“Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – not as much fun as it was twenty-five years ago.

Good Omens

I read “Good Omens” back in 1991 and it blew me away.

It was a novel, irreverent, mix of religion, fantasy and social commentary that made me laugh out loud.

I’d never read anything quite like it. It was Discworld come to England with its fists up and ready to confront the Christian myths I was raised with.

Twenty-five years and many, many more Terry Pratchett books later, I decided to take another look. It was still a fun read but…

…Pratchett writing with Gaiman is not a good as Pratchett writing alone
…there was a lack of the kindness and empathy that I find in Discworld.
…the humour sometimes verged on sneering and the joke about rape felt out of place
…Adam, the Anti-Christ, had too much of the smug and annoying  Just William about him. …It was one of those books that seemed to end multiple times until I WANTED it to stop.

“Good Omens” is entertaining and a good example of the thinking of the times but the main impression I was left with was how much better Terry Pratchett’s writing became after this.

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5 thoughts on ““Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – not as much fun as it was twenty-five years ago.

  1. Never having read the book, but do you think the influence of Gaiman made the book darker? His work for the Vertigo line along with being mentored by Alan Moore puts him in the league of cynical writers.

    • “The League of Cynical Writers” sounds like an Alan Moore graphic novel about Victorian writers exposing the scandals of the day and corrupting the flower of Victorian Youth. I like the idea.

      I’ve read a lot more of Pratchett than I have of Gaiman. Pratchett is not truly cynical. He sees the world with all its political twists and games of power and her sees people with all their fears and foibles but he is fundamentally empathic rather than cycnical.

      The difference I see in this book is that it is less kind and shows less faith in the people struggling to do the right thing.

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