Hot Best Seller

ANNALES DU DISQUE-MONDE (LES) T.13 : LES PETITS DIEUX

Availability: Ready to download

Just because you can't explain it, doesn't mean it's a miracle.' Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who come in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one's presence felt. And it's certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in Just because you can't explain it, doesn't mean it's a miracle.' Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who come in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one's presence felt. And it's certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in the form of a tortoise, a manifestation far below god-like status in anyone's book. In such instances, you need an acolyte, and fast. Preferably one who won't ask too many questions...


Compare

Just because you can't explain it, doesn't mean it's a miracle.' Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who come in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one's presence felt. And it's certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in Just because you can't explain it, doesn't mean it's a miracle.' Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who come in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one's presence felt. And it's certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in the form of a tortoise, a manifestation far below god-like status in anyone's book. In such instances, you need an acolyte, and fast. Preferably one who won't ask too many questions...

30 review for ANNALES DU DISQUE-MONDE (LES) T.13 : LES PETITS DIEUX

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This was the first Pratchett book I read, and I'm glad of it. While it has the humor and satire that is inherent in all of the Discworld books, it also has something else - something to say. It was evident, even from the first time I read this book, that Pratchett had put some real heavy thinking into it. This book is, as the title suggests, about gods. Where do they come from? Where do they go? What keeps them moving? Ordinarily, gods don't like this sort of question. People who think are not wh This was the first Pratchett book I read, and I'm glad of it. While it has the humor and satire that is inherent in all of the Discworld books, it also has something else - something to say. It was evident, even from the first time I read this book, that Pratchett had put some real heavy thinking into it. This book is, as the title suggests, about gods. Where do they come from? Where do they go? What keeps them moving? Ordinarily, gods don't like this sort of question. People who think are not what gods look for in followers. Gods want people who believe. That's where their power comes from. Gods with many believers are stong, great gods. Armies of priests and worshipers attend to their every needs, the sacrifices are plentiful and their dominion is vast. A great God wants for nothing. A god with no believers, however, is a small god, a mindless thought blistering through the firmament, searching with single-minded fervor for one thing: a believer. What happens, then, when a Great God finds out that, while he wasn't looking, he lost all of his believers? That's the thrust of this tale, the story of the Great God Om and how he became a tortoise for three years. It's about the difference between what is real and what is believed in, and how much difference that can make at times. It's about fundamental and trivial truths, and how to tell them apart. It's about eagles and tortoises and how much they need each other. Above all, it's something of, in my opinion, a statement of faith. Many people ask me if I am religious, and I tell them no. That's partly due to this book and the thinking that it made me do. Spiritual? Sure. Religious? No. This is, as I said, the story of the Great God Om, who discovered, about 300 feet above the ground, that he had been a tortoise for the last three years. Before this mid-air revelation he had been just chewing at melons and wondering where the next lettuce patch was. Suddenly, all the self-awareness of a Great God was put into his head, as well as the knowledge that he was probably about to die. Om had intended to manifest as a bull or a pillar of fire - something much more majestic and Godly - but for some reason, that hadn't worked. He had become a tortoise. Now, in the presence of Brutha, a novice in the Church of the Great God Om, the god remembers who he was, and discovers that he's in a lot of trouble. The Church of the Great God Om. There's something to talk about. Many people believe, upon reading it, that it's an allegory for the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The Omnian Church permits no heresy. It permits no sin, no disbelief. Violating the precepts of Om and His Prophets can lead to death, in a lingering and painful manner. The Quisition cannot be wrong, for was it not Om Himself who put suspicion into their minds? It's a tactic that has been used by many religions over the years, often to justify acts that they know their god would not approve of. I don't believe that Pratchett was trying to take a stab at the Catholics in this book. It's just an unfortunate coincidence that the Omnians and the Catholics bear a few points of similarity. A rigid hierarchy, for example. A penchant at one point or another for extracting confessions by any means necessary is another. It's all very efficient and effective. There's a problem, though, as is pointed out by Brutha late in the book: if you beat a donkey with a stick long enough, the stick becomes all that the donkey believes in. At that point, neither gods nor believers benefit. The only people benefiting are those wielding the stick. Instead of becoming a tool for inspiration, the church becomes a tool for terror. People do not obey their god out of love - they obey their church out of fear. This is the kind of church that could produce the Deacon Vorbis, head of the Exquisitors. He is one of those men who would turn the world on its back, just to see what would happen. He is everything that is wrong with the Church and, unfortunately, it seems that he is in line to be the Eighth Prophet. In other words, Omnia is not a nice place to live. Its church is vast, its god is small, and neighboring nations want to take it down a few pegs. It's up to Brutha and his God to change the course of history. As I said, there was a lot of thought put into this novel, as well as Pratchett's usual hidden research. For example, Brutha is called a "Great dumb ox" by his classmates, due to his size and apparent lack of intellect. The same epithet was thrown at Thomas Aquinas by his classmates, and he was canonized less than a century after his death. Like Aquinas, Brutha is not dumb. He is simply slow and careful in how he thinks, and his measured pace leads him far more surely to the truth than the hot-headed and passionate men who march with him. Some people read this book as an attack on religion. Others see it as a defense of personal faith. I think Terry had a story to tell, and perhaps a point to make. The beauty of books such as these is that they can be whatever you want them to be. For me, it came as a kind of defense of gods. Humans, the book suggests, need gods. Now there is a growing atheist community out there who disagree with that idea, and I can definitely see where they're coming from. As I've said many times, I'm not entirely sold on the god idea yet. But the gods that are rampant in the Discworld aren't the kinds of gods that the atheists and the true believers fight over - the omnipotent creator of Everything. They are gods who are controlled by humans, who exist with humans in a kind of co-dependent relationship. Humans need gods, and gods need humans. In its way, this kind of theology makes gods more... realistic to me. I can't say for sure whether a god or gods exist, but if they did, I think I could live with this kind of arrangement. What this book definitely is, in any case, is good. Very good. If you haven't read it, do so. If you have read it, do yourself a favor and read it again. --------------------------------------------------- "Around the Godde there forms a Shelle of prayers and Ceremonies and Buildings and Priestes and Authority, until at Laste the Godde Dies. Ande this maye notte be noticed." - from the writings of the philosopher Abraxis, Small Gods ---------------------------------------------------

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalia Yaneva

    Bulgarian review below/Ревюто на български е по-долу “YOU HAVE PERHAPS HEARD THE PHRASE, he said, THAT HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE?” “Yes. Yes, of course.” Death nodded. “IN TIME, he said, YOU WILL LEARN THAT IT IS WRONG.” It makes you contemplate so many things. Beyond religion too. There were so many passages when I was musing ‘It’s like this thought has sprung out of my head but it’s written a hundred times better than I would have said it’. The book is a splendid metaphor for religion. All gods are small Bulgarian review below/Ревюто на български е по-долу “YOU HAVE PERHAPS HEARD THE PHRASE, he said, THAT HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE?” “Yes. Yes, of course.” Death nodded. “IN TIME, he said, YOU WILL LEARN THAT IT IS WRONG.” It makes you contemplate so many things. Beyond religion too. There were so many passages when I was musing ‘It’s like this thought has sprung out of my head but it’s written a hundred times better than I would have said it’. The book is a splendid metaphor for religion. All gods are small until you believe in them. Until you are the one that allows them to grow. God is not some vague anthropomorphic manifestation, it’s not an incarnation of all your fears and the absolution of all your sins, and it’s not the institution that pretends it toils in the name of His glory. It’s not even the small turtle which have suddenly lost all its followers. You are God. No, you are not ordinary. You are as grand as you believe. And you are capable of as much as you believe. End of story. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ „– МОЖЕ БИ СИ ЧУВАЛ ИЗРАЗА, ЧЕ АДЪТ – ТОВА СА ДРУГИТЕ ХОРА? – Да, да, разбира се. Смърт кимна. – С ВРЕМЕТО – рече той – ЩЕ РАЗБЕРЕШ, ЧЕ НЕ Е ПРАВИЛЕН.“ Кара те да се замисляш за твърде много неща. И извън религията. На толкова места се удивлявах „Това все едно е моя мисъл, но е написано стотици пъти по-добре, отколкото бих го казала аз“. Книгата е великолепна метафора на религията. Всички боговете са малки, докато не повярваш в тях. Докато не им позволиш ти самият да пораснат. Бог не е някакво смътно антропоморфно проявление, не е инкарнацията на всичките ти страхове и опрощението на всичките ти грехове, не е и институцията, която умело се прави, че неуморно работи в Негова възхвала. Не е дори малката костенурка, която ненадейно е изгубила последователите си. Бог си ти. Не, ти не си обикновен. Ти си толкова, колкото вярваш. И можеш толкова, колкото вярваш. Точка.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    One of Pratchett’s best Discworld novels. Pratchett delivers a brilliant parody of religion in this early (the 13th) standalone. In the land of Omnia, the great god Om is worshiped and all who don’t are subject to the Quisition – a satire of the political/theological Inquisition. His high priest Vorbis controls all with fear of holy retribution. But is it Om or his religion that controls? The great god Om has a problem. Historically taking the shape of animals like bulls or majestic predators, he f One of Pratchett’s best Discworld novels. Pratchett delivers a brilliant parody of religion in this early (the 13th) standalone. In the land of Omnia, the great god Om is worshiped and all who don’t are subject to the Quisition – a satire of the political/theological Inquisition. His high priest Vorbis controls all with fear of holy retribution. But is it Om or his religion that controls? The great god Om has a problem. Historically taking the shape of animals like bulls or majestic predators, he finds himself stuck in the shape of a tortoise. Seems no one actually believes in him. The citizens of Omnia are more fearful of his autocratic sect that him as a god. While Neil Gaiman explored this theme better in his archetypal novel American Gods, Pratchett also has some fun with the idea that a god exists because of the number of people who believe. In Small Gods, only lowly novice Brutha truly believes in Om and Pratchett fashions a story around the strange relationship between the two. Featuring Pratchett’s signature humor and superb writing, Discworld fans will also enjoy time with Lu-Tze, The Librarian, Death, very likable protagonist Brutha and the introduction of the Diogenes like philosopher Didactylos. This scathing satire on religion is one of his darker Discworld outings but also one of his best.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Smartarse

    The high and mighty Om, has been stuck as a tortoise for over three years now. Odd really that this should happen with a country full of zealous believers at His disposal. They're devout enough to wage war in His name... yet can't hear his request for more lettuce leaves. Well, except for Brutha, the most simple-minded of them all. In dire need of protection from non-believing eagles, our tiny little Om-as-a-tortoise will take what He can get, where He can get it. As diplomatic destinations go, o The high and mighty Om, has been stuck as a tortoise for over three years now. Odd really that this should happen with a country full of zealous believers at His disposal. They're devout enough to wage war in His name... yet can't hear his request for more lettuce leaves. Well, except for Brutha, the most simple-minded of them all. In dire need of protection from non-believing eagles, our tiny little Om-as-a-tortoise will take what He can get, where He can get it. As diplomatic destinations go, one could do much worse than Ephebe, home to a vast number of thinkers, and the occasional brilliant invention. Small Gods was not particularly high up on my Discworld (re)read list: more like a task to be ticked off, on the way to more interesting books. Something that I could see being useful to open other people's eyes about organized religion. I, for one, have already done the -"fervent little believer, who worries that the kindly God has seen her eye her (procrastinated) chores on Sundays" or the - "spiteful atheist who will strive to insert twice as many mean-spirited remarks as anyone else into all her interactions with the devout" only to become an - "occasional eye-roller and constant exasperated sigher". ...and I did it all in heels. Oh OK, they were wedges... but my point (ha!) stands. I've done it already, felt sufficiently ashamed of it, and it was now time to turn to more practical pursuits. But then little by little, the characters started to grow on me, and I suddenly found myself so hooked that I devoured the whole book within a day! While the Quisition department's tortures, the mindless religious bigotry, and power hungry coups d'état all left me in various states of disgust, when the narrative perspective would switch to Brutha, I was ready to swing my metaphorical pom-poms his way. Brutha's simple-minded yet thoughtful way of believing was so touching, especially because I was expecting him to do a 180 character change with each of his fervently held beliefs that came crashing down. Having recently finished a children's book whose "love thy enemies" message left me utterly nonplussed, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself earnestly hoping that Brutha's kindness would eventually pay off, even though I would've been happy to have the main antagonist drop dead at any moment. Score: 4.8/5 stars I have to admit that I did end up skimming through some of the more philosophical passages, in favor of the more action-packed scenes, but all in all I can't say I was ever bored. As a matter of fact I even cried at the climactic moment, which is highly unusual for me. P.S. Fans of Carpe Jugulum should definitely read this, in order to have a better understanding of the legends surrounding the prophet Brutha.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    One of the Discworld novels that doesn't belong to any character sub-series, Small Gods is nevertheless one of the best ones I've read so far. Terry Pratchett was a humanist. That is to say, he wasn't religious. He apparently distinguished between religion (as in: religious institutions such as The Church) and faith (as in: what people believe in their own hearts and minds) and was especially critical of the former. I'm much the same. Personally, I find religion silly, period. It has had its plac One of the Discworld novels that doesn't belong to any character sub-series, Small Gods is nevertheless one of the best ones I've read so far. Terry Pratchett was a humanist. That is to say, he wasn't religious. He apparently distinguished between religion (as in: religious institutions such as The Church) and faith (as in: what people believe in their own hearts and minds) and was especially critical of the former. I'm much the same. Personally, I find religion silly, period. It has had its place in the evolution of mankind, surely, but not nowadays. And yet ... look around. I keep hearing people talk about "all the good" this or that person or institution is doing for religious reasons and maybe some are, but they are not the norm and many do it for ulterior reasons anyway (e.g. wanting to get recognition for what they are doing or being afraid of some form of hell or whatever). This and more are points Sir Terry is addressing in this book as well. We meet Brutha, a novice in the temple of the Great God Om. The problem? Well, for starters, Brutha might be honest to a fault and have an impeccable memory but he also just wants peace - which he is unlikely to get to enjoy since he's been chosen as the new Prophet. And then there is the tiny problem of The Great God Om, who is speaking to Brutha, currently being trapped in the body of a cute little tortoise. In a world full of gods and saints and whatnot, with almost everyone believing something else, they have to find a way to restore Om to His Former Glory and, possibly, make things a little better in Brutha's home country and some neighbouring ones as well. Authoritarian systems, the Discworld version of the Inquisition, gods, saints, demons, lions, eagles, philosophers, priests and some mysterious monks safeguarding history. The reader gets a wide cast of characters that are all tragically funny and always spot-on when it comes to condemning (wilfull) ignorance and promoting free will. Pratchett nails it with his snarky and bone-dry observations on religious upbringing (I should know because despite being an atheist/humanist, I was born into a Roman Catholic family). In his signature funny and light way, he shows how these oppressive systems work (often so that those trapped in them don't even realize it). Moreover, he makes valid points such as that either you do nice / good things because you want to and because it's the right thing to do or you shouldn't bother. However, despite all that, the book is never preachy (see what I did there? ;P) or boring. On the contrary, the mad romp through several hitherto unseen countries on the disc was delightful and fast-paced and I was constantly laughing about the clumsiness and bad luck of Om and Brutha.

  6. 5 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    Winning in Heaven Pratchett at his theological best: there are many gods, varying in size and power depending on the numbers who believe in them. The obvious theological/economic issue which then arises is 'How does a small god survive?' Stiff competition calls for creative solutions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    The trouble with being a god is that you've got no one to pray to. What good is being a god when you're stuck in the body of a lowly tortoise, and your only follower is an uneducated melon-hoer? Yep, it sucks to be Om. Now, imagine poor Brutha's disappointment. One day he's quietly minding his melons, the next he's on some wild adventure with a smart ass tortoise who insists he's a god, even though THIS god is NOTHING like the prophets said he would be! For one thing, he doesn't have horns; for ano The trouble with being a god is that you've got no one to pray to. What good is being a god when you're stuck in the body of a lowly tortoise, and your only follower is an uneducated melon-hoer? Yep, it sucks to be Om. Now, imagine poor Brutha's disappointment. One day he's quietly minding his melons, the next he's on some wild adventure with a smart ass tortoise who insists he's a god, even though THIS god is NOTHING like the prophets said he would be! For one thing, he doesn't have horns; for another, this so-called god can't even remember MEETING the prophets. The Prophet Hashimi!" "Never met the man!" "Oh? Oh? So I suppose you didn't give him the Book of Creation, then?" "What Book of Creation?" "You mean you don't know?" "No!" "Then who gave it to him?" "I don't know! Perhaps he wrote it himself!" Whoa! A blasphemous god! You don't meet one of those every day! These little exchanges between Om and Brutha are priceless. "Opened my eyes...my eye...and I was a tortoise." "Why?" "How should I know? I don't know!" lied the tortoise. "But you...you're omnicognisant," said Brutha. "That doesn't mean I know everything." Brutha bit his lip. "Um. Yes. It does." I've always had a fondness for characters who are forced to hold conversations with entities that no one else can see. Hilarity frequently ensues, as everyone else assumes you're talking to yourself, and therefore, just a bit batty. (Does anyone besides me remember My Partner the Ghost?) This is not Pratchett's funniest book, but there's still a lot to love here. Just about everyone and every thing is mocked, and that's always good for us all. I'll let Brutha have the final word. "You know, I used to think I was stupid, and then I met philosophers." Amen, Brother Brutha.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I'm upping my ranking from a four to a five just because this tickled me much better the second time around. :) Re-read from about 15 years ago, and somehow more satisfying now than it was then. Why? Om... I don't know... :) Flying turtles kinda rock my world. This is a total Moses coming out of the desert kind of tale, only the GREAT GOD OM is a tiny turtle with only one believer and the kid is kinda hopeless, but a god's gotta do what a god's gotta do. Get Believers. On DISCWORLD. So yeah, it's I'm upping my ranking from a four to a five just because this tickled me much better the second time around. :) Re-read from about 15 years ago, and somehow more satisfying now than it was then. Why? Om... I don't know... :) Flying turtles kinda rock my world. This is a total Moses coming out of the desert kind of tale, only the GREAT GOD OM is a tiny turtle with only one believer and the kid is kinda hopeless, but a god's gotta do what a god's gotta do. Get Believers. On DISCWORLD. So yeah, it's kindof a mess, traveling from the city of believers who don't believe in anything, to the city of philosophers who believe in ignorance, to the deep desert where there are a bunch of destitute almost-ex-gods who've seen much, much better days. The humor is the best part. Of course. I mean, it IS Pratchett. So glad I got to re-read this one in particular. Religion has a really huge target painted on its back. And people. Especially people. :)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    "It's not my fault if people misuse the--" "It is. It has to be! If you muck up people's minds just because you want them to believe in you, what they do is all your fault." Fun, fun, fun. I loved the premise of what happens to small gods; gods that either lose their followers or only had a few to begin with? Om is such a god with only one believer left. Ignominy and the dire consequences of losing one's last devotee leads to much elbow shoving and jockeying. But no tortoise had ever been a god, "It's not my fault if people misuse the--" "It is. It has to be! If you muck up people's minds just because you want them to believe in you, what they do is all your fault." Fun, fun, fun. I loved the premise of what happens to small gods; gods that either lose their followers or only had a few to begin with? Om is such a god with only one believer left. Ignominy and the dire consequences of losing one's last devotee leads to much elbow shoving and jockeying. But no tortoise had ever been a god, and knew the unwritten motto of the Quisition: Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum. This tickled me silly. Absolutely irreverent and utterly amusing. VI. This is Religion, Boy. Not Comparison Bloody Shopping! You Shall Not Subject Your God to Market Forces! My thanks to BlackOxford's enticing review and question answering. My first Pratchett, and definitely not my last.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    My second read and I like it even more. This extremely cleaver religious satire is one of the top Pratchett's work as organized religion becomes target of his wit and cynicism.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    There are some single/non-series in Discworld novels, that not included in Watch, Rincewind, or other sub-series in Discworld. In my opinion Small Gods is the BEST single Discworld novel. With single novel, the character growth aspect is more significant than the series. The main premise of this novel is the relationships between gods, believers, and organized religion. Oh yeah, with that kind of premise, you can find some philosophical witty and wise words here and there on novel. My favourite as There are some single/non-series in Discworld novels, that not included in Watch, Rincewind, or other sub-series in Discworld. In my opinion Small Gods is the BEST single Discworld novel. With single novel, the character growth aspect is more significant than the series. The main premise of this novel is the relationships between gods, believers, and organized religion. Oh yeah, with that kind of premise, you can find some philosophical witty and wise words here and there on novel. My favourite aspect of this novel that made me rated this book as 5 star: conflicts between main protagonist and antagonist. Without much spoiler, in my opinion the conflict is unique, and as far as I know the author did not use similar plots in author's other stories.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    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 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.'

  13. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    “Words are the litmus paper of the mind. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word “commence” in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say “Enter,” don’t stop to pack.” Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books are always pleasant to return to every now and then. I am not a hardcore fan that would have already devoured all 40+ books by now, I am more of a casual fan that likes to dip into the series now and then; to soak up Sir Terry’s witticisms. Small Gods is “Words are the litmus paper of the mind. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word “commence” in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say “Enter,” don’t stop to pack.” Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books are always pleasant to return to every now and then. I am not a hardcore fan that would have already devoured all 40+ books by now, I am more of a casual fan that likes to dip into the series now and then; to soak up Sir Terry’s witticisms. Small Gods is one of the most popular Discworld books (I googled) generally included in fans’ top 5 and often placed at the top. Another wonderful Discworld cover art by Josh Kirby (click image to enlarge) Small Gods is basically only about one such god, called Om, and his single believer Brutha. Interestingly Om has plenty of worshippers and his own Omnian religion, the trouble is all but one of these worshipers really believe in him. As a god’s power is based on the number of believers, when Om manifests in the mortal realm he finds himself in the form of a tortoise with no godly powers and discovers that he only has one believer. Somehow Om must find more believers or be stuck in a tortoise body forever. Small Gods is a delightful read, it is charming, funny and even somewhat profound. Pratchett sends up religions, and certain types of religious people, the zealots, the supposedly pious, the alleged true believers, etc. However, he does so in his usual witty, good-natured way; no reasonable person should be offended by this book. This book is more than just satire, Pratchett is inviting us to look at human nature, the self-interest and the oppression of others under the guise of organized religion; all in the name of a god they don’t believe in. This sounds terribly serious but Pratchett uses humour to convey his underlying themes. There is something comical going on in every page, the characters are magnificently drawn and develop, and the dialogue sparkles. While the Discworld books are always funny, I think that an uninitiated reader should not expect them to be laugh-a-thon, side-splitting joke fests. This is not how these books work. Pratchett’s tends to rely more on witticism, clever satires and spoofing human nature. I have never met anyone who read Discworld books and do not like them, but then I have not met everybody in the world so I suppose such persons exist. Read Small Gods and avoid being one of them. Note: The Discworld series is mostly made up of sub-series, each one follows the adventures of a regular protagonist and their supporting characters. However, Small Gods is one of the rare “standalones” in the series, the main characters do not appear in another novel (as far as I know). Quotes: “Words are the litmus paper of the mind. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word “commence” in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say “Enter,” don’t stop to pack” “You couldn’t put off the inevitable. Because sooner or later, you reached the place when the inevitable just went and waited.” “We get that in here some nights, when someone’s had a few. Cosmic speculation about whether gods really exist. Next thing, there’s a bolt of lightning through the roof with a note wrapped around it saying ‘Yes, we do’ and a pair of sandals with smoke coming out. That sort of thing, it takes all the interest out of metaphysical speculation.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group. Yet another in an absolutely golden run of Discworld novels (Reaper Man, Witches Abroad, Small Gods, Lords and Ladies, Men at Arms ... the series never again has as many unreservedly brilliant books in a row). A small country on the Circle Sea, Omnia is a religious theocracy dedicated to the worship of the great god Om and the whole country is eagerly awaiting the appearance of the next Prophet of Om. Meanwhile, the real people in p Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group. Yet another in an absolutely golden run of Discworld novels (Reaper Man, Witches Abroad, Small Gods, Lords and Ladies, Men at Arms ... the series never again has as many unreservedly brilliant books in a row). A small country on the Circle Sea, Omnia is a religious theocracy dedicated to the worship of the great god Om and the whole country is eagerly awaiting the appearance of the next Prophet of Om. Meanwhile, the real people in power, mid-level officials in the Church, are waging war on various other of the countries around the Circle Sea. Brutha is a novice of the Omnian church working in the temple gardens one day when the great god Om begins talking to him. Only Om isn't so great: he's actually a tortoise whom only Brutha can hear. Brutha soon comes to the attention of the Church Quisition and the Head Exquisitor Vorbis, and gets involved in a mission to neighboring Ephebe and their "democracy" and weird relationship with philosophers. Pratchett was a secular humanist and had quite a lot to say about religion through his life. Here is one of the more specific places that he addresses religion (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch is another, and in both cases he's got quite a lot to say, some of it negative. A lot of it really appreciative of the good works that religious organizations can perform, but there's also warnings about where and how their works can be turned to evil. And like a lot of Pratchett's writing, the difference comes down to the fundamental goodness of good people. Ther's a lot in this book made of how Vorbis's true evil is how he can make others think like him, doing evil reflexively. Less is made of Brutha's influence, notably on Om in particular, working to make others think like him and be fundamentally decent. One of the best books in the series in my opinion, and nothing about the reread has changed my thoughts on that.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Milda Page Runner

    'Intellectually amused emotionally detached' best describes my relationship with T.Pratchett. This book made me realise that despite my love for humour, humour by itself is not enough – I need an engaging story and characters I could care for as well. Unfortunately this story didn’t hook me in and I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. Whenever I left the book I had no urge to come back to it. Humour on the other hand is brilliant! Clever witty cynical ironic – you name it. What it does to re 'Intellectually amused emotionally detached' best describes my relationship with T.Pratchett. This book made me realise that despite my love for humour, humour by itself is not enough – I need an engaging story and characters I could care for as well. Unfortunately this story didn’t hook me in and I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. Whenever I left the book I had no urge to come back to it. Humour on the other hand is brilliant! Clever witty cynical ironic – you name it. What it does to religion is both hilarious and very brave. And that’s coming from non-religious person from non-religious family with non-religious friends. Some brilliant ideas out there. Since I had similar experience with the Good Omens - regretfully I have to admit that Pratchett’s writing is not for me. I think I would enjoy him more in a short story format or perhaps reading in fragments along some other more gripping book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alfred Haplo

    Where does it begin? A simple question with complex answers, and they are all correct. Everything starts somewhere. For the monk, Lu Tze, History began before his time and his task was to preserve it, more or less. For the God, Om, power began with a shepherd but real power had to be rebuilt from ground up… very closely from the ground. And for Brutha, the illiterate novice with the unquestioning belief? Questions began the day a tortoise appeared in the melon patch he was hoeing, but answers on Where does it begin? A simple question with complex answers, and they are all correct. Everything starts somewhere. For the monk, Lu Tze, History began before his time and his task was to preserve it, more or less. For the God, Om, power began with a shepherd but real power had to be rebuilt from ground up… very closely from the ground. And for Brutha, the illiterate novice with the unquestioning belief? Questions began the day a tortoise appeared in the melon patch he was hoeing, but answers only found him when he began to search his heart. As for all the other believers, whether true faith ever began is a more philosophical question. The answer is simplest, for this newcomer to Discworld, for my story began with Small Gods. Pick a time in Discworld and go back one hundred years to Omnia. Here, the religion of Om is king and The Word is the Law. The law is dictated by rituals, hierarchy, Books of Prophets and above all by Vorbis, the Exquisitor, whose word is religiously feared. After all, sheep follow where the shepherd goes, especially when prodded with a red hot iron staff and manacled at the ankles to one another. For one among them, Brutha, dumb as the ox, his blind faith would have meant a lifetime of subservience and placid calm behind walled gardens. But no, a tortoise had to drop from the sky and loudly declared himself Om as heard in the tiny voice of God in Brutha’s mind. When God speaks to you, and you only, there can be two reasons. Either you are mad, or everyone else is deaf. Metaphorically, of course. There was also, to Brutha and Om’s collective dismay, a far more remote, and much more heretical third reason - that God only has one true believer left to hear. From here on out, and not quite of their own volition, Brutha and Om embarked on a journey of self-discovery across stormy seas to a foreign land, and returned through the scorching desert. Novice and tortoise each bore a heavy burden on their backs, but with each step and from each other, man and God found enlightenment. Small Gods is a brilliant satire on organized religion with its mighty tentacles a stranglehold on humanity and freedom. Doctrines, be it science or religion, even philosophy are poked fun at, not with the intent to ridicule, I don’t think, but to gently challenge ingrained convictions. Personally, I took no offense at what might be considered as polemic but I could understand if it ruffled some feathers. Especially if you are an eagle bitten on the leg by your food. It is shocking at first, and painful too, but everything can be rationalized. Fear not, Small Gods is not all hellfire and brimstone (there was lightning aplenty, but no sulphur and DEATH did make cameos). It is Terry Pratchett, after all! Now, I cannot profess to knowing exactly what that means, since this is my first Pratchett, but I have it on good authority that he writes with a humorous turn of phrase, that is at once witty and cynical and warm. There is profound philosophical underpinning too, right beneath the comedic surface. The prose is accessible and even resembling beautiful at times, but it never takes itself too seriously unless it is seriously funny. Nothing I have read in Small Gods speaks to the contrary, so suffice to say, I am now a believer. Where does a newly convert go from here? Why, to the future, of course! (This might be an opportune moment for The Librarian to appear again). Roughly one hundred years from now to where it all really began with The Color of Magic, Discworld #1. See you there.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Hands-down my favorite DiscWorld novel. From the perfectly twisted and filigreed mind of Terry Pratchett we have a book that addresses why religion starts stupid and only gets dumber. And no religion is spared! Brutha is a child-like novice in his religious order, and he will never achieve anything more than novice status. Until one day his god literally falls from the sky and realizes that Brutha is the only person in his entire religion who actually *believes* and isn't just going through the mo Hands-down my favorite DiscWorld novel. From the perfectly twisted and filigreed mind of Terry Pratchett we have a book that addresses why religion starts stupid and only gets dumber. And no religion is spared! Brutha is a child-like novice in his religious order, and he will never achieve anything more than novice status. Until one day his god literally falls from the sky and realizes that Brutha is the only person in his entire religion who actually *believes* and isn't just going through the motions. This is a problem for the Great God Om, because a god's power is directly proportional to the number of his believers. Somehow Om has got to make Brutha the simpleton into a fire-breathing prophet, so people will BELIEVE again, and restore Om's power. Or else Om is doomed to returning to the desert, a wisp of a thought, banished with the other "Small Gods"...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Terry Pratchett's DISCWORLD series has been incredibly popular for many decades, starting from The Colour of Magic in 1983 all the way to installment #41 The Shepherd's Crown, published posthumously in 2015. Apparently he sold over 80 million copies in 37 languages over that span (thanks Wikipedia), so I hardly need to bring it to the attention of other readers. Rather, I'm a bit embarrassed that I am so incredibly late to the party. I actually remember getting the first few books in the series Terry Pratchett's DISCWORLD series has been incredibly popular for many decades, starting from The Colour of Magic in 1983 all the way to installment #41 The Shepherd's Crown, published posthumously in 2015. Apparently he sold over 80 million copies in 37 languages over that span (thanks Wikipedia), so I hardly need to bring it to the attention of other readers. Rather, I'm a bit embarrassed that I am so incredibly late to the party. I actually remember getting the first few books in the series in paperback in high school and really likely the incredibly busy and distinctive artwork of Josh Kirby on the cover of The Light Fantastic, and yet I never got around to reading it once I got to college. So over 20 years later, having just moved to London this year, and needing something fun to read after going through herniated disc surgery, I decided it was time to give it a try. Having done some checks of reviews, I knew that #13, Small Gods, was a stand-alone that was not just fun and whimsical, but actually was also a very intelligent examination of personal faith, fanaticism, and the dogmatism of religious institutions that have taken the place of real faith, to the point that the gods themselves dwindle to just a whisper on the breeze for lack of true believers. It is probably one of the most thoughtful examinations of what real belief is and the co-dependent nature of humans and gods. While it seems that humans invariably need gods to believe, according to Pratchett gods are equally dependent on human believers for survival, and their strength waxes and wanes depending on the number and fervor of their believers. Frankly, this explains the multitude of current and defunct religions of our world throughout human history FAR BETTER than any of those religions themselves do, as they cannot adequately explain how the world got by before their religion and prophets arose. So with tongue firmly in cheek and almost every other line rich with British humor and irony, Pratchett tells the story of the Great God Om, who finds himself a tortoise falling from the sky after being snatched up by an eagle, and landing in the courtyard of a temple devoted to him. He finds himself in the care of the simple-minded novice Brutha, who as it turns out is the only person in the sprawling organization who actually believes in him. Brutha then gets swept up in a series of adventures with Vorbis the Exquisitor, a ruthless and power-hungry man who has complete belief in the rightness of his own actions and who revels in torturing and "cleansing" non-believers. The various discussions of Brutha and Vorbis as they travel different lands and get entangled in a rebellion and religious war are the means by which Pratchett can pose a series of very simple but profound discussions on what religious faith is, and how it differs from a fanatical observance of forms and structures, and how gods can dwindle to nothing just as their religious institutions grow to the heights of power. It's a lot of food for thought, but extremely entertaining throughout, which is quite an accomplishment. Brutha is such an innocent and pious man that it doesn't even occur to him to question his church strictures until he sees Vorbis in action, and of course his many discussions with the hilariously snappish and ill-tempered god Om, who is not at all happy to be trapped in a tortoise body, fighting off thoughts of lettuce and melons. All told, it's a great entry point to the series, and now I have to figure out which books in the series to tackle next, either those focused on Rincewind, the witches, Death, the city watch, or the wizards. Lots to choose from, but I guess the simplest thing is to start at the beginning.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Celise

    “The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy but they were listening in gibberish.” Aaaah this one was really funny. And a good standalone/jumping in point if you aren't reading this series in any order. The Discworld is a flat disc-shaped world which rests on the backs of four elephants who are standing on the shell of a turtle that is slowly swimming through space (to not even the gods know where). Here we have the Omniam Church who believes in the Great God Om. Om has manifested himself “The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy but they were listening in gibberish.” Aaaah this one was really funny. And a good standalone/jumping in point if you aren't reading this series in any order. The Discworld is a flat disc-shaped world which rests on the backs of four elephants who are standing on the shell of a turtle that is slowly swimming through space (to not even the gods know where). Here we have the Omniam Church who believes in the Great God Om. Om has manifested himself in the world, much to his chagrin, in the form of a tortoise, and the only one who can hear him is a novice of the citadel, Brutha, because he is the only true believer. The rest of the priesthood only truly believes in the structure of their religion at this point. The church also believes that the world is round and that the sun revolves around it. Silly, right? Enter some philosophers spewing blasphemy about how the world is in fact flat and on the back of a turtle and you've got a tale as old as time but with a much funnier spin on it. I think this is possibly one of the funnier Discworld novel premises, though it's only the 13th one I've read and there are many more to go.

  20. 4 out of 5

    José

    Reseña en español en mi blog: Click aquí. Mis otras reseñas de Mundodisco en este enlace. One of the most satiric Discworld novels. Pratchett makes fun of the most retrograde aspects of religion (because who believes that the world is round when it's clearly a disc o top of a giant turtle?) in an extremely clever way. I don't think it is the ideal book to start reading Terry Pratchett though. The first half of the book is amazing and incredibly funny, but the second one was a bit slow for me becaus Reseña en español en mi blog: Click aquí. Mis otras reseñas de Mundodisco en este enlace. One of the most satiric Discworld novels. Pratchett makes fun of the most retrograde aspects of religion (because who believes that the world is round when it's clearly a disc o top of a giant turtle?) in an extremely clever way. I don't think it is the ideal book to start reading Terry Pratchett though. The first half of the book is amazing and incredibly funny, but the second one was a bit slow for me because it focuses too much in making fun of different aspects of religion and philosophy; it felt a bit disjointed for me, and it certainly would be confusing for someone who isn't familiar with Terry's particular style.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Olivier Delaye

    Peed my pants with this one, too! Witty and deep at the same time, and oh so true!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Esme

    This is sometimes recommended as a good starting place for people who are looking to enter into discworld. I would agree with this if you're the type of person who doesn't need to continue on with the same characters from one book to the other. If you're looking for the style of Pratchett, but you just want a taste without getting into any major character arcs and just want his wit and wisdom this is your book. The premise is that Gods only have as much power as the people allow - and this is a This is sometimes recommended as a good starting place for people who are looking to enter into discworld. I would agree with this if you're the type of person who doesn't need to continue on with the same characters from one book to the other. If you're looking for the style of Pratchett, but you just want a taste without getting into any major character arcs and just want his wit and wisdom this is your book. The premise is that Gods only have as much power as the people allow - and this is a central them throughout Discworld. The more people that believe in you as a God, the more powerful and well known you'll be. Another Discworld book with this theme would be Hogfather which focuses on Santa Claus kind of thing. Although my enjoyment level for this book was a 4.1 - I am a person who wants to hear more about my favorite characters over a tight literary story in the same universe - I need to rate this a 5. This is probably one of the stronger novels he's written and it gets many people interested in Discworld who wouldnt have been otherwise.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    Following on from Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, and Witches Abroad, Pratchett continues his study of theology, philosophy and the misuse thereof by mankind, touching on the same ground that his good friend Neil Gaiman would later dive in to with American Gods - what happens to the god when people stop believing in it? It's funny and sharp with its satire, exactly as you would expect from Pratchett. And in taking months to read it all of my thoughts and theories have dribbled away to be replaced by a Following on from Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, and Witches Abroad, Pratchett continues his study of theology, philosophy and the misuse thereof by mankind, touching on the same ground that his good friend Neil Gaiman would later dive in to with American Gods - what happens to the god when people stop believing in it? It's funny and sharp with its satire, exactly as you would expect from Pratchett. And in taking months to read it all of my thoughts and theories have dribbled away to be replaced by a lasting impression of impressive storytelling and high entertainment. Still, it could be worse, I could be deeply offended on behalf of religious people everywhere who choose to ignore two simple guiding facts of life: I: This is Not a Game II: Here and Now, You Are Alive.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Re-reading books from your childhood as an adult is always a bit risky. Sometimes the book holds up and it’s amazing, like somehow you’ve achieved time-travel - sometimes they don’t and that just plain sucks. So when the lovely new hardbacks of the beloved Discworld series began appearing late last year, I picked up some books I’d read a long time ago and subsequently forgotten all but a few scenes, characters and a line or two from. One of these was Small Gods which I remember liking but, havin Re-reading books from your childhood as an adult is always a bit risky. Sometimes the book holds up and it’s amazing, like somehow you’ve achieved time-travel - sometimes they don’t and that just plain sucks. So when the lovely new hardbacks of the beloved Discworld series began appearing late last year, I picked up some books I’d read a long time ago and subsequently forgotten all but a few scenes, characters and a line or two from. One of these was Small Gods which I remember liking but, having re-read it this week, I can unfortunately say that it’s an enormously boring Discworld book. Set in the theocratic country of Om, Brutha is a novice monk in the order of Om until one day he hears a voice in his head - it’s his god, speaking to him, in the form of a little tortoise. Things have gone badly for Om, as fewer and fewer people choose to believe in him hence his lowly status. Only one believer remains: Brutha. The people now believe in the structure of the religion led by the head Quisitor, Vorbis, who has plans to expand the Omnian empire across the Disc - religious war is brewing and only a simple novice and his tortoise can stop it! Terry Pratchett’s greatest strength with his Discworld series lies in the characters. Rincewind is arguably his greatest creation, Death and Vimes close seconds, and then you’ve got the witches like Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, Lord Vetinari - the list goes on. It’s a helluva cast. Small Gods - besides the requisite cameos from Death - doesn’t have any great characters. Brutha is a very dull character. He’s pleasant enough but he’s uncharismatic and doesn’t say or do much until the very end and even then it feels like Pratchett’s using him as his mouthpiece to put across his views on religion. Fine, but that doesn’t make him much of a character. Om reads like any number of smart-assed characters Pratchett’s written before like the Amazing Maurice. Neither character is particularly interesting to follow. Brutha just wanders about without purpose as a follower until the final act and Om’s goal is to become all-powerful again so he can get back to being worshipped and live comfortably in the clouds. Neither are especially great motivations, and when they’re the motivations of a pair of bland characters, there’s very little for the reader to hold become invested in. I won’t even go into Vorbis but suffice it to say he’s made from Pratchett’s go-to bad guy mould. He isn’t physically menacing but he uses his high intelligence and cruel nature to get what he wants, which is usually a selfish short-term goal. The story itself isn’t very engaging either - Omnia goes to war, then it doesn’t. The bad guy rises then falls. People learn that religion is fine but don’t force people to believe in it if they don’t want to. Eh. Pratchett’s known for his humour but it’s entirely absent here. The repeated “joke” is that random characters who meet Brutha and Om remark that “there’s good eating” on a tortoise, of course not knowing the tortoise is a god, and Om scowls - ooo! The other “joke” is that tortoises are afraid of eagles because they lift them up, drop them on to rocks, and eat them. I re-read Eric last year and laughed several times but didn’t laugh - or even smile - once at the lame attempts at comedy in Small Gods. I think Rincewind just lends himself to funnier situations than Brutha and Om. I didn’t hate all of it. I liked that Pratchett riffed on Jesus wandering the desert with the scene where Brutha, Vorbis and Om wander the desert, creating his own parody of how famous religions’ stories/parables/myths start. I also liked that the Omnian religion preaches that the Earth is round and orbits the sun while the “truth” is that the world is flat like a disc and stands on the backs of four elephants standing atop a giant turtle moving through space - Pratchett giving a knowing wink to medieval ideas about our own planet. I wish I could say that I read this with the zeal and love that I did when I was a kid but the truth is I trudged through it, often bored, and constantly flipping to the back to remind myself how many more pages I had to get through until it was over. Small Gods is a very bland, very dreary story that doesn’t say anything very original or interesting about religion despite Pratchett’s novels usually providing rich satire on our culture. But more importantly Small Gods fails to entertain on a basic level. I know Pratchett’s a great storyteller and I’ll always love the Discworld series but not Small Gods- it’s definitely one of his weakest books.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    The captain frowned. “It’s a funny thing,” he said, “but why is it that the heathens and barbarians seem to have the best places to go when they die?” “A bit of a poser, that,” agreed the mate. “I s’pose it makes up for ‘em….enjoying theselves all the time they’re alive, too?” He looked puzzled. Now that he was dead, the whole thing sounded suspicious. Dare I admit that this is my very first encounter with the writing of Terry Pratchett? I’ve seen the praise of his work from my friends and acquain The captain frowned. “It’s a funny thing,” he said, “but why is it that the heathens and barbarians seem to have the best places to go when they die?” “A bit of a poser, that,” agreed the mate. “I s’pose it makes up for ‘em….enjoying theselves all the time they’re alive, too?” He looked puzzled. Now that he was dead, the whole thing sounded suspicious. Dare I admit that this is my very first encounter with the writing of Terry Pratchett? I’ve seen the praise of his work from my friends and acquaintances and have been meaning to get to him sooner or later, so I’m glad that my reading project got me started. Wow, Pratchett is an excellent writer, able to keep many balls in the air while still being humourous. This is very definitely a critique of organized religion of the modern sort, dressed up in the clothing of the Greco-Roman period. He makes good use of the early Christian idea that heathen gods ceased to exist as their worshippers drifted away. Also the notion that those best qualified to lead are the least likely to seek leadership positions. Plus, he plays with the tortoise/turtle mythology that is common to so many cultures. Very skillful. Book number 303 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    "You can die for your country or your people or your family, but for a god you should live fully and busily, every day of a long life." And with that, I no longer have an excuse not to hunt down every Terry Pratchett book to enjoy and, probably, treasure. I've loved every book of his I've read to date, but that one line, so self-evident and borderline blasphemous to ANY religion, cements my belief that Mr Pratchett is one of the greatest thinkers and writers of our time. Perhaps delving into the "You can die for your country or your people or your family, but for a god you should live fully and busily, every day of a long life." And with that, I no longer have an excuse not to hunt down every Terry Pratchett book to enjoy and, probably, treasure. I've loved every book of his I've read to date, but that one line, so self-evident and borderline blasphemous to ANY religion, cements my belief that Mr Pratchett is one of the greatest thinkers and writers of our time. Perhaps delving into the rest of his bibliography will disabuse me of the notion, but there's only one way to find out, isn't there? One thing I really enjoyed about this edition of the book (and part of the reason that I now know I need to read all his other works) is the bonus guide to Discworld at the end. It is fun and informative and a great way to seduce the as-yet-uncommitted reader.

  27. 4 out of 5

    GarlicPrincess

    A clever, lighthearted, witty satire on religions. So much fun imagining the rage between tortoise and devout believer.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wiebke (1book1review)

    One of my favorite Discworld novels. It talks about religion and belief and what it can do to people and gods.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    A multi-book review: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (5/5 stars), Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (5/5 stars), The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (4/5 stars). I found myself reading all three of this novels at roughly the same time, and as I feel that they all complement each other, I will use this review for all three books. (So apologies in advance both for the length of this review, and for the fact it is for three books not just this one.) Small Gods is one of Pratchett's mor A multi-book review: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (5/5 stars), Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (5/5 stars), The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (4/5 stars). I found myself reading all three of this novels at roughly the same time, and as I feel that they all complement each other, I will use this review for all three books. (So apologies in advance both for the length of this review, and for the fact it is for three books not just this one.) Small Gods is one of Pratchett's more serious Discworld novels; he deals with religion on a totally different level to say - Dawkins. Dawkins is writing from the perspective of our real, non-fictional world and The God Delusion stems from his belief that there is no god and if all world religions vanished tomorrow, the world would be a better place. Pratchett writes from the fantasy fiction perspective that gods (plural) are absolutely real, but that fanatics of any religion can twist and distort even the smallest of these gods (in this case; the god Om trapped in a tortoise's body) to create a brutal doctrine that only pays lip service to those gods they claim to serve. "Belief shifts. People start out believing in the god and end up believing in the structure." (SG; pg190) Pratchett has filled the book with some memorable characters; from Om himself, to Brutha the earnest novice/prophet, to the evil Vorbis (who I am inclined to think is in some way related to Vetinari of Ankh Morpork; only more sociopathic.) Bryson on the other hand, does not discuss religion at all and in A Short History of Nearly Everything focuses on pure history, maths and science; humanity's quest to understand our place in the universe and to quantify the world we all inhabit. "We live in a universe whose age we can't quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances from us and each other we don't altogether know, filled with matter we can't identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don't truly understand." (ASHoNE: pg 219) There is no doubt that belief in god/gods can be a huge force for good and for evil. Dawkins does acknowledge some of these good things. "It [religion] gives consolation and comfort. It fosters togetherness in groups. It satisfies our yearning to understand why we exist" (TGD: 40%). I would argue that it has also inspired many great works of art, architecture and literature. However despite this concession, Dawkins doesn't hold back, "Thousands of people have been tortured for their loyalty to a religion, persecuted by zealots for what is in many cases a scarcely distinguishable alternative faith...devout people have died for their gods and killed for them...what is it all for?" (TGD: 40%) Dawkins is a confrontational writer. He expects everyone to disagree with him (and to be fair seeing some of the nasty comments he gets from Christians I do understand why), and therefore spends a lot of time arguing - and justifying his arguments - to various critics. About half way through the book Dawkins really starts to shine, he proposes some fascinating theories on how and why humanity could have evolved religion as a survival instinct. My favourite quote of his is the following; "I mean it as a compliment when I say that you could almost define a philosopher as someone who won't take common sense for an answer." (TGD: 22%) Bryson, in simply not engaging in the topic of religion, does much more to throw doubt on the existence of a higher power watching over us. He makes it seem absolutely clear how insignificant our little planet is in the vastness of the universe. "..in a single cracking instant we were endowed with a universe that was vast - at least a hundred billion light years across.. - and perfectly arrayed for the creation of stars galaxies and other complex systems." (ASHoNE: pgs 33-34) He describes in detail the 'big bang' theory that led to the existence of life, and the discovery of many scientific and mathematical principles that have held sway for centuries. The amount of research Bryson must have done for this book is incredible. He writes in an engaging tone on a difficult subject and writes as simply as possible to ensure everyone who picks up this book can understand what he's talking about. He discusses some of the words most famous scientists and geologists; Mary Anning, Marie Curie and Albert Einstein, along with those unfortunate figures from history who never got their rightful place in the history books like Karl Scheele; a chemist who discovered eight of the elements now on the period table and got credit for none of them. To sum up the three books for me in a nutshell; Dawkins argues that belief in god and organised religion makes the world a worse place. Pratchett says that some people - no matter what their excuse - are always going to persecute others. Whether or not gods exist isn't even the issue; the issue is human nature itself. While Bryson says, who cares about discussing religion at all, look at all this cool stuff you didn't know about our shared history and the world we live in and look at what's going on in the universe right now. I very much enjoyed reading these three books alongside each other, and I would recommend all three books to anyone interested in the subjects of science and religion. (Small Gods is part of the larger Discworld series but it is easy to read as a stand-alone fantasy novel, and I hope that no one would be put off from reading it when they see that it is number 13 in a series.)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    Thirteenth in the Discworld satirical fantasy series and revolving around a world canvas against which Pratchett displays his brilliant sense of humor, poking fun at everything and anything. If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Discworld books on my website. My Take The focus is on a cruel and dictatorial religion which has forgotten about worshipping its god and is intent on its own power. Hmmm, remind you of any religions in our own world?? It's the corruption that power Thirteenth in the Discworld satirical fantasy series and revolving around a world canvas against which Pratchett displays his brilliant sense of humor, poking fun at everything and anything. If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Discworld books on my website. My Take The focus is on a cruel and dictatorial religion which has forgotten about worshipping its god and is intent on its own power. Hmmm, remind you of any religions in our own world?? It's the corruption that power and knowledge visits on prelates. The truth about history and how she is written. The manipulation that goes on to ensure your plans for…anything. "He had to watch a couple of battles and an assassination on the way, otherwise they would just have been random events."Pratchett pokes at the Catholic Church's Inquisition, Muslim intolerance, points out Martin Luther's reasons for his Ninety-Five Theses, politicians who plot out their attacks to get what they want, Russian slogans, biblical stories, a reference to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, and on and on with the religious poking. It's a slow process, very slow, but Om gradually comes to see others. It's a fun turnabout with a god being paid back for his sins, lol. Which is worse: "knowing without learning" or "learning without knowing"?The scene with those unbelieving philosophers is way too funny, talking 'bout them "relics of an outmoded belief system" and then backtracking like mad, lol. As for the Tyrant's approach to the peace treaty…oh, yeah, baby! Yeah, that ending was sweet, a real revelation, even for Om. It's all about true belief. Not this lip service most pay. Hey, ho, The Turtle Moves. The Story It's a cruel situation for the Great God Om. Embarrassing, really. He's stuck and all that power he's been accustomed to using…well, it simply isn't there. He'll get somebody for this! The Characters Brutha is a novice in the church with an eidetic memory who cannot read or write and is perfectly content, in his own slow mind, to hoe the melons. His grandmother was a HUGE believer. Omnia is… …a country ruled by its religion that believes it worships the Great God Om. Every few hundred years, a new Prophet appears (Ossory had been one of them) with his own commandments to add to the others. The church headquarters is known as the Citadel. The Place of Lamentation is where you offer up prayer and haven't any money. The High Cenobiarch, a.k.a., the Superior Iam, leads the church. Then there are six Archpriests, thirty lesser Iams who are followed by bishops, deacons, subdeacons, priests, and then the novices. The Sept is their Bible with the commandments, some 500+. The psychopathic Deacon Vorbis is head of the Quisition with its inquisitors and exquisitors, which will torture anyone for any reason. Deacon Cusp likes hurting people. Inquisitor First Class Ishamle "Pop" Quoom and the missus are grateful for the retirement gifts. Brother Sasho used to be Vorbis' secretary. Brother Nhumrod is a novice master and hot on the subject of demons and repeating the last words of your sentences. Brother Murduck has explained before about voices. Brother Preptil is the master of music and is pleased to excuse Brutha from attendance. Bishop Drunah is secretary to the Congress of Iams. Brother Whelk teaches Comparative Religion (I can only imagine what that is about). Brother Lu-Tze keeps in the background and silently works at soil, manure, muck, compost, loam, dust, and paths. Bishop "Deathwish" Treem. General Iam Fri'it runs the Divine Legion, no matter what anyone else believes officially. Sergeants Aktar, Simony, and Fergmen have their own plans. Private Dervi Ichlos might as well cancel any of his. I think Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah, a purveyor of suspiciously new holy relics and other…things, is a relative of Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler. Ephebe is… …a very bad country where their history is wrong; their religious worship is nothing like theirs, therefore wrong; and, and! they have ideas! And philosophers are practically worshipped for themselves. It's those ideas they have. Legibus, Xeno, Ibid, and Declivities are some of the successful philosophers. Didactylos is less successful and blends all three philosophical schools: Cynics, Stoics, and Epicureans; Urn is his nephew who's apprenticing. The Tyrant is the ruler of Ephebe and is elected by the people after having made all sorts of promises which, upon being elected, he promptly reneges on. Hmmm, makin' you think of anything else happening in America??? Aristocrates is the Tyrant's secretary. "'What do philosophers look like?' said Brutha. 'They do a lot of thinking,' said Om. 'Look for someone with a strained expression.' 'That might just mean constipation.' 'Well, so long as they're philosophical about it…'" St. Ungulant (its his initials — Sevrian Thaddeus Ungulant) is an anchorite in the desert with his "friend", a small god named Angus. Uh-huhhh… Other countries at risk include… …Djel, Tsort, Djelibeybi, the country of pyramids and gods with funny heads, the city of Ankh-Morpork where gods are worshipped if they have money, Istanzia, Betrek, and Ushistan. It will be an alliance where General Argavisti of Ephebe thinks he's in charge whereas Imperiator Borvorius of Tsort knows he is while Admiral Rham-ap-Efan of Djelibeybi knows he is, hmph. Fatas Benj is a fisherman from a tiny country of marsh-dwelling nomads who got swept up. In charge of ensuring history proceeds correctly are… …the history monks in the high Ramtops of Discworld. The 493rd Abbot. Lu-Tze is one of the most senior monks with a mission. Some of the other gods in or around Ephebe include the Queen of the Sea with her terrible price; Tuvelpit is the God of Wine in Ephebe (they call him Smimto in Tsort); Astoria is the Goddess of Love; Offler is the Crocodile God; Petulia is the Goddess of Negotiable Affection *grinning*; Blind Io is a Thunder God; Cubal the Fire God; Fedecks the Messenger of the Gods; Flatulus the God of the Winds; Foorgol the God of Avalanches; Patina is the Goddess of Wisdom, penguin and all; and, P'Tang-P'Tang is Fasta Benj's god. The Librarian at Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork was a wizard who got turned into an orang-utan, and he knows everything about getting around in the library…and between libraries. A very focused eagle. DEATH is always waiting. The Cover and Title The cover has a bright orange background with the author's name and the title in white with black, giving it a slightly three-dimensional effect. In the center is Great A'Tuin, the turtle which swims through space carrying the Discworld on its back. The black border on the left is a tumbling series of thunderclouds spewing lightning…in honor of those Small Gods who exist everywhere.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.