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Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods (1992)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,508136480 (4.17)286
  1. 84
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the necessity of belief.
  2. 30
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (electronicmemory)
  3. 21
    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. 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.
  5. 23
    People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (catherinestead)
    catherinestead: 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 286 mentions

English (127)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Polish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
Small Gods is one of the books I remember least from my first time reading the Discworld books. I think at the time – and it holds true now too – it felt odd to be taken away from the characters who were increasingly becoming Pratchett’s ‘regulars’ into a completely new setting, with no familiar faces. Here we find ourselves in the Omnian Empire, a theocracy devoted to the Great God Om and ruled by its ferocious Exquisitor, the hawk-nosed Deacon Vorbis. Clumsy Brutha the novice is at the bottom of the heap, well-meaning, blissfully naive and – crucially – pure of heart. So when, one day, he hears the voice of Om speaking to him in a garden, he doesn’t know quite what to think. Especially because the Great God appears to have manifested in the form of a small, irascible and very disgruntled tortoise…

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2019/03/06/small-gods-terry-pratchett/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Mar 6, 2019 |
Five stars aren’t enough to rate this book, which is undiluted clever writing! I laughed hard throughout, and when I wasn’t, sat all amazed bowled over by Pratchett’s unparalleled wit. ( )
  pree00 | Mar 6, 2019 |
While I don't think the book kept a steady pace, and it meanders in ways that don't always work, this is my favorite of the Discworld books I've read. It has a more solid plot, with a more meaningful conclusion than the Pratchett books I've read so far - which are usually strongest in their quotable sections, and the author's voice.

I wish that there was more involvement and examination of the small gods themselves, but this was a really enjoyable read. We owe more to Terry Pratchett than most people know - and it feels like his influence is only growing (see Groening's Disenchanted).
( )
  Ron18 | Feb 17, 2019 |
{Thirteenth of 41: Discworld series. Fantasy, humour, satire}

Another book in the Discworld pantheon with Sir Terry at his hilarious best. This book frequently made me smile, laugh, giggle silently or guffaw out loud though I suspect a lot of it went over my head, as usual. I did start off writing down funny quotes but it was interrupting my reading having to pause so often.

‘Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.’

So: the major gods of Discworld live at Cori Celesti - but away from the Hub, on the outskirts of deserts or deep in marshes, people believe in small gods, linked to local waterholes and so on. And as the numbers of their followers grow, so does their status of these gods and their powers increase. Upon the belief in one such god, the Great God Om, is the city of Omnia sustained. And the novice priest Brutha (who has been a novice for many years and is likely to remain a novice for many more years) is one of his most fervent believers, having been brought up in a small village by his grandmother who instilled that belief deep in him.

His eighth prophet being scheduled to appear, the Great God Om descends to earth and takes the form of ... a one-eyed tortoise.

Now consider the tortoise ... It has about as good a turn of speed as you need to hunt down a lettuce.’

Who, having survived the fate once already, has a dread of being seized by an eagle and dropped from a great height.

‘Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off.’

Actually, Brutha is probably Om's only true believer; fortunately, the eagle drops the Great God Om (as a tortoise) into Brutha's garden. And so events are set in motion.

Om, being arrogant in his power, has a tendency to lose his temper easily...

'Om lost his temper and turned Lu-Tze into a lowly worm in the deepest cesspit of hell, and then got even more angry when the old man went on peacefully shovelling.

'The devils of infinity fill your living bones with sulphur!' he screamed.

This did not make a great deal of difference.'

... but unfortunately (or not) his stock is rather low at the moment. The problem is that religion in the great city of Omnia is all show and no substance.

We also meet Vorbis who is in charge of the Quisition and is effectively in charge of Omnia's priesthood (and thereby, Omnia) and who has a Trump-like tendency to believe the lies he tells others to believe. He hears about the heresy that proposes that the Discworld is supported on the back of four elephant which stand on the shell of a giant turtle which is slowly swimming through space when all good Omnians know that the world is round and revolves around its pole.

And so with this cast of characters we travel to Ephebe where philosophers congregate and where the second greatest library on Discworld is situated - before it was burned down.

I confess, I didn’t digest Small Gods in one sitting. But the plot zigs and zags in unexpected ways, none of which I foresaw. Of course, everything works out happily, thanks in no small part to Lu-Tze the history monk (based on Lao Tse the philosopher, according to the Discworld wiki), who is there to observe events, otherwise they would just be random happenings.

And Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler’s distant relative, Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off-Diblah, makes an appearance or several. Necessarily, so does Death.

This book was absolutely hilarious in spots, funny in others, satirical in some and just narrative in parts.

4 stars ( )
  humouress | Jan 23, 2019 |
The first time that Pratchett makes it clear that he's a genius of literature, not just of comic fantasy. (Or maybe makes it clear that those can be the same thing). Yes, a turtle is a main character. Exploring the deepest parts of human nature, with jokes. ( )
  jonsweitzerlamme | Nov 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (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 (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ittekot, VenugopalanTranslatorsecondary 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
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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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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.

» see all 9 descriptions

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