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Neil Gaiman is an author who has gotten a lot of attention lately. Even if his name does not ring a bell, most people recognize the names of his books from Stardust to Coraline and the Newbery award-winning The Graveyard Book. Gaiman is known for his dark humor and fantastical plots, and in Good Omens, Gaiman collaborates with co-author Terry Pratchett (Going Postal) to find humor and heart in the most unexpected circumstances: the Apocalypse.
Good Omens opens in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve have just been kicked out by God. An angel named Aziraphale stands at the gate with a flaming sword discussing the day's events with the serpent, a demon named Crowley. Aziraphale wonders if he should give his sword to Adam. After all, life is hard out in the wilderness, and they could use some protection.
Years later, Aziraphale and Crowley have become friends of sorts. Both have been around since the beginning of time, and they enjoy each other's company despite being on opposing sides. Aziraphale owns a rare books store, and Crowley drives fast cars. They have become accustomed to life on Earth, so when they find out that the Apocalypse is coming, they decide to try and stop it.
One of Gaiman's strengths is his ability to elicit sympathy and affection for unexpected characters. The Anti-Christ is a great example. He isn't outright evil or destructive. He is a normal kid who just wants to play with his friends and his pet dog, a hell hound that is more lap dog than pit bull. Also, Crowley gets some of the best lines in the book, and he is incredibly relatable considering he is a servant of Satan.
I expect that Good Omens will be made into a film in the next few years, and I also expect that not everyone (particularly conservative Christians) will appreciate the book's humor. I only have two wishes for the Good Omens movie. First, I hope they maintain Gaiman and Pratchett's twisted (and borderline blasphemous) sense of humor. Second, please cast David Hyde Pierce and Neil Patrick Harris as Aziraphale and Crowley. They would be fantastic together.