Locus Focus: Take Two!
First of all, thank you to everyone who wrote a post about a great setting and linked it up last week! I loved reading about your favourite places--and though I was kind of miffed that two settings I had hoped to write about myself will have to be postponed for a while because they've already been covered, that's half the fun of it, right?
Secondly, I saved all your links in the main part of last week's post, so that they aren't lost when they "disappear" (That's a long story, but if you ask, I'll tell you!), and the post itself is already archived in the Locus Focus page.
Now let's get down to business, shall we?
by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
"There's something odd about this area," said Aziraphale. "Can't you feel it?"
"Slow down a moment."
The Bentley slowed again.
"Odd," muttered the angel, "I keep getting these flashes of, of . . ."
He raised his hands to his temples.
"What? What?" said Crowley.
Aziraphale stared at him.
"Love," he said. "Someone really loves this place."
A little later, Aziraphale explains to Crowley that the feeling Tadfield gives off is the opposite of the spooky feeling one gets when passing a haunted area. It is "a cherished feel." Indeed, it's not the setting one would imagine for the Apocalypse itself.
A bit of background, without spoilers: although Aziraphale is an angel and Crowley is a demon, they would rather work against the Apocalypse than for it. That is, through their prolonged association with and unusual affinity for humans and all things earthly, Aziraphale has become less angelic and Crowley has become less demonic, and now they are trying their hardest to prevent the destruction of the world they have come to feel at home in. And in the process, they totally misplace the baby who is the Antichrist.
The unwitting child grows up like a normal boy in a place in the English countryside called Tadfield. And no, he doesn't turn out like Damien from The Omen. In fact, his attachment to the familiar places in his confined world, with its hedges for crawling through, woods for wandering in, dirt roads for biking in, and chalk cliffs for . . . well, for whatever chalk cliffs are for, and everything else an active boy could desire, turns out to be the unexpected trump card in one of the craziest, most tangled up plots ever written.
Gaiman and Pratchett dedicated this novel to the memory of G.K. Chesterton, one of my favourite writers, and it's easy to see some wonderfully Chestertonian themes gleaming brightly between the lines. One of these is Chesterton's belief that the among the greatest of values is one's love for one's own hearth, which naturally grew into a poetic envisioning of Heaven as home. (He once described his wife as his "wandering home"--a touching romantic tribute and his own special way of saying that he would follow her to the ends of the earth.)
Although the theology in this novel is something St. Augustine of Hippo would have a field day with, I think the self-consciously orthodox Christian Chesterton would agree with their implied moral that hell is a world in which you can never go home again.
Leave the link to your Locus Focus post in the linky
and take some time to check out and comment on those of others.
I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! =D
EDIT: Here is a quick roundup of the links to this week's participants and their settings of choice . . .
Null Epistolary, Beacon House (Manalive by G.K. Chesterton)
Breaking the Curve, Virgin River (Virgin River by Robin Carr)
Bippity Boppity Book, Tara (Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)
Spike Is Best, Buxton Common (The Club of Queer Trades by G.K. Chesterton)
Pearls Cast before a McPig, 100 Acre Wood (Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne)
Image Source: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett