Ok, well I don’t think its much of a secret that I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and he hasn’t made many funny books for adults, but back in the day when both he and Terry Pratchett where not yet mainstream successful, they where known to those that knew them though. And they collaborated on a little book about a potential apocalypse Of course I am talking about Good Omens.
I have just been reading the collection of essays written by Neil Gaiman and contained within is an introduction to Terry Pratchett and he says that during the writing process when he wrote late and night and Terry wrote early in the morning and they would have very long phone conversations most afternoons discussing what they had written and that “their main objective was to make one another laugh”. You can tell.
The end of the world is going to end next Saturday, just after tea. According to the Nice and Accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter a 18th Century witch. Anathema Device is her great great granddaughter (add a few extra greats for good luck) and she has the only remaining copy of the prophecies, a big old book which on the whole predicted with terrifying accuracy things to do with Agnes’s decedents, Anathema included.
Crowley and Aziraphael have know each other for thousands of years it is almost a friendship and both of them like existence in the 20th Century far too much for it to all end. With only a few days to go before the predicted date they go in search of the boy who was supposed to be the antichrist but there has been a mix-up and babies where switched at birth.
Aziraphale is an Angel who owns a Soho bookstore, not with any intention of selling books but more a place to store his vast collection. Crowley is a devil as Angel who not so much fell, as sauntered vaguely downwards. He drives a pristine 1926 black Bentley and is personally responsible for the M25 (the hellish motorway encircling greater London).
And of course with it begin an apocalypse there are the four horsemen and an a boy who was supposed to be the antichrist but isn’t. There are some that say that this isn’t really a comedy book but a philosophical tale about the meaning of good and evil. They are right but its still hilarious.
My personal fave cover is this one which was a hardcover edition in 2014 over 20 years after it was first published. Which looks like a relief print of the Bentley with Crowly and Aziraphael in the headlights.
If you haven’t read this book I urge you too, it is very British in a fairly dark sense of humor kind of way and if you like that sort of thing, well I would be surprised if you hadn’t already read it.
What’s your favourite funny book?