In 1990, The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman teamed with Discworld author Terry Pratchett to publish Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. The novel is a comedic look at the end of the world. Almost 30 years later, Gaiman says the book seems more prescient than ever before. Speaking to The Guardian, Gaiman recalls that while he and Pratchett were writing the book in the late 1980s, “We had to put a line in – I don’t even remember if it was me or Terry but I remember us talking about it – a line about how weird it is that Armageddon is happening when everybody is getting along so well, because I don’t think I’d ever in my life felt less close to Armageddon.”
That makes a certain sense, as the Cold War was in its waning days. But now? “The weirdest thing is how a novel that was written literally 30 years ago feels really a lot more apt now than it did then,” Gaiman says. He’s revisited the novel, adapting it into a television miniseries for Amazon. “I mean, if I could trade, I would have a much duller world in which we had to try and convince people that an apocalypse was likely, instead of having the world that we’re in, where the nuclear clock is ticking closer and closer, and where I’m going: ‘Actually, as far as I can tell everybody in charge is f***ng nuts.’ You know, I would like sensible people and an end of history, that was fun.”
To that end, it’s almost impossible to present an end-of-the-world comedy these days without it feeling like political commentary. “I’m not sure that you can do something like this and not have it be political satire,” Gaiman says. “The lovely thing about it being angels and demons is that you don’t actually have to be talking about the Tories or the Republicans or Labour or the Democrats or any specific political party.”
In Good Omens, “Aziraphale and Crowley, of Heaven and Hell respectively, have grown rather fond of the Earth. So it's terrible news that it's about to end. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing. The Four Horsemen are ready to ride. Everything is going according to the Divine Plan...except that someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. Can our heroes find him and stop Armageddon before it's too late?”
What do you think of Gaiman’s take on things? Let us know in the comments!