Title: Good Omens
Authors: Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
Year: 1990
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-085398-3

Spoofing serious works of art is now rather mainstream. The first spoof I can remember watching and really liking is the film Dogma, starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Rock and many others. Many of the people around me did not like the film because they said it was blasphemous. But I really, really liked it. So, reading this book now, and while appreciating some of the bits meant to be funny, I was just mildly amused. The only bit I really found funny was the response of War when she got her sword and summons to ride for Armageddon. The rest of it was just bleh because I've seen most of the tropes elsewhere. Further, the writing style is a bit like H2G2 which became rather cloying after the first book. An example from H2G2 is "at first, nothing happened. After a while, nothing continued to happen." I think I saw a line like that in this book as well.

One thing I have always found rather odd is the Christian/Western idea of the nature of hell and the powers of the devil. It has always seemed to me that the devil having his own kingdom and even being able to challenge god was a limitation of god's power. Actually, even the story of the war in heaven and the fall seems to be a limitation of that power. So, the idea that this book is based on, that of the Antichrist and the impending final battle, are already so absurd that the work treating them with levity just does not have much material to work with in my mind.

One thing I did like is the presentation of demons as self interested backstabbers and angels (especially Metatron) as rather uncaring about humans and just obedient automatons. I once said to a friend that angels aren't good. They just do what god commands, even shitty stuff. It was a frustrating conversation because the guy's argument was that "god is good, therefore anyone doing god's work is good as well." A definition of good outside god's decree was just not on the guy's radar.

I did not like this book much. I have never read Mr. Pratchett, so I cannot compare it to his other works. I have read Gaiman's American Gods which I really loved and I think is much, much better than this. I'll reread the book in a few years. I might like it better then. But it is not recommended.