Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witchby Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
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There is a distinct hint of Armageddon in the air. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded, thankfully, in 1655, before she blew up her entire village and all its inhabitants, who had gathered to watch her burn), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their mighty hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witch-finders are getting ready to fight the good fight, armed with awkwardly antiquated instructions and stick pins. Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. . . . Right. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan.
Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon -- each of whom has lived among Earth's mortals for many millennia and has grown rather fond of the lifestyle -- are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. If Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they've got to find and kill the Antichrist (which is a shame, as he's a really nice kid). There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him. . . .
First published in 1990, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's brilliantly dark and screamingly funny take on humankind's final judgment is back -- and just in time -- in a new hardcover edition (which includes an introduction by the authors, comments by each about the other, and answers to some still-burning questions about their wildly popular collaborative effort) that the devout and the damned alike will surely cherish until the end of all things.
"GOOD OMENS is frequently hilarious, littered with funny footnotes and eccentric characters. It's also humane, intelligent, suspenseful, and fully equipped with a chorus of 'Tibetans, Aliens, American, Atlanteans and other rare and strange creatures of the Last Days.' If the end is near, Pratchett and Gaiman will take us there in style"
"Hilarious Pratchett magic tempered by Neil Gaiman's dark steely style; who could ask for a better combination?"
"Not quite as sinster as the authors' photo"
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Read an Excerpt
Good OmensThe Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
By Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Neil Gaiman
All right reserved.
Current theories on the creation of the Universe state that, if it was created at all and didn't just start, as it were, unoffi cially, it came into being between ten and twenty thousand million years ago. By the same token the earth itself is generally supposed to be about four and a half thousand million years old.
These dates are incorrect.
Medieval Jewish scholars put the date of the Creation at 3760 B.C. Greek Orthodox theologians put Creation as far back as 5508 B.C.
These suggestions are also incorrect.
Archbishop James Usher (1580-1656) published Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti in 1654, which suggested that the Heaven and the Earth were created in 4004 B.C. One of his aides took the calculation further, and was able to announce triumphantly that the Earth was created on Sunday the 21st of October, 4004 B.C., at exactly 9:00 A.M., because God liked to get work done early in the morning while he was feeling fresh.
This too was incorrect. By almost a quarter of an hour.
The whole business with the fossilized dinosaur skeletons was a joke the paleontologistshaven't seen yet.
This proves two things:
Firstly, that God moves in extremely mysterious, not to say, circuitous ways. 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,* to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infi nite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.
Secondly, the Earth's a Libra.
The astrological prediction for Libra in the "Your Stars Today"
column of the Tadfi eld Advertiser, on the day this history begins, read as follows:
Libra. September 24-October 23.
You may be feeling run down and always in the same old daily round. Home and family matters are highlighted and are hanging fi re. Avoid unnecessary risks. A friend is important to you. Shelve major decisions until the way ahead seems clear. You may be vulnerable to a stomach upset today, so avoid salads. Help could come from an unexpected quarter.
This was perfectly correct on every count except for the bit about the salads.
It wasn't a dark and stormy night.
It should have been, but that's the weather for you. For every mad scientist who's had a convenient thunderstorm just on the night his Great Work is fi nished and lying on the slab, there have been dozens who've sat around aimlessly under the peaceful stars while Igor clocks up the overtime.
But don't let the fog (with rain later, temperatures dropping to around forty-fi ve degrees) give anyone a false sense of security. Just because it's a mild night doesn't mean that dark forces aren't abroad. They're abroad all the time. They're everywhere.
They always are. That's the whole point.
Two of them lurked in the ruined graveyard. Two shadowy figures, one hunched and squat, the other lean and menacing, both of them Olympic-grade lurkers. If Bruce Springsteen had ever recorded "Born to Lurk," these two would have been on the album cover. They had been lurking in the fog for an hour now, but they had been pacing themselves and could lurk for the rest of the night if necessary, with still enough sullen menace left for a final burst of lurking around dawn.
Finally, after another twenty minutes, one of them said: "Bugger this for a lark. He should of been here hours ago."
The speaker's name was Hastur. He was a Duke of Hell.
Many Phenomena -- wars, plagues, sudden audits -- have been advanced as evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man, but whenever students of demonology get together the M25 London orbital motorway is generally agreed to be among the top contenders for Exhibit A.
Where they go wrong, of course, is in assuming that the wretched road is evil simply because of the incredible carnage and frustration it engenders every day.
In fact, very few people on the face of the planet know that the very shape of the M25 forms the sigil odegra in the language of the Black Priesthood of Ancient Mu, and means "Hail the Great Beast, Devourer of Worlds." The thousands of motorists who daily fume their way around its serpentine lengths have the same effect as water on a prayer wheel, grinding out an endless fog of low-grade evil to pollute the metaphysical atmosphere for scores of miles around.
It was one of Crowley's better achievements. It had taken years to achieve, and had involved three computer hacks, two break-ins, one minor bribery and, on one wet night when all else had failed, two hours in a squelchy fi eld shifting the marker pegs a few but occultly incredibly signifi cant meters. When Crowley had watched the fi rst thirty-mile-long tailback he'd experienced the lovely warm feeling of a bad job well done.
It had earned him a commendation.
Crowley was currently doing 110 mph somewhere east of Slough. Nothing about him looked particularly demonic, at least by classical standards. No horns, no wings. Admittedly he was listening to a Best of Queen tape, but no conclusions should be drawn from this because all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into Best of Queen albums. No particularly demonic thoughts were going through his head. In fact, he was currently wondering vaguely who Moey and Chandon were.
Crowley had dark hair and good cheekbones and he was wearing snakeskin shoes, or at least presumably he was wearing shoes, and he could do really weird things with his tongue. And, whenever he forgot himself, he had a tendency to hiss.
He also didn't blink much.
The car he was driving was a 1926 black Bentley, one owner from new, and that owner had been Crowley. He'd looked after it.
Excerpted from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman Copyright © 2006 by Neil Gaiman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.
Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE, was the author of more than 70 books, including the internationally bestselling Discworld series of novels. His books have been adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal. In January 2009, Pratchett was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry, who lived in England, died in March 2015 at the age of 66.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Date of Birth:
- November 10, 1960
- Place of Birth:
- Portchester, England
- Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I would be wasting your valuable time if I were less than direct. Good Omens is one of the funniest and most engaging books I have ever read. Now take the time you've saved by my brevity and use it to start reading this book that much sooner.
This is a great book seamlessly written by 2 authors in a way that you are unable to tell who has written what. The characters are interestingand fun, and the details are compelling and entertaining. I love this book so much that I have purchased 4 copies of it over the years and have had to repurchase because someone has borrowed it and has not returned it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to read an offbeat book that does not talk down to the reader.
This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. It's one of those books that has you laughing so hard people start to stare at you. Gaiman and Pratchett together are unstopable! One word of advice: Don't skip the footnotes!
I first read this book when I was 13, much too young to appreciate every reference, and I liked it then. Every re-read has made me like it more. The fate of the world is at stake, and still I laugh at the humor, the absurdity, the *humanity* that shines through. It's not a simple book - the language is smart and the plot has several lines that do tie together nicely. But it's enjoyable to read, not snooty or dense. The characters are fabulous and unique. I've given this book as a gift for a huge range of people - my mom, my husband, my minister, my best friend's new girlfriend. They adored it. You should know, though, that any humorous book that takes on the anti-Christ, witches, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, angels, demons, and Armageddon is not going to appeal to everyone. Especially not those who have an extremely literal take on Biblical matters and an underdeveloped sense of humor. For everyone else, this is highly recommended.
I keep having to buy it again and again because it's so good I keep loaning it to my friends and I never get it back. They refuse to let it go! But now it gets to stay with me and be mine forever :)
Quite possibly my favorite book. I've read it three times and pick up on new things with each read. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett have created something truly exceptional and wonderfully witty.
I had heard about this book and thought i might try it out, and thank goodness i did! Its a wonderfully funny storyline and dramatic at the same time. And as some reviews say, "The Apocalypse couldnt be any funnier!" Heck, who wouldnt want the end of the world to be funny? Its fun, and a must read! I know that i'm going to have to buy more copies since i read it so much! *wink*
If it weren't for both authors' further writings and illustrious careers this would be a "one hit wonder" showing a "flash of brilliance." Alas, they went on to write copiously and sell obscenely (not vice versa!) so it is just a damn good start to a fine vocational pathway. Lucky us, the readers. There are pithy theological jests, and protracted post-modern diatribes that delight those who are comfortable challenging religious fundamentalism. Oh...and we finally get the answer to "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." Brilliant and deceptively challenging while highly entertaining.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I love books that take place in England, it's such a charming country. Plus the story put a funny spin on the Apocalpse. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels or a good comedy.
I stumbled upon this left of center book while browsing in the clearance bin. Little did I know I was picking up what would easily become my favorite read. I've lost count of how many times I've read it and every time, I find myself laughing out loud. I bought an extra copy just for lending; I wasn't about to risk my original! If you like clever, British humor, you have to read this book!
A truly entertaining book that is so funny. If you have never read Gaiman or Pratchett take the plunge you will be glad you did. I am a HUGE Discworld fan but this is one of my favorites, I too have had to buy several copies because no one wants to give them back.
One of my favorite books. Humorous, thought-provoking, and intelligent.
This is a very funny book that will literally have you laughing out loud. It has hard to describe it without giving too much away.. but I wish they would make it into a movie because it would be just so much fun to watch. Every needs a good laugh!!
I'm a avid reader and have read plenty of books in my day but this one continues to be my favorite. Thos book not only makes you think but makes you laugh at nearly every page. The characters are just too likeable and this is book portrays a wonderful view of Armaggedon. If you don't believe me just look online and I guarentee you will find millions of people raving about this awesome book.
Great book, high energy, fun read.
U dont get it cuz u dont know half of the stuff written in the bloody book. And it is funny u just need to know what the whole thing means.
Wonderfully funny, drole, clever and extremely well written. Fun to read aloud.
This is my all time favorite book. I wore out the paperback version!
One of the best books i have ever read. Its hilarous and incredibly well written. I can' t recomend this book enough
One of the funniest takes on the apocalypse there is! Hysterical premise, funny and quirky characters, uplifting message, and just too funny to miss. A must for every bookcase! Gaiman and Pratchett at their best!
One of the few books I read over and over again!
You will never hear me complain about Neil Gaiman¿s imagination or creativity. I would not know much about Terry Pratchett, author of Discworld, because I have never really been interested in reading his stuff, but I simply had to give this book a try, based entirely on the irony of its subject.
For all intents and purposes, this book is an apocalyptic one, albeit shot up with a good amount of humor, where a satanic nun accidentally hands the antichrist to the wrong family and the kid ends up growing up as¿just a normal kid. The four riders of apocalypse are actually four motorcyclists (Hell¿s Angels), and a not always competent angels and demon are handed the task of keeping good and evil in balance until the end of days. With witches, witch finders, celestial and hellish creatures cut loose, this book counts down to the day that will end it all in a big war for which both Heaven and Hell have long been preparing for.
There is no question that this was a very fun read, the humor in it more than laugh out loud at points, however, it lacked the depth that Neil Gaiman¿s other books have had. Perhaps it is the fact that so many characters enter the story, from the Metatron (the voice of God) to Newt, a young man who thinks he is enlisting for the army, only to find out he has enlisted for an army of witchfinders composed of no more than two people¿and that is including himself. The characters are very colorful, but at the same time not very deep. The potential for greater exploration is there, but instead this book is kept light, meant to be much more comical than serious about its subject and that is not necessarily a bad thing, simply something you need to be aware of.
All in all, it was a fun read and would recommend it to anybody just looking for a good laugh and something to pass time with. But not to anybody looking for a serious read about the end of days.
When I got this book I was very excited at the prospect of reading a witty laugh-out-loud book that I had heard so much about. When I finished though, I was dissapointed. Although this book was marginally witty and funny the guffawing moments that I had expected were few and far between. Also, I did not understand many of the references in Omens- I had to look up the Dick Turpin reference on Wikipedia (FYI Dick Turpin was an English highwayman which was why Newt said 'wherever I go, I hold up traffic' HaHA). I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Pratchett, Gaiman, or light humorous novels.
Simply an enjoyable read.