How is it that you've never heard of ? It's been around for about 20 years, so you have absolutely no excuse for not diving into this unjustifiably unknown sci-fi pleasure. The year is 4950 or so, and life sucks for a group of young women living in a messy unemployment colony called "The Hoop." Mean aliens, dangerous criminals, and inescapable poverty drive some folks to withdraw to a sort of elective lobotomy -- "drummers," they're called, because all they do is nod along to the electronic drumbeat that's piped into their brain. Pretty much everyone is miserable. Ick.

It's hard for Halo and her friends to escape that sort of life -- in fact, of them, only Halo survives and escapes the Hoop, launching a series of adventures that bounce from a majestic space cruiseship to superintelligent rats to a terrible war to a planet with gravity so strong it'll squish you into a flat, wide puddle if you step outside your anti-grav suit. Throughout, Halo's strong, smart, and unflinching, even when everything's falling apart for the thirtieth time. And then, in the end, when asked about her adventures, she shrugs, "anybody could have done it." Beautiful stuff.

So it's nearly heartbreaking that the book is as unknown as it is -- certainly its author, Alan Moore, is known far better for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta and Watchmen. The official story certainly does feel unfinished (Alan ways that Halo's current owners, IPC, won't give him the rights to write further chapters). So that means that it's up to the fans to keep Halo's adventures chugging along. After all, Alan's not so special -- anybody could do it.

The Ballad of Halo Jones