Marc Laidlaw

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Marc Laidlaw
Laidlaw in 2011
Laidlaw in 2011
Born (1960-08-03) August 3, 1960 (age 61)
Laguna Beach, California, United States
Alma materUniversity of Oregon
GenresScience fiction, horror, video games

Marc Laidlaw (born August 3, 1960) is an American writer of science fiction and horror, and a former writer for the video game company Valve. He is most famous for working on Valve's Half-Life series.[1]


Laidlaw was born and raised in Laguna Beach, California. He attended the University of Oregon, where he tried, and was discouraged by, punched card computer programming. He wrote short stories and his first novel, Dad's Nuke, was published in 1985. This was followed by several more novels over the next decade, but he worked as a legal secretary in San Francisco for a living.

Laidlaw had played computer and arcade games, but was not intrigued until he played Myst (1993). He obsessed over Myst and bought a new computer so that he could play it at his San Francisco home. He wrote The Third Force (1996), a tie-in novel based on the world created by the Gadget computer game. His favorite PC game is Thief: The Dark Project.[2]

Laidlaw joined Valve while they were developing their first game, Half-Life (1998), and worked on the story and level design. After working on several Half-Life sequels, including several canceled projects, he announced his departure from Valve in January 2016; he said the primary reason for his departure was his age, and planned to return to writing original stories.[3] On August 25, 2017, Laidlaw published a short story titled "Epistle 3". Journalists interpreted it as a summary of what could have been the plot for a further Half-Life game.[4] He provided consultation during the development of Half-Life: Alyx (2020).[5] Laidlaw has an amateur radio license and his callsign is WH6FXC.[6]



Short fiction[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
Songwood 2010 Laidlaw, Marc (January–February 2010). "Songwood". F&SF. 118 (1&2): 82–97. The Bard Gorlen series
The Bard Gorlen series
  • "Dankden" (October/November 1995, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Catamounts" (September 1996, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Childrun" (August 2008, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Quickstone" (March 2009, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Bemused" (September/October 2013, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Rooksnight" (May/June 2014, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Catamounts" (Reprint) (August 2013, Lightspeed)
  • "Belweather" (September 2013, Lightspeed)
  • "Stillborne" (November/December 2017, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Weeper" (September/October 2020, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  • "Underneath the Oversea" (November 2020)


Year Title
1998 Half-Life
2004 Half-Life 2
2006 Half-Life 2: Episode One
2007 Half-Life 2: Episode Two
2013 Dota 2
2020 Half-Life: Alyx (Narrative consultant via Email)


  1. ^ Half-Life: Counter-Strike (PC)
  2. ^ "Valve Software Interview : Marc Laidlaw". Gaming Nexus. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  3. ^ Kerr, Chris (January 8, 2016). "Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw leaves Valve after 18 years". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 20 May 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  4. ^ Machkovech, Sam (2020-07-09). "Valve secrets spill over—including Half-Life 3—in new Steam documentary app". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2020-07-19. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  5. ^ "Original Half-Life Writer Was Very Involved In Half-Life: Alyx". Prima Games. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  6. ^ "ULS License - Amateur License - WH6FXC - Laidlaw, Marc". Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  7. ^ Short stories unless otherwise noted.

External links[edit]