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Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods (original 1992; edition 2005)

by Terry Pratchett, Nigel Planer (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,347106371 (4.17)235
Title:Small Gods
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Other authors:Nigel Planer (Narrator)
Info:Corgi Audio (2005), Edition: Abridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Tags:Humour (British), Fantasy, Magic, World Building, Religion, Audiobook

Work details

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (1992)

  1. 73
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the necessity of belief.
  2. 20
    The Blue Hawk by Peter Dickinson (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although The Blue Hawk is aimed specifically at children/young adults and Small Gods is an adult book, I think both books examine and raise interesting questions about faith and religion and readers who enjoyed one may well enjoy the other.
  3. 00
    Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Humorous but also insightful stories about ordinary mortals who find themselves caught up in the - often petty - fights of their gods.
  4. 22
    People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (CatyM)
    CatyM: A very different style of book from a very different genre, but an interesting commentary on the corruption/misuse of religious faith which complements this book's treatment of the same theme.

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» See also 235 mentions

English (97)  Spanish (3)  Polish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Pratchett is well known to have been an unbeliever and this is a satire on organised religion and where it can lead. If you are one of those people who like to kill people and claim you do it in the name of God then there is a sting in the tale. Otherwise though it's not nasty. The concept of the smalls gods is a good one, Pratchett shows wisdom and at times it's very funny. Certainly comic throughout. The ending is not as good as many by him. Perhaps I was expecting something a little less happy and more realistic (all that stuff about the eagle and the tortoise), but I think Pratchett just liked Prophet Brutha too much to be too horrible to him. ( )
  Lukerik | Nov 17, 2015 |
'If a man lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.' Small Gods is the darkest book in this series so far. It is also ridiculously witty and funny if that makes any sense. It should for Terry Pratchett's fans.
He always pokes fun at one thing or another. I think by the end of the series there won't be anything left in this world to be laughed at. The main target of Small Gods is organized religion and it is hilarious. There is an occasional poke at philosophers (and atheists) too. '“What’s a philosopher?” said Brutha. “Someone who’s bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting,” said a voice in his head.' Still, you can't have a story about organized religion and Quisition with its torturing inquisitors and the exquisitors that supervise them, without darkness and, let me tell you, this book has got a truly terrible villain. If there weren't Om and his curses and threats, philosophers and some other characters, it wouldn't be as funny as it turned out to be. Even the ending is bittersweet because of him.

Omnia is a one-god country, it has Quisition to sort out the infidels and its army to sort out the rest of the world. As you may imagine, they can be very persuasive because 'guilt was the grease in which the wheels of the authority turned.' Vorbis is an exquisitor and one of the worst characters I've read. You see, he doesn't even have the twisted justification for torture such as pleasure. He would do certain things to another human being or an animal just to see how it behaves. 'Vorbis could humble himself in prayer in a way that made the posturings of power-mad emperors look subservient.' And this man has just decided that Ephebe should get Omnia's religion - whether they want it or not.

Enter Great God Om whose greatest problem right now is that there is only one true believer left in Omnia. Brutha is a common young man with an uncommon memory and he gets a surprise when a tortoise appears in his garden. When it addresses him in his mind, Brutha thinks it's a demon. Soon, he realizes it is the Great God Om who isn't so great as Omnians thought. Gods need believers and he has only one.

Their encounter and the fact that Vorbis recognizes Brutha's memory as something he could use is the base plot of this book. There are so many memorable one-liners and paragraphs that it would be too much to put them in one review. Besides, it would be a shame not to read it.

One of the best things about this book is that it doesn't mock beliefs, but the way organized religion uses them for its own purposes.
I loved Om's musings and his interactions with Brutha. In the end even Om learned a simple truth: 'if you want thousands, you have to fight for one.' Vorbis, on the other hand, forgot one.'Fear is strange soil. Mainly it grows obedience like corn, which grows in rows and makes weeding easy. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.' ( )
1 vote Irena. | Nov 3, 2015 |
A strong contender for my favourite Pratchett, and coming back to it is always like coming home.

I needed it more when I was a teenager, still wresting with the conflict of whether a holy book is divine and infallible, or written by men, still trying to find my feet and work out the point of everything. This book was a great help in that.

I'd forgotten how much torture there was, how the threat of pain and punishment and evil things done by the exquisition runs through the book.

What's the point? In a hundred years we will all be dead. But here and now... we are alive.

And you carry Vorbis through the desert. Because he's Vorbis. But you're _you_. ( )
  atreic | Oct 14, 2015 |
I. This is Not a Game.
II. Here and Now, You are Alive. ( )
  InezGard | Sep 15, 2015 |
If you read only one Discworld book, read this. Otherwise, start with Mort. ( )
  OldManNick | Aug 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
The problem with Small Gods is that its plot is complicated without being especially deft, and many tiny scenes exist solely to move stage scenery. Since a fair number of Pratchett's jokes recur from one book to the next, and many of the jokes in this novel are of the running or repeating variety (virtually every character, seeing Om as a tortoise, remarks, "There's good eating on one of those things"), the reader can end up looking for the good lines, like a partygoer digging through a dish of peanuts for the odd cashew.
added by Shortride | editThe Washington Post, Gregory Feeley (pay site) (May 27, 1994)

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ittekot, VenugopalanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindforss, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabanosh, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sohár AnikóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Now consider the tortoise and the eagle.
And it came to pass that in time the Great God Om spake unto Brutha, the Chosen One: "Psst!"
The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it's not murder if you do it for a god).
Gods don't like people not doing much work. People who aren't busy all the time might start to think.
Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker.
Because what gods need is belief, and what humans want is gods.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
In the beginning was the Word.

And the Word was: "Hey, you!"

For Brutha the novice is the Chosen One. He wants peace and justice and brotherly love.

He also wants the Inquisition to stop torturing him now, please...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061092177, Mass Market Paperback)

Discworld is an extragavanza--among much else, it has billions of gods. "They swarm as thick as herring roe," writes Terry Pratchett in Small Gods, the 13th book in the series. Where there are gods galore, there are priests, high and low, and... there are novices. Brutha is a novice with little chance to become a priest--thinking does not come easily to him, although believing does. But it is to Brutha that the great god Om manifests, in the lowly form of a tortoise. --Blaise Selby

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:42 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Brutha is a novice who is content with growing melons for the temple monks until the great god, Om, manifests himself in the form of a tortoise and announces that Brutha is to become the chosen one.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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