Friday, January 22, 2016

Januaray Re-read III: It's the End of the World!

This should be the next to last entry in my January re-reads, it really depends on the library's alacrity in getting new releases to me starting January 26th. (Expecting 2 books not long after they come out the 26th, and a 3rd one early February. Another reason I'm trying to clear off my TBR pile, since they'll likely not have renewals.)

We start Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens somewhere in Genesis, as a snake demon stands talking with the angel set to guard the entrance. Thus introducing us to a 6,000 year friendship prior to the start of the main story. Most notable here is that the Angel gave Adam and Eve his flaming sword out of a bit of misplaced compassion.

Fast forward a few millennia, and we rejoin Crawly (now going by the name Crowley) in a graveyard, meeting with Hastur and Ligur. The senior demons hand Crowley (who's gone native) the Antichrist to deliver to a local convent/nursery. Wherein said Antichrist winds up in the hands of Sister Mary Loquacious, sister in St. Beryl's Chattering Order. (Which just happens to be a Satanist convent.) Sister Mary manages to screw up the baby exchange, meaning young Warlock is actually a normal baby going home with the American Cultural Attache, whereas Adam, the Antichrist, goes home with the Young family to Lower Tadfield, England.

Aziraphale and Crowley, not particularly happy about the world they've come to love coming to an end, set out to help train the Young antichrist, in hopes of preventing Armageddon. Which doesn't seem to go well, since they're helping raise young Warlock.

Which makes the upcoming war between Heaven and Hell that much more complicated.

Into this mix, we have Anathema Device, professional descendant, who has the only copy of Agnes Nutter's Nice and Accurate Prophecies, which are the only truly accurate ones out there. There's Newton Pulsifer, who joins England's Witchfinder Army, under the current head, Mr. Shadwell. Mr. Shadwell lives across the hall from the geriatric Madame Tracy, who does seances and prostitution.

And then there are the 4 horsemen: War (here, a female war correspondent for a tabloid), Famine (who invented haute cuisine and is now marketing diet food and fast food), Pollution (who took over in 1932 when Pestilence stepped down muttering about Penicillin), and of course, DEATH. DEATH resembles the same character who inhabits Discworld, but towards the end, gets revealled by another name.

All these stories don't so much coincide as much as they careen wildly around, overlapping, making snappy commentary, and generally being one of the best books ever written.

Really, I first read this after reading Gaimen's Neverwhere and attempting to read Pratchett's Feet of Clay. It wound up getting me to give Discworld another shot. And yet, particularly as fast as the narrative goes, I keep finding new things when I re-read this one.

Highly recommend this one to just about everyone as well.