Sara reviews Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, HarperCollins, 1990, 369 pages.

“Nice” meaning “precise” in this context, as it would be hard to say that a prediction of the end of the world is “nice,” per say. In this apocalyptic tale, good and evil are united on one front: that the world must end, and the antichrist, along with the four horsemen of the apocalypse, must bring it about. Unfortunately, there has been a mix-up at the hospital. While the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley are focused on influencing Warlock Dowling, the real antichrist is a boy named Adam Young, who is growing up in lower Tadfield, along with his three good friends who always seem to do what he wants them to do.  

Aziraphale and Crowley have been on Earth since the beginning of time (4004 BCE; the dinosaurs were just a joke that paleontologists haven’t figured out yet), and while they know that the apocalypse must happen, they aren’t too thrilled about it. They’ve gotten quite comfortable living in the human world and have even developed a friendship of sorts. So when it does come time for the antichrist to destroy the world, they agree to try to keep the antichrist from choosing Good or Evil, by introducing him to both, in hopes that the apocalypse won’t happen after all.  

Unfortunately, the end of the world has been foretold, not by a god, but by Agnes Nutter (witch). Her books contains many prophecies, from the arrival of the hellhound, to a car that will only play songs by Freddie Mercury. Of course, most of the prophecies make much more sense in retrospect, as they tend to be vague and out of context to the people reading them. 

This book (which was recently made into a TV show, as well) is absolutely hilarious, a bit sacrilegious, and ironically unpredictable. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett wrote it together (before they were Neil Gaiman™ and Terry Pratchett™) in a time before smart phones. They would work on their chapters separately, then call each other in the afternoon to read their parts out loud. Each wrote footnotes on the other’s chapters (and I have to say: the footnotes are the best part of the book). I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys somewhat blasphemous humor.