Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good Omens - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Read the review on TastySamosas!

As they say, Good Omens got written when Neil Gaiman wasn’t Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett was only just Terry Pratchett. But that does not take away anything from the awesomeness of this book. First published in the year 1990, this books preceeds even Sandman among Neil Gaimans work but is as much, if not more, of a delight to read as his other works.

I have not read any Terry Pratchett so this review would probably focus more on Gaiman. However, let me be clear that this books is real collaborative writing. The edition that I have begins, quite amusingly, with an interview. One that is answered jointly by a Gaiman-Pratchett entity. It claims that the way the book got written, no one really knows who wrote what part. Sometime Gaiman would commend Pratchett on how wonderful a line he had written and as it would turn out, it was Gaiman who had actually come up with it over a phone conversation! So much for the saying that writing is a solitary art.

Anyhow, the books is a satire on contemporary life. It narrates the tale of an Angel, Aziraphale and a demon, Crowley, who are terrified with the idea of the impending armageddon because they would have to leave the worldly comforts that they have so grown used to and go back to heaven – or hell. An anti-christ is being born and they decide to bring him up in a balanced atmosphere of good and evil so that he does not side with either side. But things go wrong and the anti-christ gets lost. He grows up as a child and like any other eleven-year-old he’s completely human.

In a hilarious turn of events Crowley and Aziraphale seek out to prevent the anti-christ from meeting the four horsemen from hell and avert the apocalypse. In a beautiful satire on contemporary religion, politics and human society, Gaiman and Pratchett drive home the message – that humans are ultimately responsible for their own sins – clearly and effectively.

The book is a laughter riot. There is witticism in every sentence and quite often it actually makes you laugh out loud. A must read!


  1. i havent yet read the book but will now surely do :)

  2. Pratchett is a fantastic writer - nourished many hours in my school library... it's a shame to read about his developing Alzheimer's :(


    you've been tagged. So hop to it!

  3. @ Headmistress - I haven't read any of Pratchett. Where do you suggest I start?

  4. Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's? Oh dear God, no....
    If you haven't read anything by him before, I'd suggest starting with the Discworld series (those don't really have to be read in order, but they're his best-known works). The Colour of Magic, Mort, Thief of Time, and Soul Music are fantastic reads- you should try those sometime. Any half-decent bookstore will have them. I also like Wyrd Sisters and Carpe Jugulum, though in my experience most guys don't really like stories involving the witches.
    I loved Good Omens, too- especially the bit where the hellhound changes shape to become Dog.

  5. ach. I was going to say Discworld. But... seeing as it is the festive season, go for the Hogfather! part of the Discworld series and focuses on my favourite characters, Death, and his beti :)

    Mort - completely brings back memories of being 12 and hiding in my school library at lunch...

  6. @ Blue and Headmistress -- Thanks and thanks. Will try to get hold of some of his stuff. Unfortunately, Kanpur doesn't even have half decent bookstores. :(

  7. I forbid you to write anything about Gaiman till i've read his stuff. :(