Book: Good Omens
Authors: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Published: 1990 (HarperCollins)
Y’all, I finally reached this amazing nugget in the sifting piles of my unread books, and of course it was great and of course I enjoyed reading about how an angel and a demon who have been persnickety good friends for a couple millennia screw up their only real job - bringing about Armageddon – for the sake of humanity by going with a mistake that was made when the anti-Christ was switched at birth.
Gaiman and Pratchett have both separately mastered the art of injecting just enough levity into fantasy to make it reveal the absurdity of the real world and the genre’s own self-seriousness while keeping some real substance and profundity buried underneath all the duck jokes. Here is no different.
And my favorite part is subtle but I love that they don’t focus nearly as much on the Everyman character or even make him a hero. They’re necessary in the sci fi and fantasy worlds to give us a very amusingly befuddled tour of alien worlds, but here the dude’s just another weirded-out human who gets caught up in it and still gets to splutter adorably without having to climb unrealistic story arcs of redemption and such.
The angel and demon have become more human than either would like to admit, anyway, and they show this best when they find true morality hiding on the fringes of each other’s realms, manage to think for themselves when they realize that neither side is actually concerned with what they were told they were supposed to fight for, and stop the world from ended by pointing out how dumb war is to Beezlebub and the Voice of God (who basically just want an excuse to stomp all over each other).
I can’t do this book justice here. The closest I can come is to say that it’s funny and smart and manages to say something important about free will and not killing people when you can help it. I took it with me on a recent business trip where I got to go to the San Antonio public library’s main branch and read a chapter of it before I had to go back for dinner, and it was a great companion. And apparently I’m late to this particular book party because when I posted this photo on Facebook everybody’s like, “I LOVE THAT BOOK.” One of my friends even called me just to say that. And nobody calls anybody anymore, so I can only conclude that GOOD BOOKS ARE WINNING, PEOPLE, and my job here is not nearly done but is chugging along quite nicely.
Bookshelf! (What, I should take a library book onto two planes and a hotel room in which I’m pretty sure I left my last good hairband? Psht. That shit stays within ten miles of my nearest branch, thank you.)