Thursday, January 19, 2006

Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Anansi Boys reminded me a bit of this book, which I first read over ten years ago, so I thought I'd give it a reread. I was a huge Pratchett fan back in the day, but the last few times I've read his books I've been a little disappointed.

Good Omens is primarily a pisstake of the old horror movie The Omen, which chronicles the childhood of the antichrist. It's a pretty good premise and a pair of sharp guys like Gaiman and Pratchett are almost guaranteed to do a great job of it, and by and large they do. The humour is especially good, and the plot is rather clever, even though a lot of Pratchett's schtick is quite old to me now. Perhaps I overdosed a bit on him when I was younger.

What didn't work for me was the cutesiness. The main character is a young boy in the 'Just William' mould, and he's held up as the true spirit of humanity. So while I enjoyed the humourous part of the story the moralising is a little trite.

It's also interesting to try and guess which author wrote which part. Gaiman definitely puts a darker tinge on the characters. It's particularly noticable with the four horsemen of the apocalypse (sorry, motorcycle riders of the apocalypse). War is a women and Gaiman portrays her as sexy and fatal, while Pratchett makes her a joke in the 'helpless girl fucks everyone up real bad' mould.

Despite my disappointment with Anansi Boys I thought this one was a decent effort from Gaiman. I wasn't so impressed with Pratchett's contribution but I got one of his newer books for christmas, so we'll see how that goes down when I get to it.

1 comment:

Joel said...

When I saw Neil Gaiman at a convention he was asked about Good Omens. Apparently he slipped a swearword into it, can't remember which one and Terry found out later, reportably being a bit upset about it. I think Terry got over it though.