Fiction about the War in Heaven
October 21, 2013 11:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for books (or movies/tv, though I'd prefer written media) that deal with the War in Heaven, the fall of Lucifer, and the fallout from that. Basic, garden-variety conflicts between angels and demons would also be very welcome. Things along those lines I've liked and special snowflake details under the fold.

I've read and enjoyed Good Omens, the Lucifer-and-Hell bits of Sandman, Preacher and, y'know, Milton. In other media, I also liked the Prophecy movies and various bits of Supernatural.

Obviously, something like this is going to deal with Christianity and Christian mythology, but I would greatly prefer works that don't either assume that I am or try to convince me to become a Christian. I'm after more of a fun read kind of book than evangelism. It doesn't have to be great literature as long as it's entertaining and has badass (or at least interesting) angels.

Thanks very much!
posted by darchildre to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
More serious: Steven Brust, To Reign in Hell.

More ridiculous: Bryan Talbot and Mark Stafford, Cherubs!
posted by asperity at 11:40 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim books would probably be right up your alley. All kinds of plotting by Angels and Demons and God and Lucifer with a badass half-angel protagonist constantly stuck in the middle.
posted by dortmunder at 11:41 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte has angels lurking quietly in the background. The movie made from it (The Ninth Gate) essentially cut out one full plotline in the book to focus completely on that topic, but I find the book to be an excellent read. It's another book that has a lot to say about the delights of reading and falling in love with literature, in between the spooky stuff.
posted by PussKillian at 11:45 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you liked the Lucifer-and-Hell bits of Sandman, have you read, well, Lucifer? It's (obviously) set well after the War in Heaven but ongoing conflicts between the protagonist and the Angels remain a major story element.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:47 AM on October 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice takes up some of these issues, but it's been about 20 years since I read it. It really freaked me out as a kid!
posted by Jahaza at 11:47 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also since you don't mention it, you've seen the Kevin Smith movie Dogma, right?
posted by Jahaza at 11:49 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Humans, by Donald Westlake
posted by Billiken at 11:50 AM on October 21, 2013

Was just going to post Dogma, too -- badass angels and demons.
posted by mefireader at 11:50 AM on October 21, 2013

The Books of Magic series deals with this.
posted by corb at 11:50 AM on October 21, 2013

The last book of the Golden Compass series deals with that more expressly, though it's a theme throughout the whole thing to a certain degree.
posted by Carillon at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Lucifer You can get it in trades. The whole story isn't about the war in heaven, but that does feature.
posted by syncope at 11:59 AM on October 21, 2013

The SharedWorld X in Hell series may or may not specifically feature the war in Heaven, but almost certainly features some war IN hell.
posted by Jacen at 12:05 PM on October 21, 2013

The Demon: the Fallen RPG (and associated fiction) is all about this.
posted by jozxyqk at 12:05 PM on October 21, 2013

I know of two not-yet-finished series that fit this:

Danielle Trussoni's Angelology deals pretty heavily on the Christian mythology without pushing any ideals. The plot revolves entirely around fallen angels, although it's mostly mortals-vs-fallen angels rather than heaven-vs-fallen angels. IMO the story is a fantastic idea, but a bit poorly written in parts.

The other is Tad Williams Bobby Dollar series. More of a unique view on heaven and hell than one that sticks to the strict mythology of it. If you are a Christian it might turn you off a bit. My strict Catholic in-laws weren't too thrilled with my description of the plot for Happy Hour in Hell. Other than that, I've found this series good and actually pretty funny (although it has nothing on Good Omens).
posted by lup badik at 12:07 PM on October 21, 2013

The Sharon Shinn series about mortal angels and humans has some badass angels, especially the first: Archangel. They mostly fight each other. There are no demons. The series does go downhill.
posted by Malla at 12:10 PM on October 21, 2013

Have you watched Supernatural? I'd recommend the whole thing because it is awesomely good fun but Angels show up in Season 4. Lucifer shows up in either 4 or 5, I can't remember.
posted by magnetsphere at 12:15 PM on October 21, 2013

The Vintner's Luck, by Elizabeth Knox, has a take on this.
posted by songs about trains at 12:35 PM on October 21, 2013

Murder Mysteries, a short story by Neil Gaiman. You can read the text version in his anthology Smoke and Mirrors, or you can read the graphic novella adaptation created by P. Craig Russell.
posted by alms at 12:40 PM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Glenn Duncan's I, Lucifer would probably fit the bill.
posted by Hactar at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2013

Seconding Brust's To Reign In Hell.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:49 PM on October 21, 2013

Maybe Michael Moorcock's (horribly titled but fun to read) The War Hound and the World's Pain. The hero is a mercenary during the Thirty Years' War who is drafted by Lucifer to find the Holy Grail so Lucifer can use it to reconcile Heaven and Hell, and save the world in the process.
posted by Naberius at 12:53 PM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series features Shadowhunters who are descended from Angels and are charged with keeping demons in line. This includes plenty of fighting and killing. There are 5 books in the series with another one planned. I have only read 4 and while there isn't a lot of Lucifer in them, not all the Shadowhunters are good. She had another series, Infernal Devices, that has Shadowhunters as well. Fair warning that these are Young Adult and have a lot of romance/love triangle stuff as well. The first Mortal Instruments book was recently made into a movie. It wasn't too good.
posted by soelo at 12:53 PM on October 21, 2013

Am I missing it, or has nobody mentioned Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy yet? It's patterned after Paradise Lost (hence the title). Most of the explicit war-in-heaven stuff happens in The Amber Spyglass, the final part.
posted by pont at 12:56 PM on October 21, 2013

The Preacher comic books. I found it to ultimately be pretty empty and the ending lame, but it was engaging through the first two thirds. It's about conflict with God, though not Lucifer's so much.
posted by jsturgill at 1:49 PM on October 21, 2013

Marisol is a play by Jose Rivera that imagines what would happen if the angels in heaven decided to try and depose God.
posted by brookeb at 1:54 PM on October 21, 2013

This GoodReads list of fantasy and science fiction novels featuring winged humans might be of interest.

Simon R. Green has... a lot of not-so-great novels. Shadowsfall is one of his best, though, and a good read. Its climactic sequence features a demonic assault on the titular town, and an archangel helps wrap things up.
posted by jsturgill at 1:56 PM on October 21, 2013

Richard Harland's Heaven and Earth trilogy might fit the bill

It is set in the future and centres around a war between Heaven and Earth, though I don't remember it being evangelical or anything. In fact I was a little more concerned about some of the more political overtones than the religious.

Anyway. It was an entertaining enough read; well-researched and borrowing elements from various religions and traditions (Christian and otherwise)
posted by TheOtherGuy at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2013

Guardian Angel by D. J. Bershaw, 99 cents on Amazon. It's pretty good.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:04 PM on October 21, 2013

posted by gwint at 3:38 PM on October 21, 2013

posted by j_curiouser at 3:41 PM on October 21, 2013

Thomas Sniegoski's Remy Chandler novels. Like the noir they are inspired by, the main detective character is a veteran of a war - the War in Heaven. Plots tend to revolve around the fallout from the conflict.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:34 PM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Try God's Demon by Wayne Barlowe. It's about a demon, Sargatanas, pulling a Lucifer on a Lucifer-less Hell.
posted by chaosys at 4:43 PM on October 21, 2013

As a tangent, you might find it intriguing to look up stuff about the Yezidi and Angel Peacock, Malik Tawus. Those search terms will take you to interesting places.
posted by glasseyes at 5:24 PM on October 21, 2013

alms mentioned Murder Mysteries by Niel Gaiman. I'm not quite a big fan of his stuff, but this story is my favourite work of his, and is pretty close to what you are asking for.
posted by ovvl at 6:35 PM on October 21, 2013

If you liked Good Omens you'll love Snake Oil Wars and Waiting For The Galactic Bus, both by Parke Godwin. Waiting For The Galactic Bus, in particular, is one of my all time favorite books.

Not quite on topic but if you'd like a taste of Mr. Godwin's work find a copy of the short story "Influencing the Hell Out of Time and Teresa Golowitz". You will not regret it.
posted by irisclara at 8:08 PM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nightwatch books by Sergei Lukyanenko.
posted by HMSSM at 10:08 PM on October 21, 2013

I can highly recommend Apparitions!
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 1:57 AM on October 22, 2013

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