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Small Gods (1992)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,513151493 (4.17)304
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 by Neil Gaiman (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the necessity of belief.
  2. 40
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (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 (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.
  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 304 mentions

English (141)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Polish (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
One of my favourite Discworld novels. Pratchett at his best: lots of wordplay and other fun, yet with many serious topics and notions lurking underneath. Hilarious yet at the same time a dire warning about the possible dangers of organised religion, or indeed any ideology. ( )
  Stravaiger64 | May 31, 2021 |
This is one of the most enjoyable of the standalone Discworld novels and it's a good place to start if you want to get a feel for Pratchett's style and general themes without having to first invest in established characters and places. ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
Brutha and Om hang out. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Terry Pratchett takes on organized religion. Good stuff. ( )
  unsquare | Feb 16, 2021 |
Two or three stars? Many readers like(d) this Discworld novel, and I had good hopes that I would like it too, considering I (very) much liked the previous eight novels I've read so far. But I can't say whether it was my mood or the writing itself or something else that made it hard for me to get into the story.

Already from the start I had difficulty imagining it all, linking persons and events. I'm a visual kind of person: when I read, I try to imagine how the characters look, what the environment is like, etcetera. With 'Small Gods', Pratchett's magic never kicked in, if I may say/write so.

There are two reviews I largely agree with: Tim's and Sam's. They go into detail about what they thought was good and not (so) good. Chris's detailed review is also very good, but we differ in liking: he liked the story very much, I didn't.

For me, one of the problems was: lack of humour like in the previous novels. Like I wrote, the magic never kicked in. Not even Death was likeable or as likeable as in [b:Mort|828352|Mort (Discworld, #4)|Terry Pratchett|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327866639s/828352.jpg|1857065], [b:Reaper Man|833424|Reaper Man (Discworld #11)|Terry Pratchett|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1473122828s/833424.jpg|1796454], [b:Hogfather|797189|Hogfather (Discworld, #20)|Terry Pratchett|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1306814220s/797189.jpg|583655], ... The turtle - sorry, tortoise - Om (a god, Brutha's God) was a nice character, but in the last pages he got a bit tedious. He also made me think: well, use an animal and it can be funny or more attractive. Would it have been a human character, a lot of the "magic" would be lost and the story would be dull, in my opinion.

Another problem, I found: the succession of events. At some point this happens, then all of a sudden something else happens and other characters are added. Wait? Did I read too fast? Was there a passage that explained the change? Where did these characters suddenly come from?

Around page 259 - maybe he was "preaching" against religion, maybe he intended it to be otherwise, I don't know - Pratchett's writing got more serious, as if one a crusade against religion or believing. Like Richard Dawkins has the habit of doing in his quest of "atheists are the best". There I saw a different Pratchett, not the one from previous novels, which I liked more. But again, maybe Pratchett intended the story or passage to be different from just preaching about the evils of religion or mankind fooling itself over and over again (as in: history repeats itself).

To cut things short: this was the first Discworld novel I didn't really like and had a hard time ploughing through. Ergo: not recommended. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (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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First words
Now consider the tortoise and the eagle.
Quotations
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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