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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 (original 1990; edition 2006)

by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett

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21,44445062 (4.28)2 / 888
Member:chensel477
Title:Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Other authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:HarperTorch (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, Bedroom, Read, Fiction
Rating:****
Tags:Fantasy, Humor, Apocalypse

Work details

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

  1. 391
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy : A Trilogy in Five Parts by Douglas Adams (ShelfMonkey)
  2. 190
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Pigletto)
  3. 151
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (flonor)
  4. 120
    The Gates by John Connolly (midnightbex)
    midnightbex: Dealing with a similar end of the world theme, The Gates tells an entirely different but equally hilarious story about the apocalypse. As an added bonus, there is also the occasional amusing and often diverting foot note to look forward to.
  5. 120
    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (elbakerone)
  6. 121
    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (yokai)
  7. 111
    Mort by Terry Pratchett (Pigletto)
  8. 82
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (mcenroeucsb)
  9. 40
    A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: These two books share a certain cheeky darkness and both have fantastic eccentric characters and wildly inventive plots
  10. 51
    Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (NatalieAsIs)
  11. 52
    Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore (LunarEclipse)
  12. 52
    Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein (infiniteletters)
  13. 20
    The Damned Busters by Matthew Hughes (hairball)
    hairball: This is kind of an obvious one, but hey! someone has to point out the obvious...
  14. 20
    Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese (Awfki)
    Awfki: Not nearly as good but another humorous take on the apocalypse.
  15. 20
    Breakfast with the Ones You Love by Eliot Fintushel (octopedingenue)
  16. 20
    Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard (TracyRowan)
    TracyRowan: Recommended for those who like their horror blended with a lively sense of the absurd.
  17. 20
    If at Faust you don't succeed by Roger Zelazny (WildMaggie)
  18. 10
    A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny (WildMaggie)
    WildMaggie: Gaiman has acknowledged his debt to Zelanzy. It echoes in Good Omens.
  19. 10
    Repossessed by A. M. Jenkins (allthesedarnbooks)
  20. 10
    Barking Mad: A Reginald Spiffington Mystery by Jamieson Ridenhour (ChillnND)
    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)

(see all 33 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 435 (next | show all)
I remember nothing about this except a car, and the word 'ineffable' which I *still* haven't mastered. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
"Good Omens", which occurs mainly in the UK, follows a dozen or so eccentric characters as they all prepare for Armageddon. The book starts on a Wednesday and edges slowly toward Saturday, the day in which the world will end. It's up to two angels--well, one angel (Aziraphale, who is also a part-time book dealer) and one demon (Crowley, "who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards")--to try and sway the 11-year-old Antichrist (Adam Young) to one respective side--either Heaven's or Hell's.

There are so many characters and mini plots in this book, it's hard to get attached to just one, but my favorite would have to be Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell. He was an absolute kook and, at times, very funny. The rest of the book is amusing and entertaining at parts, but it wasn't as funny as I had expected. Probably the two humorous bits that do come to mind are the author biographies and the caveat on one of the first few pages: "Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home."

"Good Omens" was also, in my opinion, too long and verbose and could have had 100 pages or so removed and still have served its purpose. This isn't a book I'd necessarily recommend, but if you're an avid fan of one or both of the writers, then you might like this sci fi spoof on the Apocalypse. And for those who did enjoy the book, you'll be happy to know "Good Omens" is being made into a movie sometime next year.*

*At the time of this review in 2002, there was news of "Good Omens" being made into a movie. I'm not sure if it was. ETA: On IMDb, it's still listed as "In Development." ( )
  saraslibrary | Apr 12, 2015 |
Fun book. Nice to dip into Gaiman and Pratchett's shared cosmology.
  iceT | Mar 29, 2015 |
Delightfully absurd. My favorite bits were those between the demon Crowley (Crawly) and the angel Aziraphale, who, after being adversaries for years, have achieved detente and even a kind of friendship. At least, they are in agreement that they don't want the world to end, which is precisely what's about to happen. Unless the antichrist (an eleven-year-old called Adam Young) decides to put off the end of the world.

Anathema Device was another favorite character; descendent of Agnes Nutter, witch, she is familiar with all of Agnes' prophecies, although, "[Agnes] managed to come up with the kind of predictions that you can only understand after the thing has happened." (198)

The authors have an irreverent and energetic sense of humor; they seem to have had a good deal of fun writing (and footnoting).

Quotes

"The forces of darkness must be beaten. You seem to be under a misapprehension. The point is not to avoid the war, it is to win it." (Metatron to Aziraphale, 222)

Sometimes human beings are very much like bees. Bees are fiercely protective of their hive, provided you are outside it. Once you're in, the workers sort of assume that it must have been cleared by management and take no notice... (313)

...the human brain is not equipped to see War, Famine, Pollution, and Death when they don't want to be seen, and has got so good at not seeing that it often manages to not to see them even when they abound on every side.
The alarms were totally brainless and thought they saw four people where people shouldn't be, and went off like anything. (313)

"I don't see what's so triffic about creating people as people and then gettin' upset 'cos they act like people," said Adam severely. "Anyway, if you stopped tellin' people it's all sorted out after they're dead, they might try sorting it all out while they're alive." (Adam to Beelzebub, 335)

"It izz written!" bellowed Beelzebub.
"But it might be written differently somewhere else," said Crowley. "Where you can't read it."
...
Then [Adam] said, "I don't see why it matters what is written. Not when it's about people. It can always be crossed out." (337) ( )
1 vote JennyArch | Mar 21, 2015 |
I’ll start by saying R.I.P. Terry Pratchett, who passed away as I was finishing this book. It’s cliché to say it, but his writing will undoubtedly tickle readers in the future as it tickled me, and in that sense he lives on. Here he teamed up with Neil Gaiman at a time when they weren’t that well known to write “Good Omens, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch”, and the result was a very humorous re-imagining of the apocalypse.

In this version, God and the Devil are mostly in the background, but have their agents Aziraphale and Crowley on Earth representing them. The two have been around each other so much, however, that they’ve grown somewhat friendly and understanding of one another, and indeed, there is some goodness in Crowley, and edge to Aziraphale, and both would prefer to avoid the coming Armageddon. 17th century witch Agnes Nutter has written cryptic prophecies about it and her book has been passed down to family members through the centuries, ending with Anathema Device. As she predicts, the Antichrist is born right on time for the millennium, but he’s misplaced in a baby mix-up and thus brought up to the age of 11 as a normal kid, with normal friends. However, his destiny nears, and as it does, so do the four horseman (slash bikers) War, Famine, Death, and Pollution (the latter a substitute for Pestilence, who retired after the discovery of Penicillin), who were my favorite characters. The Antichrist (slash little boy) begins imagining what he could make of a world wiped clean and re-started, and his powers summon Atlantis, aliens, Tibetan hole diggers, and general chaos.

The book is madcap fun, with satire and clever jabs at society and the world, and I suppose religion too, but never in a mean-spirited way, despite the mockery. I also appreciated the bits of wisdom and profundity that are occasionally slipped in.

Quotes:
On heaven and hell:
“That was what some humans found hard to understand. Hell wasn’t a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven, in Crowley’s opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.”

On indifference to evil:
“No one paid any attention to them. Perhaps they saw nothing at all. Perhaps they saw what their minds were instructed to see, because the human brain is not equipped to see War, Famine, Pollution, and Death when they don’t want to be seen, and has got so good at not seeing that it often manages to not see them even when they abound on every side.”

And this, from the Antichrist:
“If I was in charge, I’d try makin’ people live a lot longer, like ole Methusaleh. It’d be a lot more interestin’ and they might start thinkin’ about the sort of things they’re doing to all the environment and ecology, because they’ll still be around in a hundred years’ time.”

On love:
“Newt had indeed been harboring certain thoughts about Anathema; not just harboring them, in fact, but dry-docking them, refitting them, giving them a good coat of paint and scraping the barnacles off their bottom.”

On the past, and future:
“If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boy and his dog and his friends. And a summer that never ends.”

Finally this, the random connection to the last book I’ve read – there always seems to be one, try it yourself sometime – in this case, the last book was ‘The Lives of the Artists’ by Giorgio Vasari, and the connection is Leonard da Vinci. Here in a footnote he comments on the cartoon for Mona Lisa being superior to the final painting:
“’I got her bloody smile right in the roughs,’ he told Crowley, sipping cold wine in the lunchtime sun, ‘but it went all over the place when I painted it. Her husband had a few things to say about it when I delivered it, but, like I tell him, Signor del Giocondo, apart from you, who’s going to see it?’” ( )
2 vote gbill | Mar 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 435 (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.
Just as Douglas Adams worked his joke to death by juxtaposing the tedious lives of ordinary people with events of cosmic significance, so Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, two former journalists, go on and on for 354 pages with their schoolboy wisecracks about Good, Evil, the Meaning of Life and people who drink Perrier... Obviously, it would be difficult to write a 354-page satirical novel without getting off a few good lines. I counted four.
 
Hilariously naughty, and just what you'd expect from a collaboration between comics-veteran Gaiman and fantasist Pratchett. A best-seller in England, and a book to watch here. It could catch on with the Douglas Adams crowd.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Aug 15, 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 (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pratchett, Terryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, Neilmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Astrachan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carroll, JackNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornner, HaydnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, MaríaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frampton, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fusari, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
jarvis, martinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindforss, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrill, RowenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ring, JonathanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinkkonen, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, GrahamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.)
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The actual authors are Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
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Wikipedia in English (4)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:58 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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