strong language. Net result (big leap here, but I believe it and will argue for it), the appearance of a second-rate pop singer's nipple on national television is a bigger concern to a large segment of Americans than civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan which remain almost completely abstract, in part because major corporate American media sources won't televise or print the carnage for fear of upsetting middle American sensibilities; thus, the violence against civilians remains largely abstract and unreal.
I can't really argue with you regarding the American acceptance of violence as I make many of the same arguments myself. In this case, I'm not actually trying to shield my son from sex and strong language because I'm overly protective. When I was ten, my dad took me to see Animal House at the movies. I was allowed to watch Benny Hill with all its innuendo and direct sexual references nightly on local TV. I survived it and didn't turn into a deviant. And I would assume the same of my son.

This is more a matter of trying to find something to fit a direct audience. My son abhors strong language and currently has little to no interest in sexual subject matter. Since the local library doesn't have the Halo books, he has to buy them to read them. I'd rather he spend the money on a book he can understand and won't be bothered by. But I'd also suspect that if the violence is graphic, he would probably be turned off by them as well. I was never bothered by him playing Halo at such a young age because the characters he was fighting were so distinctly non-human and typically at a distance. Human casualties and blood in the game were almost non-existent.

When he is ready for something more explicit, we'll cross that bridge and try to find him something appropriate for him. Still, I doubt he'll start with Henry Miller.
Old 10-21-07, 12:21 PM
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I have read all the Halo books and played the games. I don't recall any sex at all in them. I also don't recall any strong language (nothing stronger than you would find in the game). They are reasonably well-written sci-fi that i would bet he could handle. If they were a little advanced for him his desire to know more about the Halo verse would spur him on to surmount the challenge. If he was old enough to play the games and handle that violence then he should be fine with the books.

The second book is pretty mediocre, but the other ones are pretty good. There is also a new one (the fifth) due out at the end of October (this month).
Old 10-21-07, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TheAllPurposeNothing
Well, I would say Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide was a very good book based on a radio play and tv show. I believe Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere was a TV mini-series first, and I liked that quite a bit as well.
Those are some good examples. I'd add Asimov's Fantasic Voyage and Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 as good sci-fi novelizations that border on classics.
Old 10-21-07, 12:59 PM
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TheAllPurposeNothing, I don't disagree with anything you've said. Your opinions are perfectly valid. I'll just make a couple observations from my own perspective. I knew when I added "even some lesser standard of particularly good (whatever that might mean) literature" you'd be able to come up with some arguable instances. I thought of Star Trek and Star Wars myself, even while I was writing the line, though Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was an even better example of debatable good literature than what I came up with. As I noted, the term "good literature" is subjective; I'll go on to say it really leads only to the question "good for what?" I read Hitchhiker's Guide in junior high and I found it to be very funny, so if entertainment value is the measure of good literature, then I think you came up with a good example. If good literature requires something more than entertainment value, I can't recall Hitchhiker's Guide fitting the bill (though it may have in some Swiftian sense that either I don't remember now or that escaped my understanding then).

As to your comments about Halo being unobjectionable for your son because the violence is largely perpetrated against non-humans and at a distance, I'd note that, for me, this is troubling on two levels. First, distinctions between us and them (the ins and the outs; Civilized persons and savages; Aryans and Jews; Humans and Aliens; etc.) are age old, and spending countless hours killing aliens at minimum doesn't do anything to change the status quo, and arguably could serve to make things worse. I could say a lot more about that, but I think you can see where I'm going with that and I'll leave off there. Second, killing at a distance is as troubling for me as consequence-free, bloodless killing which I mentioned above is, but I'd be a hypocrite to say that I don't enjoy violence as entertainment too, it's just that I'm at least aware that for me the moral distinctions between graphic, face-to-face fantasy-violence, and bloodless fantasy-violence at a distance is not as great, and Iím really not sure which is worse.

Anyway, sorry to have hijacked your thread. Best regards, YB

Last edited by Yakuza Bengoshi; 10-21-07 at 01:11 PM.
Old 10-21-07, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay G.
Those are some good examples. I'd add Asimov's Fantasic Voyage and Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 as good sci-fi novelizations that border on classics.
I won't quibble with the greatness of these selections, except to note that Clarke wrote the novel and screenplay for 2001 simultaneously, so though the film was released before the novel, the novel is not a novelization of the film.
Old 10-21-07, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Yakuza Bengoshi

As to your comments about Halo being unobjectionable for your son because the violence is largely perpetrated against non-humans and at a distance, I'd note that, for me, this is troubling on two levels. First, distinctions between us and them (the ins and the outs; Civilized persons and savages; Aryans and Jews; Humans and Aliens; etc.) are age old, and spending countless hours killing aliens at minimum doesn't do anything to change the status quo, and arguably could serve to make things worse. I could say a lot more about that, but I think you can see where I'm going with that and I'll leave off there. Second, killing at a distance is as troubling for me as consequence-free, bloodless killing which I mentioned above is, but I'd be a hypocrite to say that I don't enjoy violence as entertainment too, it's just that I'm at least aware that for me the moral distinctions between graphic, face-to-face fantasy-violence, and bloodless fantasy-violence at a distance is not as great, and Iím really not sure which is worse.
I guess for me that's the thing, though. You are simplifying Halo into just an exercise in violence, while totally disregarding its narrative structure. Even at five, he was quite aware he was playing a part of a story....a story in which he was trying to save the human race from being extinguished. It wasn't violence for violence's sake (like in the GTA games or Postal). It wasn't about coldly killing off creatures for no other reason than killing. It was a question of survival, and each level he survived was an accomplishment for him. It took not only dexterity but also strategy to survive certain levels.

I think thats why he wants to read the books. Not to read it as an exercise in violence but to build the back story more. To give the game and its universe greater depth.

The distance was more of a relief for me, because I didn't want him seeing overly graphic violence at that age (or this one even). A two-minute Bloodrayne trailer he saw (thanks to my nephew) left him with nightmares for weeks. He didn't need more of that.

It just seems to me that you are trying to infuse a morality issue where one doesn't exist. For the most part, my son is a very gentle soul. He's not violent, aggressive, loud, or obnoxious, and he has a great appreciation for the value of life. He is also quite aware of the difference between reality and fiction.

He just wants to flesh out a story he likes. I don't see what's wrong with that.

As for hijacking the thread, don't sweat it. The discussion is an interesting one and there's always room for it.

Take care,
Old 10-21-07, 03:14 PM
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I'll add in that at that age I was also really enjoying reading the Dragonlance series of novels (the first 6) as well as the aforementioned Tolkien. I also think Ender's Game would be an incredible book to read at that age. I wish I had discovered it that early.

Encouraging him to look into the backstory of the game he is playing is, imo, a good thing. It encourages more engagement with the entertainment rather than just reacting to the flickering lights (see bad guy, twitch thumb, press button). This is what will hopefully lay the groundwork for him to do more analysis of his own entertainment and in turn have him debating the social ramifications of books on a forum of his choice in a few years.


edit: Forgot to mention Ender's Game... felt guilty for leaving it out.
Old 10-21-07, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Yakuza Bengoshi
I won't quibble with the greatness of these selections, except to note that Clarke wrote the novel and screenplay for 2001 simultaneously, so though the film was released before the novel, the novel is not a novelization of the film.
I thought I'd might get some flack for 2001. There seems to be no clear consensus on the development of the screenplay vs. development of the novel. Each of these sites give slightly different explanations:

http://kubrickfilms.warnerbros.com/video_detail/2001/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/trivia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A...dyssey_(novel)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A...(film)#Writing

However, I feel I should point out that Clarke co-wrote the screenplay with Kubrick, and apparently felt his story contributions were strong enough that Kubrick was initially going to receive a writer's credit on the novel as well. Also, the original hardcover for the book clearly states "based on the screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke." Finally, I feel it's fairly safe to say that without the film, the book never would've existed.
Old 10-21-07, 06:35 PM
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If he wants to read a book about a guy in powered armor fighting aliens, why not let him read Starship Troopers. You can follow it up with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

[evillibertarianlaugh]Muhahaha![/evillibertarianlaugh]
Old 10-21-07, 08:03 PM
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Sigh. Why can't people just be happy a 10 year old is actually reading?
Old 10-21-07, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveCole
Sigh. Why can't people just be happy a 10 year old is actually reading?
Exactly.
Old 11-04-07, 11:03 PM
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I loved the Artemis Fowl series, I myself just finished book #5. The Halo books are just as violent and profane (language wise) as the game. The read wasn't too bad, I would say its along the lines of R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms books that surround Drizzt Do'Urden.

EDIT: Am I one of the only people to answer the OP's question directly and not off-subject?
Old 11-05-07, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sk8r1189
Am I one of the only people to answer the OP's question directly and not off-subject?
xmiyux and dvdmovie1 both answered the OP's question directly. Writing "one of the only" is bad grammar: I don't know if you meant you were the only person, or one of the few people to answer directly.

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/only.html
Old 11-05-07, 01:53 PM
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Just have him read Starship Troopers and Ringworld instead.
Old 11-09-07, 04:13 AM
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I say yes it if the games in your mind are suitable, encouraging him to read his good. My ten year old has gotten on a darrin shaun kick
(think harry potter but really dark, vampires and such) its aimed at a teen level but he reads him and will sit a whole saturday to get through a book.
Old 11-10-07, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Donald Brown
TheAllPurposeNothing asked for reading advice for his/her son, and I gave it. Encouraging a parent not to let his or her child become a philistine is perfectly reasonable and, in fact, necessary. He/she is free to take or leave it, and if you don't like it, too bad.
Agreed, unless he becomes a philistine before the israelites get to canaan. Then it might be a decent life choice.

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