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Small Gods

(Discworld #13)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  96,384 ratings  ·  2,697 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Corgi (first published May 1992)
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Kateřina You can definitely read it without any prep. I can't imagine a better place to start, it's the best, stands alone, good introduction to Discworld. It…moreYou can definitely read it without any prep. I can't imagine a better place to start, it's the best, stands alone, good introduction to Discworld. It has all the good elements of Pratchett's work.(less)
PaulESchilling Enlightened might be a strong word for it, but it is my favorite of his books. The interaction between Vorbis' relentless logic and Burtha's innocent…moreEnlightened might be a strong word for it, but it is my favorite of his books. The interaction between Vorbis' relentless logic and Burtha's innocent yet infinite memory made for one of the more interesting relationships between a villain and a hero. Most religious fanatics are too overtaken by emotionalism for me to have any sort of connection with them as a character. Both Vorbis and Burtha are taking religion seriously, but applying very different natures to the same religious text.(less)

Community Reviews

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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
...more
Lyn
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of Pratchetts 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 dont 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
...more
Natalia Yaneva
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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 Its like this thought has sprung out of my head but its 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
...more
Adrian
So this is book 13 in my continuing monthly saga of reading all the Discworld novels. And what a good entry in the saga this was.

(As an aside i am a little behind in my reading timetable, as I was meant to finish this in January. My challenge shows me ahead, but that is only because I listened to a number of Agatha Christie dramatisations whilst my wife and I were decorating (painting) inside the house.)

Anyway back to "Small Gods". This is in someway slightly different to most of the other
...more
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. At the same time, they seem to have trouble hearing His request for more lettuce leaves... with the 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
...more
Trish
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
BlackOxford
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, british
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.
Melki
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Bradley
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2018-shelf
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
...more
Ivan
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Vivian
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
"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,
...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-fantasy
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
...more
Jokoloyo
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Allison Hurd
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one really pulled together. I was enjoying but not loving it, and then the end was just...perfect.

A story of religion, politics, the nature of man, and why that nature means that we will always have religions and politics, even if they're unnecessary and even harmful. Told with wit, intelligence, and yes, grace, this encourages people to find reasons for living that are predicated on innate goodness, but understanding if you need a bit of a reminder from whatever your preferred belief
...more
Apatt
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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, dont stop to pack.

Terry Pratchetts 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 Terrys witticisms. Small Gods is one of
...more
Milda Page Runner
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Milda by: Ivan

'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 didnt hook me in and I couldnt 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
...more
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
...more
Lindsay
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, humor
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
...more
Christian
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: discworld
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
...more
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 ...more
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
...more
Esme
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
José
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discworld, kindle
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
...more
Doreen
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
...more
Olivier Delaye
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Peed my pants with this one, too! Witty and deep at the same time, and oh so true!
Toby
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical, funny
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
...more
Sam Quixote
Re-reading books from your childhood as an adult is always a bit risky. Sometimes the book holds up and its amazing, like somehow youve achieved time-travel - sometimes they dont 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 Id 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 ...more
Wanda
The captain frowned. Its 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 spose it makes up for em.enjoying theselves all the time theyre 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? Ive seen the praise of his work from my friends and acquaintances and
...more
GarlicPrincess
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, funny, religion
A clever, lighthearted, witty satire on religions. So much fun imagining the rage between tortoise and devout believer.
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
...more
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33,739 followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels,
...more

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Death, #1; Discworld, #4)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)

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