Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Good Omens

I've decided this is one of those books where the cover has put me off picking it up to read. I mean it's got a creepy little boy on it and Chris Packham* starring as Aziraphale.

*Chris Packham presented The Really Wild Show on BBC about the time this book was first published...and he had really bad 80s hair. On further inspection, he only has a passing resemblance to Aziraphale. It's mostly about the hair.



I have to admit here, I was never a big fan of Terry Pratchett's first few Discworld novels. The first one I read was Pyramids and I think if I'd started at the beginning I wouldn't have continued. And I'd have lost out big time. Both Terry and Neil have developed a lot since this book was written, over 20 years ago now! What I love about their writing is their abilities to tell great stories. I feel with Good Omens, it's more about the puns than the story, which was a bit predictable.

Had I read the book during my teenage years, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more however it all felt a bit dated. I do feel this a bit with Douglas Coupland's earlier work too. Whilst I liked Microserfs, it was more a fact that it was my job, but in the past! Plus there's really not that many novels about software testing and it has become a sort of history. Anyway, I digress, first I complain about House of Silence being in the present and now I complain about something feeling too old! Can't please come people, can you?

Now before you start throwing rotten vegetables at me, I did enjoy reading it. Some moments are timeless, like the kids playing at the Spanish Inquisition which I thought was priceless and true laugh out loud funny! Terry's trademark footnotes were targeted at American translations which also made me smile. How often do us Brits have to explain phrases to American friends?

I guess if you're a fan of either author and haven't read it yet then do so. However as an introduction to either Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman, I would definitely suggest picking other works.

4 comments:

  1. Absolutely one-hundred percent true about the dated-ness. I kind of wish that they would reboot the novel with a more modern feel. I mean, who uses answering machines anymore? Or tapes, either?

    Also true about not reading this first as an introduction. I'd say that a good place to start with Neil Gaiman would be Neverwhere and that Pratchett's later Discworld novels (perhaps one of the witch books or maybe The Truth) would be a good starting place for his works.

    As an American, I appreciated the footnote about British money. I couldn't really follow it, but it was appreciated. :)

    Also, this cover is awful. I love the American covers that have either Crowley or Aziraphale on them. This cover would have made me put the book right back on the shelf.

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  2. I get the Chris Peckham reference. As soon as you mentioned it I thought, "So he does". Made me laugh and your right it's mainly the hair.

    I agree about the cover. It is awful. I don't actually like the Terry Pratchett covers in general but I can understand why some people like them. This one is just bad. It screams 80s. I wouldn't have read it either if it hadn't been for the two authors. Although I think someone recommended it to me.

    It is a bit dated but I still enjoyed it. It was good fun for the most part. The kids playing at Spanish Inquisition was one of my favourites too. I also liked the Hell hound.

    It's not a good one to introduce someone new to either author. I don't think it catches the essence of either of them. I hated the first few Pratchett's too. I don't understand why people love Rincewind and luggage so much. If I had started with those I wouldn't have read others either. I think I started with The Hogfather.

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  3. I can see the Chris Packham hair, but for me that's obviously Clark Datchler from 80's one hit wonders Johnny Hates Jazz. I have no idea why I even remember what he looks like, but I now feel I have to go and listen to Shattered Dreams.

    You're right though, it is rather dated now, and has an awful cover, but Pepper is still my favourite girl's name :)

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  4. Karen: That's funny that you say that because my first Discworld book was Interesting Times, which is a Rincewind book. I ended up reading all of those ones before moving on to the other characters. I actually really like both Rincewind and the Luggage--it's Twoflower that always kind of got on my nerves.

    I didn't mind the first few books--except Eric. I think if that had been my first Terry Pratchett book, I may not have picked up any others.

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