Modcast Bulletin (Ep.9)

While the embargo on Halo 4 news has ended and the Community is all aquiver with excitement on that upcoming title, I’d like you to travel back with me – back to the beginning of (known) Halo history as we recap the ninth Modcast which dealt with the first part of Halo Cryptum.

(If you haven’t heard it yet, please head here.)

I’m a sucker for fiction discussions … and this type of break-down is right up my alley.

For those of you who could care less, you still had playful banter – so worth a listen just for that!

I haven’t read Cryptum as of yet (although the audio book is on the way), so you’re not going to get a lot of my thoughts here – which will probably automatically up the quality of this post in the long run.

Before we get started, happy belated birthday to Grimbrother One! 128 never looked so good.

Appreciated Points

GBO brought out how Greg Bear is old school science fiction – more science fantasy.

He’s big on the environment and having that tell a large part of the story. This is a different style for those who have read other entries in the extended Halo fiction, and I think it’s a good thing. Halo has proven itself capable of handling different shades of storytelling, whether in books, comics, etc.

The notion that the Forerunners embodied all that was good in the universe was shattered pretty early on, as UNSC Warhead pointed out. It turns out we all need to build character, even an ancient race of enlightened beings whose empire encompassed three million worlds across the galaxy.

GrimBrother Meow had a couple quick hits I wanted to go into here:

  • First, some people didn’t want the mystery of the Forerunner solved, the idea being that when you completely explain the mystery away you lose some of the beauty. However, he felt that what was done in Cryptum was more mystery on top of details – that even though you found out more about them, more questions/enigmas remain. Conclusion: element of mystery intact!
  • Second, a young rebel Forerunner is the one who breaks away from our original idea of the Forerunners being entirely noble – which makes sense. (We expect a young punk to do just that, don’t we?) But then you see that the elders are worse – and you realize the Forerunner society is not utopian as once thought.
  • Third, Bornstellar reminded him (GBO) of the kind of Halo fan who would want to read this book. This is the kind of fan that says, “Yeah, matchmaking is cool – now tell me more about these ancient relics.” This mirrors Bornstellar’s own curiosity about the Precursor artifacts he seeks in the story, that same desire to know about your history and the world around you.

Kalamari liked how Earth’s physical history was a part of the novel, specifically the cooling of planet over time.

There was good talk about Bornstellar’s armor – how it looks as well as how it works. This brings up one of the interesting parallels between the contemporary Halo universe and that time period, with the Spartans’ armor being a large part of their characterization as well.

Along with armor the Forerunner rate (social class) system was brought up, and the politics that entails. If a heard correctly, some of the tension in the story comes from the Warrior-Servants having a gradual demotion in their standing in society, and this effects the other rates – particularly the Builders.

Per the book, the San ‘Shyuum were both slippery and sexy back in the day. I’d love to comment on the previous sentence, but after several tries I’m just going to let it go …

The Human/Covenant dynamic is expanded on, and the fact that we knew the Prophets (enough to have an alliance with them) previously makes you look at the main plot through the games in a new light.

GBO raised the question of humanity being the San ‘Shyuum’s “first Elites” in a way – that we had the same sort of muscle role that the Sangheili have (or had) now.

UNSC Warhead confessed he didn’t like how Cryptum began, but stuck with it (as opposed to dropping a firebomb in the forums about how the book ruined Halo forever) and found that it works. You’re not sure how it’s going to work when it starts, but it does and it’s awesome.

Kalamari would back me up on the previous paragraph; even after his thrid read-through of the book he still sees more that ties into the universe.

Cryptum is a mine my friends – dig deep!

Quotes Worth Repeating

Grim Brother Meow

GBO getting into the spirit after Warhead literally meow’d. Don’t believe me? Go listen for yourself

I’m here purely for decoration

CruelLEGACEY hadn’t read the book at this point, but he still preformed a vial function

What happened around the time of the firing of the Halo Array was much more complex than we thought

UNSC Warhead brings out the truth – it seems there more going on than the simple push of a button …

I feel like it’s a Forerunner exchange student program

GrimBrother One’s vibe on Bornstellar’s initial travels. Would you like to sponsor a plucky young Forerunner to learn the ways of our culture? Apply today!

It looks like a really cool version of like, you know, the Silver Hawks armor …

Grim makes a fantastic comparison. In my “I love the 80s” book, Silver Hawks = awesome

I have a very strong feeling that the Librarian herself may end of becoming one of the most pivotal characters in the fiction, especially with the new trilogy coming up

GBO highlights a character that already has an important role in the fiction … and where will the future take her? We’ll have to see

I want to see a picture of a sexy Prophet!

GrimBrother One votes for the visual. How many college dorms have one of these hanging on the wall?

Are you kidding? I’m not editing all this out

C-LEG on the dead air in the show during a couple of times while the pages of Cryptum ]were frantically being flipped

This is total nerd-zone right now

Grim defines the territory the Modcast entered into. The best part about the nerd-zone is when even as a nerd you realize you’re in it – and then with a knowing smile keep going

I imagine the Forerunner ships being Covenant looking, but more silvery “Flight of the Navigator” style … and with blue highlights. And maybe some racing stripes

Remember that book I mentioned earlier? If you look up “Awesome” you’ll find Flight of the Navigator right next to Silver Hawks. Thank you Grim!

He looks at them as a weird cross between an annoying pet and a hated enemy

GBO on how the Didact views humanity; this view the Didact takes should be remembered as we learn more about him

Many thanks for reading and Modcast 10 awaits. It’s great to look to the beginning in Cryptum while looking to the future in Halo 4; I’m enjoying this ride.


>>>>>>>[Post tenenbras lux]


  1. Personally I always found the Prophet of Regret quite the charmer! Something about that long, smooth neck I guess. And his “come to bed” eyes.

    I fear I’ve revealed too much.


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