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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors... i LOVED "Neverwhere," "Stardust," & "American Gods." But i just recently decided to read "Good Omens," one of Gaiman's older works.
It is a witty, humorous version of the apocalypse. I appreciate Gaiman & Pratchett's knowledge and creative attempt at the subject...
However the book is very long-winded and hard to get through...
And watch out Americans, you may not get some of the British humor... i think i missed some of it.
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on November 17, 2003
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens (Ace, 1990)
So many people seem to consider this book the Second Coming of the Hitchhiker's Guide that I'm now scared to re-read Douglas Adams, for fear that my great enjoyment of the first three Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books was youthful folly rather than appreciation of great art.
Don't get me wrong, there are laugh-out-loud moments in Good Omens. But they are neither as frequent as they are in Gaiman's American Gods, nor are they couched in as gripping a prose style. The plot is, to be sure, capable of pulling the reader along; Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, are trying to figure out exactly where the Antichrist has got off to so they can start the apocalypse. Except neither (they've become friends over time) is exactly sure they want the apocalypse to start, because they've grown rather fond of Earth.
It's hard to actually pinpoint any problems with Good Omens, except that perhaps it tries too hard every now and again. It just didn't grab hold and refuse to let go in the same way American Gods (or the hitchhiker's Guide) did. ***
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on November 18, 2002
The title gets it absolutely right. "Good" Omens. Not stellar, not great, not even fine omens, but good ones, all packed together in this discardable little book by humor-fantasy meister Terry Pratchett and dark-fantasy meister Neil Gaiman.
It's a comic novel about the end of days and darned if I didn't laugh out loud. A lot. But the jokes were cheap and easy and didn't really showcase the talents of either of these writers.
Aziraphale and Crowley shine as the main characters and turn the novel into a sort of Crosby & Hope "Road to Armaggedon" kind of story. Their appearances are the only worthy bits in the entire novel. The rest reads as more a Three Stooges movie.
If this sound sappealing to you, more power to you. Admittedly, I liked it enough to read a second time, many years after the first reading, but that was because I had finished "American Gods" and was in the mood for another dose of Gaiman that would not soon be forthcoming. I knew what I was getting into, however, knew I would be reading a light, airy fantasy without any real meat to it, but for some reason that wasn't enough the second time around.
This is a charming book to use killing an hour or two, but don't try to make a meal of it. You'll starve to death.
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on August 5, 2002
"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.
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on March 12, 1999
I was given the book as a gift by someone who knows I think Christianity is ridiculous. I read it, though I'd lost interest in fantasy. Yes, I suppose it's a humorous and irreverent twist on the Apocalypse. It's not an outright ridiculing parody of Christian beliefs. The humor is gleaned solely from the absurd characters and the absurd situations they get themselves into. Nothing is out-and-out "ha ha" funny. All the absurdity of the characters and events is portrayed as strictly routine and mundane. A strange technique for trying to elicit humor, and not completely successful. It hardly seemed worth the intellectual effort to try to figure out the central mystery contained within the plot twists. You're supposed to be engrossed enough to want to do it, but I wasn't. The style, with it's absurdity and hidden mystery, certainly owes alot to Douglas Adams. But it's the style of Adams in his non-Hitchhiker writing, which isn't nearly as satisfying. And so this book is only moderately satisfying. It would make for an interesting movie, though, what with the Millennium and all.
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on September 21, 2001
I must admit I never got to appreciate Pratchett: to me, he seems to try hard to be the Douglas Adams of the fantasy genre, thus failing to find his own voice.
Then we have Gaiman, who is the writer I love the most in the world - but who can't seem to be any good at writing novels as wonderful as his short stories or comics. (Note: this means his novels are just great, with Stardust possibly Most Great).
Put the two together, and you get a very clever but basically "normal" humorous fantasy book. A few parts of it are very very nice, that's true, but it's basically "Two nice guy doing Douglas Adams goes esoteric".
If you want to laugh with Pratchett try "Mort"; if you want to be amazed by Gaiman get "Stardust" and if you want to really understand what a lousy writer you are, go for "Smoke and Mirrors" by Gaiman. Unsurpassable.
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on October 16, 2000
Quite simply....a funny book. One of the few so called "humor" books that actually makes you laugh. So far I've read this novel and "Neverwhere" by Gaiman, and in both the characters are much more appealing than the actual surrounding story line. Gaiman (and I guess Pratchett, although I'm not too familiar with him) has a knack for creating unique, cartoonish characters that project their image right off the page and into your imagination. You don't read his books, you view them. I guess that talent comes from years working as a graphic novelist. Very entertaining.
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Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors... i LOVED "Neverwhere," "Stardust," & "American Gods." But i just recently decided to read "Good Omens," one of Gaiman's older works.
It is a witty, humorous version of the apocalypse. I appreciate Gaiman & Pratchett's knowledge and creative attempt at the subject...
However the book is very long-winded and hard to get through...
And watch out Americans, you may not get some of the British humor... i think i missed some of it.
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on February 3, 2004
I didn't like it. I felt like Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, being the excellent writers that they are, tried too hard and...sort of cancelled each other out. The whole story is just not very original, especially if you've read their work.
The characters and the jokes were either too obvious, not funny or too "typical" for me. I think I was expecting something so incredibly awesome. I am sorry to be a traitor, but it really takes a fire under my butt to read any more of it. Try ANYTHING else the two have written!
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on October 1, 2003
There's a quote on the cover that calls it "A direct descendant of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". And while I think the type of wacky humor is very similar, it really pales in comparison. The authors never really sold me on the characters. Crowley is no Zaphod and Anathema no Trillian. All of them just feel underdeveloped through the first couple of hundred pages.
It was by no means a page turner, just something I picked back up every couple of days and read a few dozen pages in.
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