Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – fun, with footnotes

Good omens 2

It’s twenty five years since Good Omens was published, as this Guardian article reminds us. I seem to have lost more copies of this than any other book, lending it out to friends and it’s probably my most recommended book. The BBC did a rather good radio adaptation of this last year which is worth tracking down – it includes a cameo from Gaiman and Pratchett. Gaiman had to read the lines to Pratchett to repeat due to his “embuggerance” which led to his death shortly afterward.

Twenty-five years on, the book has lasted surprisingly well. Pratchett and Gaiman’s obsession with tech meant they were ahead of the curve when it came to the “slim computers” that demon Crowley likes so much. Some things haven’t changed: “All that lather comes up from the centre of the Earth, where it’s all hot,” says a member of Adam’s gang. “I saw a programme. It had David Attenborough, so it’s true.” And the real end of the world that Adam foresees is closer and scarier than ever: “Everyone’s goin’ around usin’ up all the whales and coal and oil and ozone and rainforests and that, and there’ll be none left for us. We should be goin’ to Mars and stuff, instead of sittin’ around in the dark and wet with the air spillin’ away.”

I’m still coming to terms with the fact there’s no new Discworld novel to read this Christmas. I’m promising myself a chronological re-read of the whole lot starting in 2016.

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Terry Pratchett’s name lives on in ‘the clacks’ with hidden web code

What better way to remember the beloved inventor of this fictional system, then, than “GNU Terry Pratchett”? Reddit users have designed a code that anyone with basic webcoding knowledge can embed into their own websites(anyone without basic webcoding knowledge can use the plugins for WordPress and other platforms). The code is called the XClacksOverhead, and it sets a header reading “GNU Terry Pratchett”. “If you had to be dead,” thinks a character in Going Postal, “it seemed a lot better to spend your time flying between the towers than lying underground.” And so Pratchett is, in a way.

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