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News article for the week of 10/9/07.

Really Pathetic Book Review

Good Omens:Nice, accurate and really fun to read

By, Cozmic

So, what with me not having time to go to the movies (or play videogames, or, well, anything, really), a little less than a week before I finally get the fullversion of BioShock due to sticking it out with my family for far more years than any of you would, I've decided that today, today, dear reader, we review something old and dusty, and manage to be somewhat in touch with current events while I'm at it.
“Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter” is the story of the end of the world, as told by authors Neil Gaiman (who wrote the novel and the movie “Stardust”, which premièred today over here in Sweden, is based on. Told you this could be almost current!) and Terry Pratchett.
Now both of these authors aren't exactly unknown, Pratchett has been churning out parts in his terrific Discworld series for decades, and Gaiman has quite a lot to his name as well. However, aside from a few short stories, I have not read much by Gaiman, whereas the Discworld books are fighting for my precious shelf-space (amongst one another, and also against that horde of giant robots). And yes, Good Omens has a lot of Pratchett's style in it, being hysterically funny at a lot of times, sometimes going off on rather strange tangents, and being filled with odd characters.
The story really starts somewhere in England, with the demon known as Crowley rushing in his vintage Bentley to a convent of nuns, newborn Anti-Christ in his arms. The name Damien gets rejected, setting the mood a bit for the story to come.
A look at the Dramatis personae quickly reveals that Crowley isn't the only odd character in the story. There is also Azraphale, the angel, and an assorted number of typical figures of the apocalypse, like the four bikers of the apocalypse and Dog, the satanic hellhound and cat-worrier. And of course, the anti-Christ, his gang of friends, and Anathema Device, heir to Agnes Nutter, the world's only prophet who could foresee everything. Including that the world will end on a Saturday.
Crowley also gets privy to this information, and the thing is, Crowley kind of likes the world. He's been on it for 6000 years, most of which he's spent with Aziraphale, in a rather uneasy truce. So the two of them then try to stop the inevitable war between the Angels and the Demons, which is apparently what the whole thing really is about.
The character interaction between the two is probably the coolest thing about the book, that these mortal enemies really don't see why they should be mortal enemies. That they're both also basically angels is just cool in general.
Gaiman and Pratchett manage to paint up both a funny and special world, where anything can happen, and does. The characters are hardly standard fare, except maybe for the Them, a gang of kids that are somehow just as kids should be, but aren't. The Them are the only thing that makes sense in the world, that one bit of innocence. Everyone else is generally not bad, but not exactly good either.
I'm not sure what else one can say about Good Omens without ruining it. It is filled with funny little jokes and quips about British society and the world in general, but never feels preachy since we all know the fun part is there. Generally, even as one sees the world head toward doom, it is impossible to stop, because one wants to know how the world will end.
While Pratchett has written better books, there is something genuinely special about Good Omens atmosphere and it's jokes at Christianity and Judaism that makes it a book I can highly recommend to anyone who's ever wondered just what Death wears, and why there are only four horsepeople of the apocalypse.

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