Boris Smus

interaction engineering

Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman

I picked this one up on Sr. B's recommendation and enjoyed it in multi-voice audiobook form. Overall, a fun listen. Very (in-)effable(?). Lots of jokes and satirical observations reminiscent of Doug Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I think way more Pratchett than Gaiman.

I couldn't help but wonder which of the two authors identified and wrote more of the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale. Their hilarious love-hate dynamic reminded me of the starkly different and far more self-serious duo depicted in This is How You Lose the Time War.

On that more serious note, Good Omens explores the possibility of Angels, Demons, and God having a free will. As the end of the world nears it becomes clear that the great conflict of this book is not between good and evil. Both sides act wrongly, and dream only of a war of total annihilation in which one of them wins and the other loses. A zero-sum game. In a real sense, the Biblical "good" is also evil.

Instead, the real struggle is between forces that want the world to end, and those that, despite all imperfections, would prefer it to continue. Framed this way, I am reminded a lot of Carse (see Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse). And when the world of course doesn't end, my stance against millenarianism is only strengthened (see Millenarianism is always wrong).

Little notes:

  • Adam Young is well named
  • "Piss artist" is a great expression
  • I knew all the "ineffable" jokes seemed familiar, and I must have recalled Dirk Gently, to whom I leave the last word:

Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.