Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good Omens: Laugh like there's no tomorrow

I'm perfectly content to share my fandoms with others, but it seems the women in my life want to exfand my horizons with their books.

Case in point: Good Omens.

Good Omens book covers - both styles
So there's this girl I kinda know who's big into Neil Gaiman (Sandman, American Gods) and Terry Pratchett (Discworld series), and she was astounded that I hadn't read any of their work before and may or may not have even heard of them. Thus, she got me Good Omens for Christmas.

Good Omens is your atypical Apocalypse novel, complete with an angel and a demon who've been friends since the beginning of time, a live witch, a long-dead witch whose prophesies foretold all that is about to happen, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an eleven-year-old Antichrist, and a score of others.

All these characters are woven together into a complex tapestry of plot that's all interconnected, and part of the fun is seeing how completely separate characters ultimately end up affecting each other. The bigger part of the fun, at least for me, is the fantastic humor.

Good Omens features some very clever narration, wonderfully humorous character interactions, and several gut-bustingly absurd situations. It's like Shaun of the Dead in that the entire story straddles the line between off-the-wall outrageous and almost barely believable.

A rudimentary knowledge of the Biblical book of Revelation is helpful, and the ability to laugh at a religiously-themed satire (not a satire of religion, mind you; there's a difference) is even more helpful. Anyone who believes that Heaven, Hell, and the Apocalypse should not ever be made light of in any way... has probably already stopped reading this post.

My copy of Good Omens (the white cover pictured above) clocks in at 398 pages, plus 15 pages of interviews with the authors at the end. The little price tag on the back of the book claims it's $7.99, but perhaps you, too, can get yours for free.

Bottom line: Good Omens is an outrageously funny book with a host of amusing and memorable characters, and it serves as an excellent introduction to the work of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Recommended.

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