“Imagine a figure, half angel, half devil, all human…”
Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett “Good Omens”
“Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is the book chosen for this month’s round of “A Tattered Page”, the event focused on the joy of reading and the inspiration that comes from stories. Each creator chooses a particular passage from the book to spark their imagination.
I read it for the first time many years ago, and it’s one of those books I always count on to put a smile on my face no matter how many times I go back to it. I was already a die-hard Neil Gaiman fan when I first picked it up, and it led me straight to the copious works of Terry Pratchett who has been in my top ten favorite writers list ever since. Their ironic collaboration is echoed by what to me is the heart of the story, the “Arrangement” of the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale “The Enemy, of course. But an enemy for six thousand years now, which made him a sort of friend.” When the arrival of the Anti-Christ heralds the Apocalypse and the end of the mortal world they have both grown to cherish in their own way, they work against their own immutable natures to influence the course of events and save it from destruction. This is anything but a dark story of Doomsday, however, and the banter between the two celestial beings ( for demons were once angels too, as the story points out) is hilarious and filled with wry commentary about the nature of good and evil, free will, immortality and human nature.
Underneath the humor there are also interesting philosophical questions to ponder. Is it possible for a demon to do good or an angel to do evil? Is humanity better off with divine intervention or in finding its own way and making its own choices? Demons and Angels are fixed in their roles, but human beings have the ability to descend into the depths of malevolence or rise to dazzling moments of generosity and self sacrifice. We are a combination of both damned and divine. The eternal potential of this choice is shown by Roawenwood’s “Devil May Care” Horns-n-Halo, showing both sides of our nature. Also central to the books premise is another book, a book of prophecy. “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.” Agnes may have been slightly mad, or just ahead of her time, but her book guided her descendents for generations. I’m not sure I would want to know everything that was going to happen to myself and my friends, especially if the climax of the book was the end of the world. It would still be very tempting to take a glimpse, even knowing that afterwards nothing would be the same. Once you had that knowledge would you accept it or try to defy it and create your own destiny? The power and potential of such a book is exquisitely displayed by 22769~[bauwerk] in this manifestation of ”The Book of Accurate Prophecies” It’s the genius of “Good Omens” that these deep subjects are put forward in a way that makes you laugh out loud at the same time you are considering them.
(click to enlarge photos)
The suit my ambiguous fellow in the picture is wearing is made by Anachron, who crafted different outfits to symbolize the interaction between Crowley and Aziraphale through the ages. This one is the Formal Fantasy Suit of Crowley’s.
Here is a closer look at the Horns-n-Halo to show the detail, as well as The Stringer Mausoleum’s “Prophetess Makeup” I’m wearing “Void” but this also comes in 7 other shades.
It wouldn’t be the Apocalypse without the Four Horsemen, who show up in some unexpected guises. The heels by Pale Empress are called “War” in honor of that character. These are unrigged and designed for Slink high feet, in both shiny version and one that in the creator’s words “look like they’ve been in a war zone”
One of my favorite settings in the book is the bookstore owned by Aziraphale, the sort of place I would happily spend hours in and lose myself in the heaven of being surrounded by shelves upon shelves of books, knowing there would never be enough time to peruse them all and enjoying every moment of it. It’s difficult for me to choose between Crowley and Aziraphale as my favorite character. I love Crowley’s cynicism and snark, but Aziraphale’s passion for books has always endeared him to me. If there was one place in fiction that I might wish myself transported to it is the back room of Aziraphale’s bookshop. ”Most bookshops in Soho have back rooms, and most of the back rooms are filled with rare, or at least very expensive books. But Aziraphale’s books didn’t have illustrations. They had old brown covers and crackling pages. Occasionally, if he had no alternative, he’d sell one.” [Park Place] has lovingly created this backroom, with piles and piles of dusty books, and a replica of the book of prophecy presented as an intricately printed 17th century volume.
Outside of the bookshop I love how prominently England itself, from London to the surrounding countryside, figures into this book. As a confirmed anglophile there is a great delight in reading the amusing descriptions of Britain and its people as they react to the chaos unfolding around them.
If somehow you have never read either of these authors before and you are a fan of any kind of speculative fiction, you really can do no better than to start with this work. Fifteen years later it’s still one of those “Books I would take with me to be stranded on a deserted island.” Don’t be surprised if afterwards you are tempted to read the whole of Gaiman and Pratchett’s catalog. This book is that sort of apple in the literary Garden of Eden.
I’d like to thank Cursed Events for starting this event, and all the creative designers who are taking part in it and sharing the love of books. There are a ton of other unique articles I haven’t featured here, so please get thee hence to the Library for A Tattered Page where you can find them. They will also be available at each creator’s individual shop.
Roawenwood: Devil May Care Horns-n-Halo Mainstore
Anachron: Formal Fantasy Suit – Crowley Mainstore
Pale Empress: War Shoes Mainstore
The Stringer Mausoleum: Prophetess Makeup – Void Mainstore
22769~ [bauwerk ]: The Book of Accurate Prophecies Mainstore
[Park Place] : Aziraphale’s Back Room Mainstore
Fallen Gods: Closed Book with Page: Good Omens Mainstore
Jewelry: ~*Souzou Eien*~ Opalescent Choker Mainstore
Ears: [MANDALA] : Steking Ears Season 5 Mainstore
Lips: Pin Me Down: Tili Mainstore
Hair: Tukinowaguma: Ebbe Mainstore
Eyes: IKON Immortal – Crimson Mainstore
Skin: Pink Fuel – Doll V2 <Vamp> Mainstore
Hands: SLink Mainstore
Nails: Dark Passions Koffin Nails – Sinister Mainstore