Good Omens (1990) (with Neil Gaiman)

French cover

French cover

I originally blogged about Good Omens on my humanitysdarkerside.com blog. The original post is still there. Time has passed and I have changed, both as a blogger and as a reader.

This collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman has led to a story that is funny, action-filled and philosophical. Both men seem to enjoy questioning the paradigms present in society at the time of whatever they are writing. Both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are exceedingly good as this type of authorship.

“Well, I had to,” said the angel, rubbing his hands 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 do everyone a favor and don’t let the sun go down on you down here”.

“Funny thing is,” said Crawly, “I keep wondering whether the apple thing wasn’t the right thing to do, as well. A demon can get into real trouble, doing the right thing.” He nudged the angel. “Funny if we both got it wrong, eh? Funny if I did the good thing and you did the bad one, eh?”

Good Omens - Armageddon by himlayan

Good Omens – Armageddon by himlayan

Two of the characters from the Garden of Eden kind of stick together up to this moment in time, the moment of Good Omens. Both Crowley and Aziraphale are angels (on opposite sides) who enjoy living with humans because of the choices people make. Now the awaited Armageddon has arrived and the two aren’t happy about having to follow the commands of their masters. But they do because angels have a built in slavery mode when it comes to God and Satan (with a little leeway). Slavery is like that. The slave has to follow the command their are given, but only the exact wording applies. Of course, using the leeway inherent in most commands could risk getting them kicked off earth, but both Asiraphale and Crowley find that risk worthwhile.

Good Omens - Them by yuletart giftart for sandalstrap!

Good Omens – Them by yuletart giftart for sandalstrap!

The Son of Satan is to be the one who ushers Armageddon in. Crowley and Aziraphale have both decided to watch over him. But it turns out that a baby got switched at birth and it was the wrong one and both angels will be in serious trouble if their masters find out that something has gone awry.

The Son of Satan, or Adam as he is known to his friends, is going to be a huge disappointment to his biological father.  You see, the boy has turned into the kind of child that pretty much wants to make the people he likes happy – such as the town environmentalist. Anathema knows there is something really strange about Adam (besides him not having an aura), but she cannot seem to concentrate on figuring out what that something is. I love “Them” (Adam’s gang). Their take on the world is wonderfully influenced by their parents and other important adults. I remember how I believed everything Important people told me. Some of those beliefs have been replaced by others while some of them still remain. Gaiman and Pratchett manage to discuss the whole genetics v environment debate in Good Omens through their nutty little crew of characters.

Good omens by pigeon666

Good omens by pigeon666

It is funny that the son of Satan is a disappointment to his father. I would think that ought to make father Satan pleased with his offspring. But Satan is only pro-disobedience if it is disobedience to others. One of the major problems with getting a hold of his bratty little angel son, is that Adam cannot be found. In fact, the only one who is able to find Adam is Adam’s very own Hellhound, Dog.

The gang that are supposed to help Adam fight Armageddon are gathering to fulfill their destiny, but none of them knows where to go. Where is the promised son of the Devil?

Good Omens is filled with interesting characters and a strange sense of logic. Whenever I begin reading books by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, I get into this weird thought-mode where I go – yeah, that could happen. This time was no exception.

Definitely recommended.

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Reviews

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  • World Fantasy Award nominee for Best Novel, 1991
  • Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, 1991

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Radio/Television

  • 2014 December 22: BBC Radio 4 – It begins (HALLELULJAH! or was it PRAISE SATAN!) – The End is Near.

Theatre version

In March 2013, Cult Classic Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland, performed Amy Hoff’s adaptation of Good Omens with the permission of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

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Translations

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Neil Gaiman: “Terry Pratchett Isn’t Jolly. He’s Angry.”

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Good Omens Artwork

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Sources

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About humanitysdarkerside

Bibliophile, small-time activist, ASD, blogger

Posted on 2014-12-22, in Book reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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