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Front Matter Pages i-xii. General Introduction. Pages Front Matter Pages Esther Williams. Doris Day. Debbie Reynolds. Every single one of the books was wildly inaccurate, but their air of vague and generalized omnipotence made them immensely popular. They sold in the thousands, and in the tens of thousands.
Stars, Fans, and Consumption in the 1950s
We must straightway printe a booke of prophecie by some hagge! The manuscript arrived at their door the next morning; the author's sense of timing, as always, was exact.
Although neither Master Bilton nor Master Scaggs realized it, the manuscript they had been sent was the sole prophetic work in all of human history to consist entirely of completely correct predictions concerning the following three hundred and forty-odd years, being a precise and accurate description of the events that would culminate in Armageddon. It was on the money in every single detail.
It was published by Bilton and Scaggs in September , in good time for the Christmas trade, [Another master stroke of publishing genius, because Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Parliament had made Christmas illegal in Not even the copy in the tiny Lancashire shop with "Locale Author" on a piece of cardboard next to it. The author of the book, one Agnes Nutter, was not surprised by this, but then, it would have taken an awful lot to surprise Agnes Nutter.
Anyway, she had not written it for the sales, or the royalties, or even for the fame. She had written it for the single gratis copy of the book that an author was entitled to. No one knows what happened to the legions of unsold copies of her book. Certainly none remain in any museums or private collections. Even Aziraphale does not possess a copy, but would go weak at the knees at the thought of actually getting his exquisitely manicured hands on one.
It was on a bookshelf about forty miles away from where Crowley and Aziraphale were enjoying a rather good lunch and, metaphorically, it had just begun to tick. And now it was three o'clock. The Antichrist had been on Earth for fifteen hours, and one angel and one demon had been drinking solidly for three of them.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Most bookshops in Soho have back rooms, and most of the back rooms are filled with rare, or at least very expensive, books. But Aziraphale's books didn't have illustrations. They had old brown covers and crackling pages. Occasionally, if he had no alternative, he'd sell one. And, occasionally, serious men in dark suits would come calling and suggest, very politely, that perhaps he'd like to sell the shop itself so that it could be turned into the kind of retail outlet more suited to the area.
Sometimes they'd offer cash, in large rolls of grubby fifty-pound notes. Or, sometimes, while they were talking, other men in dark glasses would wander around the shop shaking their heads and saying how inflammable paper was, and what a fire trap he had here. And Aziraphale would nod and smile and say that he'd think about it.
And then they'd go away. And they'd never come back. The point is. That's my point. Your actual mammal.
Difference is—" Crowley waded through the swamp of his mind and tried to remember the difference. Crowley's brow furrowed. Pretty sure that's not it. Something about their young. Their brains. Size of. Size of damn big brains. And then there's the whales. Brain city, take it from me. Whole damn sea full of brains.
Crowley gave him the long cool look of someone who has just had a girder dropped in front of his train of thought. Under loads of huge and unnumbered polypol-polipo-bloody great seaweeds, you know. Supposed to rise to the surface right at the end, when the sea boils.
Same with gorillas. Whoops, they say, sky gone all red, stars crashing to ground, what they putting in the bananas these days? And then—". I mean small. Great and small. Lot of them with brains. And then, bazamm.
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You're good at it. Crowley thumped his glass on the table. They don't have to say yes. That the ineffable bit, right? Your side made it up. You've got to keep testing people. But not to destruction. All right. I don't like it any more than you, but I told you. I can't disod-disoy-not do what I'm told. You know what eternity is? I mean, d'you know what eternity is? There's this big mountain, see, a mile high, at the end of the universe, and once every thousand years there's this little bird—". You can't do that. Between here and the end of the universe there's loads of—" The angel waved a hand expansively, if a little unsteadily.
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Crowley subsided a bit. Anyway, this bird—". You have to tell your descendants, you say, When you get to the Mountain, you've got to—" He hesitated. Aziraphale opened his mouth.
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Crowley just knew he was going to make some point about the relative hardness of birds' beaks and granite mountains, and plunged on quickly. They both winced as the alcohol left their bloodstreams, and sat up a bit more neatly. Aziraphale straightened his tie. Crowley looked speculatively into his glass, and then filled it again.
What d'you call it in your colorful idiom?