Greg's Reviews > After the Downfall

After the Downfall by Harry Turtledove
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's review
Jul 18, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: crap, sf-fantasy-and-other-dorky-shit

1. I intentionally read some real crap. This book is worse than those books. This might be the worst book I have ever read.

2. On the cover is a Nazi riding a Unicorn. A motherfucking Nazi is riding a fucking UNICORN!! That is fucking badass. That is the kind of shit that should just write itself into awsomeness! Seriously, this is like having at your disposal all the plot points to make the greatest Star Wars movie ever, have Boba Fett's father, the Clone Wars that sounded so fucking awesome in the original movies, all of the Jedi's getting their asses handed to them, the Dark Side giving a bigger ass kicking to the Alliance than in Empire Strikes Back, having all of this and then creating the episodes 2 and 3. This book is that bad! It's just not as disappointing because my youth didn't have any expectations for Nazi's and Unicorns in it. This wasn't some of the best memories of being a little kid getting anally raped by George Lucas, in Star War terms this was more like Greedo shooting first. Inexplicably retarded.

3. Maybe the position has been filled, but for Goodreaders living in the San Francisco area, Night Shade Books is desperately in need of an editor. While the quality was a step above self-published in the spelling and grammar department, there was no reason for this book to exist in its finished form.

4. I started this book a year ago. I made it halfway through the 600 pages (I stopped on about page 310) and forgot about the book until last week when Karen suggested I finally finish this after reading about the Nazi's in a history book.

4a. The history book didn't mention time portals, or unicorns.

4 (cont). The 290 pages I read in the past week were painful. I had already thought this might be the worst book ever, but I didn't realize that the second half of the book would have 2 big plot events, one that would take up a whole five pages or so in the last ten or so pages, and one other that would happen about 100 pages from the end. The rest of the 300 pages were retellings of pretty much the first half of the book, endless reiterations of the parallels between the German's vs. the Jews and Slavs and the Big Blond Assholes vs. the little dark people in Unicorn land, and how he Nazi solider is learning that the little dark people are people too, and maybe this means the Russians and Jews were too. Endlessly telling this. Over and over and over and over and over. And when this wasn't being said, endlessly talking about ho the main character boffed, made whoopie, slept with, had sex with, banged, got a blow job from a big blond goddess who is hotter than anything you can possibly imagine, like a barbie doll with a workable cooze. And how awesome it was, and with all of the words that pre-teen boys use for sex. And in the brief moments when the narrator isn't thinking about that, there are comments about how often he needs to get some, because he's a man, and he needs some and he has to get some because men need it all of the time, they need to boff women.

Needless to say, nothing really happened in the last half of the book that anyone couldn't see coming. The Nazi realizes that everyone is a person and maybe it's wrong to discriminate against them.

5. The unicorns are barely in the fucking book and even when they are they don't do much of anything.


6. Another reviewer politely mentioned that Turtledove is so repetitive that thirty pages would be cut out of the book if the repetitions were cut out. I disagree. I think at least 100 pages could be excised from this book on repetition alone, and the whole book could be edited down to under 300 pages, if anyone at this hack-shop of a publisher cared enough about the reader to make this book as painless as possible (actually to be as painless as possible, they should have sent the manuscript back to Harry Turtledove, told him to go get himself laid to get himself over his frustrations, or to not let his thirteen year old son interject all of his wet dreams and theories of sex into the book. Or maybe just use the manuscript as toilet paper).

7. All of this said, I'm the loser who read this, and who spent money on it. I feel cheated of my five bucks or whatever this cost me. I want my money back Turtledove, and then I want you and Lucas to go fuck off with each other and never possibly ruin anything for me, ever, ever again.

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Reading Progress

July 18, 2009 – Shelved
August 16, 2009 –
page 210
64.81% "one would think a book showing a nazi riding a unicorn on the cover would be good."
August 17, 2009 –
page 255
78.7% "This might be the worst book I've ever read, only three hundred more pages to go...."
Started Reading
May 5, 2010 – Shelved as: crap
May 5, 2010 – Shelved as: sf-fantasy-and-other-dorky-shit
May 5, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 67) (67 new)

message 1: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg I don't know how I missed this one, first in hardcover and then in for two weeks sitting on the shelf faced out right there in the open. In case the picture here doesn't do this justice, that is a Nazi SS guy riding a unicorn. If I hadn't already made my book purchases for the week I'd have this shit already, instead I'll be waiting till next week.

The rating for the book is a 2.2, which seems really low. I'm not sure how to explain that low rating. How can a book with Nazi's on unicorns be bad?

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

maybe it was inspired by the tattoo

message 3: by karen (new)

karen that nazi must be a virgin.

message 4: by Félix (new)

Félix Oh, Harry. I don't think so this time around. *yawns*

message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen Why is one hand gloved and not the other?

message 6: by karen (new)

karen all the better to stroke his horn, my pretty...

message 7: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg I haven't gotten to that part yet. Maybe he is actually Michael Jackson. The guy on the cover is not the guy in the book, at least by the uniform he seems to be wearing, that looks like an officer or SA, and the guy in the book is just a common solider.

This is still possibly the worst book i've ever read.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Cover image + "How can a book with Nazi's on unicorns be bad?" = hilarious!

message 9: by Jen (new)

Jen Greg wrote: "I haven't gotten to that part yet. Maybe he is actually Michael Jackson. The guy on the cover is not the guy in the book, at least by the uniform he seems to be wearing, that looks like an office..."

But Greg, how can you know until you try that bomb I suggested- The Appearing?

And karen knows best. I will go with the horn stroking. Yikes.

message 10: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg You are right Jen, I still need to read that one.

Karen, do you think cover might be a Smiths reference?

message 11: by brian (new)

brian   are you guys smiths fans?

oh boy. we really do have a lot to talk about.
i flew to nyc earlier this year to see the mozzer at the bowery ballroom.
no shit.

for this i won't shit on the floor of the b & n bathrooms.

message 12: by karen (new)

karen dont we both have multiple shelves named after smiths lines?? brian, im going to think you dont spend hours examining my books and where i place them. they have actually been playing morrissey at the store lately. and i have been dance-shelving. around your poop.

message 13: by Rose (new)

Rose Looking forward to your review.

message 14: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg One day I'm going to return to this book, and I will finish it. For now though it's on the back-burner.

message 15: by karen (new)

karen boff hooray!!

my mac and cheese looks awesome but i have like an extra gallon of cheese sauce

message 16: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg you could pour it over this book and then eat it! I think covered with cheese it would taste better than it read as a book.

message 17: by karen (new)

karen this book is cheesy enough, i think.

how does this review not have a million votes yet??

no one is paying attention to either of us today.

message 18: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal I voted. I love that Greg reads shit.

message 19: by Aerin (new)

Aerin UNICORN RIPOFF???? Appalling.

message 20: by Alex (new)

Alex This is the best book review anyone has ever written.

message 21: by David (last edited May 06, 2010 11:41AM) (new)

David I read this the other day but didn't have the chance to give it the response it so richly deserves.

You are a good reviewer, Gregory Stahl, but a book like this is pretty much review-proof. Merely discovering a book cover with a Nazi riding a unicorn written by a man whose last name is Turtledove would pretty much ensure my purchase if I came across it perusing the books at, say, the B&N flagship store in Union Square. Or anywhere else.

The cover design is the book. Who requires anything more really? Once someone has gone to all this trouble of putting together a book about Nazis, unicorns, and whoopee-making, it's just over. The deal's done. Here's my credit card, Harry Turtledove. Charge me whatever you think is fair. This is the Valhalla of crappy fantasy revisionist-WWII literature, and I can not even pretend to fight it. I submit to you! Uncle!

Turtledove's one mistake? Making this sumbitch six hundred pages. Those of us who might be elated at the thought (finally!!!) of a Nazi-unicorn novel don't have the attention span for such longwindedness, even in the service of describing hot wet fascist lovemaking. My attention span is so short that I've forgotten what I am talking about now and where I even am, so I'll just hit 'post' and call it a day.

message 22: by Alex (new)

Alex I disagree, David; I think making it 600 pages is a stroke of genius. Starting from your premise that you either automatically buy a book featuring a Nazi riding a unicorn or you don't - and if you don't, what the hell is wrong with you? - the only problem Turtledove has is that he can't actually write, right? So what's the best way to make sure that people who buy books featuring Nazis riding unicorns aren't disappointed by what's inside? Make it 600 pages, and no one will ever read it.

Except Greg, because he's a sucker.

message 23: by Alex (last edited May 06, 2010 11:55AM) (new)

Alex I will say though, now that I've thought about it for 30 seconds, I do think I could personally write a pretty decent book about Nazis riding unicorns. And it would only be like ten pages, which is way less.

message 24: by David (new)

David Good point, Alex, but I would have gone with a thousand pages. Six hundred pages precariously sidles up to the range of attempted readability.

message 25: by Alex (new)

Alex At least, it does for Greg.

message 26: by karen (new)

karen i don't want to read this, but i will read alex's ten page version.

and i really love unicorns.

message 27: by JSou (new)

JSou Alex, you must write your ten page version and post it for us to see. Quickly.

message 28: by David (new)

David Alex can write his ten-page version, and I'll write my thousand-page version.

You guys can decide which one you prefer. (I will also be writing an eight-hundred-page reader's guide to the thousand-page text, along with an expanded unabridged version and a deluxe three-hundred page Making of the Nazi Unicorn book. Yes, start getting excited now so it won't all hit you at once.)

message 29: by karen (new)

karen can i draw the cover, or is that part of the fun for you?

message 30: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg I read these comments at work, and was thinking I could write a better Nazi/Unicorn book too. I don't want to give away too many of my own improvements I'd make, but I think more Nazis, more Unicorns, and hotter German/Fascist sex scenes involving shit would earn me a Hugo award.

message 31: by Alex (new)

Alex Writing contest: nigh. I don't want to give my secret weapons away either, though. *coughSpaceVikings*.

message 32: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg I was remembering that this book apparently had a unicorn horn dildo in it:

A quick google image search though uncovers this gem:

Obama, Nazis & Unicorns!

message 34: by Alex (new)

Alex That is Obama, right? I have no idea what that means. Is he...sodomizing a unicorn?

I mean, not that I wouldn't.

message 35: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg I'm not sure what he is doing to the unicorn. At first I thought he was wearing the unicorn's head as a bad ass codpiece. In the second picture it's pretty clear that naked Obama and the unicorn are saving the economy. This could have happened before the first picture though, and the first picture could actually be Obama's victory march.

message 36: by karen (new)

karen are these tattoos??

message 37: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg These are paintings. Ahhrrrt!

message 38: by Jen (new)

Jen But the horn changes! The first horn is representative of...oh. But then, in the second, the horse becomes a unicorn thanks to Obama's helpful gesture, and now the horn is silver, polished, sharp and able to inflict pain on bear's nostrils.

message 39: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg Good observation, Jen! I hadn't noticed the difference in the horns. Maybe they are different unicorns? Does Obama have to be naked in order to ride one?

message 40: by JSou (new)

JSou You should always be naked while riding a unicorn.

You guys have to write at least a chapter of the revised Nazi-Unicorn book. A paragraph, even.

Pretty please?

message 41: by Erzsebet (new)

Erzsebet People at the vanguard of any new artistic movement are always subject to sneering criticism from provincial simpletons like Greg.

message 42: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg Are you referring to the book or the paintings?

message 43: by Erzsebet (new)

Erzsebet "Book" is a woefully inadequate term for what Turtledove has produced, but that was what i was referring to. I apologize for the confusion.

message 44: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg If only I hadn't already promised this 'book' to someone else, I would gladly send it to you. But I'm sure you would want a hardcover version.

I am a woefully mistaken elitist fuckwad who can't distinguish between true art and the crap I normally read.

message 45: by Erzsebet (new)

Erzsebet At least we can agree that the paintings are both trenchant and timely.

The Crimson Fucker wait! why were you giving me this book again???

message 47: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg Because I asked, and you said yes. C'mon Alfonso, you know you want to read it!!

message 48: by Alex (new)

Alex So this morning the moderator for the Bookish club started a thread for 100-word stories, and I thought of my abandoned promise here. Here is my Pulitzer-worthy attempt.

message 49: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme I have to buy this book now.

message 50: by karen (new)

karen what a marvelous story!!

hats off!

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