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Least favorite alt-history story?

Coiler

Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Location
Nu Yawk
What's the worst Harry Turtledove story, in your opinion? Even acknowledging that he's a "soft-AH" writer who doesn't have real plausibility as his top priority, is there any that stands out?

I know the In The Presence Of Mine Enemies novel has been mentioned, and it's certainly very clunky, but what is there that's worse (especially if it isn't in a long, overstretched series)?
 

Japhy

Harry Turtledove thinks I'm funny
Published by SLP
What's the worst Harry Turtledove story, in your opinion? Even acknowledging that he's a "soft-AH" writer who doesn't have real plausibility as his top priority, is there any that stands out?

I know the In The Presence Of Mine Enemies novel has been mentioned, and it's certainly very clunky, but what is there that's worse (especially if it isn't in a long, overstretched series)?
I'd probably say 'Presence' is it. Which is a shame because I really do enjoy the original short story, it's just that bloated out it has issues.
 

OwenM

Your guess is as good as mine.
And the Tropers were disappointed.
I think it's the particular phrasing of "nationalism emphasising individual freedom".
If you didn't mean "like fascism, but nice" it feels like you'd just say "nationalism" or maybe "liberal nationalism".
I mean, that's Harry's problem in a nutshell, isn't it? He writes good short stories, that he then blows up into deeply flawed novels.
Short stories can't survive on the free market.
Although I think that is becoming less true again.
 

Jared

Voldemort Junior
Location
Over the rainbow
I mean, that's Harry's problem in a nutshell, isn't it? He writes good short stories, that he then blows up into deeply flawed novels.
As a general rule, Turtledove's stories get worse
(a) the further he gets from the PoD; and
(b) the greater the volume of words he writes in the same world.

So for example Ruled Britannia was decent, being fairly close to the PoD and only a single book. In the Presence of Mine Enemies was horrible being so far from the PoD (and also because he misunderstood the difference between a bridging chapter and a bridge chapter). Guns of the South also had its flaws (such as making the villains act insanely just so that the Confederacy looked the lesser of two evils), but also had some interest.

How Few Remain also had its flaws (such as making every US political and military leader an idiot for plot reasons), and had the traditional Turtledove gratuitous badly-written sex scenes, but was still an engaging read in other ways. But the successor books in TL-191 got progressively worse.
 

Von Callay

Senior Agent, Working Group Masticate
What's the worst Harry Turtledove story, in your opinion? Even acknowledging that he's a "soft-AH" writer who doesn't have real plausibility as his top priority, is there any that stands out?
The only metric I can really judge his books by are how much I do or don't want to re-read any of them, since I do re-read a lot of books, and I can definitely say I do not ever need to re-read The Man with the Iron Heart. That one would definitely have been much better as a short story, where the obvious attempts to play at the contemporary parallels would not have become so painful by their repetition, but could have remained comfortably in the 'ah, hmm, interesting, I wonder...' place a good short story can take you to.
 

Coiler

Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Location
Nu Yawk
As a general rule, Turtledove's stories get worse
(a) the further he gets from the PoD; and
(b) the greater the volume of words he writes in the same world.
Turtledove is good at "high concept set pieces" (which is why his short stories work so well) but not nearly as good at detailed worldbuilding, so that doesn't surprise me.
 
Turtledove is good at "high concept set pieces" (which is why his short stories work so well) but not nearly as good at detailed worldbuilding, so that doesn't surprise me.
For me Turtledove is good if he does not write more than two books about one subject, any more and it becomes wine with a lot of water in it.
 

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
Incidentally, is Turtledove his REAL name ? such a strange sounding / meaning name... a turtle and a dove hybrid, I just can't imagine that... in an alternate universe where Turtles rule over Earth, they are divided in two opposite factions. Some turtles wants war - Turtle "hawks" other are peaceful - the turtles... "doves".

Runs for cover !!!
 

Von Callay

Senior Agent, Working Group Masticate
Incidentally, is Turtledove his REAL name ? such a strange sounding / meaning name... a turtle and a dove hybrid, I just can't imagine that... in an alternate universe where Turtles rule over Earth, they are divided in two opposite factions. Some turtles wants war - Turtle "hawks" other are peaceful - the turtles... "doves".

Runs for cover !!!
It is, in fact, so much his real name that he published some of his early novels under other names at the insistence of his editors who did not think it was appropriate.
 

Space Oddity

Yes, It's Me Again. Plain To See Again.
Incidentally, is Turtledove his REAL name ? such a strange sounding / meaning name... a turtle and a dove hybrid, I just can't imagine that... in an alternate universe where Turtles rule over Earth, they are divided in two opposite factions. Some turtles wants war - Turtle "hawks" other are peaceful - the turtles... "doves".

Runs for cover !!!
They're birds.

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