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Small Gods (2008)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld: Gods (2), Discworld (13)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,710173517 (4.18)335
Brutha, a simple man leading a quiet life tending his garden, finds his life irrevocably changed when his god, speaking to him through a tortoise, sends him on a mission of peace.
  1. 94
    American Gods {original} by Neil Gaiman (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the necessity of belief.
  2. 40
    Good Omens by Neil Gaiman (electronicmemory)
  3. 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.
  4. 10
    Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher (MyriadBooks)
  5. 22
    People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (Eat_Read_Knit)
    Eat_Read_Knit: 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.
  6. 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.

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» See also 335 mentions

English (163)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
You gotta love Om as a turtle. Gentle Brutha is probably the only one who would be able to stand him anyway. I guess panic at your own impending doom can do that. This book, like most of his other ones, makes you think about certain things. It's philosophical. It makes you question. And it makes you have faith in some things you believed in, just so that they don't vanish completely. An excellent stand alone book. ( )
  LinBee83 | Aug 23, 2023 |
I think two of the key themes in Terry Pratchett's books are integrity and power. Small Gods excels because Pratchett is absolutely in his element. He dissects organised religion and then pokes around in the entrails, finding humour and outrage. I think I enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed any Discworld book. ( )
  robfwalter | Jul 31, 2023 |
While this entry in the Discworld series had many amusing parts, it wasn't as funny to me as either the Guards or the Witches subseries. To balance that, I did find it provided more food for thought regarding the religion & faith such as the difference between someone who truly believes in his/her God versus someone who is a good/powerful member of a religious structure. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
“Belief, he says. Belief shifts. People start out believing in the god and end up believing in the structure.”

Small Gods is not a part of any of the Discworld subseries. Instead it examines the roles of religion on the disc (although the round earthers will insist that the earth is a globe and not flat). The god Om has lost most of his believers (although they still believe and insist that they believe) and was unable to return in one of his more impressive form (like white bull that crushes infidels). Instead, he returns as a tortoise (there's good eating on one of them) and even forgets that he is a god until he picked up out of the desert by an eagle and dropped near Brutha, who is a low level member of Om's temple. Om quickly realises that belief in his religion is not the same in belief in him and Brutha starts to question everything he has been taught, both through his god and through being exposed to a world outside of the temple.

It's been a little while since my last Pratchett, but this was definitely a good one. In typical Pratchett fashion, this book is smart and funny. I loved the tongue in cheek commentary about religious indoctrination and about how religion can so easily be corrupted by people. Even Om is upset about how his name has been used, his role twisted and how he has been used to justify things he never said (the prophets made up things to suit their needs). I can see similar trends in modern religion - amongst certain groups religion has become more about hate rather than the love it preaches. I don't see this is not an attack on religion or spirituality itself, but rather on the bigots who use their religion to justify their views. That being said, I can see why some more deeply religious people wouldn't love the message. Although some (especially those born into it and possibly questioning it) would benefit. I loved seeing Brutha's growth as he was exposed to a greater world and learned to be his own person. I also enjoyed the dropped mentions of other gods that have been mention before (like Offlar the crocodile god). And Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah? Proof that these kinds of people simply appear where needed (as Pratchett has previously stated with regards to Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler).

I think this is one of the darker Discworld novels (so far). While it still remains humerous, it explores themes such as cult-like religion, religious indoctrination, war about beliefs and the like. That being said, it's a great book and oneI'd definitely recommend (although maybe not to those die hard religious types who take offense at everything and believe we're all going to hell, simply for existing). And since it doesn't link closely to any other Discworld books, it can definitely be enjoyed regardless of whether you have read an of Pratchett's other works, and of whether you plan to read any others. ( )
  TheAceOfPages | Jun 2, 2023 |
Gods, I forgot how much I loved this book.
And an excellent narration by Andy Serkis! ( )
  NannyOgg13 | Apr 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brandhorst, AndreasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Couton, PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daniele, ValentinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ittekot, VenugopalanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kapetanović, GoranTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindforss, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rayyan, OmarIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabanosh, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sohár, AnikóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solé, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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Brutha, a simple man leading a quiet life tending his garden, finds his life irrevocably changed when his god, speaking to him through a tortoise, sends him on a mission of peace.

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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...
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