Friday, June 29, 2007
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Another Once Upon a Time Bonus
In "Good Omens' we are introduced to Crowley, a fallen angel, and Aziraphale, an upstanding angel. They have been around since the beginning.
"I said, that one went down like a lead balloon," said the serpent.
"Oh. Yes." said the angel, whose name was Aziraphale.
"I think it was a bit of an overreaction, to be honest," said the serpent. "I mean, first offense and everything. I can't see what's so bad about knowing the difference between good and evil, anyway."
"It must be bad," reasoned Aziraphale, in the slightly concerned tones of one who can't see it either, and is worrying about it, "otherwise you wouldn't have been involved."
"They just said, Get up there and make some trouble," said the serpent, whose name was Crawly, although he was thinking of changing it now. Crawly, he'd decided, was not him.
"Yes, but you're a demon. I'm not sure if it's actually possible for you to do good," said Aziraphale. "It's down to your basic, you know, nature. Nothing personal, you understand."
"You've got to admit it's a bit of a pantomine, though," said Crawly, "I mean, pointing out the Tree and saying 'Don't Touch' in big letters. Not very subtle, is it? I mean, why not put it on top of a high mountain or a long way off? Makes you wonder what He's really planning."
"Best not to speculate, really," said Aziraphale. "You can't second-guess ineffability. "
This is the first use of the idea of the ineffable plan or the Lord's plan. It all comes down to Armageddon 6000 years later and how the legions of darkness plan to bring it about in preparation for the Final War. Of course, Aziraphale and Crowley, once Crawly, have been around since the beginning and they quite enjoy this world. So they are not too excited about seeing it come to an end and each of them spending the rest of eternity in boring heaven or burning hell. But Crowley follows his superiors' orders by bringing the Antichrist as a baby to a hospital of nuns who worship Satan. Then he plots with Aziraphale that together they will oversee the child's upbringing to hopefully change the inevitable ending:
"And it'll be for the child's own good, in the long run," said Crowley, "We'll be godfathers, sort of. Overseeing his religious upbringing, you might say."
Aziraphale beamed. "You know, I'd never thought of that," he said. "Godfather. Well, I'll be damned."
"It's not too bad," said Crowley, "when you get used to it."
Unbeknownst to any of the minions of heaven and hell, the baby was mixed up in the hospital and they are bringing up the wrong child. Eleven years later, events come to a head which is exciting, riveting and hilarious. This book is full of fun, quirky characters, not the least of which are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse: Death, Famine, War and Pollution. (Apparently Pestilence retired in the 30's), and the Hell Hound who is loosed to find the Antichrist and become his pet and companion in bringing the world to an end. When he finds Adam Young, (yes, he is the real one) the boy names him Dog and the hound quickly changes to a small mixed breed mutt who also discovers the joys of being a dog on the earth instead of in hell. Crowley stands out though. The demons are always funner, aren't they? He has such a refreshing outlook:
"Now, as Crowley would be the first to protest, most demons weren't deep down evil. In the great cosmic game they felt they occupied the same position as tax inspectors--doing an unpopular job, maybe, but essential to the overall operation of the whole thing. If it came to that, some angels weren't paragons fo virtue; Crowley had met one or two who, when it came to righteously smiting the ungodly, smote a good deal harder than was strictly necessary. On the whole, everyone had a job to do, and just did it.
And on the other hand hand, you got people like Ligur and Hastur, who took such a dark delight in unpleasantness you might even have mistaken them for human."
It's hard to imagine a book about the end of the world to be so entertaining as well as thought provoking. A few months ago, I asked for recommendations for books to make you laugh out loud. Well, this novel certainly deserves to be on that list.
Posted by Framed at 8:36 PM
This is one I've wanted to read for some time now. I think Terry Pratchett is so clever and funny. Pairing the efforts of these 2 authors could only turn out good.
5/24/2007 10:25 PM
Ooh this sounds fun. I'm adding it to my list for sure.
5/25/2007 8:16 AM
This is one I've wanted to read for a long time too! It's on my list. Boy, you must be an incredibly fast reader!! Wish I had more time (of course, if I did, I'd probably spend most of it blog hopping!)
5/25/2007 12:56 PM
This book is a little miracle for me. My two favourite authors writing a book together! Of course it could only turn out as brilliant as it is.The last time I read this was too long ago. Thanks to your review I am now itching to re-read it!
5/26/2007 3:45 AM
I've also been eyeing this one off for a while, though I was under the impression that it was a bit more serious. Now I know its a bit more giggle filled I'll definitely chase it down. cheers :)
5/27/2007 5:47 PM
I read that Pratchett and Gaiman were influenced in this book by G.K. Chesterton ----whose birthday happens to be today.
5/29/2007 8:25 AM
I read the first couple of pages of this at a Borders store and took it off my list of books to read. It just didn't grab me in those pages, but maybe I need to give it another try. The pairing of those two authors is definitely intriguing.
5/29/2007 10:32 AM
For as much as I like Pratchett and Gaiman, I can't believe I haven't read this yet.Thanks for the post, it's reminded me yet again that I need to :)
5/31/2007 12:43 AM
Now that I think of it, it did make me laugh out loud as I read it.
6/02/2007 6:22 PM
Carrie K said...
I'd just read Good Omens recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the quotes you picked out from it, nice review!
6/14/2007 9:57 PM
Oh, I'll have to put this one on the wish list. I love books that make me laugh.
6/15/2007 12:43 PM
Carl V. said...
I am so glad you enjoyed this one. It definitely has its laugh out loud moments