The photochemical [2 + 2] cycloaddition of chiral 3-chloro and 3-fluoro-5-hydroxymethyl-2(5H)-furanone to ethylene and acetylene has been studied. The effect of the halogen atom on the chemical yield and facial diastereoselectivity of the cycloaddition process has been evaluated. From the major anti cycloadducts, practical syntheses of several purine cyclobutane and cyclobutene-fused nucleosides containing a halogen atom have been developed. The anti-HIV activity of the new nucleoside analogues has been evaluated. © 2011 American Chemical Society.