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What to Read – Good Omens

November 20, 2013

good omensI’ve discussed Good Omens before in my post about getting to see Neil Gaiman live.  I told you about my mom getting me a copy of this book around 1991 or so, when I was a wee thing.  It has a long title and it’s written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, although at the time neither of those names meant anything to me.  They do now, of course.  I did get better.  But then, when I was small, they didn’t.  But that’s ok.  I liked their funny book anyway.
If you’re one of the people reading my blog who hasn’t heard of either Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett… how?  If you haven’t read this particular work, I recommend it.  My elevator pitch for it when I’m selling it at the bookstore is:

~1990's Neil Gaiman, because it's funny

~1990’s Neil Gaiman, because it’s funny

The apocalypse, as scripted by Monty Python.
That’s usually enough for people to a) buy it, or b) give me a dirty look for joking about religion and stomp off.  I’ve usually judged my audience well enough that I don’t get very many, “meah” type reactions.
Please don’t think that Good Omens makes fun of religion.  It doesn’t.  But it does have a little fun with religion.  Let me tell you more about this fantastic book by introducing you to some of its characters –
The fallen angel Crowley, who “did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards” (direct quote from the Dramatis Personae)
his counterpart, Aziraphale, who is an angel, part-time rare book dealer, and always a bit forgetful about where he stored his flaming sword

Original author photo for US edition

Original author photo for US edition

Death, War, Famine, and Pollution (Plague is out these days, Pollution is in) – the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Only, no one really rides horses these days, so they’ve upgraded to motorcycles.
Agnes Nutter – martyred witch and prophetess
Anathema Device – her descendant and one of the protagonists
Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer – a Witchfinder
Newton Pulsifer – a modern Witchfinder, descendant of the aforementioned, and another protagonist
Adam – antichrist, protagonist, and regular young boy
Pepper, Wensleydale, and Brian – his friends
Dog – a hellhound and pet of Adam

There is also an order of Satanic nuns, but they’re only important in the beginning… well, and the end.  But all of the middle bits are really their fault, so, I suppose you could consider them the most important characters in the book.  But then, there are all those protagonists, so maybe not.  But they’re really very sweet, even if they do hail Satan.  Kind of like Winnie the Pooh  (content warning for language and damaged childhood memories.  also… you know, Satan).

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