The end of the world is here and it’s happening quaintly. Good Omens is a wry novel by masters of the offbeat Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and it was written when both were up and coming writers in 1990.
In Debt to Ray Davies?
In a funny kind of way this book reminded me of an album as it struck me that you could read Good Omens as a spiritual sequel to the Kink’s album “Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)”. I don’t know what happens if you read the book whilst listening to this album, I haven’t tried it yet. I compare the two because both Ray Davies and the authors have a loving and surrealist way of observing English-ness. It is never unkind but always willing to highlight the absurdity of life. It is witty, fast moving and it simultaneously makes fun of and adores English tropes such as the village fete, the neighbourhood watch, and the quirkiness of rural life.
A Man from Auntie
Pratchett’s flair for the absurd shines throughout the book, so much so that I almost expected Rincewind to turn up. The anti-Christ appears but he might be the hero and an angel and a demon work together in harmonious incompetence to try and avert the end of the world. Because if it’s part of an ineffable plan, then it seems like the whole end of the world thing might be a jolly old waste of time.
Gaiman is currently acting as showrunner on a BBC/Amazon adaptation of the book and it is due to be released in 2018. The BBC’s head of comedy Chris Sussman said.
I for one am excited by the prospect. You can listen to Neil talk about this and his other books including American Gods on the Guardian Books podcast.