Book Review – “Good Omens”

Excellent, excellent book.

General Information

Title: Good Omens
Authors: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Original Publication Date: 1990
ISBN: 0-441-00325-7
Cover Price: $6.99US
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The Apocalypse is coming. However, The Powers That Be seem to have
misplaced the Antichrist.

High Point

Just how ineffable is this plan?

Low Point

Why couldn’t Agnes Nutter learn how to spell?

The Scores

I’ve read a few books about the Apocalypse, and they all seemed to be
well suited to movie adaptations directed by John McTeirnan, James
Cameron, or Jerry Bruckheimer. A film adaptation of this is better
suited to the directorial talents of Barry Sonnenfeld. The New York
Times is quoted on the cover describing it as “a direct descendant of
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which is both
extremely accurate and extremely high praise. I’ve never seen the
Apocalypse handled like this. I give it 6 out of 6.

The imagery is excellent, from the physical appearance of the
Four Bikepersons of the Apocalypse to Crowley’s Bentley. It covers
everything you need to know, without the Tolkien-esque detail that
perfects a picture of the world by adding information that will never
again be referenced in the text. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is there, and it’s fairly well detailed. Picture
the Hitchhiker’s Guide books where the major characters have a better
sense of purpose. It’s not really an epic story, but much of the
humour comes from how seemeingly mundane some of these monumental
events are, so it’s forgivable in the overall view. I give the story
itself 4 out of 6.

The characterization is good enough that you can figure out
who some of these characters are even before they are properly
introduced. Many of the new characters, like the other four horsemen,
are pretty bland and uniform, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response expected by the authors seems to be
pretty straightforward: cheer for the good and bad guys, and laugh a
lot while you’re doing it. That was easily accomplished, particularly
in the “laugh a lot” portion. (The trivia contest in particular had
me roaring.) There are 366 pages here, and I laughed at least once on
each of them. I give it 6 out of 6.

The editing is very good from a content perspective, but the
occasional spelling and punctuation errors (about 10 in the book that
I noticed) did stand out. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a book designed to make me laugh that made
me laugh a lot, out loud. I risked mortal peril by reading passages
out loud to my family during the finale of the latest round of
Survivor, simply because I couldn’t not share a book this
good. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Good Omens receives 36 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

Next up, it’s the Hulk movie novelization and the comic(s) I
pick up tomorrow. I’m also about a third of the way through The
, but that’s remarkably slow going.

3 replies on “Book Review – “Good Omens””

  1. Actually….
    this IS going to be directed by Terry Gilliam.

    Having seen Brazil, 12 Monkeys, etc, that’s about as perfect as it gets.

    • Re: Actually….
      Also, the issue with being unable to NOT share sections of a book is a common affliction with anything Pratchett’s had his hand in. I routinely read pieces of those out loud to my wife. I’ve even woken her up on occasion. Before I convinced her to read some of them on her own, that was a dangerous thing. Now she just shakes her head, laughs, takes the book away from me, and goes back to sleep.

    • Re: Actually….

      this IS going to be directed by Terry Gilliam.

      Having seen Brazil, 12 Monkeys, etc, that’s about as perfect as it

      Nope, this was going to be directed by
      Gilliam, but he’s moved on to other projects and seems to have
      abandonned Omens.

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