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Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
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Small Gods (original 1992; edition 1992)

by Terry Pratchett

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8,435112366 (4.17)240
Member:midgetbob
Title:Small Gods
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Gollancz (1992), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
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Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (1992)

Recently added bybenderca, schesser, Xeyra, coffeeNoSugar, m.scroggins, gchcoisne, private library, Steven.Witmer, mhaar
  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 (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 240 mentions

English (101)  Spanish (3)  Polish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (109)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
I LOVE this book. Probably my favourite Discworld after Thief of Time. Well worth a reread. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Jan 30, 2016 |
I LOVE this book. Probably my favourite Discworld after Thief of Time. Well worth a reread. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
I LOVE this book. Probably my favourite Discworld after Thief of Time. Well worth a reread. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
4.5
'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.' ( )
  Irena. | Jan 28, 2016 |
This was one of Terry Pratchett's earlier books, and not really one of my favourites - but they're all worth re-reading every so often, and one like this is good for half an hour every evening for a week or so.

It's an interesting premise: that there are many gods, whose power is determined by the number of people who believe in them. And, indeed, this 'fact' that readers are aware of is considered a heresy by the religious elite of Omnia, where the great god Om is considered all-powerful, and the world considered to be a globe. Unfortunately there are so many rules and regulations, and so many punishments, that the 'Quisition' is in charge of the country, and very few people actually believe in Om.

The book is about Brutha, a very naive novice with a photographic memory, who may be the last remaining believer in Om.
There's a sort of personal pilgrimage for Brutha, a more straightforward plot than is usual for Pratchet, and a lot of satirical references to the damage that religions have done over the years, and a few amusing one-liners.

No doubt some Christians would be offended by this book (and indeed those of other religions) but I don't see why we shouldn't laugh at ourselves, and see the many problems that some supposedly religious folk have created over the years. There's a clear contrast between true faith and legalism, even if the 'real' gods are caricatured and rather silly, and much to think about.

So... good for a light read; a stand-alone Discworld novel which doesn't include any characters who appear elsewhere (other than Death, and a variation on Dibbler the salesman). Quite amusing in places and worth having in any Discworld collection. But not one of the very best. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (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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Epigraph
[None]
Dedication
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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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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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