Good Omens (Or) Why I Spent The Entire Night Laughing

Consider a book with the following character introduction:

God (God)

Metatron (The Voice of God)

Aziraphale (An Angel, and part-time rare book dealer)

Satan (A Fallen Angel; the Adversary)

Beelzebub ( A Likewise Fallen Angel and Prince of Hell)

Hastur (A Fallen Angel and Duke of Hell)

Ligur (Likewise a Fallen Angel and Duke of Hell)

Crowley (An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards)

And:

Dog (Satanical hellhound and cat-worrier)

Tell me you wouldn’t gobble it up in one sitting. And it gets better.

Good Omens – The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch  starts with the warning : “Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home.”  Instantly, I knew that I was going to be awake all night.

 

Good Omens  is beautifully written. Each sentence (and I really do mean it, each one) is beautifully crafted, dripping with a sense of humour that is as outrageously funny as it is intelligent. And it doesn’t seem like two people wrote it (which they did – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I’ve finally read Neil Gaiman!), which is a testament to how well written it is. Seamless. And all this is not keeping in mind that the book was written mostly by, in their words, ” shouting excitedly at one another down the phone a couple of times a day for two months.”

 

Good Omens is a book about What Happens When You Misplace The Antichrist. About The Earth Being A Libran. About Ineffable Plans. And about Leaving Armageddon In The Hands Of An Eleven-Year Old. It’s got Angels that get drunk. Tapes that change into Best Of Queen albums after two weeks. Incredibly Spanish Spanish Inquisitions. A Stomach-Clutching Laughing Reader.

 

I have issues with how the book ends, but we’ll just let that go, shall we? Read this one for how it’s written. Read it when you know you aren’t going to be interrupted. Read it because it’s an instant pick-me-up, and everything is just so much funnier when you’ve finished.

 

 

I’m going to leave you with my favourite bits.


“Anyway, it’s like with bikes,’ said the first speaker authoritatively. ‘I thought I was going to get this bike with seven gears and one of them razorblade saddles and purple paint and everything, and they gave me this light blue one. With a basket. A girl’s bike.’
‘Well. You’re a girl,’ said one of the others.
‘That’s sexism, that is. Going around giving people girly presents just because they’re a girl.”

 

 

“Many phenomena – wars, plagues, sudden audits – have been advanced as evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man, but whenever students of demonology get together the M25 London orbital motorway is generally agreed to be among the top contenders for exhibit A.”

 

 

“Along with the standard computer warranty agreement which said that if the machine 1) didn’t work, 2) didn’t do what the expensive advertisements said, 3) electrocuted the immediate neighborhood, 4) and in fact failed entirely to be inside the expensive box when you opened it, this was expressly, absolutely, implicitly and in no event the fault or responsibility of the manufacturer, that the purchaser should consider himself lucky to be allowed to give his money to the manufacturer, and that any attempt to treat what had just been paid for as the purchaser’s own property would result in the attentions of serious men with menacing briefcases and very thin watches. Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached just saying: ‘Learn, guys…”

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13 responses to “Good Omens (Or) Why I Spent The Entire Night Laughing”

  1. theotherwatson says :

    This book sounds fascinating – I have been wanting to read it for years! :)

    • Tanya M says :

      I got tired of people talking about Neil Gaiman and how much I’d love him, so I just picked it up last night. And I wasn’t able to do anything until I finished. It’s one of those books.
      And I know we keep having conversations about neglecting books in favour of other books, but you should really get around to reading this one. :)

      • theotherwatson says :

        Oh wow, it’s that good? That’s impressive.
        Yeah, haha, we do seem to have a lot of those conversations about books we need to get around to reading. Neil Gaiman in general is pretty high up on my list, I plan to have all his books read in the near future, so I will definitely get around to this one soon, I think! :)

        • Tanya M says :

          I liked it. :) It’s not great, and like I said, I think how it ended was too..neat. But you can’t even get irritated because the rest of it has you in splits. :P

  2. maroon5gurl88 says :

    I did read American Gods which was….interesting and I think the wrong choice for my first Gaiman. I do have this on my Kindle and have heard great things!

    • Tanya M says :

      I need to read that one. I just picked up Neverwhere because it’s been on my Goodreads recommendation list forever, and hopefully is as good as everyone says it is.
      Good Omens is a light read, not much effort. Which is why I picked it first. I’ve heard that that is mostly Terry Pratchett, and that Neil Gaiman is supposedly “dark”. But I doubt it, they’ve got to be on the same wavelength, more or less, to be able to co-author a book and have it turn out like that. Give it a go. :)

      P.S I watched High Fidelity. Loved it!

  3. theotherwatson says :

    I couldn’t find an about page so I’ll just post this here – I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award, because your blog always makes me smile! :)
    The details are all here: http://wantoncreation.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/a-little-bit-of-sunshine/ :)

  4. Care says :

    I enjoyed American Gods and keep saying I need to try Pratchett. This looks like one I should move up my tbr.

    • Tanya M says :

      I need to try more of Pratchett, as well. I’m intrigued to see what bits Gaiman was responsible for, and what was Pratchett. I’m moving through my Neil Gaiman wish list at the moment and then, hopefully, will move on to Terry Pratchett. Unless another book comes along and blows my plan to bits. :P

  5. lynnsbooks says :

    Hey Tanya, I’ve been reading through some of your blog posts (again) – mainly looking back at your Gaiman related ones now I’m a confirmed BIG TIME FAN! I did read Good Omens just before the Graveyard Book – I wasn’t as keen on this one as the other two, although the humour is brilliant. I put it down to the fact that maybe I wasn’t in the mood for a funny type of read and wanted something a bit more sinister – or perhaps it was the pairing of the two authors that I wasn’t taken with. I can’t really put my finger on it because I certainly didn’t dislike it. I suppose it could be that I expect that anything with the name Gaiman attached to it will inspire ‘love and adoration’ as opposed to simple enjoyment! I have high expectations from this man (no pressure at all).
    I was looking at your Coraline post (ha, ha, again – really, I’m not a stalker!) – I must admit that I love the film. I haven’t read the book yet but will do soon however I can’t imagine anything being better than the film – it’s just so beautiful and the ending was so scary.
    I can’t help with some of the books feeling that Gaiman almost bases certain characters on himself – the Marquis in Neverwhere – I always pictured Gaimin in that role for some reason and what you said about the Sandman books – not to mention the illustration. I know that’s probably an insane idea but it popped into my brain and got trapped there.
    Must go and dig out Coraline dvd….
    Lynn :D

    • Tanya says :

      Haha, stalk away! (I admit, I read pretty much every single one of your reviews when I first discovered your blog. But..didn’t leave a comment because I didn’t want you think I was stalking you. Which I kind of was. :P)

      I was a little disappointed with Good Omens, as well. But I still loved it. Just a little more than I loved Neverwhere actually. But for me, The Graveyard Book beats both of them, hands down.

      I know EXACTLY what you mean! When I first saw Morpheus in Sandman, I said, “Whoa! That’s Gaiman!” And I opened two tabs and just compared Morpheus and Gaiman side-by-side and the resemblence was striking.

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