‘Good Omens’: A terribly funny bit of blasphemy, what?

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‘Good Omens’: A terribly funny bit of blasphemy, what?

How Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s friendship inspired their comic masterpiece, now on Amazon TV

Tom Chivers

In 1985, a young writer and another, slightly less young, writer met in a Chinese restaurant, probably somewhere in England’s Home Counties. The first was interviewing the second for a short-lived sci-fi-and-futurism magazine called Space Voyager. It sparked a lifelong friendship, and – perhaps more importantly – a great work of late-20th-century English comic literature.

The book in question, Good Omens – now an Amazon TV series starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant – is a marvellous, blasphemous mishmash of the two men’s different yet complementary styles and a whole melting-pot of takeoffs, from classic horror to Just William.

The first writer was a journalist, Neil Gaiman; the second, Terry Pratchett, who had just published his fourth novel. At that point, Pratchett was still working as a press officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board, trying to do PR for four nuclear power stations. The two got on; they drank, they chatted; a short interview emerged...

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