Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good Omens

This is a great book. I've read it a number of times now and every time I do something new strikes me as funny. It is not a subject I would normally see a proper for satirization, but man these two do a wonderful job. It is about Armageddon and how is could go wrong. I guess it doesn't bother me because it mostly makes fun of cultural ideas about the Last Battle, and not what I feel would really happen. And using verses from Revelations you could put all sorts of odd things in and still be Biblically accurate.

The main characters are an angel and demon (in the traditional sense, as beings different from human beings) and The Antichrist (also in the traditional sense of the son of Satan). But the boy gets misplaced and grows up completely human. This messes with both sides' agendas and much havoc ensues.

Neil Gaiman wrote Stardust, which was made into a movie last summer and I have mentioned Terry Pratchett a time or two already. The two authors worked very well together on this. I have heard that Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, Twelve Monkeys) was someday going to make it into a movie. But he has a tendency to not actually make all the movies he tries to so I'm not holding my breath.

Here is a passage from the beginning of the book, a conversation between an angel, and Crawly, a demon:

Eventually Crawly said, "Didn't you have a flaming sword?"
"Er," said the angel. A guilty expression passed across his face, and then came back and camped there.
"You did, didn't you?" said Crawly. "It flamed like anything"
"Er, well-"
"It looked very impressive, I thought."
"Yes, but, well-"
"Lost it, have you?"
"Oh no! No, not exactly lost, more-"
"Well?"
Azriphale looked wretched. "If you must know," he said, a trifle testily, "I gave it away."
Crawly stared up at him.
"Well, I had to," said the angel, rubbing his hand distractedly. "They looked so cold, poor things, and she's expecting already, and what with the vicious animals out there and the storm coming up I thought, well, where's the harm, so I just said, look, if you come back there's going to be an almighty row,but you might be needing this sword, so here it is, don't bother to thank me, just so everyone a big favor and don't let the sun go down on you here."
He gave Crawly a worried grin.
"That was the best course, wasn't it?"


The sword shows up later of course. I just really like this book.

Good Omens. Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. Ace Science Fiction. 1990

1 comment:

jendoop said...

OK I think you may have talked me into it. Paul bought this book a few years ago and I have yet to get to it. But surprise, this morning as I stepped out of the bathroom there it was on the floor. I think baby must have found it and moved it there. So its a sign I guess (funny to say about this book).