Good Omens

Should I have words with the person who told me that Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman was nothing special? I wouldn’t have delayed reading it for so long, had I not been convinced it was a perfectly missable book. Couldn’t quite work out why it should be thus, since neither Neil nor Terry have a habit of writing outstandingly bad books. But I suppose it could have been some chemical mix gone seriously wrong.

I found it was a tremendously successful mixture, all things considered, which kept me entertained and smiling all the way through. What balanced the thought ‘I’ve left it far too long’ was that other thought ‘but at least I can read it now’.

I’m always a bit suspicious of two people writing together. How can you manage the practical aspects, and how come the reader doesn’t fall into the gap between one writer and the other? It’s reassuring to se that neither of the authors can remember quite how they did it, or who wrote what.

Armageddon is always a nice subject for a book. A selection of angels and little devils and demons (what’s the difference?), a God or three, people on bikes and some ordinary weirdos make for a fun story. There is a lot of truth in the idea that you have more in common with your opposite number, than with your own superior. And not all angels are totally angelic and there is some good in some devils.

Small children can think and act for themselves. Just look at the Famous Five. Dogs are good fun. Americans and witches are useful plot devices. But I do wonder what happened to the American baby? Did he fall off the continuity sheet?

Love your neighbourhood. Things don’t have to be what someone else says. You can have an opinion of your own, and you can change fate.

I would have liked to put in a quote here, but Good Omens is 350 pages long, and I don’t feel up to retyping the whole book.

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10 responses to “Good Omens

  1. Ugh! How could someone think Good Omens to be nothing special? It’s one of my favourite books! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
    Re: the two writers thing, I think I read somewhere on Neil Gaiman’s blog that Pratchett wrote about 60 % of the words and they each took seperate plot lines.

  2. One of my favourite books ever!

  3. You should definitely have some harsh words with them – nothing special?? Man.

  4. I’ve heard Neil say that he wrote 90% of it & Terry wrote the other 90% . . .
    The American kid – Warlock?

  5. No, the American baby was Greasy Johnson. Read the little scene where he’s discovering an interest in American football …
    Great book. Loved it as a teenager.

  6. I loved this book. I know it’s heresy, but I don’t think either Gaiman or Pratchett quite matched it on their own. It’s a magical, mysterious alchemy.

  7. Thanks, Sally. Must look at that. It was one of my problems, actually – understanding where I was, and why, when those little ‘extras’ popped up. I kept looking for the tiny American, but must have missed him. It’s like counting pieces of luggage, to make sure you don’t lose any.

  8. Well, I’m out on my own here. While I love Neil Gaiman’s books, and I love Terry Pratchett’s books, I really could not get on with this one. The boy annoyed me too much. He and his gang were far too much like Richmal Crompton’s William – and I’ve always diliked William.
    However, I’m obviously missing something!

  9. Pingback: Good Omens, again | Bookwitch

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