Cover of "Good Omens"

Cover of Good Omens

By Mandy Webster

Good Omens. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Ace Books, New York. 1990.

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is a hilarious satire of Armageddon in which the world is salted and peppered with the devil’s and God‘s minions, each doing the work of his or her own respective master.

One of my personal favorite minions is Raven Sable, of the Newtrition Corporation which owns, among other things, the Burger Lord franchise. Sounding suspiciously like a real life McDonalds, the burger franchise is testing out Newtrition’s latest MEALS™. Manufactured with CHOW™, only with added fat and sugar, the theory behind MEALS™ is that if you ate enough, “you would a) get very fat, and b) die of malnutrition” (138).

But I digress… Here’s the premise of Good Omens: In preparation for the Apocalypse, the devil’s infant son is sent topside to be switched with the newborn son of the American Cultural Attaché to Britain. But the devil’s plan goes seriously awry when Sister Mary Loquacious (of the Satanic Chattering Order) misplaces the Anti-Christ, and the little bugger accidentally goes home with the Youngs who decide to name their new spawn Adam.

The novel fast-forwards 11 years, and we find Adam being brought up in a basically ‘normal life’ while some other 11 year old is overseen by Aziraphale (Team God) and Crowley (Team Devil). The two (who have come to a sort of truce as neither of them are quite ready to give up the comforts of human life in exchange for life after Armageddon) have been placed by their respective team managers in the home of the Cultural Attaché to see to the upbringing of the devil’s spawn. Despite their best efforts, neither Aziraphale nor Crowley can quite figure out why the devil’s son acts so, well, normal.

The mistake is finally uncovered when the Anti-Christ’s hell dog is unleashed upon the world to find its master and fails to arrive at the home of the Cultural Attaché at the appointed time. The search is on for the true Anti-Christ who happens to be playing across town with his friends and his newly acquired hell dog, who is aptly named, “Dog.”

Both teams scramble to take their places on the newly arranged playing field. You won’t know who to root for as both sides hasten to bring about the End of Days.

“Irreverently funny and unexpectedly wise … fuses fantasy and comedy into an untrammeled romp through the latter days. Highly recommended.” ~Library Journal

“It could be called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Armageddon.” ~Palm Beach Post

If you like Good Omens, you might also enjoy Christopher Moore‘s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.

Buy the book!

Amanda L. Webster