In my other articles, How Halo Reach killed Halo canon and Annual Halo releases: Not a good sign for the Halo universe! I have detailed to the best of my abilities my concern for the growing encrouachment on book canon in the Halo Unvierse. In this article, I want to question the validity of book canon, and hopefully clearn up any lingering doubt in your mind that book canon is absolute.
Game canon in my opinion is 100% official canon and if it comes first then it should be taken as 100% legitimate. The canon in Halo 1, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 3: ODST, should all be taken as 100% legitimate canon. However, Halo: The Fall of Reach, by Eric Nylund came before Halo: Reach by bungie. Bungie back in 2001 gave Eric Nylund 7 weeks to write a prequel novel to Halo 1. Bungie gave Eric Nylund their Halo bible which supposidly told Nylund everything he needed to know about the Covenant Empire, the UNSC, and Reach. He was supposed to write a backstory to Halo 1 that showed how the Pillar of Autumn got to Halo and how John 117 got on board the ship. In this novel he wrote out the backstory of the Human-Covenant war and many of the characters in the struggle. It was an excellent prequel for these reasons. However in 2010 Bungie released a Halo game Halo: Reach that had nothing to do with the novel. The dates were changed, the heroes were changed, and the plot was changed. They kept the ending the same, but re-wrote the story of how the Autumn got to Halo, how Cortana got on the Autumn, etc. In my opinion, since Halo: The Fall of Reach came first that book should be considered canon over the game. The book came first, it was written with Bungie's source information, their story bible, and everything in the novel was approved by the game developers.
In the years between the first Halo game and Halo Reach, 2001-2010, Nylund wrote two more Halo books. Halo: First Strike and Halo: The Ghosts of Onyx. In these books he further fleshed out the Halo unvierse in accordance with Bungie's story bible. He elaborate on the Spartan II program, told the story of the Spartan III program, and set up a perfectly explaniable back story to the events of Halo 2 (the video game) and established how the Master Chief returned to Earth in between Halo 1 and Halo 2, in First Strike. The rule of thumb should be that once a book, graphic novel, anime story or television show is created, and if these come before the games and are approved by Bungie or 343 Industries; then it should be canonical.
So, my question to you is, are these books canonical or not. It is up to you as loyal Halo fans to resist changes to the canon. I agree that minor retcons to the canon is fine. But, to support a major overall, as depicted in Halo: Reach is asking too much. Not only does this change the whole back story of the Battle of Reach, the signular defining moment in the Halo series, and the backstory of Cortana and the Pillar of Autumn, but it changes the entire backstories of most of the books. How did the Spartan II company make it to Reach. In the novel they were sent down from the space battle in dropships to hold the MAC generators. If the Pillar of Autumn was on Reach then how did they get to the MAC generators, this will have to be re-explained. How did the Master Chief get on the pillar of Autumn, in reach he was sent to a space station to purge a NAV database and enforce the Cole Protocol, but in the game he is absent. Why was the Pillar of Autumn being refitted on land drydock, they never explain why it was being refitted in the game. In the novel it is explained that it was being refitted so the Spartan II company could capture a Prophet and negotiate the end of the Human-Covenant war. But, there is no explanation for why it is being refitted in the game.
By changing the backstory of the Autumn it no longer becomes clear how the Spartan II company made it to Reach to defend the Generators. It is no longer clear how the Master Cheif got on board the Pillar of Autumn, it isn't even clear how the Autumn flew in Reach's atmosphere, because it wasn't rated for Atmospheric flight. By disregarding book canon, in this case Halo: The Fall of Reach, there are now many unanswered and unexplained questions. This is why book canon, if it is in place, before a game, has to be respected. By disrespecting the canon of the game, Bungie disrespected all the Halo Books. Now they have set a precedent that if a new game is to be made, say one between Halo 1 and Halo 2, then all the books in place can be disregarded.
To conclude, book canon is canon and it is just as important as game canon. Just because you didn't play it on your TV doesn't mean it didn't happen. It did happen. Game and Book canon should exist in a 50/50 state and if a game is before a book, the book has to respect the game. If the book is in place before the game, the game has to respect the book canon. In Bungie's Halo: Reach this isn't so, and I have already spent an article talking about that. This article is to talk about the validity of the Halo books. It is in my opinion that these books have to be respected and regarded as legitimate canon and because the Halo: Reach game disrespected existancing canon, I am going to regard it as non-canon. In my opinion the events of Halo: Reach never happened because they supercede the book. I ask all loyal Halo canon fans to do the same, books have to be respected, because next a game could be released that takes place between Halo 1 and Halo 2 and maybe in this game you play as Avery Johnson. Maybe in this game something completely different will happen and thus the book Halo: First Strike will be superceded and declared non-canonical. These books have been out for years, they have been approved by the game studios and have been written with the "Halo bible" these books are just as canonical as the games because the game companies have rubber stamped them. They have to respect them because they approved them.