Let me start this one by saying that Walter IS a friend of mine. Had I seen this novel in a bookstore, without having known him, I probably wouldn't have bothered with it. Just because, aside from a random 'Star Trek' novel here and there, I'm not really THAT much into sci-fi. But, because I DO know him, I know and understand his sense of humour (and, thoroughly enjoy it) as well as his story-telling (which, I also thoroughly enjoy)- I was super excited to read it.
I will say that this is NOT a book meant for everyone. I daresay that quite a few people wouldn't understand Walter's idea behind the words. Walter's the only person I know that could have me rooting for a bunch of losers for heros just with the power of words. Before reading it, he warned me that there were a lot of characters and I might find it a bit difficult to follow. However, having read and loved 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' for so many years- I hardly found it difficult to follow at all. But, I can certainly see how it could be difficult for someone just starting out in complex novels.
The story, also like THOND, does not specifically center around the title characters. If anything the main character in how I read it, is Joshua, a Jewish insurance salesman (if you read it, you'll understand that description easily). He's one of a very small group of humans that survive the annihilation of the human race by the aliens called Milliginians. They've come to Earth looking for a new home to colonize, due to overpopulation of their own homeworld. Joshua is a daydreamer and a sort of thoughtfully panicked loner, wandering the white dust-coated remnants of land, looking for....well, pretty much anything still alive and relatively human. I think he'd probably even settle for a dog, in his 'I think I'll just die.....no, I won't!' madness.
The are two other groups of humans featured in the story; The New Hope Settlement and an ex boxing champion with a tribe of friends. The New Hope Settlement is a larger group of humans with one 13 year old girl left as the only fertile female left on the planet (but, not the only female left). The two groups clash in a very primitive kind of battle before Joshua arrives with a rogue Milliginian with a plan to take back Earth. Unfortunately, none of the characters have very many heroic qualities and more than once, you'll think 'how is this person even still breathing?!'
What I loved about the story was the wording, first of all. Something about the way Koenig puts together his paragraphs completely intrigues me. Second, it's a completely bizarre and unusual take on a concept that plagued many books and movies and has been completely overdone in so many other ways. But, in all of those other ways- there's characters that step up to the plate, there's hardcore heroes, there's army soldiers, or robots. In this story- it poses the question: What if the only people that survived were completely by accident and the worst losers you could think of to survive? I'm a fan of strange thoughts and questions and this book is FULL of them. I like things that are different and not run of the mill and predictable.
While not for everyone- I recommend this book if you're sense of humour is in that sarcastic realm and if you're completely open-minded with what you read. If you're a hardcore sci-fi fan, you'll probably hate it. If you're a classic heroes versus villains fan, you'll probably hate it. It's just one of those fun books to read when you need a break from all of the seriousness around you on a daily basis, and you need a bit of psycho around, instead. That's why it's up in the top 5 of my favourites.