It’s the End of the World as We Know it… And it’s Funny!

R.E.M. hits aside, most of us would like to avoid the world ending on our watch. Unfortunately, that's not an option for the characters in these novels, which take Revelation and stand it on its head, to hilarious results. The next time you feel nervous watching the Weather Channel or the evening news, pick up one of these books and be prepared to see the lighter side of it all.

And Then There Were Crows by Alcy Leyva stars Amanda Grey, who deals with New York City life by avoiding it. All of it. When forced by financial straits to take a roommate, she accidentally tees off the End Times. If Amanda can keep herself alive and her family safe, it just may be the best thing that's ever happened to her. While not for the faint of heart, Amanda's snarky observations and a cliffhanger ending make me long for the next book in the series.

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman get up to anarchistic fun with Good Omens, in which three babies are candidates for the Antichrist and the Four Horsemen tool around on motorcycles. An angel and a demon team up to stop the Apocalypse as it would change their cushy situation, prophesied by the obscure-but-accurate Agnes Nutter. Fans of Douglas Adams will find much to like, in this novel that manages to skewer everything from nuclear war to the decline of the West.

Tom Robbins also gets in the satire in Skinny Legs and All. It's up to three talking objects, including a can of beans, to foil a Southern preacher's plot to bring on the end of the world. Also involved is an artist couple and a slimy United States vice president. While the plot may occasionally be clouded by Robbins' digressions on modern art and the true meaning of the Bible, this is a good romp towards Bethlehem, or, as Robbins would have it, a Jewish-Arab restaurant in Manhattan.

Christine is a journalist who has had her fill of covering doomsday cults in Mercury Falls. That is, until she meets Mercury, an angel who has a lackadaisical attitude towards his job of bringing on the End Times. After they accidentally save the clod who has been designated the Antichrist, Christine has to negotiate truly hellish (and heavenly) bureaucracy to save the universe. In part a satire of politics of all varieties, this is another cult classic.

Saving Erasmus by Steven Cleaver takes a less irreverent tone. Recent seminary graduate Andrew feels banished when sent to a tiny hamlet called Erasmus. After encountering the Angel of Death coming out of a washing machine, Andrew has a week to save the village of eccentrics who demonstrate the fine line between faith and insanity. If you're not in the market for having your faith roasted but still want a laugh, this brief book may be for you.

Have more humorous novels of the world coming to an end? Tell us about them in the comments.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Chicago Public Library