Good Omens

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Fandom
Name: Good Omens
Abbreviation(s): GO
Creator: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Date(s): 1990 (novel); 2019 (tv series)
Medium: Novel, television
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
External Links: IMDB listing, Official trailer, Goodreads page
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Needs Updating: This page is out of date. Editors are encouraged to add more recent information.

Good Omens is a popular fantasy novel about the apocalypse by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It has an active online fandom.

In 2014, the novel was adapted into a six-episode radio drama by BBC Radio 4.[1]

A much-anticipated series starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen was released on Amazon Prime Video in May 2019,[2] kicking off a widespread Good Omens fandom revival that seemed to consume all of fandom. The TV series introduced many new fans to Good Omens and caused many long-time fans of the book to rediscover or revisit their love of the novel. It also prompted an explosion of fanworks, including fanfiction, fanart and meta, some of which analysed the differences in themes and tone between the book and TV series. This explosion of fannish activity was aided and abetted by the fact that actor Michael Sheen was an enthusiastic onlooker and participant in the fandom, responding to fans on Twitter when tagged, referencing and praising fanworks,[3] and making unequivocal statements of support for fandom.[4][5] Author Neil Gaiman, who wrote the TV series, also encouraged fans on social media and tirelessly responded to Asks of every kind about the book and show on his Tumblr.

A second season of the series was announced in June 2021 and filming started in September 2021. [6]

To differentiate between the multiple performances of the work, many fans use unique names to indicate which universe is being represented or cited, as an example we have the term Radio Omens for BBC Radio 4's reading of the work. Below that there are also alternative universes thinking by fandom, such as Reverse Omens where the roles were exchanged, with Crowley is the angel and Aziraphel the demon.

Synopsis

Good Omens is the story of how the world didn't quite end. As Neil Gaiman's website puts it:

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded in 1655, just before she blew up her entire village and all its inhabitants – they’d gathered to watch her burn and got more of a show than expected) the world will end on a Saturday – next Saturday, as it happens. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their hogs, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan.

However, the somewhat fussy Aziraphale and the fast-living Crowley – each of whom rather favors the lifestyle of Earth’s mortals – are not especially looking forward to Rapture. Thing is, if they’re going to prevent that from happening, they’ve got to find and kill the Antichrist, and, er, someone seems to have misplaced him...[7]

Characters

The main characters of Good Omens are:

  • Aziraphale - Heaven's representative on Earth. "Many people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide."
  • Crowley - Hell's representative on Earth. "An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards."[8]
  • Adam Young - The eleven-year-old Antichrist.
  • Agnes Nutter - The witch mentioned earlier, whose prophecies are astonishingly accurate.
  • Anathema Device - A descendant of Agnes, who has the last copy of her book of prophecies, and wishes the world wouldn't end quite so soon.
  • Newton Pulsifer - A young man with a talent for electrocution and a love of machines.
  • The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse - You can figure this one out.
  • Various and Sundry Supporting Cast - Including inefficient witch-hunters, lascivious old women, pragmatic pre-teens, and assorted supernatural entities.

Fandom

Book Fandom

As with many older fandoms, the GO fandom was very active on Livejournal before moving to Tumblr. However some communities and events are still active on Livejournal. The main community for Good Omens fandom is lower_tadfield, and the annual holiday fanwork exchange is hosted at go-exchange. Good Omens was one of the few literary fandoms prolific enough to be ineligible for participation in the Yuletide fic exchange.

Well-known fan writers include afrai, Aja, Argyle, Daegaer, irisbleufic, Louise Lux, Sam Starbuck, Vulgarweed, and others.

Reccers include Arduinna, Beth H, Carmarthen, Knacc, Espresso Addict, Polyamorous Recommendations, and others.

In the mid 2000s, Good Omens fans were well known for their tendency to actively engage with Gaiman and Pratchett. It is a tendency that has continued in more recent times, with Gaiman's active engagement with fans on Tumblr and Twitter.

Fanart is very popular in the GO fandom, with much discussion related to the appearance of angel and demon wings. There has also been considerable discussion about the depiction of characters with no specified race, as predominantly white, in fanart and fancasts.[9][10]

i can recognize that yeah, most headcanons do come from old texts and paintings, and thats perfectly fine. what’s problematic, though, is that we ALL turned to that headcanon, or just about everyone, so that the overall image of AZ that we have is a chubby blonde haired white guy. meanwhile, we have so much variety in the fandom itself. its pretty harmful to the majority of us that we have almost no representation at all, in a media where we could just add the representation ourselves and have it fit perfectly with the book. im not just talking about AZ, either![11]

Further Fanon Resources

Author Response

Gaiman has also said several times in his blog that he is not opposed to fanfiction (of his work and in general) but really doesn't want to be exposed to it himself:

And this has less to do with prudery than with my own comfort levels. I can just about get my head around the concept of Crowley-Aziraphale slash, and would rather not read it thanks. Out beyond that, I don't actually want to know...[12]

TV Series Fandom

After the release of the TV miniseries, the fandom experienced a major boom.

Since airing, the series and the original novel, have been referred to as a "6000 year slow burn", and this tag has also begun appearing on works pairing Aziraphale/Crowley.

In response to the fandom's boom, The Rec Center newsletter #180 on June 14, 2019, contained "fanfiction + explainer: good omens", a primer/fandom overview by guest editor Kira:

If you hadn’t heard of Good Omens before, you probably did in the last two weeks—after the miniseries adaptation was released and took the internet by storm. The story of a Biblical apocalypse and the angel and demon trying to prevent it, the nearly thirty-year-old book fandom is experiencing a new growth spurt thanks to the show. For new fans it’s well worth digging into the older parts of fandom and the huge amounts of content therein.

Good Omens has a long history as a slash fandom; while perhaps not a grandparent of slash, it’s at least a favourite aunt. Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship in the book is that of an old married couple, an interpretation that was only bolstered by the authors’ revelation that post-canon they were sharing a cottage in the South Downs.[13] There are multiple fandom introductions/starter packs,[14][note 1] and a great place to dig into the history of the fandom is Lower Tadfield Air Base, a Livejournal community that’s been running since 2003. This was the centre of the fandom for many years, and is meticulously tagged for easy browsing. The recs tag is an excellent place to start if you want to see what people were recommending back in the day.

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Gaiman's comments post-TV series

Pairings

The extremely popular, and juggernaut, pairing in Good Omens fandom is Aziraphale/Crowley. Many stories take advantage of the fact that the two have been around throughout the entirety of human history and feature historical settings or appearances by historical or Biblical figures. Good Omens fanfic sometimes includes detailed and humorous footnotes, similar to those included in the original novel.

Other smaller pairings found in fanworks tend to be the canonical pairings of Anathema/Newt and Shadwell/Tracy, but more often than not they are side pairings in Aziraphale/Crowley works.

The TV fandom uplifted some other minor pairings that had not been very common previously, such as Beelzebub/Gabriel and Hastur/Ligur, these pairings can often be side pairings in Aziraphale/Crowley stories, however there is a small amount of fanworks focused on them exclusively.

Gen Fandom

Good Omens also has a large gen fandom, strongly focused on Aziraphale & Crowley. However, stories about Adam and the Them are also common, as well as stories that involve Warlock.

Fanwork Examples

Art

See also Category:Good Omens Art

Pre-series

Post-Series

Fics

Pre-series

Post-series

Vids

Pre-series

Zines

For a full listing of zines on Fanlore see Category:Good Omens Zines

Meta

Example Art Gallery

Inspired by the Book

Some examples of what fandom artists thought the characters would look like based on the books

Inspired by the TV Series

Some examples of fanart influenced by the television series

Mailing Lists

  • Crowley's Angels archive link ("Have you ever read the book Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman? And have you, in reading, found that you simply couldn't deny the chemistry between Crowley and Aziraphale? Yeah, you know what we mean! Welcome! You're definitely in the right place. This is a list dedicated to our favorite Angel and Demon, and the obvious love (or, at least, crazed-weasel-like lust) between them!Speak your mind! Tell us why you too have become addicted to Crowley and Aziraphale. Share any fanart or fanfiction you've written - we're open-minded here. This is, take note, a slash-oriented mailing list, meaning that we are discussing a male/male relationship, including the sexal aspect of such. If you are under legal age in your community to view this kind of material, please do not join this list. We will not tolerate flamers. You have been warned. But if you have an open mind, a love of sporks, and an affinity towards ineffibility, come right in! Your friendly resident list mods, Lily Rose Granger, Tomo Trillions")

Links

Notes and References

Notes

  1. ^ Some Good Omens Fans complained that the Fish Support Group post had so many important names forgotten, the author himself made this mistake clear and apologized, however later in several reposts. About this situation the user @sous-le-saule posted on April 21, 2017 a series of 3 reposts adding more artists and saying "When will I stop forgetting ppl? (I’ll probably make a proper reblog when I’ll be sure everybody’s in ^^)". "Books & Trees — Good Omens Fandom Welcome Pack (4/3/17)". 2017-04-21. Archived from the original on 2021-09-19. 

References

  1. ^ BBC lines up adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, The Stage, September 5, 2014. (Accessed December 27, 2019).
  2. ^ Good Omens release date CONFIRMED: Neil Gaiman Amazon Prime Video series arrives in May 2019 - Radio Times, Archived version
  3. ^ Tweet by Michael Sheen, June 25, 2019 (Accessed December 27, 2019).
  4. ^ Tweet by Michael Sheen, June 19, 2019. (Accessed December 27, 2019).
  5. ^ Tweet by Michael Sheen, August 27, 2019. (Accessed December 27, 2019).
  6. ^ Good Omens Season 2 Filming Begins, Screenrant Article, October 10, 2021.
  7. ^ Neil Gaiman's official website. Neil's Work > Books > Good Omens. (Accessed 09 August 2013.)
  8. ^ Good Omens, List of Dramatis Personae.
  9. ^ When you favourite book's fandom tumblr post by situationalystudious on Tumblr, December 2019, accessed 14 June 2019.
  10. ^ You guys realise post by mutececil on Tumblr, February 2014, accessed 14 June 2019. Archived from the original on April 12, 2021.
  11. ^ A lot of the image from Azi, tumblr discussion on depiction of Az as a white male, 2014, accessed 14 June 2019.
  12. ^ 3.9.2003, In which it is decided there are Some Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know by Neil Gaiman, accessed 13.10.2011
  13. ^ "(lives between pages) • This is why 2005, like 1990, means the world to us:". 2013-04-21. Archived from the original on 2021-09-19. 
  14. ^ "Fish Support Group • Good Omens Fandom Welcome Pack (4/3/17)". 2017-03-05. Archived from the original on 2021-09-19.