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- Publisher: Corgi Books
- Format: Paperback | 416 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 30mm | 281g
- Publication date: 31 October 2011
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0552159840
- ISBN 13: 9780552159845
- Sales rank: 23,946
'Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don't let you go around again until you get it right'. People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it's only natural to be skeptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea? You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.
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Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages. www.terrrypratchett.co.uk Neil Gaiman is the acclaimed creator of the graphic novel series SANDMAN and of such novels for children as Coraline and for adults as American Gods. His comics and novels have sold in their tens of millions. Like Terry, his works have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and also like Terry, he is the winner of multipleprizes, including the Carnegie Medal. Unlike Terry, he has never been awarded a knighthood for services to literature, although his mother thinks that sooner or later the Queen will read one of his books and immediately knight him if she likes it, and that to be on the safe side he should leave out the rude words. He does have the Newbery Medal, though. www.neilgaiman.com
By Alex 18 Apr 2013
Good Omens is about the Apocalypse - the actual biblical, Judgement Day, end-of-the-world sort, as opposed to the prelude-to-a-distopia variety. Angels and demons have been fighting to influence the fate of mankind for centuries, and this now this is all set to culminate in the Great Battle, set to take place on Saturday.
There are some, however, who don't want the world to end. The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have formed an alliance of sorts, each half-arse-ing their jobs so as to make their own lives easier. Neither wants things to change. Meanwhile, Adam, an eleven year old boy, is simply enjoying the summer with his friends in Lower Tadfield, England. Unbeknownst to Adam, he is the Antichrist, and therefore key to the whole Armageddon thing. At this crucial time in the world's fate, Aziraphale, Crowley, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a witch and a witchfinder all find themselves drawn to Lower Tadfield.
This is undoubtedly one of the funniest and most inventive books I have ever read, and perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, given who the authors are. It's littered with random footnotes, wordplay and satire on pretty much everything. I'd recommend it based on the lulz alone - there's at least one on every page. Some knowledge about the biblical End of Days would probably bolster you enjoyment of the book. If you're religious, you should know by now whether this sort of thing is your cup of tea, though I'll just add that the book doesn't go out of its way to either insult or promote Christianity or religion in general.
My favourite parts were the bits about Agnes Nutter and the Four Horsemen - they were quirky and funny, a fresh take on an old concept. Crowley and Aziraphale also make a great odd couple. My least favourite part were the bits involving the Them, since I wasn't particularly enamoured of their cute kid discussions and found them somewhat repetitive. Further, even though the book is a pleasure to read, by the time I got to the middle I was impatient for the world to end already since the book is essentially build-up to that event.
I also have a not-quite-criticism of the way women are handled in this book. They're generally portrayed as independent and (more) capable (than men), which I guess is great and all, but at times it felt like the authors were actively pushing some sort of pro-female agenda. My impression wasn't so much that women are fantastic, but rather that the authors want us to know that they're not sexist, in which case, mission accomplished, I think? I'm probably being cynical and over-sensitive here, and I know this is unlikely to be the authors' intention, and you can call me ridiculous, but I couldn't help that this was my impression. I doubt that many others would have the same reaction - if anything, I reckon most people would be pleased that there are strong female characters at all... Another bit of side-eye I'll throw the authors' way regards how apparently, all Tibetans are Buddhist monks... but I digress.
The book loses a bit of steam towards the end, as if the authors weren't sure where to take things but had to end it somehow. Given the interesting premise, I suppose this was something bound to happen. Still, the writing is so charming that the outcome doesn't really matter and I can see why Good Omens is beloved by so many. It's held up very well for a contemporary book and its critique on pollution and body image is still relevant today. Most importantly, it's very funny, and that's the main basis on which I'd recommend it to others.
"Wickedly funny" Time Out "A superbly funny book. Pratchett and Gaiman are the most hilariously sinister team since Jekyll and Hyde. If this is Armageddon, count me in" -- James Herbert "Wow" Washington Post "'Heaven to read, and you'll laugh like hell'" Time Out "'Not quite as sinister as the authors' photo'" The Times
Back cover copy
'Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don't let you go around again until you get it right' People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it's only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea? You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.
According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter--the world's only "totally reliable guide to the future--the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just after tea...