Thursday, November 1, 2007

Book Review: Good Omens

The end of the world is coming, and it will be ushered in by the Antichrist in the form of an 11-year-old boy in rural England. An angel and a demon are in charge of laying the groundwork. However, neither of them wants to see the world end because they like it here. The four horsemen have upgraded to motorcycles. Did I mention that the demon happens to be named after the most controversial figure in occultism? All this, and more in Good Omens by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman.

My favorite funny part of the book: the angel inhabiting various bodies in an attempt to return to the scene of the "festivities" after being banished by a "witchfinder" who has mistaken him for a demon. There's another scene where a group of Hell's Angels decides to accompany the four horsemen to where the apocalypse is supposed to start.

Of course, the book isn't on my blog just because it's funny. At one point in the story, the end of the world begins to happen because the preteen antichrist decides that the adults have ruined everything and that it would be best to get rid of everybody (except his three closest friends) and start over. Reading this reminded me of my preferred theory about the book of Revelation: that it is an allegorized description of an initiation ritual. The intended result of any initiation ritual is that the world looks somehow different to the person who has just undergone the ritual and is therefore beginning a new life.

Not to give any more of the plot away, but another interesting point is raised toward the end. People who take things literally will be looking for a world war and various disasters. That may be what it will take for some of us to wake up. But what if there's another way?

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