31 July 2009
Book Review: Good Omens
Title: Good Omens
Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Published: 2007 Pages: 369
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Here is the blurb from the back, too concise, too funny, to pass up:
The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.
Hilarious. Loved it. Even better the second - or is it third? - time through. Okay, enough gushing.
Second only to Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Good Omens is a must read for anyone who likes to laugh and doesn't mind off-the-wall irreverent humor. Actually, I think there are many reasons why these two books are inextricably linked in my head and why they are my two favorite reads. Just as in HHG, the plotline of Good Omens is straightforwardly complex, the characters are completely neither good nor evil, and the settings are drastically simple. The common and strange blend together so perfectly in these books that the reader doesn't feel as if they are reading a SFF (science fiction/fantasy) book; you are reading the true account of something that absolutely happened, just not yet or not to your knowledge. You, afterall, know that you don't know everything that has, is, or will happen.
The writing is a fantastic mix of Pratchett and Gaiman, who themselves declare that they aren't sure who wrote what and are convinced that at some point the book started spontaneously producing its own text. Through the writing, Pratchett and Gaiman are able to give the book heart and theme without seeming preachy. When alien cops pull over Pulsifer and explain to him that "polar ice caps are below regulation size for a planet of this category" and that he "could find [the human population] charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism", the reader gets the message. But somehow it goes down easier this way than it does with Al Gore and the like shouting about global warming or academic types waxing philosophical about the dangers of materialistic ideologies.
I highly recommend reading this book. Actually, I command you to read this book. Er...can I do that?
If you've reviewed this book, let me know and I'll add you to the list
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Caveat: No offense to academic types. I am one.
Caveat #2: No offense to Gore. I voted for you.