The Sad, Strange End to Half-Life


Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw released the "unofficial" outline of 'Half-Life 2: Episode 3.'

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I really enjoyed reading this. In particular, the writer touched on something that’s always kind of bugged me about the notion of canon and how it’s usually treated in (for lack of a better phrase) ‘nerd culture’:

All our furious hermeneutics depended on the notion of canon, which is central to nerd culture. Debating … had no meaning unless we presumed the existence of a coherent, definitive story of Half-Life, existing perhaps in a platonic realm of pure fiction.

(emphais mine)

I have a weird and conflicting relationship with this kind of analysis; on the one hand, I’m very easily caught up in it and I can attest I have lost hours digging through discussions and wikis on Half-Life minutiae (and the connections to Portal). But when it comes to thinking the piece of media itself, this kind of canon discussion is actively distracting I think.

Another recent example for me is Twin Peaks. If I’m honest with myself, I absolutely will read a discussion of what the black lodge is, or what the connection is between BOB and the experiment or a million other questions, but these kind of discussions seem to dominate the discourse over discussing Twin Peaks as a piece of culture as opposed to a consistent universe with lore.

But then again, maybe this is a case of me feeling insecure in the media I like and falling back on intellectualising, or else just being snooty or snobbish about what other people enjoy doing. Hell, I enjoy doing it. Either way, I liked how John Brindle phrased this.