Famine (Good Omens)

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A rider of the Apocalypse in Good Omens. He took the form of a thin businessman man with black hair named Raven Sable. He created nouvelle (which consisted of a string bean, a couple of peas and a paper-thin slice of chicken), D-Plan dieting and various foods that contained no actual nutrition whatsoever. He enjoys the paradox permitted by modern food technology: that people can eat "foodstuffs" which look, smell, and taste like food, yet contain precisely zero on any scale of nutritive value. Obesity entertains him: the concept that people can eat far too much and yet still die of food-related disorders. For the same reasons, wafer-thin professional anorexics (who our society dignifies with the title supermodels) are always a welcome sight to him. If you pointed out the existence of starving children in Africa, he'd be professionally flattered that you'd noticed. He has a major controlling interest in a fast-food superchain spanning the globe. In fact, he invented fast food burgers.

He is glad to sign autographs, adding impenetrable Biblical aphorisms and profundities. Well, if you know your Bible, you'd know the code: he sees it as a sort of Quality Control, affirming that he is scrupulously working within the limits assigned to him by a higher Power and which are clearly set out in the Book of Revelations, if you know how to read it.


When Famine signs the copy of his best-selling Foodless Dieting: Slim Yourself Beautiful ("The Diet Book Of The Century!") for the emaciated supermodel Sheryl, he appends a cryptic Biblical quote. This basically limits what he can and cannot do in the world: but as it concerns the wheat produce which is the staple of everyone's diet, it permits him quite a lot of latitude, which he uses scrupulously to fulfill his goals.

Revelations, Chapter Six Verse Six: A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, and see thou hurtest not the oil and the wine.

Revelations Six introduces the Four Riders, who are to be unleashed on the world in the Last Days. Famine is unleashed in these terms:-

Revelations 6:5:- When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come and see!" And behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a balance in his hand.

The following verse, 6:6, (as well as completing two-thirds of the infamous triad) sets limits on what Famine can and cannot do. He cannot interfere with oil and wine: but he does have domain over the staples of life, the wheat and barley which are still today at the heart of our diets. And according to historians, one measure of wheat for a penny and three of barley for a penny represent a shockingly inflated price. And we know from history that in times of scarcity, food prices rocket and the black market corners the supply... also, Sable's various diet supplements might begin with everyday staple foodstuffs, but the amount of processing involved, the amount of chemical junk inserted into them, and the ferocious marketing of them as luxury items, means they sell at an awful lot more than the cost of a simple basic meal you could make in your own kitchen from fresh ingredients. Thus does Sable create artificial scarcity in the lands of plenty, accustom the affluent of North America and Europe to paying inflated prices for truly junk food, and fulfill the terms of his assignment when the Third Seal was broken...