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Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies…
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Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990)

by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
25,27258175 (4.27)2 / 1139
Recently added byBaynesWorld, private library, valhikes, Librathan, chaosfox, lemurlotte, jjsutcli, mdbrown
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    WildMaggie: Gaiman has acknowledged his debt to Zelanzy. It echoes in Good Omens.
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    ChillnND: I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman style comedy fantasy and I found Barking Mad to be not dissimilar in its level of wit and humor combined with the supernatural/fantasy genre. Barking aims a bit more at good-natured parody of Agatha Christie and similarly styled mysteries. I looked forward to every minute of reading it and hope the author gives us some more Spiffington mysteries.… (more)
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    brakketh: British humor and modern approach to myths.
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    hairball: This is kind of an obvious one, but hey! someone has to point out the obvious...
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    Anonymous user: You WILL love it. Trust me.
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    kqueue: Similar story of a young boy saving the world from demonic forces with lots of dry humor along the way.

(see all 33 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 560 (next | show all)
I'm not usually a fan of comedy (film or book), but the upcoming Amazon television series made me curious enough to give the book a go. I'm so glad I did! Good Omens is an excellent blend of satire and parody, with a touch of absurdity. The antiChrist has been born and the end of the world is now only 11 years away. Demon Crowley quite likes Earth, the food! the music! the entertainment!, and he's not keen on Armageddon. So, he enlists angel Aziraphale to help avert it. Surely an angel is supposed to oppose any action from the other side?

The story has hilarious running gags through it, like the tendency of Crowley's Bentley to turn any music cassette left in it for more than two weeks into The Best of Queen, or the Hellish M25 highway around London. Some of the references (cassette tapes?!) are obviously dated but can easily be imagined with their modern counterparts so the story hasn't lost any of its potency. However, what I enjoyed most (as a lapsed Roman Catholic) was the satirizing of the religious motifs, Bible references and themes. Four Horsemen? Check. Antichist? Check. The Rapture? Sorry, but you got that bit wrong, haven't you now.

I had a couple minor issues that kept me from devouring the book straight through. I put it down a few times to read other things. First, the story sometimes meandered and jumps POVs a lot. I got bored every time the story returned to the kids. Second, the footnotes. The notes are part of the actual story (not explanations to readers such as in The Three Body Problem). They could be skipped, but many times were funny and truly enhanced the reading. However, they were used too often and became a distraction.

Overall, this was a delightful surprise and I am truly looking forward to the show. And, I wouldn't hesitate to read a sequel, if Gaiman ever decides to do so. ( )
  jshillingford | Feb 6, 2019 |
What a wonderful novel Good Omens is! It has everything: a very British sense of humour, a cast of mostly slightly inept but endearing characters who you can't help but root for (even when they're on Satan's side), and a ridiculous but gripping plot.

I'm already a Terry Pratchett fan, but I went out and bought one Neil Gaiman's novels when I was partway through Good Omens because I thought it was probably criminal that I hadn't read anything of his previously.

Honestly, this was exactly what I needed to get me through the political shambles of Brexit at the moment (now there's a topic that Gaiman and Pratchett would've excelled at skewering in a book!). ( )
  mooingzelda | Jan 17, 2019 |
What would happen if Heaven and Hell decided to have the final showdown, the end of the world, at the end of 20th century, starting in suburban England?

Well, not everyone would like it, including at least one heavenly employee, angel Aziraphale, who would have to give up listening to his favorite music. Since all the good composers will go to Hell, naturally. His counterpart on Hell's side, daemon Crowley, would have to give up his vintage Bentley. So they best work together to prevent the world from going up in flames. Come to think of it, the Antichrist isn't that wild about the world ending either ...

Good Omens is a funny take on the biblical Apocalypse. Written in Pratchett's typical hilarious style, the story just isn't interesting enough to make this a can't-put-it-down masterpiece, but it has enough funny moments and witty observations to make you laugh out loud quite often.

Read this in Slovenian, title Dobra Znamenja (Sanje, 2010). ( )
  matija2019 | Jan 8, 2019 |
If you’ve never heard of this book before now, you probably will do very soon because Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman has been filmed as a television series and is due to be released this year (with David Tennant of Doctor Who, Miranda Richardson of Blackadder II and Michael Sheen of everything else).

Good Omens is an undisguised parody of The Omen (with the child anti-Christ Damien Thorn) but has also been influenced by Milton’s Paradise Lost (the usurper angel thrown out of heaven establishing his dominion on Earth), then strangely tips its lid to an ancient British television show for children called Stig of The Dump. It is also a golden event in the history of entertainment fiction, a “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” moment or “In this decade we choose to go to the Moon and do the other things” – Well, in that decade Pratchett and Gaiman chose to actually work together.

When I read this unusual alloy of good and bad, contrasting jolly tongue-in-cheek humour (Pratchett) and elements of degraded horror (Gaiman – with his cloud of flies screaming down the phone line and defleshing you), I guessed pretty quickly which ideas were from Terry Pratchett and which came from Neil Gaiman. They both did their thing and both stuck to their previous style, foregoing the middle ground. That’s the correct way to write this book when it is intended to capture a deliberate contrast of inharmonious sides like good and bad, heaven and hell, music and discord, but the price of applying this is it comes across as disjointed, where the flow will stop and start and stop. You can’t achieve A without B, so this is impossible to criticise.

Absolute good and bad are relative abstract concepts that never compromise, so personifications of those two things (angels and devils) shouldn’t compromise either. Several of the kookier moments in this story are when those ideal representations have been affected by close proximity to humanity (we’ve come of age and corrupted them) as the Arch-Angel and Demon reached work-arounds of their own. This is all done in the spirit of Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, in which a spy living far from home starts sending invented reports to his employer to justify his expenses, and also Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, in which a US Airforce officer in a war zone makes an arrangement with the enemy that they’ll both bomb their own airfields because that would have to happen anyway and it’s much safer and more efficient not to fly into enemy airspace. The practicalities of an angel and a devil carrying out each other’s temptations and miracles, e.g. “If you’re up in the North of England anyway, could you do one of mine?” are logical but hint God isn’t omnipotent or there’d be hell to pay. Alternatively, maybe the divine entity is amused by the thought that everyone develops their own renegade personality if given enough freedom, even those who are created with invulnerable minds (a design flaw?). It’s reassuring to think human nature will infect and overcome these grand presumptions. Black and white? No. It’s all endless shades of grey – and probably about time the supernatural authorities realised it.

The other cultural reference I think has been reinvented in Good Omens is a Peter Cook & Dudley Moore film from the 1960s called Bedazzled. In this, a devil stuck on Earth and very bored with his lot amuses himself by degrading people’s quality of life by such acts as scratching their LP records and making sure that plastic bottles of brown sauce in nasty transport cafés squirt sideways onto people’s clothes. This is a beautiful way to spend eternity and I think the prospect of endless inventive fun is quite worth being corrupted for.

It isn’t Pratchett’s best book and it isn’t Gaiman’s either, but it is a joining of both worlds and that fumbling makes it something special. You can see they had ridiculous fun, although it could also be the case that their ‘cooperation’ might have involved writing their own sequences on opposite ends of the planet. It was worth it though. This was never meant to be high-end entertainment, just funny and imaginative, an intention achieved sublimely. If you had to pick a senior and junior partner in craft (at the time of writing, published 1990), the accolade would have to go to Terry Pratchett because the inclusion of a prophetic witch of the Middle Ages who came up such gems as “Do notte Buye Betamax” is an outstanding piece of invention. No one in her family understands these prophecies until their time in the cultural record comes about. That character, Agnes Nutter, has overtones of Esme Weatherwax but is a comedy classic invention in her own right. I can see that Pratchett had a physical malleable history idea before, when he wrote a preface which spoke of miners who found a coal seam with a fossil of a tyrannosaurus in it, holding a silver dollar. He said that kind of anomalous history isn’t reported because it undermines out sense of control over reality.

Good Omens is not supposed to be critically dissected and taken seriously or to have its success evaluated by publishing accountants because it represents a pair of important writers with richly creative minds meeting up and having fun. They’re entertaining themselves, enjoying the glow of working in each other’s company. If it makes the reader’s day as well, that’s great, but I get the sense we are voyeuristically gazing through the window here into Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett’s private party. ( )
  HavingFaith | Jan 7, 2019 |
I've read it before, I'll read it again :) still the funniest book I've read. ( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 560 (next | show all)
The book tackles things most science fiction and fantasy writers never think about, much less write. It does it in a straightforward manner. It's about Predestination and Free Will, about chaos and order, about human beings, their technology and their belief systems. When the book is talking about the big questions, it's a wow. It leaves room in both the plot and the reader's reactions for the characters to move around in and do unexpected but very human things.
added by Shortride | editThe Washington Post, Howard Waldrop (pay site) (Dec 20, 1990)
 
''Good Omens'' is a direct descendant of ''The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,'' a vastly overpraised book or radio program or industry or something that became quite popular in Britain a decade ago when it became apparent that Margaret Thatcher would be in office for some time and that laughs were going to be hard to come by...

Obviously, it would be difficult to write a 354-page satirical novel without getting off a few good lines. I counted four... But to get to this material, the reader must wade through reams and reams of undergraduate dreck: recycled science-fiction cliches about using the gift of prophesy to make a killing in the stock market; shopworn jokes about American television programs (would you believe the book includes a joke about ''Have Gun, Will Travel''?); and an infuriating running gag about Queen, a vaudevillian rock group whose hits are buried far in the past and should have been buried sooner.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew York Times, Joe Queenan (Nov 7, 1990)
 
When a scatterbrained Satanist nun goofs up a baby-switching scheme and delivers the infant Antichrist to the wrong couple, it's just the beginning of the comic errors in the divine plan for Armageddon which this fast-paced novel by two British writers zanily details... Some humor is strictly British, but most will appeal even to Americans "and other aliens."
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly (Jul 20, 1990)
 

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pratchett, TerryAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aquan, Richard L.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arak, HelenToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Astrachan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carroll, JackNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornner, HaydnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, MaríaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frampton, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fusari, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gałązka, JacekTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ittekot, VenugopalanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kantůrek, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lew, BettyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindforss, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcel, PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrill, RowenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ring, JonathanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinkkonen, Marja(KÄÄnt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinkkonen, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, DouglasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, GrahamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important events
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Epigraph
CAVEAT

Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home.
Dedication
The authors would like to join the demon Crowley in dedicating this book to the memory of

G. K. CHESTERTON

A man who knew what was going on.
First words
It was a nice day.
Quotations
It'd be a funny old world, he reflected, if demons went round trusting one another.
And there was never an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it.
In one sense there was just clear air overhead. In another, stretching off to infinity, were the hosts of Heaven and Hell, wingtip to wingtip. If you looked really closely, and had been specially trained, you could tell the difference.
The book was commonly known as the Buggre Alle This Bible. The lengthy compositor's error, if such it may be called, occurs in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 48, verse five....

5. Buggre Alle this for a Larke. I amme sick to mye Hart of typefettinge. Master Biltonn if no Gentelmann, and Master Scagges noe more than a tighte fisted Southwarke Knobbefticke. I tell you, onne a daye laike thif Ennywone withe half an oz. of Sense shoulde bee oute in the Sunneshain, ane nott Stucke here alle the liuelong daie inn thif mowldey olde By-Our-Lady Workefhoppe. @ *"AE@;!*
The Buggre Alle This Bible was also noteworthy for having twenty-seven verses in the third chapter of Genesis, instead of the more usual twenty-four.

They followed verse 24, which in the King James version reads:

"So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life," and read:

25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying Where is the flaming sword which was given unto thee?

26 And the Angel said, I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget me own head next.

27 And the Lord did not ask him again.

It appears that these verses were inserted during the proof stage. In those days it was common practice for printers to hang proof sheets to the wooden beams outside their shops, for the edification of the populace and some free proofreading, and since the whole print run was subsequently burned anyway, no one bothered to take up this matter with the nice Mr. A. Ziraphale, who ran the bookshop two doors along and was always so helpful with the translations, and whose handwriting was instantly recognizable.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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.
Haiku summary
The novel's message:
"Heaven. Hell. They are both dull.
On Earth, there's sushi!"
(WilliamOrmond)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060853980, Mass Market Paperback)

Pratchett (of Discworld fame) and Gaiman (of Sandman fame) may seem an unlikely combination, but the topic (Armageddon) of this fast-paced novel is old hat to both. Pratchett's wackiness collaborates with Gaiman's morbid humor; the result is a humanist delight to be savored and reread again and again. You see, there was a bit of a mixup when the Antichrist was born, due in part to the machinations of Crowley, who did not so much fall as saunter downwards, and in part to the mysterious ways as manifested in the form of a part-time rare book dealer, an angel named Aziraphale. Like top agents everywhere, they've long had more in common with each other than the sides they represent, or the conflict they are nominally engaged in. The only person who knows how it will all end is Agnes Nutter, a witch whose prophecies all come true, if one can only manage to decipher them. The minor characters along the way (Famine makes an appearance as diet crazes, no-calorie food and anorexia epidemics) are as much fun as the story as a whole, which adds up to one of those rare books which is enormous fun to read the first time, and the second time, and the third time...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:22 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The world is going to end next Saturday, but there are a few problems--the Antichrist has been misplaced, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse ride motorcycles, and the representatives from heaven and hell decide that they like the human race.

» see all 21 descriptions

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