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Fanfic Recs / Half-Life

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Proof that the remaining 10% is worth getting whacked with a crowbar for here:

These are recommendations made by Tropers for Half-Life, all of which have been signed. After a few samples, you will be able to judge whether you might be interested in the 'fic, based on who recommended it. No-name recommendations will be Zapped!. Nobody would back up the rec. Discussion of the recommendation is welcome on the discussion page. As such discussion is important, do remember to add the discussion page to the watchlist, if need be.


Do warn when a fanfic may head into sexual or non-canon territory. Some people just don't like it, and as we all know, Shipping is Serious Business.

Stories focused on the family and the friendly relationships of the cast. Plot-focused stories or light day-in-the-life stories. Pretty much anything that isn't focused on romance.

Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman by Christopher C. Livingston

  • Recommended by Radioactive Zombie, DEFCON 1, Cameoflage, Extraintrovert, Parkour Paisho, Tazmily, LD Mythos
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Concerned tells the story of everyday moron Gordon Frohman, a side character who manages to fuck everything up for both the Combine and Rebels in his quest to prove himself to the Combine. Along the way, he has his medic eaten, pisses off Doctor Breen to the point of having a trail of destruction rained on him constantly, crashes into a Stereotypical CS:S server, and nearly kills Gordon.
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  • Comments: An Affectionate Parody, notable for Lampshade Hanging. Also, Webcomic.

The Black Mesa Incident, Welcome to City 17, and Aftermath by Super Chocolate Bear

  • Recommended by Medinoc, DEFCON 1, Heavy Villain, Hush, Sceptre, Extraintrovert
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A series of novelisations of the games, chapter by chapter. The first covers Half-Life, Blue Shift and Opposing Force, the second covers Half-Life 2, and the third covers Episode One and Episode Two. All finished.
  • Comments: Filled to the brim with wonderful interpretations of the characters and events, delightful yet unobtrusive additions, spectacular fights worthy of the series, and anything between Alyx and Gordon is made of d'aw. It drags at many points, becoming repetitive and full of filler much like the games, but also like the games it is well worth the wait.

Freeman's Mind by Ross Scott, located here.

  • Recommended by Doctor Worm, Rakuen, Unclouded_TJ, Tacitus. Extraintrovert, Parkour Paisho, Tazmily,
  • Synopsis: A machinima of the first Half-Life, basically playing the game with commentary in character as the usually Heroic Mime Freeman. Finished at 68 episodes and 3 specials
  • Comments: Endlessly hilarious. Freeman is portrayed as highly sarcastic, most of his jokes lying in Black Comedy territory, which is fitting for the atmosphere. There's also a fair amount of Lampshade Hanging. Slightly a Let's Play, however there are several cheats enabled (invincibility and the ability to climb most noticeably) for storytelling purposes that move it far enough away to make the definition cursory at best.
    • Seconded. Though the wait for each new episode is notoriously long, Freeman's hilarious antics and somewhat threatening attitude towards his fellow employees are always things you can look forward to in every episode. Highly recommended.
    • Tacitus: This has spawned similar machinima adding similar monologues to Blue Shifts Barney Calhoun and Opposing Forces Adrian Shephard, by IRAMightyPirate and KrimsinYT respectively. Though they are admittedly following the leader, they're quite enjoyable in their own right.
      • Evidently also inspired Between Minds, a dramatic written fanfic, listed below.

Half-Life Two: Shephard's Epic, by Blind Acquiescence.

  • Recommended by Radioactive Zombie, Philistein, REV 6 Pilot
  • Synopsis: Fills in the details between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and follows Opposing Force protagonist Adrian Shephard as he returns to Earth from stasis.
  • Comments: Pretty damn well written for a fanfic, and keeps your interest throughout.
    • Well-written indeed. Shephard's character reflects his experience at Black Mesa, and the group he's a part of is very interesting in their own right. The misdeeds in Ravenholm are of particular notice as one of the fic's high points. My only complaint is that Katya is little more than a clone of Alyx, but this bit's outweighted by the good things.
  • Status: Can be officially considered a Dead Fic. It's been 2 years since last update, and BA hasn't shown any sign of activity in this interval.

The Raid: (An Elite's worst nightmare) by The Airman

  • Recommended by Pointblank 28, MC Ham Guy
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: When a typical raid by Civil Protection goes awry, this elite is thrown into a wild and crazy adventure.
  • Comments: Very funny in it's own sense, especially the twist ending. Sorry guys, no spoilers.

Typical Moments in the Horrible Life of Gordon Freeman by Camwyn, with other characters played by leeshajoy (Alyx Vance), whoever's responsible for Barney, and a couple more people whose names I don't know.

  • Recommended by Cameoflage, Tacitus
  • Status: Dead
  • Pairing: Gordon/Alyx. Not the focus of the story by any sensible standard, but it's there; you have been warned.
  • Synopsis: A roleplaying journal for everyone's favourite ass-kicking theoretical physicist, associated with Milliways Bar, that doubles as a novelization (so to speak) of the games in the main storyline.
  • Comments: Currently in the middle of Episode Two (which is split between Gordon's and Alyx's journals). Due to Milliways' nature, characters from various other fandoms sometimes participate in the action (most notably during the Ravenholm and Battle of City 17 portions of Half-Life 2), which may not be to everyone's taste, but it's done in a way that makes sense and refrains from relying too heavily on the G-Man yet doesn't knock later events off-course. Also, Gordon can talk.
    • Tacitus: And now they've moved on to the search for the Borealis... and by "they" I mean Gordon, Alyx, Shephard and Chell. This is quite an intricate and intriguing narrative, but it can be hard to follow since the story is jumping across four of five LiveJournal accounts - if it's been collected somewhere, I haven't found it yet. Also, you'll have to keep expanding the commentary below some entries, since the participants are playing by post. Still worth the effort though, if only to hear Chell swear by the Weighted Companion Cube. I also found the Daemonmusings portions fascinating, since I'd never come across any fanfiction that speculated on characters' dæmons before.
••Link to when Chell first shows up, please?

Follow Freeman! by Pisces

  • Recommended by Moberemk, 'Van Irie
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: A series of drabbles in the Half-Life 2 universe.
  • Comments: A great series of drabbles that are just plain fun to read. They're quick, but definitely worth it.

Sidelines by Super Chocolate Bear and Blind Acquiescence.

  • Recommended by Sceptre, Philistein, Hush
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A series of drabbles taking place during the intervening period between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, from day one to decades later. Same canon as SCB's series, and probably BA's fic too.
  • Comments: Appropriately they are incredibly bleak and depressing, giving a very detailed and personal look at what is only hinted at in the games.

Half-Life 40K

  • Recommended by: Watashiwa
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Once upon a time, someone on 4chan had a thought: What if Gordon Freeman woke up in the 41st millennium? What if, crowbar in hand, Gordon Freeman became a living legend? What if Adrian Shepard followed, himself cutting a swath through the enemies of mankind? MAYBE it would be something like this.
  • Comments: This is a great proof-of-concept piece, highly recommended if you like Gordon Freeman going through alien hordes with nothing but a crowbar and a Zero Point Gravity Device. And I think you do.

Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Half-Life 2: Episode 4 by Nintendolover 222.

Between Minds, by 3theCaptain

  • Recommended by Russ The Adventure Mouse, Jingle Heimer Schmit
  • Status: Dormant
  • Synopsis: Takes off after Episode 2 and Portal 1, the gang set off for the Borealis after deciding that taking a teleporter would be faster than the helicopter. So far Chell has escaped her Relaxation Room, Kleiner gave a speech, and Gordon teleported to the Arctic to find a Combine ambush waiting for him. Also, Barney showed up in one of the most ridiculous ways possible.
  • Comments: Very well written! The characters act like themselves, neither Gordon nor Chell speak, Alyx and Gordon are sweet and flirty. Alyx is tough but in mourning, Gordon's in denial, Barney's snarky, etc. All in all, a very enjoyable read that tugs your heartstrings when the time is right! Interestingly, shows Eli's death from Dog's point of view in the prologue.
    • After a year without updates, suddenly the author announces they're rewriting the Half-Life chapters, and HOLY CRAP it's good! Or at least, much improvement on a story that didn't really need improvement. It's good! Read it!

Rubik's Cube, by Tsumi-Amethyst

  • Recommended by Freya Crescent
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: "A young Alyx Vance is bored as she is dragged around the Black Mesa facility. She has been given a Rubik's Cube to play with."
  • Comments: Short, sweet, and heartwarming.

Forget about Freeman, by Hotpoint

  • Recommended by Murus
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: "Your hour has come again Corporal Shephard, the wrong man in the right place can make all the difference in the world."
  • Comments: That's right, Shephard is back - and he's awesome! Seriously, the writer nailed down a fitting personality for Adrian Shephard perfectly. This story takes place following Half Life 2: Episode 2. Sadly, it seems it's a dead fic, which will stay on its mere 4 chapters... however, reading them is recommended nevertheless, as they're excellent.

Restoring Feeling, by Noun of Nouns

  • Recommended by sloth4
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: "When the imagination's worst horrors are confronted in reality, people can't help but change. Adaptation is one of the cornerstones of evolution, but for Gordon Freeman, this isn't evolution, it is regression."
  • Comments: Excellent story following a cynical and war-weary Gordon Freeman who has forsaken the role of a scientist in exchange for becoming a Combine killer. It carries heavy overtones of science reaching too far. Freeman is consumed by regret and appears to have PTSD. He's also far more brutal than you would expect and a complete racist (toward vortigaunts). Sadly, it may be a dead fic. Still, highly recommended.

Black Coffee by rednightmare

  • Recommended by Miss Freeman
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: He has to keep awake somehow. Character study of Barney Calhoun taking place at the time of the Black Mesa Incident with many flashbacks to his childhood and his normal life working as a security guard.
  • Comments: Superbly written, a little hard to wrap your brain around at first as it switches back and forth between past and present, and does a great job at conveying the insanity of the disaster and Barney's own sleep-deprived mind.

The Remarkable Schrödinger Man by Jazz Kaufmann

  • Recommended by sloth4, rubyshade
  • Status: WIP
  • Synopsis: This is a Half-Life 2 retelling, with the focus on Gordon Freeman as a deeply troubled character overcoming his trauma and inner conflict.
  • Comments: A terrific, mildly canon-divergent retelling of the events of HL2 that follows a PTSD-addled Freeman as he tries to cope with a world under the Combine thumb. The interactions between him and Alyx are top-notch. As the chapters progress, it becomes clear that Jazz is building a sub-story within the framework of the plot of Half Life 2, making the canon their own but not necessarily diverging from it, expanding it in completely interesting and enjoyable ways. This, and the excellent prose, is what sets this fic apart from other retellings of Half Life 2. You won't be disappointed.

Stories focused on the romantic relationships between the cast.

The Right Words by Subverted

  • Recommended by KathrynShadow
  • Status: Dead
  • Pairing: Gordon/Alyx
  • Synopsis: Sometimes it seemed as though they both struggled to speak, yet the meaning was always conveyed.
  • Comment: It started out as a brief exploration of what might have happened had Gordon actually had a chance to rest for a bit at Black Mesa East before everything went to hell. And then the author decided to continue it. And it kept getting better. Chapter 4 (which is titled Chapter Three), nearly brought me to tears. It also, beautifully enough, preserves Gordon's Heroic Mime status.

Misery Loves Company by Kraven Ergeist

  • Recommended by Edgar L Night, Hush
  • Status: Complete
  • Pairing: Gordon/Alyx
  • Synopsis: "As Alyx mourns the loss of her father, Gordon offers his support in the only way he knows how: silently."
  • Comment: An adorable one-shot that can and will reduce even the most hard-hearted into a puddle of Squee.
    • A well-written and touching short story indeed. Worth a look.

Cabin in the Woods by KRSONMar

  • Recommended by johnny3gud
  • Status: Completed
  • Pairing: Gordon/Alyx
  • Synopsis: Taking shelter from a thunderstorm, Gordon and Alyx find themselves stuck in a conveniently-located cabin. Gordon knows what's supposed to happen...and he can't afford to let it.
  • Comment: The length of a short novel, this extraordinarily well-written and insightful fic features Gordon and Alyx at the most emotionally intense you'll ever see them. Sometimes delightful, sometimes brutal, and always thoroughly touching. Not an overstatement to call it a tour de force.

Salvation: A Half-Life Mass Effect Crossover Story by Jesse De La Rosa

  • Recommended by autopanda and Wixelt
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: After Gordon Freeman is allegedly killed by the Combine, Earth enters a new technological Golden Age. Until 179 years later, when galactic civilization is threatened once more. A threat that only Earth's two greatest heroes can stop.
  • Pairings: Shepard/Tali, Gordon/Miranda
  • Comments Exactly what the title says. It's actually pretty good. Also, in one of the first couple chapters, Shepard attempts to teach Legion what the term "fun" means.
    • Now finished, and it's conclusion was brilliant. It's not over, however, as it is now leading into a series of stand-alone 'episode' stories that will eventually lead into a sequel.

Half-Life 40K written by unknown.

  • Recommended by Thecommander236
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis Somehow, Gordon, Shepard, AND the G-Man were put into stasis and are woken up in the universe of Warhammer 40,000. What occurs next is pure carnage.
  • Comments Sadly, it is very short and a continuation either doesn't exist or is hard to find. The grammar of the story isn't the best, but the story itself is decent and awesome.

Twenty Years Late by Drenched in Megalomania

Fan Films

Half-Life: Full Life Consequences

  • Recommended by FLCNPNCH, Tacitus, DEFCON 1, Paireon, Alynnidalar
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Someone finds a crappy Half-Life fanfic and decides to make some movies out of it. These are those movies.
  • Comments: The "fan fic" itself: gut-bustingly bad. The machinema itself: absurdly hilarious. The "fan fic" and the machinema combined: ...can't...breathe...too...funny... Don't forget to watch Quarter-Life: Half-Way to Destruction — Fan Fiction by Peter Chimaera, Narration by Cannon590A, Video by Djy 1991.
    • There have been other similar projects, most significantly videos produced and released around the same time as Djy's versions by Gaz 6231:
    • Hero Beggining — Narration and Video by Gaz 6231
    • Free Man — Narration and Video by Gaz 6231
    • These videos offer a slightly different take on the original fanfiction, which is... lacking in detail in places. Feel free to argue over which was better/first/ripped off/not ripped off/falsely accused of ripping off/falsely accusing others of ripping off/whatever in the comments of all related videos, or just enjoy two equally interesting takes on a truly terrible piece of writing.

Teatime with Dr. Breen by kitty0706

  • Recommended by Tarentel.
  • Synopsis: Gordon Freeman gets a call from Microsoft Sam to have tea with Dr. Breen in the Citadel. Along the way he runs into a swarm of angry watermelons, PEELZ, a long elevator ride, a traveling band of enemy spies, computer failure, and Dr. Magnusson. Do not watch if you are a fan of logic, common sense, or coherent plot.

Half-Life:Foxtrot Uniform

  • Recommended by Rmpdc
  • Synopsis: Taking place late in the Black Mesa Incident, a HECU Marine, having just witnessed his entire unit get wiped out, is cornered in an office by a security guard named Otis. However, an ambush by Black Ops soldiers sent to silence any remaining witnesses in the facility forces both the Marine and Otis to fight their way out of the facility in order to stay alive.
  • Comments: An excellent blend of Half-Life: Opposing Force and Black Mesa, combining dark and gritty action with some over-the-top effects.

Black Mesa Disaster in one map

  • Recommended by Rmpdc
  • Synopsis: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's an hour-long compilation of Freeman's, Shephard's, and Calhoun's perspectives during the events of the Black Mesa Incident, depicting their simultaneous escape attempts and encounters with aliens and hostile soldiers.
  • Comments: To anyone who wants to know the chronology of events from the original game and its expansions from a more detailed perspective, look no further than this video.

Half Life: Side Story: Gaiden: HUNT DOWN FREE MAN

  • Recommended by I—Vanya—I
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Machinimas loosely based on the infamous Hunt Down the Freeman, retold in the style of the aforementioned Half-Life: Full Life Consequences machinimas.
  • Comments: Many have heard about Hunt Down The Freeman and its infamy. However, one nice YouTuber named DAMN SON decided to take this game and adapt it into hilarious parody machinimas, amazingly capturing the feel of the old GMod parody videos, giving you a rollercoaster of laughs. Notably, even DeremixProductions, one of those who were involved in the development of Hunt Down The Freeman, expressed his approval and even made an intro for the second part!


  • Recommended by Rmpdc
  • Synopsis: Taking place during Half-Life: Opposing Force's fourth and fifth chapters, this video is a retelling of how Shephard missed the evacuation chopper and was subsequently forced to make his way through Black Mesa.
  • Comments: A great retelling of Opposing Force's earlier chapters, and helps to flesh out the other HECU Marines as people trying to escape an inescapable crisis.