Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Remember back when funny books were funny? Back before you went to college and found out that Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen weren't funny after all but Samuel Beckett and Charles Dickens were hilarious? Remember when the words on the page didn't just make you smile wryly and shake your head in shame for humanity but actually made you laugh out loud? Well that's the kind of humor that Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's 1990 release Good Omens brims with and it is so damn goodThe two British authors were both relatively unknown at the time of their partnership having met when Gaiman working as a journalist at the time interviewed Pratchett on the success of his first major novel The Colour of Magic The two became uick friends and proceeded to write the 398 pages of the now cult classic novel by sending floppy disks through the mail and calling each other on the phone Of course that story is all explained in the appendix provided you don't pick up an original printing of the book if you do do that however you can probably sell it for uite a bit of change so don't be discouraged by your lack of author interviewsBut the real story at hand is of course the narrative of Good Omens itself the tale of two friends a demon named Crowley and an angel named Aziraphale who have spent all of human existence on earth and have rather come to like it so when it comes time for the Apocalypse they try to do whatever is in their powers to stop it The cast of co stars can only described as vast with some characters only popping in long enough for Aziraphale to take over their body or to go on a shooting rampage The main other characters though include the Antichrist himself a young boy named Adam and his gang of friends; a witchfinder named Newton Pulsifer and his love interest Anathema Device who just happens to be a witch and one whose ancestor Agnes Nutter was burned at the stake by Newton's great great etc grandfather Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery PulsiferPerhaps you're beginning to pick up on that sense of humor I mentioned?That's what makes this book so great I'm sort of a sucker for religious humor and religious horror movies and I've read a lot of books about the End Days This one has to rank near the top maybe even as the downright finest It's humor ranges from simple little comedic bits to social commentary on religion and the human race but no matter how big or small the joke is every one of them is attended to eually and they are all funny because of that Though some of the British jokes and references flew by me a problem the authors usually account for in their humorous footnotes I really did enjoy this book all the way from the plot down to how it was written It really is an impressive feat for a co authored book to feel so seemless this honestly almost puts shame to the excellent Stephen KingPeter Straub double ups The Talisman and Black HouseSo let down your guard pack away that condescension that your professors poured into you Lit class after Lit class and resist the urge to turn up your nose at any novel you can buy in trade paperback form in airports for 799 but higher in Canada oh wait not any I actually laughed out loud as I read Good Omens A few times to be completely honest And that's pretty impressive for a cynical jaded old bastard like me A 80% | Very Good Notes Not as funny as I'd anticipated and at times it's a bit too absurd for my tastes but a good ending and loads of charm “DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING said Death JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH” The Apocalypse is not off to a good startTen years ago Crowley a demon brought the infant Anti Christ to a group of Satanic Nuns who swapped the Anti Christ with a human child For ten years Aziraphale an Angel and Crowley educate the child on the finer points of good and evil “People couldn't become truly holy he said unless they also had the opportunity to be definitively wicked Then when the Anti Christ was supposed to come into his full powers Crowley and Aziraphale realize that they didn't have the right child SHT Further they simultaneously realize that they rather like Earth If the holy war was allowed to finish then everything would be destroyed and divvied up between the two realms and that divide would be terrible Hell may have all the best composers but heaven has all the best choreographers So it's up to them to find the Anti Christ and stop the apocalypse They only have seven to days to do it It's just going to be one of those weeksThis one was absolutely hilarious There were so so many fun uirks and tangents in this book Seriously great satire throughout All the little details just make it pop Such as Crowley's plant tending method What he did was put the fear of God into themMore precisely the fear of CrowleyIn addition to which every couple of months Crowley would pick out a plant that was growing too slowly or succumbing to leaf wilt or browning or just didn't look uite as good as the others and he would carry it around to all the other plants Say goodbye to your friend he'd say to them He just couldn't cut it Then he would leave the flat with the offending plant and return an hour or so later with a large empty flower pot which he would leave somewhere conspicuously around the flatThe plants were the most luxurious verdant and beautiful in London Also the most terrified Definitely one of those off the wall fun reads I really want to go through it a second time to see all the things I missed The 2018 ABC Challenge G Audiobook CommentsThis one was particularly well read by Marvin Jarvis love the last name The varied tone and inflection just made it come aliveYouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat mirandareads Happy Reading Overall this book was a huge disappointment for me I’d heard so many good things about it and had been meaning to read it for years When I finally started it I was about 20 pages into it and thought “Yes This is going to be one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read” It was like reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide for the first time again It was witty and fast paced and had so many brilliant things to say about society and religion And then about halfway through I realized that I just wasn't really laughing as much any The story seemed to get bogged down with characters that weren’t that interesting for me to read about and who I often found a bit annoying Most notably the 11 year old Antichrist and his friends seemed really out of place in the book They felt like they would have been at home in a Norman Rockwell painting or British euivalent—a ragtag bunch of kids with slingshots and backyard adventures I think that I was supposed to find them and their inane conversations entertaining maybe even a little bit cute but every time they came around which felt like uite a bit I thought that the book just screeched to a haltMost of the other characters in the book were great fun to read—the demon and the angel and their strange sort of friendship was easily the best part of the book for me The four horsemen of the apocalypse were also a lot of fun at least most of the time Overall the premise was brilliant What a disappointment for me that it just couldn’t keep it together throughout The ending seemed contrived and the resolution was just unsatisfying for me I know that so many people loved this book I wish that I could have enjoyed it as much as they did literally every day I'm thinking about how this book was published in 1990 and in 2019 they finally made a miniseries and Neil Gaiman was like hey let's make this even of a romcom than it already was just for the fuck of itI keep trying to land on what I think is the objective Best Thing about this ridiculous book that I loved reading so much and I think I’ve landed on this paragraph from a delightful review of the 2019 miniseries “Good Omens knows that you can’t look at a screen without being presented with some version of the apocalypse and so it foregoes any pretence of bombastic grandeur to instead tell a charming story about the joys of friendship as well as the everyday fuckups that make the world feel as if it’s coming to an end when in reality it’s just another day that ends in y” I think what’s entertaining about this book is that it takes concepts we all on some level are familiar with and maybe even fearful of — the possibility of imminent death for one — and makes them entertaining and even at times comedicIn all honesty Good Omens is a hysterically funny book about four eleven year olds a witch working off some very accurate prophecies a witchfinder who's doing his best a Bentley that turns every album played in it into ueen and an angel and a demon with a six thousand year old friendship¹ all trying to stop the apocalypse Badly Very badly It is also a love letter to humanity and to the power of free will and choice in a world desperate to wrench it away You should read it²TW multiple slurs used in ways that do not fly and aren't funny³—————¹It's called a marriage but we couldn't say that in 1990 ²Also you should watch the miniseries it's joining the Big Little Lies season one and Gone Girl 2012 canon of best adaptations³literally picture me as John Mulaney yelling not funnyBlog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Youtube Image source imdbDon’t be misled by those who class this as fantasy humour or just fiction This is actually a profound philosophical and theological treatise exploring good and evil nature versus nurture free will war pollution and organised religion 😉But it’s cleverly disguised as a madcap caper featuring angels demons the M25 motorway Manchester raining fish dolphins Atlantis aliens the Apocalypse the young Antichrist Americans footnotes for Americans tunnelling Tibetans witches witch finders whales Hell's Angels ueen and Freddie Mercury junk food made of junk nuclear power a flaming car satanic nuns an inadvertent baby swap a book of prophecy and besides Lots of ineffability tooThe writing is so like Douglas Adams that it could be mistaken for a missing volume of Hitchhiker's except for the pages of Just William slipped in Calvino styleThe Heavy StuffInscription from Terry “We made the Devil do it”It echoes a line in the book “ The Devil hardly ever made anyone do anything He didn’t have to” The weight is smuggled into a plot that is simultaneously simple complicated and counter intuitive The Antichrist is born but accidentally goes to a boringly normal rural couple rather than the intended satanists With the Apocalypse due around his 11th birthday opposing forces try to ensure they’ll win which reuires first realising there’s been a mix up and then fixing it On that simple trunk a plethora of sub plots and an even larger number of larger than life characters twist and climb and intertwineAmidst the chaos and the warring factions the fundamental uestion is whether Adam the young Antichrist will fulfil his destiny whether “ Birth is just the start Upbringing is everything” After all the Devil started off as an angelThe Odd CoupleAziraphale angel and Crowley demon have been on Earth a long time developed a grudging fondness for it its inhabitants and even each other Their tetchily co operative affectionately teasing relationship is central to the plot the philosophy and the humourThey’ve reached an “Arrangement” after realising “ they have in common with their immediate opponent than their remote allies tacit non interference made certain that while neither really won also neither really lost” Heaven wants to win the war; humanised Aziraphale comes to realise that he would prefer to avoid itBibliophilia“Aziraphale was an angel but he also worshiped books” “ Aziraphale collected books If he were totally honest with himself he would have to have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them He was not unusual in this In order to maintain his cover as a typical second hand book seller he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase Unpleasant damp smells glowering looks erratic opening hours he was incredibly good at it”Near where where Pratchett spent much of his life was a cottage given over to second hand books There were no unpleasant smells but opening hours were limited as were payment methods Books were piled high and deep doubletriple and vaguely sorted by category but not by author except for Pratchett Here it is sadly it closed in 2018 There’s a larger version in my GR photos HERE uotes Religion “God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising which might be compared from the perspective of any of the other players ie everybody to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch dark room with blank cards for infinite stakes with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules and who smiles all the time”I particularly like the fact the last phrase is emphasised with italics even though in a pitch dark room it’s barely relevant “When it came to avoiding going to church the church he solidly avoided going to was no nonsense Church of England” “Being brought up as a Satanist tended to take the edge off it A Saturday thing” Crowley is embarrassed by the enthusiasm of satanists just as a “Vietnam veteran would feel about someone who wears combat gear to Neighbourhood Watch meetings” “Voodoun is a very interesting religion for the whole family even those members of it who are dead” “Marvin got religion Not the uiet personal kind that involves doing good deeds and living a better life; not even the kind that involves putting on a suit and ringing people’s door bells; but the kind that involves having your own TV network and getting people to send you money”uotes Good and Evil “Most demons weren’t deep down evil” but like “tax inspectors doing an unpopular job maybe but essential to the overall operation” Often the difference between good and evil isn’t obvious some of the world leaders Aziraphale thinks good are assumed to be evil by Crowley “If we beat them we’d have to be our own deadly enemies it’s no good anyone winning” So “You just had to decide who your friends really were” uotes Destiny versus Free WillSlightly spoilery “You can’t refuse to be who you are Your birth and destiny are part of the Great Plan”“I don’t see why it matters what is written It can always be crossed out” “He was left alone He grew up human He’s not Evil Incarnate or Good Incarnate he’s just a human incarnate” “No one around Adam was ever in full control of their own mind”uotes Time “The future came and went in the mildly discouraging way that futures do” “Memory works backwards as well as forwards Agnes didn’t see the future That’s just a metaphor She remembered it” “On the cusp of recollection a memory of things that hadn’t happened” Accurate predictions are little use if they’re too narrow and specific For example “Do notte buye Betamacks” was only meaningful for a few short years “DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING said Death JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH”uotes People and Relationships “Many people meeting Aziraphale for the first time formed three impressions that he was English that he was intelligent and that he was gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide” “Courting is always difficult when an elderly female relative in the house It’s much worse when the relative has been dead for three hundred years” “Newt had indeed been harbouring certain thoughts about Anathema; not just harbouring them in fact but dry docking them refitting them giving them a good coat of paint and scraping the barnacles off their bottom” “Pollution one of the Apocalyptic Horsepersons while still walking nevertheless gave the impression of oozing”uotes Other “A rain swept courtyard full of righteous dustbins” “Leaping gratefully onto this new ice floe in the bewildering stream of consciousness” “Her spelling was not so much appalling as three hundred years too late” Similarly if anyone uestions something my father says or writes he claims it’s just archaic; impossible to disprove “Every dog is still only two meals away from being a wolf”uote Best One LinerA Hell’s Angel asks one of the biking Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse what chapter they belong to “ REVELATIONS he said CHAPTER SIX ‘Verses two to eight’ added the boy helpfully”TV AdaptationFab cast and Gaimain was heavily involved so my hopes were high and largely rewarded David Tennant as Crowley and Michael Sheen as Aziraphale were brilliant together and it looked great It suffered a little from being too similar to the very recent adaptation of American Gods see my review HERE And Aziraphale's bibliophilia was underplayed but overall good Photo from imdb One of my all time favorite books Up there with Hitchhiker's Guide ‘Armageddon only happens once you know They don’t let you go around again until you get it right’People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day But what if for once the predictions are right and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday just after teaYou could spend the time left drowning your sorrows giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture or laughing it off as hopefully just another hoax Or you could just try to do something about itIt’s a predicament that Aziraphale a somewhat fussy angel and Crowley a fast living demon now finds themselves in They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and truth be told have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and in all honesty are not actually looking forward to the coming ApocalypseAnd then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist I knew from the first page that this book would not work for meI slogged through about half of it and gave up I lost the thread of the plot long before due to my lack of interest in everything this book is It all felt forced like the themes and ideas were shoved into the narrative and that the plot had to adapt to fit them in It was trying too hard to be funny rather than actually being funny Life is far too short for books I don’t enjoy And I could never enjoy this It felt like it was written by two guys who had just finished school and were ready to explode their ideas into some creative project that could be a piece of brilliance or a real chore depending on the reader tastes And this just sent me right to sleep I was glad to stop when I didI think my main problem is that I’ve seen how much better each writer can do I’ve read Gaiman at his best I’ve been inspired by his words and I have found part of myself in his stories I’ve laughed out loud with Pratchett and I’ve tasted the sharpness of his wit This felt like a shadow of what each writer can do; it holds a mere suggestion of the brilliance and creative spark each would wield at his fingertips It was just juvenile Maybe I came into with the wrong mind set Maybe I expected too much or perhaps the humour is just wasted on me Either way this one just isn’t for me In my personal hierarchy of books this one comes a close second after Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita What can I say like diabolical father like infernal son It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad but by people being fundamentally peopleIn a way I can view this book as my own personal therapy session¹ that is in addition to it being a hilarious dry humor take on Armageddon and the ever dual nature of humanity its highs and lows and our ability to be both freuently almost at the same time¹ As a kid I had a habit of getting into the books clearly not meant for my age like for instance The Omen featuring the world's most infamous tricycle My eight year old self was petrified For months I had nightmares was scared of dogs mistrustful of tricycles and had an irrational dislike of the number 666 Eight year olds with overactive imaginations were really NOT the intended audience of that book after allWARNING THERE WILL BE MILD SPOILERS BECAUSE I CAN As predicted by the titular 17th century witch Agnes Nutter in her extremely nice accurate book of prophecies handed down through centuries to her last living professional descendant Anathema Device Armageddon is uickly approaching The four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse have set out on their way and that must mean things are getting serious You're Hells Angels then? What chapter are you from? REVELATIONS CHAPTER SIX “Death and Famine and War and Pollution continued biking towards Tadfield And Grievous Bodily Harm Cruelty To Animals Things Not Working Properly Even After You've Given Them A Good Thumping but secretly No Alcohol Lager and Really Cool People travelled with them” And this upcoming major event is a source of some serious worry for eternal enemies turned reluctant friends Aziraphale An angel and a part time rare book dealer and Crowley An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards the duo who after six thousand years have gone native and would infinitely prefer this world to the future where either side wins the future oh the horror without good music or bookshops or sushi restaurants And so the unlikely allies decide to band together to prevent the end of the world That's how it goes you think you're on top of the world and suddenly they spring Armageddon on you Except things do not go as planned You see the young ' Adversary Destroyer of Kings Angel of the Bottomless Pit Great Beast that is called Dragon Prince of This World Father of Lies Spawn of Satan and Lord of Darkness' due to an unforeseen turn of circumstances happens to grow up outside of the influence of either celestialunderworld force Aptly named Adam he grows up as his name suggests perfectly human in a little corner of paradise the English village of Lower Tadfield But Agnes Nutter is never wrong and as her prophesies suggest shortly after Adam's eleventh birthday on which he DOES get a much wanted Hellhound Dog the events of the end of the world are set in their inevitable ineffable motion But Adam's essential humanity puts a new spin on this old story Something was happening inside his headIt was aching Thoughts were arriving there without him having to think them Something was saying You can do something Adam Young You can make it all better You can do anything you want And what was saying this to him was him Part of him deep down Part of him that had been attached to him all these years and not really noticed like a shadow It was saying yes it's a rotten world It could have been great But now it's rotten and it's time to do something about it That's what you're here for To make it all betterThe problem with the Antichrist Adam is that he a human eleven year old boy is fueled unexpectedly by Love and righteous indignation He loves this world and he coming into his power wants a very human thing he wants to make it better Don't we all? But do and can? his good intentions make any difference in the way things have been prophesied to go? It's like you said the other day said Adam You grow up readin' about pirates and cowboys and spacemen and stuff and jus' when you think the world's all full of amazin' things they tell you it's really all dead whales and chopped down forests and nucular waste hangin' about for millions of years 'Snot worth growin' up for if you ask my opinion If there is one thing this book gets through it's the belief in humanity Not in its wickedness or goodness or anything like that Just humanity in all the multifaceted nature of it in its righteousness and wretchedness love and cruelty strengths and weaknesses stupidity and wisdom And just when you'd think they were malignant than ever Hell could be they could occasionally show grace than Heaven ever dreamed of Often the same individual was involved It was this free will thing of course It was a buggerSometimes maybe when left to our own devices when not preached to in one way or another we can perhaps develop into flawed but hopefully decent beings like Adam named after the first human in the prophetic fashion after all Because what makes life interesting as a particular angel and demon would loudly attest to is precisely the combination of good and evil nice and nasty mean and kind that we all possess in the precarious and miraculous balance that is the true treasure of humanity Because it makes us act like people I don't see what's so triflic about creating people as people and then gettin' upset 'cos they act like people” said Adam severely “Anyway if you stopped tellin' people it's all sorted out after they're dead they might try sorting it all out while they're aliveAnd maybe just maybe due to our always balancing nature on the borderline between two conflicting universes that we humans inhabit we will be able to eventually figure it out without anyone messing with our heads filling them with the Good or the Evil endlessly preaching what they believe to be true but simple letting us be ourselves Maybe we will figure things out on our own Adam stood smiling at the two of them a small figure perfectly poised exactly between Heaven and HellCrowley grabbed Aziraphale's arm You know what happened? he hissed excitedly He was left alone He grew up human He's not Evil Incarnate or Good Incarnate he's just a human incarnate The brilliant PratchettGaiman duo provides everything these two authors are famous for easy readability dry intelligent sarcasm infused humor seamless plot that pushes the limits of imagination while staying perfectly grounded in albeit fantastical reality and first and foremost very apt observations about human nature as well as in a true Pratchett like way a complete irreverence for the set in stone beliefs and ideas At times it's easy for those familiar with their respective styles to tell which one of them penned which part at times it's impossible but it doesn't matter as their writing styles blend together so well so seamlessly so seemingly effortlesslyThis is an excellent book both funny and serious at times utterly unpredictable at times baffling at times logical It's a pleasure to read and a pleasure to seriously reflect upon after having a good laugh And for all of that it gets the ineffable five stars He stared down at the golden curls of the Adversary Destroyer of Kings Angel of the Bottomless Pit Great Beast that is called Dragon Prince of This World Father of Lies Spawn of Satan and Lord of DarknessYou know he concluded after a while I think he actually looks like an Adam June 2013 I just listened to this one on audiobook AGAIN I love it and with each time I do I have to advise if you plan to listen to this one please get the British version with Stephen Briggs as the narrator Isis Publishing it is lightyears better than Harper Audio Stephen Briggs is amazing

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