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Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods (original 1992; edition 1992)

by Terry Pratchett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,274101379 (4.17)233
Title:Small Gods
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Gollancz (1992), Hardcover
Collections:Your library

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 233 mentions

English (93)  Spanish (3)  Polish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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 |
The divine order of Discworld is put under the microscope by Terry Pratchett in “Small Gods” as we follow focus of Omnian religion, the Great God Om, and his only believer, Brutha. Pratchett takes on not only organized religion, but also atheism, philosophy, and how militaries find a new technology and turn it into a killing machine.

The main story of the book is about the once powerful Om, who once had thousands upon thousands of followers but now only has one, Brutha. Both Om and Brutha discover that while many claim to be worshipping Om, they don’t believe in him because their religious experience is basically the rituals of the Church. These rituals are alright to one Vorbis, Head of the Quisition (the Omnian version of the Inquisition). Vorbis thinks only fundamentally about religion and not belief, just like Brutha’s grandmother does which if he succeeds means that Om will find himself cast into the desert with other failed gods. All the while, many professed Omnians believe that their world is not a sphere circling the sun but a flat disc on top of four elephants standing on top of a turtle moving through space. These atheists have their own plans, especially after discovering the creator of their philosophy who seems to be put off by the whole semi-religious movement based on his writings of fact.

This Discworld installment does not seem as humorous has previous books, however because “Small Gods” is satire Pratchett’s humor is more finally tuned to suit the genre. Its only after you’ve read the book that you get the overall metaphysical discussion Pratchett has just had with you in a fun way. ( )
  mattries37315 | Jun 21, 2015 |
I have a love/hate r'ship with the Discworld books.
I enjoy every encounter I have with Rincewind, the Luggage, and the Librarian.
Carrot is mildly interesting
Bits of concepts throughout the series are clever.
Pretty much the rest of the characters, and books, annoy and/or frustrate me. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Small Gods is the thirteenth Discworld book, but it stands alone and can be read independently. Pretty much the only reoccurring character to make an appearance is Death, since Small Gods is set before the events in the other novels.

Brutha is a simple novice hoeing melons when his god Om speaks to him in the form of a tortoise, a form he’s been stuck in for three years. You see, on the Discworld, gods are created when people believe in them, and no one really believes in Om. They believe in the artifice – the buildings, the ritual, and the Quisition – but nobody believes in Om himself, except for Brutha.

Small Gods is rather obviously a satirical take on religion, but it manages to satirize without ever being mean spirited, a real accomplishment. Small Gods is also one of the deepest Discworld novels. Here, Pratchett has a lot to say on the nature of belief and humanity.

The story centers around Brutha and Om, and the two characters work very well together. Over the course of the book, they both come to grow and change, learning more about the world.

“Om began to feel the acute depression that steals over every realist in the presence of an optimist.”

Small Gods is also one of the darker Discworld books. While still hilariously funny, this is a book that contains the Quisition, torturers who “purify” the unfaithful. The main villain, Vorbis, head of the Quisition, is undoubtedly evil, but what makes him frightening is how he shapes the people around him.

All in all, Small Gods is an excellent book. I know many people consider it to be the best Discworld novel, and I can’t say they’re wrong. I highly recommend it.

Originally posted on the The Illustrated Page. ( )
1 vote pwaites | Apr 9, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (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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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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